June 2017
Crystal Kite Winners Announced
Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Crystal Kite Awards! The Crystal Kite Awards recognize an outstanding book published in the previous calendar year in fifteen regions across the globe and are voted on by the members of each region.  Over a thousand books were entered this year, and we are so thrilled with each of the winning books. See the full list of winners here.
SCBWI Moves to Protect Threatened Library Funding
By Lin Oliver
SCBWI Executive Director

When the new organization, The Corporate Committee for Library Investment (CCLI), was launched on May 17, SCBWI was among the first to sign on. CCLI is comprised of corporate businesses and trade organizations who have united specifically to support federal library funding, which is in grave danger of being eliminated in the proposed federal budget for FY 2018. Specifically, the new budget seeks to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and along with it, the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program.
The goal of CCLI is to support Congressional appropriations for programs that fall under both the Library Services and Technology Act ($186.6 million) and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program ($27 million). The LSTA funding goes primarily to support matching grant programs that allow states to be in charge of how federal library funds are spent. The IAL funds allow school librarians and non-profit groups to buy books and educational materials for the country's neediest children.
What I would like to say to all of our beloved SCBWI members is this: We cannot afford to put these programs in jeopardy, either as an industry or as citizens of a democracy that depends upon a literate and educated populace. Libraries and librarians are at the heart of the children's book world. Each year, America's 120,000 libraries are visited 1.4 billion times, averaging four million visits per day or 2,663 visits per minute. Many of these visitors are children and young people, who come to seek out OUR books, often purchased with the help of federal funds.
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Amazon's New Buy Box Policy Creates Concern  
In November, Amazon quietly announced that they would be changing the system behind the Buy Box, in a move to give a greater advantage to third party booksellers. In the past, the default seller was always Amazon, but now third party sellers can join a lottery system where multiple sources compete to "win" the Buy Box. This means that some shoppers are now buying books from third party sellers without knowing it.

For book publishers, who are increasingly forced to rely on Amazon to connect with readers, the change is a blow to an already fragile relationship. Amazon's books all come directly from the publisher so that when they win the Buy Box, proceeds are split roughly 55/45 between the two companies. When an outside seller wins, Amazon takes a smaller cut but saves money on storage and shipping; the publisher gets a fraction of the sale, or sometimes nothing at all. 

The result is a system that fails to fully compensate both publishers and creators for their work. Amazon hasn't reacted to the storm of complaints, but SCBWI is in the process of investigating this new practice: its effect on publishers, authors and illustrators, and the industry in general. In the July issue of Insight, we will give you a full report on Amazon's new practices and how they may affect you.
Listen to the newest podcast with Julie Struass Gabel VP and Publisher of Dutton Books.  Mark your calendars for the third Tuesday of the month and enjoy these intimate, behind-the-scenes conversations with leaders of our industry, recorded especially for SCBWI members.  Listen Here 

SCBWI Exclusive with...  
Samara Klein, Director of International Book Selection & Publishing Projects,
PJ Library®

Samara Klein is the Director of International Book Selection and Publishing Projects for PJ Library, part of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. PJ Library recently teamed up with SCBWI to establish the SCBWI PJ Library Jewish Stories Award.

Tell us about the PJ Library organization and its mission. 
Like the authors and illustrators of SCBWI, we at PJ Library know the great value and importance of children's books. We know that reading books to children has a positive impact on their development, and we know firsthand the power of the connection that occurs between an adult and a child when reading a book together.   PJ Library is an international program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation that works in partnership with Jewish philanthropists, communities, and organizations to send the gift of free Jewish children's books to families across the world.
Each month, families with children ages six months through eight years who sign up for the program receive an age-appropriate book in their mailbox. These books exemplify the best in Jewish children's literature with compelling stories, captivating illustrations, and diverse perspectives on Jewish customs, practices, and values. There are more than 170,000 PJ Library subscribers in North America. PJ Library also has programs in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Singapore; a Spanish-language program in Central and Latin America; a Russian-language program; and a Hebrew-language literacy-based program in Israel that works in partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Education. 
PJ Our Way is the newest chapter of PJ Library for kids ages nine through eleven. It is designed to meet the developmental needs of older children by offering them choice in selecting their books and by encouraging creativity and interactive connections with their peers. Each month, kids go to the PJ Our Way website to choose one book from a selection of four titles reviewed by a panel of PJ Our Way educators, parents, and kids. Subscribers can also read book summaries and author bios, watch kid-produced book trailers, take quizzes and polls, share their ideas with other kids, and post reviews. 

