February 1, 2018
Meg Medina joins SCBWI Board of Advisors
Award-winning author Meg Medina has joined the SCBWI Board of Advisors. A recipient of the Pura Belpré Award and Ezra Jack Keats Award, she is known for her picture books, middle grade, and young adult titles, including  Tía Isa Wants a Car Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass Mango, Abuela, and Me ; and  Burn Baby Burn . Medina is also a founding member of We Need Diverse Books and the Girls of Summer reading list and blog... MORE
Happy Book Birthday program debuts
Our very first Happy Book Birthday party went off with a bang! Over thirty authors and illustrators celebrated the debut of their new books, all of which are now featured on our beautiful Book Birthday page. The Happy Book Birthday program not only lets you share your news, but also gives teachers, librarians, and other buyers the chance to see what new books SCBWI authors and illustrators have in store for them—the Book Birthday page will be shared on our website and social media for the next two weeks, so the entire children’s literature community can celebrate too.
SCBWI launches website redesign
On January 22, the SCBWI website re-launched with a brand new homepage and streamlined navigation system. In preparation for the redesign, SCBWI interviewed active and longtime members about their experience using the site in order to create a design that is clean and intuitive, prioritizing the things that our members care about most. The bold new look of the homepage was art directed by Director of Illustration Programs Sarah Baker, who worked with a small team of web designers to create a design she describes as “dynamic, exciting, and energetic..." MORE
SCBWI presents 2018 Golden Kite Awards
The only children’s literary award judged by a jury of peers, the Golden Kites recognize excellence in children’s literatures in six categories: Young Reader and Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Picture Book Nonfiction, Nonfiction for Older Readers, Picture Book Text, and Picture Book Illustration. The Sid Fleischman Award is for exemplary writing for children in the genre of humor. The awards will be presented at a star-studded gala during the New York Winter Conference on Friday, February 2 at 7pm at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Featured guest Chelsea Clinton, humanitarian advocate and children’s author, will make a special presentation at the event.
Young Adult
Elana K. Arnold
What Girls Are Made Of (Carolrhoda)

Elana K. Arnold’s searing YA novel What Girls Are Made Of opens with a mother telling her teenage daughter Nina that love is conditional, and goes on to explore Nina’s vulnerability and courage in a w orld where it is tough to be a young woman. The book won a starred review from Kirkus and was a National Book Award finalist. Arnold is also the author of the middle grade hit A Boy Named Bat , and young adult novels including The Question of Miracles , Far From Fair , and Infandous
"What Girls Are Made Of was the most challenging book I have ever written," says Arnold. "It asked me to cast back into the murky, bracken pond of my teenage years. The more I learn—as a writer, a woman, a human—the more I strive not to make decisions out of fear. Writers, reach for your stories, don’t fear them. Reach for them—claws, teeth, and all. Reach for them, and hold them close, and love them. Chins up, hearts open."
Visit her website at www.elanakarnold.com or follow @ ElanaKArnold .
Middle Grade
Jack Cheng
See You in the Cosmos (Dial)

Jack Cheng’s middle grade debut novel is an existential exploration of life on Earth, from the perspective of a space-obsessed eleven-year-old named Alex. Upon its release, See You in the Cosmos won glowing praise from the New York Times , and starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly . This is Jack Cheng’s first book for children; he previously self-published a novel called These Days about the thriving tech industry. 
Cheng commented on his win, saying "It's been such a pleasure to meet and learn from my fellow SCBWI members, at everything from bookstore events to conferences to webinars. In much the same way that Alex in the book finds a different kind of family—or to use another word,  community —I've very much found  my  community."
Visit his website at www.jackcheng.com or follow @ jackcheng .
Picture Book Text
Carolyn Crimi
There Might Be Lobsters (Candlewick)

Carolyn Crimi’s latest picture book stars an anxious puppy named Sukie who overcomes her fear of the ocean, a relatable story which School Library Journal called “refreshing as ice cream with sprinkles on a day at the beach.” Illustrated by Laurel Molk, the book also won a Kirkus starred review. Crimi is the author of many whimsical picture books including Where’s My Mummy? , Boris and Bella , and Pugs in a Bug .
Crimi had some words of advice for aspiring picture book writers who do not illustrate their own work. "A lot of picture book writers have questions about illustration notes. I use mine sparingly, and only when it's absolutely necessary. Let the illustrator have as much freedom as you did while writing the story. Trust the process! My books have never looked the way I pictured them in my head--they've always look way better."
Visit her website at www.carolyncrimi.com .
Picture Book Illustration
Kenard Pak
Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter (Henry Holt)

Kenard Pak blends digital elements with classic watercolor and pencil to create the gorgeous illustrations in Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter . A follow-up to the similarly themed Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn , the seasonal picture book follows two children through a shifting landscape of bright leaves and snow, also touching on the diverse customs that people celebrate in that time of year. Pak has lent his graceful illustrative style to many picture books, including The Fog by Kyo Maclear and Flowers Are Calling by Rita Gray. 
Pak reflected on the creation of his story, saying "The coming of winter is fun and celebratory, but it can also be a dark, quiet time of the year. We live in a very intense, noisy world. With  Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter  I wanted to show a place where a kid, mom, dad, and everyone else can go for a walk and commune with the natural world and your own thoughts. It's not escape! It's slowing down so you can think."
Visit Pak's website at www.pandagun.com or follow @ kenardpak .
Nonfiction for Younger Readers
Carole Boston Weatherford
Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library (Candlewick)

