Deadline Fast Approaching for Unagented YA Submission

If you don’t have an agent, have never published a book, including through self-publication, but have a young adult manuscript ready, publisher Andrew Karre of carolhoda LAB is awaiting your submission until January 12.

For more information visit Carolrhoda LAB’s blog:

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Happy Holidays: A Few Favorites from 2013

Hello everyone!

It’s been a long time since the last post, but I’m hoping a time well spent, with good, promising seeds planted. A few people, who happen to not have a Facebook account, asked me how they could keep in touch and “follow” my progress. The answer is this blog, and my Twitter account. To answer some of the questions I’ve been asked, here is what has happened since the last post, which still reflects my current life: work, writing every day, editing a newsletter for Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators with Beth Hull, and school. Little sleep but happiness nonetheless, and gratitude for the opportunity to tend with passion to all the areas mentioned.

I’m curious: What were your highlights this year? What is one literary event, one piece of information that you wish would go viral because it’s so good it’s making a difference?
Here are some of the news or discoveries that gave me hope in 2013, in bullet points:

2013 in retrospect – click on the links for more info

Good News
* Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award 2013. I wasn’t aware of that award until recently. Though set in the United Kingdom and not in America, it positively adds to the awards created to promote awareness on the great multicultural stories told and published, and I hope it does so in America as well.
* “In March 2013, First Book purchased $1 million worth of culturally-diverse content from two publishers: Harper Collins and Lee & Low Books. Those purchases, which Kirkus Reviews called a “colossal commitment,” were unprecedented for a nonprofit, and served as the first major step in creating a new market for multicultural children’s literature.” – See more at: http://www.firstbook.org/first-book-story/media-center/press-room/288-the-stories-for-all-project-first-ever-market-solution-to-the-lack-of-diversity-in-kids-books#sthash.KCXUrSi2.dpuf
*Literary agent Barry Goldblatt created a scholarship for children’s book writers of color: “Vermont College of Fine Arts and Barry Goldblatt Literary Announce The Angela Johnson Scholarship.”

A few favorite articles
* The Horn Book: Talking About Race in Children’s Literature: Commentary and Resources.
* Tina Kügler‘s Illustration of Equality, served with sobering numbers about cultural diversity in children’s books, and links to additional helpful articles.
* npr.org: As Demographics Shift, Kids’ Books Stay Stubbornly White
* The Guardian: More calls for books about non-white children
* NBC Latino: No Latino children’s literature in annual book list – again
* Posts by award-winning publisher and activist Lee & Low Books. If you’re not already familiar with their blog, here’s a link to wet your socio-cultural appetite: Literary Agents Discuss the Diversity Gap in Publishing
* Ellen Oh: Why Being a POC Author Sucks Sometimes
* Series of posts on Courage, highlighting several writers, by librarian Edi Campbell. Here’s a sample: About Courage #3: Margarita Engle
* From Soraya Chemali, of Huffington Post: What Does it Mean that Most Children’s Books Are Still About White Boys?
* This article by a UK teacher, which I believe also applies beyond the British borders: “You can’t do that! Stories have to be about White people”

Book Lists
* The Birthday Party Pledge has a list of books with culturally diverse contents, categorized by interest. It is also a great cause to support.
* CBC Diversity’s book lists, which include: 50 multicultural books every child should know, 30 multicultural books every teen should know, 101 ways to combat prejudice, and more.
* New York Public Library’s 100 Great Children’s Books of the past 100 years. Congratulations to all books creators, notably these ones, for making it to the list – I’m so proud and excited for the groundbreaking meaning behind these nominations, for your books being so sought after, and for your hard work being celebrated: Mitali Perkins, Rucksana Khan, Lucía M. Gonzalez, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Yuyi Morales, Jerry Pinkney, Jacqueline Woodson, Ed Young, just to quote a few.
* I’m adding the following list because multicultural books can also be found via publisher’s catalogs, and because that list might be helpful to several writers and illustrators as well: Small Presses of Color, with thanks to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, Scool of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison for putting that wonderful resource together.