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Illustrator info 
Do you know what an IC is?

If you're an illustrator, and a member of SCBWI, you'll want to know! IC stands for Illustrator Coordinator, and they are official SCBWI volunteers that work along with the Regional Advisors (RA's) and Assistant Regional Advisors (ARA's) to run the SCBWI regions. There is an IC in almost every region, or local chapter, of SCBWI. It is the IC's job to make sure there is programming and events in your area that serve the illustrator members. 
IC's are wonderful resources---they are talented illustrators, knowledgeable in the children's book field. They attend at least one of the main international conferences each year, so they are up-to-date on industry news and trends. Also, they share their ideas, questions, and plans with each other on a private forum, so they are all tapped in to a great pool of collective knowledge.

Here are just a few examples of the many things an IC can help you with: 
  • If you have questions about your SCBWI member benefits, like information on grants and awards, they are a great resource
  • If you and other SCBWI members in your area are craving a new event, you can bring the idea to the IC
  • If you have concerns about a certain publisher, agent, or job, your IC can help and even bring your question to the IC forum to discuss
  • If you want to get more involved with events and volunteering in your region, you can begin by talking to your IC
Attending events and taking advantage of your local SCBWI offerings is a fantastic way to advance your career and make the most of your membership to SCBWI, and if you're an illustrator, your IC is key to that. If you're in one of the few regions with no IC, try volunteering with your region and who knows, maybe you'll become one!

For questions about IC's and how to take full advantage of your SCBWI membership, contact Sarah Baker at sarahbaker@scbwi.org 

On the Shelves
Brazos Bookstore

Author, bookseller, and #LA17SCBWI Faculty member Joy Preble tells us what's on the shelves at Houston's oldest independent bookstore.

What sets Brazos Bookstore apart from other bookstores? 
Brazos Bookstore is Houston's oldest indie, established in 1974 by a man named Karl Killian, who was at the cutting edge of what was then Houston's emerging literary scene. And when Karl retired in 2006, twenty-seven Houstonians banded together to purchase the store and act as a board of directors. You can read the full history of the store here. Our history is part of what sets us apart, because we have such a large and passionate community buy-in to our existence! Like all good indies, another factor that sets us apart is that we as a staff are the captains of our own ship, so to speak and every one of my colleagues is incredibly knowledgeable about books and media and culture. That collective hive mind helps us work as a team to suggest titles for all interests. If a book is face-out, it's because we decided to feature it, not because there is a corporate giant requiring it because of co-op money. Our shelf-talkers are written by us. At Brazos in particular, we delight in highlighting books from smaller presses along with the featured titles from the big houses. Hidden gems, books that don't quite fall into one specific genre, quieter books...if we love a book, we want to talk to our customers about it and get them to read it. Our store events---and we host over 250 a year---are equally as diverse, from Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners and celebrity authors to local authors and wonderfully quirky times, like an evening of coloring and cocktails poured by a local bar, featuring a store-created Cormac McCarthy coloring book. As Children's Specialist, I follow that same pattern, looking for the best of the best for my customers and feeling no particular compunction to push only the most commercial or buzzed about titles. We make our own buzz, which is highly gratifying and incredibly exciting!
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2017 Annual Summer Conference in LA July 7 - 10

Spots are still available for the LA Summer Conference! Don't miss your chance to improve your craft, network with the publishing industry, and be a part of the children's literature community. Early Bird pricing ends soon! 

We want your photos! Tag us on Twitter/Instagram/ Facebook with pictures relating to kids or kids books. Use #scbwitribeshare and we'll choose new snaps each month to share. 

The SCBWI Australia West gang celebrates Dianne Wolfer and the play based on her book "The Lighthouse Girl" at the State Theatre

The Southern Breeze Chapter tests out the new Sketchable App on the Microsoft Surface Pro

SCBWI Alaska at the Knik River Lodge for the Writers and Illustrators Retreat

Jason Gallaher, Aimee Thomas, Charlotte Sullivan, and Lori Keckler at the SCBWI Austin Conference
Sally Jane Cutting leads the watercolor session at SCBWI Spain's Retreat

Draw This!
Draw This! is our monthly prompt word for illustrators.  

The May prompt was Feast

Congratulations to the May Winners:
Christopher Park

Shannon Day

 See all the entries here: Gallery   

June's prompt is . . .  SPLASH  
Entries are due June 20 to scbwidrawthis@scbwi.org 
Submissions for June will be up in our July gallery.