Picture Book Writing Contest for U.S. based writers of color

Picture Book Writing Contest

Sadly, Canadians can’t take part in the Lee & Low Books New Voices Picture Book Writing Contest, but if you live south of the border, and are a writer of color, this is a good one…a cash prize of $1,000 is a bonus to the real prize, which is a publishing contract.

Deadline: 09-30-2014

WRITING CONTEST WEBSITE

To recognize the talents of children’s picture book authors, Lee & Low Books (est. 2000) is inviting U.S.-based authors of color to submit manuscripts (up to 1500 words) to its 15th Annual New Voices Award for a chance to win a cash prize of $1,000 and a publishing contract with the company. 

A second-place winner will receive $500.

The judges accept unagented, original, unpublished children’s stories only. Categories include fiction, poetry, and non-fiction appropriate for kids, ages 5-12.

Submissions should focus on the necessities of children of color and engage young readers with relatable stories. You can submit up to two entries per application.

#willholdtheline … A shout out to support teachers

#willholdtheline. Let teachers know that you support them.

I’ve been a little lazy about posting lately…enjoying my granddaughter, gardening, socializing, and busying hosting out of towners. But, a plea has gone out (Thank you, Kara) that our province’s teachers are still without a contract and September is just around the corner. As a former teacher, a parent and writer and citizen, I care deeply about education. I know that teachers make a difference in the lives of children.  I knew it as a student, I know it as an educator, as an author who has been in schools all across this province, and I know it as a parent.  I am deeply indebted to teachers, and I want them to know that they have my support. Teachers need to know that we stand behind them as they fight for our children. They need to hear from you, and so do our politicians.  Tie up their phone lines and fill their mailboxes. Demand that they make our children’s education a priority.

 

Art brings us together

A walk to the beach the other day brought unexpected pleasures…a beautifully painted piano, meeting ninety-year old Lucy, who played it beautifully, and chatting with several other walkers who enjoyed Lucy’s impromptu concert as much as we did.

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Several others gave the piano a whirl, including a new immigrant from China, a couple of kids, and yes, me.  I never really learned to play, but like other non-musical types I could sort of pick out one tune. You guessed it, “Chopsticks!”

It’s amazing how easily a bit of art can break down barriers.  Got love art.

Thanks Oak Bay Arts Council.

The rewards of starting a little library in your neighborhood

IMG_3338I’ve probably mentioned the little neighborhood library that I began in front of my home a few years back.  My neighbor, George decided to build a more water proof version for me, and one that would accommodate more books.  We planned the dimensions over dinner and a bottle of wine. His wife, Kathy offered some cute little seahorse drawer handles that she had been saving for a special occasion. The roof is an old rubber pool liner offered by Nigel and Cathy, a couple from across the street who saw us working on the library in front of George’s place.  I used some left over paint from a craft project to paint it up. George put heavy duty wheels. And here it is.

Now I have four shelves instead of two and the shelves are bigger, so it’s easier to fit picture books. A pleasant bonus is that now,  I know my neighbors a little better. I admit that a few of the books don’t find their way back. But most do.  And,  I even get book donations dropped off at my door.

IMG_3337I have found roses, book marks and notes waiting left for me from appreciative readers. Yesterday, when I went out to replenish the library and this is the note that waiting for me.

Thanks Julia.  This is exactly why I do it.

Walter Dean Myers

Sad news…

African-American author, Walter Dean Myers passed away yesterday. He was 76 years old. He was one of several wonderful writers who changed the face of literature for young people in North America.

I had the pleasure of hearing him speak only once, but his words, like his books, will remain with me for years to come. Fallen Angels, Monster, and Bad Boy are some of my favorites. I will be revisiting them, and I hope you do too. He often set his stories in inner city neighborhoods and featured characters who often made  less than ideal choices.

Myers,who grew up in Harlem under some tough circumstances,  dropped out of high school, and had more than a few brushes with the law.  He managed to stay connected to books and reading through his local library.  In a public radio interview on “here & Now,” Myers says, “My circumstances often seemed insurmountable to me, but through reading I reached out for ideas that might help me escape them. The books I read showed me options other than those I saw reflected in my surroundings. They gave me new definitions for success in my life.”

After working a series of low paying jobs, he took the advice of a high school teacher who had told him to keep writing no matter what.  Fortunately for all of us, Walters followed that high school teacher’s advice.  He went on to publish more than 100 books and became one of the most respected voices in young adult literature in America.  He was a tireless advocate for literacy, and his writing was especially popular with middle and high school boys.  His books garnered multiple honors including: five Coretta Scott King Awards for African-American fiction, two Newbery Honor Medals, and a Printz Award. He was named a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature in 2012-13.

For young writers looking for writing advice, Myers published Just Write, which he described as a template from his own life.

 

 

 

Jamming

A productive day…18 jars of 3 berry jam and 5 jars of raspberry jam.

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Summer fun

I love summers and so do kids, but some days, but every now and then, a rainy…I’m bored day comes along. What to do?  National Geographic Kids has some very cool coloring pages to download, but why stop there?  Kids can use the pages as jumping off points for there own drawing projects, or accompany the art with their own stories.

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