Causes You might be happy to know about
* Books+Water/Waterbridge Outreach: this is bittersweet to blog about. Bitter because the amazing multicultural literary non-profit PaperTigers had to stop its activities. I learned So much from their work over the years, and connected, thanks to them, with amazing books lovers and writers from around the world. I miss their website, but it is still available for everyone to consult, and serves as an archive haven. Sweet because the PaperTigers team is now focusing all its energy on bringing more multicultural books to undeserved communities, as well as drinkable water - note: the lack of drinkable water in several continents is the number one cause of death, and prevents many children from attending school, among causing other problems such as wars. Please check out their website, support that great cause if you can, and spread the word. For more information on Books+Water/Waterbridge Outreach, visit www.waterbridgeoutreach.org. Warm thank you.
* First Book. You heard the good news about First Book’s purchase of 1 million dollars worth of multicultural books. Hear this too: Publisher Random House will match 3 times any donations you make to First Book to support that great cause. I thank Media Bistro’s Galley Cat for the information. Read more about it here, please spread the word as well. This is good until December 31.
* Ventana Sierra, founded by bestselling author Ellen Hokpins. Foster care children are often left to fend for themselves once they turn 18. Ventana Sierra thrives to offer them a place to live, while setting up with a mentor with whom they learn a craft that will allow them to make a living – via internships, etc. Ventana Sierra accepts donations, but also raises money via an online store and advanced writers workshops, the next one taking place taking during the weekend of June 6, 2014. For more information on Ventana Sierra, visit http://ventanasierra.org. To learn more about the workshops, click here.

Last minute deadlines you might be interested in:
* SCBWI’s SPARK Award, recognizing and celebrating excellence in children’s books self-published or non-traditionally published in 2013. You need to be a SCBWI member to apply.
* Call for submission for Kaleidoscope, a Diverse YA Fantasy and Science Fiction anthology, published by Twelfth Planet Press.

Wishes for 2014
More buzz, a deeper connection between readers and the creators of culturally diverse books, continued smart marketing of said books, wishing more writers, publishing houses and publicists to make the most of the abundance of the social platforms to spread the word, enthusiasm and passion for kids books with characters from ALL walk of life.

Wishing you a safe, warm and inspiring holiday season,

Nathalie

Update 12/28/13
* From Inside ‘A Fuse #8 Production,’ by Elizabeth Bird: 2014 Kids of Color: Things Are Looking Up

Posted in Awards, Books, Literary Agency, Literary Agent, Miscellaneous, Multicultural Platform, Publishing Houses, Uncategorized, YA Books | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cultural Diversity & The Emmy Awards – With Thanks to Publisher Lee & Low Books

Culrtural Diversity & TV 2Hi everyone,

Join me in a little experiment and let’s be ready for the Emmy Awards ceremony by looking at their track records when it comes to cultural diversity – Keeping in mind the TV Shows categories (Comedy, Drama, Soap Opera), you’re invited to cast your vote by answering the following questions:

1- Which show would you nominate for its culturally diverse ensemble cast?

2- Who would you nominate as best lead actor? And best lead actress?

3- Who would you nominate as best supporting actress? Best supporting actor?

4- What TV Show, spotlighting a bit of cultural diversity through its cast or story, would you nominate for best writing?

5- Last but not least, what type of TV Shows or story lines/ plot lines would you like to see more on TV?

A big thank you for publisher Jason Low of LEE & LOW BOOKS for inspiring this post and starting yet another thought-provoking and sobering conversation. Please, make sure to read (and comment on) Where’s The Diversity? A Look At The Emmy Awards & TV, at the open book.

Posted in Awards, Events, Miscellaneous, Multicultural Platform | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lessons Learned

I heard that night is the darkest before dawn.

Dear friends and fellow book lovers,
this is a bittersweet post. Bitter because of the way I stopped maintaining this website, without an explanation, while fading gradually away from the literary arena. Sweet because the passion that first drove me to start this blog is still there, despite the ongoing pain. Books don’t tell you how long it takes to grieve, or how deep the tears cut into your skin.

So what happened?
Life. Nothing more, with its load of treasures and trials. Even though we know that day will come, I’m not sure we’re ever prepared to witness our parents decline and leave, with the toll that sometimes follows; not sure we’re ever taught the words that will soothe them when the night approaches, the medical techniques that will steal some time for the present, make room for one more smile, one more joke, and one more hug. That was 2011 and 2012.

The blog etiquette.
Yes, there is a guide of good manners of blogging. Interestingly, none of those I read addressed what I need to add here, though I’m sure many of you would agree with me: Courtesy toward the readers and writers and the publishing team behind, requires that you let them know publicly of an upcoming hiatus, not just privately.

