Congrats are in order

Time has gotten away from me. Well, not all time — the company I work for did a brand re-launch this fall, and I’ve been taking a class (on something other than writing),  so the fall was busy. Just not with blogging. The children’s book world has, of course, marched on without me, and there have been some exciting things happening in recent months.

First, Jacqueline Woodson, the fantastic author who I interviewed in my last post, won a National Book Award for “Brown Girl Dreaming.” The middle-grade novel is a memoir in verse about her childhood, split between South Carolina and New York City in the 1960s and ’70s, and the award is so, so deserved. You can watch her acceptance speech and reading of excerpts from the book here.

The big award moment was unfortunately marred by a racist comment by the presenter, Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket. So in the midst of celebrating her accomplishments, Woodson also wrote a poignant op-ed in the New York Times about Handler’s remarks: “The Pain of the Watermelon Joke.”

Jacqueline Woodson speaks at Penn State Harrisburg in September 2014.

Jacqueline Woodson speaks at Penn State Harrisburg in September 2014.

The second and related piece of news to celebrate is the massive success of the We Need Diverse Books Campaign’s crowd-funding campaign. The campaign far surpassed its $100,000. The money will be used to:

  • bring diverse books and authors to disadvantaged schools
  • provide funds to help develop new diverse authors and artists
  • develop educational kits and a We Need Diverse Books app
  • launch a Kidlit Diversity Festival in D.C. in 2016
  • create paid publishing internships for diverse individuals

How cool is all of that? I’m proud to have supported the campaign and impressed by everyone else who did. I can’t wait to see what the campaign board (which includes Jacqueline Woodson) and volunteers roll out in the coming months and years!


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