Member News is a monthly feature on the EasternPennPoints blog. We want to celebrate our Eastern PA SCBWI members’ good news and help spread the word far and wide. Send us your children’s book–related news—book deals, releases, awards, author or illustrator events (signings, launch parties, appearances), etc. If you’d like your news to be included in next month’s column, please email Laura Parnum at firstname.lastname@example.org before April 20, or fill out our “Good News Survey.”
Here’s some exciting news from our members this month:
SCBWI’s March Recommended Reading List featured several author from our Eastern PA region. Each month, SCBWI features books written and illustrated by our members, and every month highlights a new theme that will foster discussions, activities, and enjoyment. The theme for March was “Celebrate Women.” Books featured from our members included The Magician and The Cloud Artist, both by Sherri Maret; A Girl Like You by Frank Murphy; and Nemesis and the Swan by Lindsay Bandy.
Eastern PA Members Katey Howes and Annie Lynn teamed up to celebrate the release of Rissy No Kissies (Carolrhoda Books, March 2, 2021; illustrated by Jess Engle) with a song. With permission from the publisher, Annie composed and recorded the song using Katey’s words from the text. Since its release, the book has received numerous starred reviews, including from Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly, and has been hailed in the book-blogging community as a tool to help teach children about body autonomy and consent. Katey made a recent appearance at the New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL) Spring 2021 Mini-Conference and will also be appearing in the “Women in Pictures” panel at the Lehigh Valley Book Festival in April.
Author Sherri Maret‘s newest book, The Book of Untold Stories (Roadrunner Press, April 2021; illustrated by Thomas Hilley), will release next month. With fourteen colorful illustrations, the book encourages readers to use their imaginations and become the storyteller. In addition, Sherri’s book Lela and the Butterflies (Muddy Boots, September 2020; co-written by Tim Maret and illustrated by Merisha Sequoia Clark) was chosen as a Franklin County Library StoryWalk selection!
The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, June 2019) was the recipient of the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for young adult fiction. The Lambda Literary Awards celebrate exceptional LGBTQ books and authors. Alexandra was featured in the Yardley Voice this month. You can read the interview here: https://www.timespub.com/2021/03/02/yardley-novelist-wins-literary-award-for-book-exploring-immigration-issues/.
Tony Fredericks (who writes our monthly “Write Angles” column) just had his latest picture book released. “All Aboard” Starts with A! is an alphabet book about the mechanics of trains, interesting train facts, and the joys of train travel. Commissioned by the Northern Central Railway of York (the same rail line that transported Abraham Lincoln to Gettysburg and his coffin to Springfield, IL) and illustrated by Phyllis Disher Fredericks, this book offers insights, history, geography, science, and a range of discussion questions for families to share and elementary classrooms to explore. A collection of S.T.E.A.M. activities and extended learning projects is also included.
A Teacher Like You (Sleeping Bear Press, March 2021) by Frank Murphy and Barbara Dan (illustrated by Kayla Harren) was released this month. Teachers have the power to change the life of a child with every new school day. Whether they’re discovering math or reading, practicing a new instrument or a new sport, or learning about our wonderful, diverse world, students can count on the kindness, innovation, and patience of a teacher. This is a wonderful celebration of all the ways teachers help their students bloom.
Author-illustrator and Eastern PA SCBWI’s very own Illustrator Coordinator Berrie Torgan-Randall has signed a book contract with Blue Bronco Books, Jr. for Bella & Blue, a graphic early reader series following eight-year-old Bella and her dog, Blue. Bella & Blue celebrates life’s everyday struggles, silliness, and surprises. Blue Bronco Books, Jr. is an imprint of The Little Press. Book One in the series is scheduled to release in fall 2022.