Thank you:
To the people who kept in touch, emailed to check in, to the strangers who even offered to help with Multiculturalism Rocks! for free – accepting was a bit more complicated than a simple “Yes,” without prior planning. Sincere and yet surprised thanks to the readers beyond borders who’ve kept visiting this blog pretty much every day.

The present
I’m blogging again, here and there. The posts will be up in their own time, I won’t give a schedule that I’m not yet sure to strictly maintain. I am resuming activities one step at the time, and one day at the time. I’m revising and writing new materials. My agent, Mira Reisberg, PhD, of Hummingbird Literary, is submitting an exciting picture book manuscript based on a true story, highlighting an aspect of life in an African village, seen through the eyes of an American girl.

I hope that you’ve all been well.
If you’re a writer or illustrator, I look forward to enjoying your work in the upcoming weeks. Please, be free to share about it in your comment and to leave a link to your website. It would be my pleasure to stop by and say, “Hi!”
If you’re a reader, I look forward to many conversations about books, cultural diversity and just life in general.

Wishing you a wonderful week, thank you for reading,

Nathalie
PS: My devotional website is bilingual, at least for the time being (note: it will always be multilingual). In the past, Multiculturalism Rocks! had posted a few bilingual posts (French/English) and even trilingual (French/Spanish/English), to honor the requests of some of our foreign readers and just because, well, it was fun and it’s the world we live in! ;-) Your input regarding that topic is much appreciated. Thank you.

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SCBWI Debuts On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award

Dear readers,

Multiculturalism Rocks! resumes its activities after a much needed hiatus, and does so with great news from the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators–SCBWI. What follows is an announcement made Sunday August 5, 2012, during the Golden Kite Luncheon and Awards Presentation of the 41st Annual SCBWI Summer Conference, which I was fortunate to attend.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 5, 2012

August 5, 2012, LOS ANGELES­­­­­­­­­-­–The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) announced the creation of the On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award at their 41st Annual Conference in Los Angeles.  The annual award, established by SCBWI and funded by Martin and Sue Schmitt, will be given to two writers or illustrators who are from ethnic and/or cultural backgrounds that are traditionally under-represented in children’s literature in America and who have a ready-to-submit completed work for children.  The purpose of the grant is to inspire and further the emergence of diverse writers and illustrators of children’s books.

The work will be judged by an SCBWI committee and two winners will each receive an all-expenses paid trip to the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York to meet with editors and agents, a press release to all publishers, a year of free membership to SCBWI, and an SCBWI mentor for a year. Deadline for submission is November 15, 2012.  The winners will be announced December 15, 2012. The On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award will be presented at the 2013 SCBWI Winter Conference in New York.  Submission guidelines and information can be found here.

The award was inspired in part by the SCBWI’s increasing efforts to foster under-represented voices in children’s literature.  According to SCBWI Executive Director Lin Oliver, “Every child should have the opportunity to experience many and diverse of points of view. SCBWI is proud to contribute to this all-important effort to bring forth new voices.”

The grant was made possible through the generosity of Sue and Martin Schmitt of the 455 Foundation who state: “While our country is made up of beautifully varied cultures and ethnicities, too few are represented in the voices of children’s books.  We hope to encourage participation by those not well represented, and look forward to having these stories widely enjoyed by all children.”

About Martin and Sue Schmitt

Martin and Sue Schmitt are the founders of We Can Build an Orphanage, sponsoring the Kay Angel orphanage in Jacmel, Haiti.  The organization was established in 2007 with the mission to provide a home and education for abandoned children infected with or affected by AIDS in Jacmel, Haiti.  The Schmitt’s generous and continuous efforts to support SCBWI’s long-term goals also co-sponsored the 2007 Global Voices Program, which highlighted Mongolian artists and authors. To find out more information about the Kay Angel orphanage please visit http://www.kayangel.org/

About SCBWI

Founded in 1971, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is one of the largest existing writers’ and illustrators’ organizations, with over 22,000 members worldwide. It is the only organization specifically for those working in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia. The organization was founded by Stephen Mooser (President) and Lin Oliver (Executive Director), both of whom are well-published children’s book authors and leaders in the world of children’s literature.  For more information about the On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award, please visit www.scbwi.org, and click “Awards & Grants.”

