Wednesday, March 30, 2016

PAL members: Get your book on the beach — free (before Friday!)

SCBWI members at the "published and listed" (PAL) level — don't miss the chance to have one of your book titles included on the new "Summer Reading List" now being compiled by SCBWI International. If you missed the PAL member email with info, key tidbits include:

You do this:
 - Assemble the following information: ONE title, author and/or illustrator names, your (member) name if it's not already obvious, and a book description of 25 words or less. Separately (as in, not in the book description, but in additional data that won't be included in the list), indicate the genre, audience's grade level, and where you live. (Indicate one of these genres: Adventure/Mystery, Humorous, Realistic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Picture Book, Series Book)
- Email that info to by day's end on Thursday, 3/31.

SCBWI will do this:
 - Put together lists by region, grade level, and genre, and make them available far and wide, both digitally and in hard copy.

Teachers, librarians, and readers will do this:
Get sand between pages and read.

Note: This particular opportunity is for traditionally published books by PAL members only. Self-published titles are not eligible this time.

Get going; summer's coming!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Get involved: USBBY Conference this fall

USBBY Conference at UW looking for kid-lit volunteers!
In October 2017 — next year — the UW will host the 12th Regional Conference of the International Board on Books for Youth (IBBY), courtesy of the United States Board on Books for Youth (USBBY). Don’t sweat the acronyms so much as the fact that these are the folks responsible for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal. The conference, Radical Change Beyond Borders: The Transforming Power of Children’s Literature in a Digital Age, will run from Friday, October 20, through Sunday, October 22, 2017, and draw about 250 U.S. and international participants.

You can expect SCBWI Western WA to talk more next year about an author reception planned for the conference. In the meantime, local organizers are looking for one or more kid-lit folks interested in joining their Local  Arrangements Committee, which will handle arrangements for conference facilities, meals, hotels, publicity subcommittees, tours, exhibits, hospitality, and event registration.  

Want to get involved for an insider’s seat on the action? Contact liaison (and local SCBWI member) Margaret Chang < or 206-201-3031.

Mark's home run!

Author Mark Holtzen has a whole slew of events and a book release party in honor of his picture book, A TICKET TO THE PENNANT (Little Bigfoot, Sasquatch Books). Local John Skewes illustrated.


Events include:
  • Tue, April 12th, A Ticket to the Pennant official release! Available in stores.
  • Wed, April 13th, Island Books on Mercer Island. Storytime at 10:30am.
  • Sun, April 24th, Eagle Harbor Books, Bainbridge Island, Quick meet & greet @ 10am.
  • Sun, April 24th, Queen Anne Book Co. Release Party. Signing books start @ 3pm.
  • Tue, May 3rd, University Bookstore, Bellevue. SCBWI Inside Story. 7pm
  • Sat, May 14th - Village Books in Bellingham, Book signing. 2pm
  • Sat, June 25th - Powell's Books, Portland, OR W Burnside story time @ 11am

And, check out Mark's two book trailers:

April Events


YA = young adult
MG = middle grade
ER = easy reader
PB = picture book
NF = nonfiction
GN = graphic novel

April 2, 1PM
BOOK LAUNCH PARTY: Liz Wong, Quackers (PB)
Mockingbird Books

April 2, 11AM
Asia Citro, A Little Bit of Dirt: 55+ Science and Art Activities to Reconnect Children with Nature (NF)
University Bookstore, Bellevue

April 5, 7PM
Frank Beddor, and Erick Laster, Mad Hatter, Static (YA)
Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park

April 5, 7PM
Peter Brown, The Wild Robot (MG)
University Bookstore, U-District

April 7, 7PM
Jennifer Longo, Up to This Pointe (YA)
Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park

April 7, 7PM
Deb Caletti, Essential Maps for the Lost (YA)
University Bookstore, U-District

April 8, 7PM
Dan Wells, Blue Screen (YA)
Third Place Books, Ravenna

April 8, 7PM
BOOK LAUNCH PARTY: Thor Hanson and Dana Arnim, Bartholomew Quill: A Crow’s Quest (PB)
Secret Garden Books

April 12, 7PM
BOOK LAUNCH PARTY: Django Wexler, The Palace of Glass: The Forbidden Library: Volume 3 (YA)
University Bookstore, Mill Creek

April 13, 10:30AM
Mark Holtzen, The Pig War (MG)
Island Books, Mercer Island

April 13, 7PM
Richelle Mead, The Glittering Court (YA)
University Bookstore, U-District

April 16, 11AM
Katherine Pryor, Zora’s Zucchini and Sylvia’s Spinach (PB)
Third Place Books, Ravenna

