SCBWI Brazos Valley News

Hello Brazos Valley SCBWI,

A few weeks ago as I began drafting the June newsletter my notes for this section read “write something about summer.” However, at this moment, a jolly paragraph about being inspired by summer fun, or even about making the most of continued social distancing to get that manuscript in shape feels woefully insufficient. 

Over and over I have heard people say the most important thing you can do to be a good writer is to be a reader. This summer, I encourage you to prioritize reading books by Black kid lit creators. Listen to their experiences so we can truly understand the frustrations that are being expressed across the country and within the kid lit community. At the same time, it is equally important to read books in which Black characters are allowed to live fun lives that aren’t completely defined by struggle and oppression. SCBWI HQ has put together a fantastic resource to help get started, from recommended reading and Black-owned bookstores you can order from to a list of organizations fighting longstanding racial injustice . Let’s make this a summer of listening and learning. 

As far as SCBWI Brazos Valley is concerned, one of my goals as RA is to ensure we are supporting and amplifying diverse voices within our community. This is about developing a long term strategy, not a quick fix. If you are interested in helping us figure out what this looks like, please email me at .  

Romy Natalia (and co-signed by Liz)
Brazos Valley Events
Brazos Valley Book Report
Thursday June 11th, 7:30pm - via Zoom
Please join us for our Brazos Valley Book Report - a new way to connect with and learn from our Brazos Valley SCBWI members. Our first BVBR was fun and informative! Come prepared to discuss a children’s book (PB, MG, YA) you’ve read recently. 

June Monthly Meeting: Q & A with indie bookseller Cecilia Cackley

Wednesday June 24th - via Zoom
9:30-10 Meet & Greet
10-11am Main meeting

Even (and perhaps, especially) in this age of online book sales, independent bookstores play an important role in the success of a children’s book. Our guest for this month, Cecilia Cackley, will answer your questions about how bookstores decide which books to stock, the role of advanced reader copies, and much more. Have a burning question? Submit it ahead of time to  Participants will have a chance to ask questions after the presentation as well.

Cecilia Cackley is a Mexican-American playwright and puppeteer based in Washington, DC. A longtime bookseller, she is currently the Children’s/YA buyer and event coordinator for East City Bookshop on Capitol Hill. Find out more about her art at or follow her on Twitter @citymousedc

Register for free here. Can’t make the meeting? Don’t worry! A replay will be provided for all registrants after the meeting.

Social Services for Teens with Maria Frazer REPLAY
Available till June 23rd!

Our May meeting was full of useful information for writing nuanced teen characters going through difficult times. Access the replay here through June 23rd, 2020.
If you haven’t answered our member survey yet, please take a moment to do so. Your answers will help us better tailor our programming and resources to our region. Even if your membership hasn't been renewed for a while, we would like to hear from you. Your entry will be private and anonymous.
Summer Spectacular scholarship options
Although the registration price for the Summer Spectacular is significantly lower than that of the in-person conference, we recognize that times are tough and some members may be in need of scholarships.

If you are interested in being nominated for a scholarship from SCBWI headquarters, . 

  •  your service to the Brazos Valley SCBWI chapter

  • Where you are in your kid lot writing career and how the Summer Spectacular will help you 

  • A brief description of your financial need for the scholarship

We also highly recommend applying to the IPOC scholarship if you are indigenous or a person of color and identify as a woman. Guidelines can be found here
SCBWI will continue to offer free Digital Workshops to members throughout the summer. We highly recommend you make use of this fantastic new resource this summer! See the entire lineup here .

The next workshop will take place on Thursday June 11, 11am-12pm, Central Time. Registration for Vashti Harrison's Character Building for Writers and Illustrators opens June 8th. Registration for this free event is limited to 3000 attendees. 
If you can’t attend the live workshop, a video recording of the event will be placed on the SCBWI website 24-hours later and will remain up for one month.
Upcoming Events--a sampling of online offerings

Sunday, June 14th, 2020 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Central Time
$10 for Members, $20 for Non-members
Some picture books are read once and forgotten. Others are read again and again and again. Lots of factors make a good picture books, but the ones that get remembered with love are those that tap into universal human emotions. The ones that have heart. We’ll talk about how to find heart and how to add it to manuscripts.

June 23rd, 7-8:30 pm EST
$15 for Members, $30 for Non-members
Award winning author and writing professor Leah Henderson, who also is a member of the SCBWI Mid-Atlantic region, will help us look at the delicate balance between the relationship of an author’s voice and a character’s voice and explore how elements such as rhythm, life-experience, and word choice play into letting a character’s voice grow into that undeniable, unputdownable soul of story.
If you are having problems with Zoom or with registering for a Brazos Valley SCBWI event, please contact . Please note, unless otherwise stated, all Brazos Valley SCBWI events are free of cost. We are currently requiring registration in order to keep our events private and safe from hackers. Your event login information will be emailed to the email address on file in your SCBWI account.