Caldecott Honor winner Carole Boston Weatherford brings another extraordinary life into the spotlight with her picture book biography Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library . Arturo Schomburg was an Afro-Puerto Rican law clerk who assembled an astonishing collection of art and literature from the African Diaspora, eventually partnering with the New York Public Library to store his archive. Kirkus , Booklist , School Library Journal , and Publishers Weekly gave starred reviews to this inspiring true story.
Visit her website at www.cbweatherford.com .
Nonfiction for Older Readers
Deborah Heiligman
Vincent and Theo (Henry Holt)

In Vincent and Theo , Deborah Heiligman examines one of the most famous artists of all time from a fresh perspective, focusing on the difficult but devoted relationship between Vincent van Gogh and his brother, Theo. Excavating the nearly 700 letters the brothers left behind, Heiligman tells a bittersweet story of personal struggles, artistic passion, and unconditional love. The book garnered star reviews from Publishers Weekly , Horn Book , Kirkus , and School Library Journal .
Writing about historical people presents its own rewards and challenges. On her process, Heiligman says, "I start with primary sources and hold off reading any secondary sources as long as possible. I want to meet people on their own terms and not be influenced by what anyone else thinks about them. I want to inhabit these real people so that when I write my books, I am inside their heads, souls, and lives. But that doesn’t happen on the first draft. Or the second draft. Or the third…It takes elbow grease in the form of rewriting, thinking, and also stepping away to get perspective."
For more advice on the craft of nonfiction, visit Heiligman's website at www.deborahheiligman.com or follow @ DHeiligman .
Sid Fleischman Award for Humor
Crystal Allen
The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: The Wall of Fame Game (Balzer + Bray)

Crystal Allen has a winning comic character in Mya Tibbs, the nine-year-old Texan cowgirl with big ambitions and bigger heart. In The Wall of Fame Game , Mya competes in a school trivia game, enters a chili cook-off, and anticipates the arrival of a baby sibling in an adventure that Kirkus called 'hilarious,' with "a charming cast of characters." Crystal Allen is also the author of The Laura Line , How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy , and the first installment in the Magnificent Mya Tibbs series, Spirit Week Showdown .
Retelling her SCBWI success story, Allen says, "In February, 2008, I attended an SCBWI Conference in Houston, Texas, and met my ‘soon-to-be’ agent, Jen Rofé. Since then, I have attended numerous SCBWI Conferences, and used the tools taught to me by the faculty to take my writing to another level.  This year, in February, I’m receiving the Sid Fleishman Award for Humor in Children’s Books.  Thank you, SCBWI, for seeing me, educating me, and then acknowledging my work in children’s literature."
Visit her website at www.crystalallenbooks.com .
PJ Library announces Jewish Story Award winners
On January 11th SCBWI announced the winners of the Jewish Stories Award, a joint effort between SCBWI and PJ Library to encourage excellence in Jewish children’s literature.
Audrey Ades took the top prize for her picture book Judah Touro Didn’t Want to Be Famous , a compelling biography about the Jewish philanthropist. The honor winner was Joy Nelkin Wieder, whose picture book Rivka and the Mice uses a passage from the Talmud to teach children about Passover traditions.
Both winners will receive a cash prize and will be honored with an award presentation at the 2018 New York Winter Conference.
For more information about the PJ Library Jewish Stories award, visit scbwi.org/scbwi-pj-library-jewish-stories-award.
SCBWI Exclusive with...
Liza Fleissig, Agent, LRA
Liza Fleissig is a founder of LRA, a cross-platform company that provides development, representation, and strategic career management for clients in all media, from the most established to those developing their craft. Recent media projects include a direct-to-series deal with Starz with Jerry Bruckheimer and Oscar Winner Common for Black Samurai and the option of Someone Else's Summer for a feature film with Bailee Madison attached to star. A former partner in a NYC-based litigation law firm, Liza brings over 20 years of negotiating experience to the field. This background, along with connections rooted in publishing, movies, and television, allows her to build on a referral-based clientele. From picture books through adult projects, fiction and nonfiction, she welcomes strong voices and plot-driven works.
What brought you to agenting?
I have always had a strong sphere of influence from friends in the publishing industry, and had been searching for something creative to do for a long time after my children were born. I love reading, loved helping my author friends, and after a 20-year litigation career, this seemed like the most logical next step... READ FULL INTERVIEW
Draw This!
Draw This! is our monthly prompt word for illustrators. 

Congratulations to the January winners! The January prompt word was "Momentum"
Mark Hernandez
Cassandra F ederman
February's prompt word is: "Blustery"
Click Here for Draw This! guidelines
Faces of SCBWI
Want to see your face in Insight ? Send your photos to  faces@scbwi.org   or post on twitter using the tag #facesofscbwi
Marilyn Salerno, Margo Lemieux, Lin Oliver, Omar Bah (founder and executive director of Refugee Dream Center), and Sally Riley during SCBWI Books for Readers event
SCBWI British Isles conference

SCBWI Board member Matt de la Peña and illustrator Loren Long promote their new book,  Love 
(photo credit: Emily Berger)
Kara LaReau at Refugee Dream Center in Providence, RI during SCBWI Books for Readers event
Cheryl Klein visits SCBWI San Diego chapter
SCBWI member Mary Bleckwehl on a school visit in Lakeville, MN
SCBWI member Lora Hyler celebrates release of debut book
SCBWI at Refugee Dream Center in Providence, RI during Books for Readers event