Where Are Your Mirrors? Diversity in Children’s Books 2015 Infographic

It’s one thing to read stats, and it’s another thing to see them. Based on information compiled by the the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), David Huyck created the infographic below:

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image by David Huyck

How sad is it to see actual kids with less representation than animals and inanimate objects? Publishing as a whole needs to provide diverse young readers with way more mirrors.

The good news is that David has made his infographic available for general use, so you can share this around your own blog/social media networks. Because the more we see and talk about problems like this, the harder it is to ignore.

Happy Book Birthday to The Light Fantastic!

Fellow Candlewick author Sarah Combs is one of my favorite writers and people in the world. Her debut, Breakfast Served Anytime, got me teary because it was so beautifully written and so full of love and hope and feels. So obviously I’ve been way excited for her next book, and I am thrilled to say that The Light Fantastic is out today! A little about the book:

Delaware, the morning of April 19. Senior Skip Day, and April Donovan’s eighteenth birthday. Four days after the Boston Marathon bombing, the country is still reeling, and April’s rare memory condition has her recounting all the tragedies that have cursed her birth month. And just what was that mysterious gathering under the bleachers about? Meanwhile, in Nebraska, Lincoln Evans struggles to pay attention in Honors English, distracted by the enigmatic presence of Laura Echols, capturer of his heart. His teacher tries to hold her class’s interest, but she can t keep her mind off what Adrian George told her earlier. Over in Idaho, Phoebe is having second thoughts about the Plan mere hours before the start of a cross-country ploy led by an Internet savant known as the Mastermind. Is all her heartache worth the cost of the Assassins machinations? The Light Fantastic is a tense, shocking, and beautifully wrought exploration of the pain and pathos of a generation of teenagers on the brink and the hope of moving from shame and isolation into the light of redemption.

I’m so excited to see how Sarah brings together these viewpoints to craft a sensitive and thoughtful story of grief and anger and pain and hope.

In case that all sounds awesome to you, too, friend and fantastic book blogger Ginger is celebrating The Light Fantastic‘s release with a giveaway! Inspired by one of the book’s associated discussion questions, Sarah and Ginger are sharing their lists of five good things/things that matter. Check out their lists and sign up to win a copy of the book!

Even though I’ve already ordered my copy, I want to share my list of five good, real things. In no particular order:

  • The smell of bread baking, the magic of seeing how such simple ingredients can become something so delicious.
  • When a song comes on the radio and you have to turn it up and sing along and make ridiculous emotive hand gestures.
  • The first sip of coffee.
  • Jokes you have with loved ones that go so far back, you don’t even remember exactly when or how they started.
  • When you’re watching a movie, sneaking a glance at the rest of the audience and seeing them engrossed in the story.

Head over to Ginger’s to share your five, enter her giveaway, and most importantly, get yourself a copy of The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs!

Links Galore

A few good links for today:

Links Galore

A few links I’ve been saving:

 

 

 

 

Links Galore

All the links I’ve been saving:

Blueprinting Your Novel, Evel Knievel, and Why Sympathy Is Not a Positive Attitude: the NESCBWI 2016 Conference

At the annual NESCBWI conference, surrounded by writers and illustrators and editors and agents, it’s easy to think about community. Writing can feel like a solitary job, and it’s good to spend a weekend with people who really get it. And being around people who get it was just what I needed.

Due to scheduling and budgeting, I didn’t get to go to any writing retreats in the last year, and I didn’t realize how much I needed that time with my writing community until I got to Springfield. There’s something about being surrounded by people who share your passion and by setting aside time to remember that, no matter what the struggles, you are a writer.

A few favorite moments from the conference:

  • BSoS crit group NESCBWIGetting to spend time with my critique group, including two members who no longer live in the New England area and make the trip out for the weekend.
  • Showing off our love for The Bitter Side of Sweet by crit group member Tara Sullivan.
  • Wendy Mass‘s touching and hilarious keynote, including gems like “It’s easy enough to write what you know. Write what you want to know about,” her giant scroll of rejection letters, and how she takes magic lessons.Swings
  • Also, Wendy Mass’s blueprinting/outlining method that might legit change my writing process for the better.
  • Tara Lazar on how picture books need to be the more exciting narrative roller coaster.
  • Patrick Carman’s keynote about being inspired by Evel Knievel and how we are all entrepreneurs.
  • Amitha Knight and Padma Venkatraman‘s thoughtful and engaging workshop on writing disability, with tons of helpful resources and frank discussions about things like how “sympathy is not a positive attitude.”
  • An awesome panel about working with booksellers and educators, including shoutouts to graphic novels as legit reading.
  • Winning a copy of Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles in her fabulous NESCBWI bookstore‘improv’ writing workshop.
  • Seeing The Chance You Won’t Return in the conference bookstore alongside so many wonderful books (and so many wonderful books by friends!)
  • Spending time with lots of my favorite local writers and illustrators (even though there were still people I somehow didn’t run into all weekend).

I headed into May feeling inspired and rejuvenated and ready to write. No matter what you’re working on now, I hope you can find a chance to connect with your fellow writers and remember what we’re all in this together.