April 17, 12PM
Eric Morse, What is Punk? (PB-NF)
Third Place Books, Ravenna

April 18, 7PM
J.A. Pitts and Camille Gripe, Night Terrors and New Charity Blues (YA)
University Bookstore, U District

April, 23, 2PM
Gary Schwartz, The King of Average (MG)
University Bookstore, Bellevue

Events scheduled all over - see your favorite local bookstores for specific details. Celebrate your indies, and support their efforts on behalf of all our favorite authors!
April 30, 9AM
Emerald City Author Event
Featuring over 50 YA, contemporary romance, paranormal, and urban fantasy authors all together in one place, Emerald City Author Event is one of the largest and most exciting book signing events in the Pacific Northwest. And we'll be there in the middle of all the excitement with books by the many talented authors in attendance!
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, Seattle Center
For full details and to see if your favorite authors will be there, visit:

April 30, 11AM
Special StoryTime! with Elizabeth Rose Stanton, Ben Clanton, and Kevan Atteberry (PB)
University Bookstore, U-District (in honor of Independent Bookstore Day)

April 30, 11AM

Michael Shafbuch, S is for Seattle (PB)
Third Place Books, Ravenna

Convention Center show: call for illustrators

Calling all illustrators! For the second time, SCBWI members in the state of Washington have the opportunity to exhibit their artwork at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle and we want YOU to participate. The exhibit will run from July 1 to September 29, with member events TBD. The application period for this juried opportunity will be from May 14-30. The selected artwork must be delivered to the Convention Center on June 29 and picked up on September 30, and must be conventionally framed. Get your images ready - there will be a webpage soon with further details. We are excited!

SCBWI Oregon Conference

Plan on heading south for a spring conference to remember!

The Oregon SCBWI Spring 2016Conference, BETWEEN THE PAGES, is an event you'll definitely want to book. Come and mingle with fellow writers and illustrators. Connect with editors and agents on Saturday and Sunday, May 21 & 22, 2016. CLick on the above link to see the schedule and amazing faculty. Hurry, before they sell out!


Call for kid-lit judges! THIS WEEK!

You are book experts.
We need experts - to judge a Children's Story writing competition for middle & high school students. 

You can help guide and inspire young authors in the Washington Technology Student Assn. (WTSA) competition. 
The Technology Student Association is a non-profit national student organization whose mission is to inspire its student members to prepare for careers in our technology-driven economy and culture.

Here are more details:
  • Final Interview & Judging (3-4 judges needed)
  • Fri. Apr. 1, 2 pm - 5 pm. Doubletree Hotel, SeaTac.
  • Format : Story entries are submitted in in two parts - one for the Portfolio (outline), one for the actual Story. Judges interview finalists and complete final evaluations.
  • # of submitted stories: 16 high school + 14 middle school.
  • Story target age group:  (Varies)
  • 2016 Story Theme: The marine life of our oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams.
  • Contact: Cecilia Matta, Judges Coordinator,

Kid Lit Drink Night: APRIL

Lynn's launch!

You are invited to Lynn Hooghiemstra's first-ever book signing, for her "slightly paranormal" 
YA novel, OUT IN THE DARK (written under the pen name Nicola Adams).
WHEN: Saturday, April 2 from 11:00 am to 12:30pm
WHERE: Magnolia Bookstore, 3206 W. McGraw St., Seattle

About the book:
Jake’s father is one of a group of psychic warriors from a CIA/Stanford University project designed to train people in “remote viewing,” but he's been taken by a rogue unit with more sinister plans for his skills. Now, seventeen-year-old Jake must set out on a journey to rescue his father. Jake doesn't know where his father is, and his only clues are the flashes of images he gets in his mind. Taking his father's vintage 1966 Pontiac GTO, Jake sets out across the Cascades from Washington, to Nevada. Along the way he picks up Shelley, a girl scarred by poverty and who has had to do some pretty unpleasant things to get together enough money to go to college. He was only going to give her a lift to Nevada, but soon they're both running for their lives.
 “A fast-paced roller coaster adventure for a daring young man, trying to save his father’s life.” Lynne Kennedy, author of Pure Lies
“Following secret government psychic experiments, Jake needs all the help he can get to save his father. The psychic link helps him … mostly! Stephen King needs to watch out!” Richard Hardie author of the Temporal Detective Agency series.

Hope to see you there (with teens in tow)!

Dana's got (a) CLASS!