Spread the word? :)

Wishing you a wonderful week.

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From Child Soldier to Filmmaker Activist: Ger Duany’s Story

*Click on GER TO BE SEPARATE to watch the video*

Hi everyone,

It’s Friday! How are you doing? I’m excited about today’s post: it’s all about making history and recording it. ‘How?’ you might wonder? So glad you asked.

Allow me to introduce you to Ger Duany. Ger was a former child soldier and lost boy, who fled the war in Sudan, and walked to Ethiopia, then Kenya, faced trials most of us can’t imagine going through, before finding his way to America. GER: TO BE SEPARATE is a documentary filmed by award winning Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu (FROM A WHISPER, PUMZI). The documentary is in its final stages. A fundraising has been put in place to help cover the remaining cost. Please, please, spread the word… :)

Here’s more about the project, from the producer’s account–Again, PLEASE, spread the word if you can:

You’ve probably watched “Lost Boys of Sudan” or “God Grew Tired of Us” in theaters and you cried your heart out and subconsciously still wonder, how the hell are these lost boys from Sudan adapting to the American life-style?

Well, it’s your lucky day because they are doing fine, well, at least we know one of them is and his name is Ger Duany. No, he wasn’t in either films mentioned above, but, he was one of the child soldiers and lost boys who fled the war in the formerly united Sudan and walked for miles to get to a refugee camp in Ethiopia then Kenya, and after many struggles he was one of the lucky ones that made it out on a plane to America.

In America, he encountered many obstacles but fate led him to his debut on Hollywood’s silver screen where he played a refugee in the movie “I Heart Huckabees”.  Director David O. Russell said he wanted someone who endured the real life experience of being a refugee to play the role. Soon after, Ger met supermodel Tyson Beckford, who saw Ger’s modeling potential which opened doors to a modeling career and a shoot with photographer Norman Watson and many other photographers.

And so during all these years and the distance he lost touch with his family and land, but in January 2011, he hopped onto another plane this time back to South Sudan to vote for independence. And in July 2011, South Sudan finally got its well-deserved freedom and Ger was there to celebrate his new nation’s independence, search for his family, and help build South Sudan.

Awesome right?!? Don’t you think this story would make a heartfelt real-life documentary? The kind that would complete the Lost Boys of Sudan trilogy that we got going on here? Well, the good news is that award winning Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu (From a Whisper, Pumzi ) has been documenting Ger’s life for the past year and she has captured some wonderful footage and the documentary is in the final stage of production. We’re very close to completing this unique documentary and like any creatively awesome and life changing endeavor, we need moolah to finish this project. So we’re knocking at your door and hoping you’ll pledge and donate what you can to finish the editing of this unique story. We’re counting on you to help us see this through!

Thank you.

Posted in Events, movie | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Guest Post Announcement: MY BIRTHDAY IS SEPTEMBER 11 AND OTHER SHORT STORIES, by Nicole Weaver

My Birthday Is September Eleven and Other Short Stories… A book for children and adults, so we never forget 9/11.

On Sunday, September 11, people across the country will pause to observe the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It’s important that we tell our children about that day, especially kids who were very small, and those who weren’t born yet, so we never forget. I want to make sure teachers, parents, librarians, and grandparents are aware of a new ebook, My Birthday Is September Eleven and Other Short Stories. This is an ebook dedicated to all children born on 9/11, 2001. The stories are for grades 6-8.

Here’s a recent review from a psychologist. “As a licensed psychologist with a specialty in children, parents often ask me to direct them to a book that they can read with their children. I have no problem sending parents to My Birthday is September Eleven and Other Short Stories. In this book, you will find stories about children with real-life struggles and how they find ways to cope with those problems. These stories present opportunities for parents and children to talk about what is happening in their own lives and possible solutions, while strengthening parent-child communication.”

Many children today know little or nothing about 9/11 or why it’s important to them. On a recent national news program, I saw some man-on-the-street interviews of young people in their late teens and early twenties. A few could explain what took place on 9/11, but sadly, most had no idea. We cannot allow this to continue.

My Birthday Is September Eleven and Other Short Stories will help teachers, librarians, grandparents, and parents with this issue. Additionally, the stories were written to help teach children about having compassion for others.

See description of each story below:

My Birthday is September Eleven- A story about a boy who was born on 9/11. When the reader steps into the world of Matthew, he or she will recognize the undercurrent of mourning that will help all to not forget 9/11.