Illustrating Children’s Books with Dana Sullivan

Join picture book author/illustrator Dana Sullivan for an intensive six-week course exploring the art of picture book making. You will take your story from conception to finished manuscript and book dummy, with a lot of messy fun along the way. Collaborative and challenging, this course will get that story out of your head and down on paper, where it belongs. Open to anyone who wants to stretch their imaginations, regardless of artistic ability. Beginners welcome! Classes start April 12 at Kirkland Arts Center. Details and registration at

Contact Dana at and see his books at

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Call for readers at Seattle Children's Museum!

Drop Everything and Read! at Seattle Children’s Museum

Seattle Children’s Museum is looking for local kid lit authors and illustrators to share their work with an audience of all ages, Tuesday, April 12, for hour or half-hour increments in the afternoon. You can read your book, answer questions, share your process and have a GREAT time inspiring young children’s imaginations and interest in reading. You are also welcome to bring your books for sale directly, and to sign them.

If you are interested, contact Amy Hale or Lindsay Squires for more information and to participate., and
And, since you’d be working with kids, you will need to fill out a form for a background check. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Meeting recap: DIVERSITY PANEL

If you are kicking yourself for missing Wednesday night’s panel discussion on diversity and inclusion in children’s books, kick a little harder.*
With Allyson Schrier moderating, panelists Philip Lee (Publisher, Readers to Eaters), Kelly Jones (Author, “Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer”), Liz Wong (Author/Illustrator, “Quackers”) and Ann Crewdson (KCLS Children’s Librarian) discussed what children’s authors and illustrators need to do to reach more of our readers.
There was a great turnout. Here’s a sampling of what you missed:  
Liz Wong:
·      Didn’t read a middle grade or young adult book with a protagonist who looked like her until she was an adult.
(When asked about self-editing)
·      There is a tendency to self-edit because you feel like there are obstacles. In a story about Chinese New Year, publishers didn’t get it. They wanted more explanation in the story, not trusting the readers to intuit or accept another culture’s practices.
(When asked about avoiding stereotypes in illustration)
·      First, know what the stereotypes are.
·      Be aware of tropes – common cultural clichés in literature.
·      Make your characters as real as possible.
(When asked about casual diversity in children’s books)
·      A lot of diverse books end up being “niche” books. What about a YA romance between diverse characters?
Kelly Jones:
·      She’s on this panel because a character showed up in her book who wasn’t like her. She was nervous, but thought, “I can fail at a first draft.”
(When asked about writing characters from a culture different from her own)
·      Question your normal. If you are writing through the eyes of someone who isn’t like you, their normal will not be your normal. Getting it right is good writing.
·      Look for beta readers who are more like your character. In writing Unusual Chickens, she included beta readers who are half-Latina and beta readers who live on farms.
·      Writing realistically is your responsibility. This is your book; it’s your job to get it right. A lot of publishing is white and may share your normal.
·      You want to look at primary sources. Get out of your box. Otherwise you end up playing a game of telephone.
·      Nisi Shawl & Cynthia Ward's “Writing the Other: A Practical Approach” is the best tool in her toolbox.

Ann Crewdson:
 (When asked about circulation of and demand for diverse books at the library)
·      The library needs more story-time level books. Parents are sometimes reluctant to pick up a book that looks different because of culture shock.
·      A book made up with animal characters is not that same as a book with diverse characters. “I didn’t see myself as a panda as a kid.”
·      Circulation of children’s books with African American characters has been increasing.  We need to “change the bottleneck into a highway.”
(When asked about how you write an authentic voice)
·      “Don’t be afraid of all of the criticism out there.”
·      Allow diversity within diversity. Avoid two-dimensional characters.
·      Pass your drafts through as many readers as possible.
 (When asked about pulling offensive, inauthentic, books from the library.)
·      “Our job is to offend everyone.” The antidote isn’t to ban or pull books. The antidote is to write more books, better books.
Philip Lee:
(When asked about obstacles to making children’s literature more diverse)
·      The number of books with diverse characters has remained the same, 10 – 13%, for the past 10 years.
·      Industry is 85% white.
·      Reviewers are 90% white.
·      “We’ve been stuck in the same bubble for a very long time.”
(When asked about writing diverse books)
·      “Be specific, not generic.” Specific cultural traits make a book real.
·      Watch out for “lazy publishing.” Everyone has to do their homework.
·      Just because you are from a culture, doesn’t make you an expert.
·       “Most mistakes come from not asking questions.”
·      “Take some chances and be wrong.” 

And finally, stretching ourselves further, an audience member gave a heartfelt plea to include children with disabilities in our writing. Her own children, avid readers, have never seen themselves in a book.
CLICK HERE for a comprehensive resource list from our panelists. Take this as a starting point for discussions with your critique group or writing buddies.  As several panelists mentioned on Wednesday, diverse writing isn’t a trend. It’s just good writing.

I’ll end with a quote Philip Lee read to us from graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang:
“We’re afraid of writing characters different from ourselves because we’re afraid of getting it wrong. We’re afraid of what the internet might say.
This fear can be a good thing if it drives us to do our homework, to be meticulous in our research. But this fear crosses the line when we become so intimidated that we quietly make choices against stepping out of our own identities.
After all, our job as writers is to step out of ourselves, and to encourage our readers to do the same.”

*I might be slightly biased here, since I set up the panel with Allyson Schrier.

Golden Kite Award winner Jesssixa!

In a simple marvelous piece of news this past week, our very own Jessixa Bagley won a coveted Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Text for her devastatingly beautiful debut, BOATS FOR PAPA.
For more details and a list of all the winners, click HERE.


Crystal Kite time!

Here we go again! Time to vote for your choice!

PAL submissions are due MONDAY, MARCH 21.
The preview period is: MARCH 22–MARCH 31.
Voting, first round, begins APRIL 1.

Find all the details HERE

Stay tuned for what are sure to be some AMAZING choices put forth by our fellow PAL members. Congratulations in advance to everyone in the running!

Crow-ing for Dana!


Our esteemed co-Regional Adviser, Dana Arnim, will be launching her picture book, BARTHOLOMEW QUILL: A CROW'S QUEST TO KNOW WHO'S WHO, with author Thor Hanson (FEATHERS). It's a gorgeously illustrated tale of a crow in search of his identity, and it marks Dana's first published picture book.

Dana, Thor, and Bartholomew: A terrific trio!

Please come support Dana and Thor at:


Liz Wong's book launch party

Please help celebrate Liz Wong's debut picture book, QUACKERS!

WHEN: Saturday, April 2nd at 1:00 pm

WHERE: Mockingbird Books!

A cat who thinks he’s a duck?  He must be Quackers!!

This quirky funny book is about standing out, fitting in, and building a life with room for all.

“Wong’s delightful illustrations perfectly capture the sweet silliness of this story. Children will appreciate Quackers’s quirky dilemma, and the underlying message that friends do not have to be all the same will surely not be lost on young listeners.” –School Library Journal“This picture-book debut about a cat with a paw in two worlds is at times charming, at times laugh-out-loud funny, and its ugly-duckling case of mistaken identity will endear it to many.” —Booklist

Congratulations, Liz! Everyone come on out and help her celebrate this fantastic milestone!!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Lisa Yee on Wednesday!

Lisa Yee is coming!

Yes, she of the Millicent Min, Girl Genius fame and now writer of a new series, DC Super Hero Girls #1: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High fame, will be at the Alderwood Mall Barnes & Noble this WEDNESDAY, March 16 at 5pm!

Super Author Lisa Yee comes to Alderwood Mall this week!

For more information about Lisa, her new middle-grade series for DC Comics, click here.

WHEN: Wednesday, March 16 at 5PM

WHERE: Barnes & Noble, 19401 Alderwood Mall Parkway, Lynnwood, WA 98036

PAL Think Tank April 30

Put on your thinking cap, your advice suspenders, your networking underwear, and your best Good-Times boots and sign up for the first Think Tank for published members in (mumble-mumble) years! From 10 a.m. until noon on Saturday, April 30, we’ll gather to ask questions, celebrate, commiserate, and share our best tips on topics such as promotion, school visits, and working with agents and editors.
  • Saturday, April 30, 2016
  • 10:00 a.m. - Noon
  • Seattle Pacific University,  Cremona Hall 102 

This event, which is designed for members who are already published or have contracts in hand, will cost $20 for SCBWI members and $25 for non-members, and attendance will be limited to ensure cozy discussions. PAL (published and listed) members have registration priority; SCBWI members at the full level and traditionally published non-members also will be admitted as space permits. Unpublished non-members are not eligible.

Once registration is well under way, we’ll ask attendees to rank the topics they most want to discuss to ensure we’re hitting the most valuable topics for you.

Interested? Signing up is a two-part process:

1.     Enter information as requested into the form here:
Note that the required information includes:
  • Your SCBWI membership status as of April 1. (This will be confirmed, so if you need to renew or ensure your status is correct, do it first. Go to, click Member Login, and review your profile. Act accordingly.)
  • A representative, or your most recent, title and its publisher. (Use a qualifying PAL title if you have one; this is mostly for easy eligibility verification.)