Zebra Boy – A biracial boy is spared further teasing when his best friend comes to his rescue.

The Good Samaritan – A group of fifth-graders raise funds to help a fellow classmate that needs money for a life-saving surgery.

No More Hunger – Ronald, a Haitian boy whose village was virtually wiped out by a devastating hurricane, becomes a victim of abject poverty. He is later rescued when the well-respected Madame Wilson takes it upon herself to nourish him back to health.

A New Life – A biracial boy experiences many hardships before being adopted by a caring couple.

There is a special web page for My Birthday Is September Eleven and Other Short Stories. You are welcome to lift any material that might help you in communicating with your circle of influence http://mybirthdayiseptembereleven.blogspot.com

Reviews and Comments
Nicole Weaver’s latest collection of short stories is a great gift for any middle grader or teen to read about 9/11. While this date only reminds us of tragedy, the author has found a way to weave themes of friendship, loyalty and compassion in these stories which aren’t only educational but entertaining as well. Written in simple language and in an engaging style, My Birthday is September Eleven and Other Short Stories will make a great gift for that special child in your life.
Amazon- Mayra Calvani ( Brussels, Belgium)
***
Young audiences will love these short stories that teach young children to cope and overcome the many obstacles we all can face growing up. Young readers will learn about pain, suffering, compassion and the willingness to be more accepting of others.

Nicole Weaver introduces readers to Matthew a young boy who has to spend his birthdays celebrating the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. With no friends to celebrate and the sadness that surrounds that day, he really doesn’t want a birthday at all.

Another interesting story for readers is about a boy named Pascal. He is bi-racial and is faced with bullies at school. Two older kids Eric and Tommy spend their time on the playground threatening kids for money. Eric especially likes to tease Pascal by calling him Zebra Boy. Pascal and his friend Marcel must learn how to overcome these challenges and stand up to these kids.

More stories follow that will teach triumph and the celebration of div adversity and helping others. These stories can be a great tool for parents, teachers and homeschoolers.
Teaching children about friendship, forgiveness, and to stand up for themselves as well as others, will help them become better human beings.
Kristi Bernard (Overland Park, KS)
***

This collection of short stories touches on many different subjects from dealing with tragedy to bullying to giving to self-sacrifice to adoption. Each story has a child main character or characters that have to deal with real-life situations that readers may have or will experience personally or through a friend sometime in their own lives. For those who never have to experience some of the tougher situations like a natural disaster, it offers the reader a glimpse of this tragedy on a more human level rather than just a list of faceless statistics of fatalities and damages.
Lessons learned from the stories are far-reaching. Such as that the way we begin our lives in not always how we are destined to lead them. These stories show how we are all socially connected to the world at large even though we may physically be far away. Sharing these stories with your children will open their minds and hearts to living and thinking beyond themselves.
By having the characters come from many different walks of life, this book will appeal to a wide variety of juvenile and older readers. As the U.S. has always been a diverse blend of peoples, cultures and languages, this book reflects that diversity showing that what we may consider different is actually familiar.
Amazon-Auto mom
***

These stories provide a great springboard for classroom or parent-to-child discussions on bullying, adoption (infant adoption, older-child adoption) and the world history tragedies of 9/11 and the Haitian earthquake. The stories themselves are tangential to the worst of Ripped from the Headlines news, so they are more palatable to middle schoolers and young adult readers. The stories center around children and are relatable–as children and their families work through problems, not all the way to Hollywood endings but to a place of compassion and understanding. The story about 9/11 is especially telling in this strategy. A boy happens to have a birthday on 9/11. He wants that day to be one of celebration for himself, but always there is this undercurrent of mourning. Thought-provoking for the boy, and for a reader
Amazon-Vicki Gundrum (San Francisco)

Biography
Nicole weaver was born in Port-au-Prince Haiti. She came to the United States when she was ten years old. She is fluent in Creole, French, Spanish and English. She is a veteran teacher of French and Spanish. Her second children’s trilingual book titled: My Sister is My Best Friend will be published by Guardian Angel Publishing fall 2011. She is also the author of a children’s trilingual picture book titled: Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle. She has a third book currently under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing titled: My Brother is My Best Friend.

Posted in Guest Blogger, Non-Fiction | Tagged , , | 3 Comments