2.     Then use snail mail (I know, crazy) to mail a check for $20 or $25 (depending on your membership status), which is made out to SCBWI Western WA, to Joni at 58402 114th Street East, Enumclaw, WA 98022-7954. Yes, it has to be a check (or a money order from a bank or PO.) You’re published; you can handle it.

Registrations will be accepted based on the postmarked date of your check, not your electronic sign-up, so don’t delay with the old-fashioned part. Your place on April 30 will be confirmed in early April, and registration will close when our chair limit is reached or April 20, whichever comes first. Checks won’t be cashed until your seat is confirmed.

Questions or troubles? Email PAL coordinator Joni Sensel at And start getting excited about swapping stories and passing along hard-won advice!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Kid Lit Drink Night TONIGHT: Puyallup, look OUT!

Hosted by: Marta Cappa, who writes: "KLDN is TONIGHT at the Ram, in Puyallup on South Hill. If you are a South-ender, please join me––or even if you are a Seattle–ender. Just come. You don't want me left to my own devices. I'll end up eating all the desserts on the menu! If I eat all the desserts, I' won't be able to sleep. If I don't sleep, I'll be crabby the next day. If I'm crabby the next day, then I'll be rude to a barista. If I'm rude to a barista, you might get a cup of coffee with spit in it. So be sure and show up. It will be fun!"

All the details:

TIME: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: The South Hill Ram Restaurant and Brewery, 103 35th Ave SE, Puyallup, WA 98374

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Good news for Andy!

Andy Helman's two board books are featured on the Sasquatch web site!

1, 2, 3 Moose
1 wolf, 2 moose, 3 cougars, and more! Andrea Helman and Art Wolfe introduce young children to wildlife while also teaching them numbers and how to count in this colorful and educational board book.

O is for Orca
O is for orca and P is for puffin! Andrea Helman and Art Wolfe bring the alphabet to life for toddlers through colorful animals and landscapes. Wildlife in the book includes auklets, bears, coyotes, deer, eagles, lynx, salmon, urchins, and more.

Congratulations for the spotlight appearance, Andy! They look great!


Weekend webinar with Suzanne Selfors

Thanks to SCBWI Inland NW, here's the scoop on a must-do webinar featuring our very own Suzanne Selfors, to help take your craft to the next level:

Here we go!

It's a webinar THIS SATURDAY, MARCH 12 on the topic of: Strategies for Lifting Your Career to the Next Level

The webinar will be presented by:

National-bestselling author with eight novels released in 2015 
March 12, 9am PST-10:30am PST
(The webinar will be recorded and available for viewing for seven days by registered attendees.)
As published writers, we know that this journey is a roller coaster—a constant up and down of facts and emotions. The lows of rejection and stagnant sales give way to the highs of publication and awards. And then we compare ourselves to other writers and we crash again.
But sometimes we feel stuck in the middle. After working so hard, why isn’t the career moving in the direction we’d hoped?
 As a nationally-bestselling author, with eight novels released in 2015, (Harper Collins, Little Brown, and Mattel) Suzanne Selfors knows these up and downs as well as any writer. But she made some critical decisions and took some chances that helped catapult her career to the next level.
Please join us as Suzanne shares her journey, including her thoughts on building a support team, reinvention, exploring new genres and formats, and re-configuring the ways we measure success.



Mary Cronk Farrell
Inland NW Regional Advisor
Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrator
Inland Northwest

Inside Story: all the May deets

To be eligible, you need to be able to say "yes!" to all of the following:

•    You are an SCBWI member at the PAL (published and listed) level and your profile at is updated to reflect this.
•    You live in the official Western Washington region. If you’re a member and uncertain which region you’re in, please email us and we’ll check for you.
•    Your publisher is on SCBWI’s list of recognized (traditional) PAL publishers. You can find the accepted publisher list by going to your SCBWI member profile page, clicking “Add” in the “Books” section under “Publications.” Find “Publisher” (not “Other Publisher”) and type in your publisher’s name in the box that says, “Start typing…”  
•    Your book is released between three months before and three months after the month of the Inside Story event (February 2016 to August 2016).
•    Your book is readily available through normal trade channels (e.g., Baker & Taylor).
Exceptions to PAL published books include self-published books that were originally published by a PAL publisher, books that are a continuation of a PAL published series, and Spark Award books.

The application form is here. Please fill in all areas. Then please send an image of your book cover (PDF or jpg in the 1MB range) to Dana Sullivan at for inclusion in the Inside Story program. You will hear back a week or two after the application deadline with further information.

If you're not planning to present this time around, please mark this event on your calendar anyway. You won’t want to miss it!

Dori & Deb, Inside Story Coordinators

Dori Butler                                                          Deb Lund
319-594-5640                                                      360-678-3687