Member News—February 2022

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 before March 20, or fill out our “Good News Survey.”

Here’s some exciting news from our members this month:

Cover Reveal and Book Announcement

Ribbit! The Truth About Frogs by Annette Whipple

The newest book in the “Truth About” series by author Annette Whipple has a cover! Ribbit! The Truth About Frogs is available for preorder and will release on May 15, 2022 from Reycraft Books. Where do frogs live? What sounds do frogs make? How do frogs eat? These and other questions are answered, along with some extra information provided by the frogs themselves.

In other news, Annette also recently announced that her book Meow! The Truth About Cats will be forthcoming this fall 2022, also from Reycraft Books.

Cover Reveal

Hold Them Close by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

The cover for author Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow’s upcoming picture book has been revealed. Hold Them Close is a love letter to Black children. The book is illustrated by Patrick Dougher with photographs by Jamel Shabazz. It is now available for preorder and is due to release in October 2022 from HarperCollins.

Agent Signings

We heard about a number of our members signing with agents this month! We wish everyone a very successful partnership!

  • Author Abbey Nash signed with Laura Crockett at Triada US for her YA novel
  • Picture book author Kathy Kelly signed with agent Mary Cummings of the Great River Literary Agency
  • Poet and picture book author Jessica Whipple signed with Emily S. Keyes of the Keyes Agency
  • Picture book author Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow signed with Paige Terlip of Andrea Brown Literary Agency
  • Author Linda Oatman High signed with Rachel Ekstrom of Folio Literary Management

Publication Announcement

Author-illustrator Berrie Torgan-Randall has been asked to create and illustrate a six-panel story for Ladybug Magazine for the May/June issue. She will also be creating another six-panel story to be featured at a later date for Ladybug Magazine‘s pet issue.

Award Announcements

The Cot in the Living Room by Hilda Eunice Burgos

The Cot in the Living Room, a picture book by Hilda Eunice Burgos (Penguin/Kokila, June 2021), was named a Notable Children’s Book by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). Each year the ALSC identifies the best of the best in children’s books. According to the Notables Criteria, “notable” is defined as: “Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children’s books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry, and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children’s interests in exemplary ways.” In The Cot in the Living Room, a young girl develops empathy for the children who need to use the living-room cot while their parents work the nightshift.

Blue by L.E. DeLano

YA author L.E. DeLano’s latest novel, Blue (Gaze Publishing, July 2021), received the 2022 SCBWI Spark Award for a book for older readers. The Spark Award is an annual award that recognizes excellence in a children’s book published through a nontraditional publishing route. When Blue Mancini’s mother picked her name, it ended up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. A year ago, Blue’s brother, Jack, was involved in a car accident that killed the father of her classmate Maya Rodriguez. Luckily for Jack, he got out of a manslaughter charge and into a plea bargain thanks to the top-notch lawyer hired by Blue’s wealthy parents. The fallout is now affecting Blue as Maya returns to school determined to carve out a pound of flesh from the only member of the Mancini family she can reach. On top of that, Blue has a demanding mother, a father who’s never around, a drama-addicted best friend, and a secretive new guy who’s determined to make Blue his own personal cheer-up project. It’s a perfect storm of misery. When Maya’s social media taunts and in-person digs finally push Blue to retaliate, they find themselves in afterschool detention and forced into a project meant to foster cooperation and civility. As the layers of their tangled drama unravel, Blue learns more about Maya’s life—and her own sense of privilege—when secrets are revealed that cast a new perspective on everything in Blue’s world.

Book Release

There’s a Lion in the Forest by Mônica Carnesi

Author-illustrator Mônica Carnesi has released a new picture book, There’s a Lion in the Forest (Nancy Paulsen Books, February 22, 2022). Toucan heard it first. It was deep. It was growly. It was a deep, growly growl. And that can mean only one thing: THERE’S A LION IN THE FOREST! But how can that be? Everyone knows that lions don’t live in tropical forests. But the growls keep coming—and now even Capybara and Coati are anxious, especially when they get a glimpse through the trees of a long, terrifying tail and a thick, menacing mane . . . With a rhythmic text that begs to be read aloud, Mônica’s clever tale illustrates the importance of not rushing to conclusions. Young readers will get a kick out of sleuthing along with the forest animals as they try to get to the bottom of this sweetly suspenseful mystery.

SCBWI’s Recommended Reading List—February 2022

Each month, SCBWI features books written and illustrated by members from across the globe and every month highlights a new theme that will foster discussions, activities, and enjoyment! February’s list celebrates Black voices and features Eastern PA members Christine Kendall, who authored The True Definition of Neva Beane, and the late Floyd Cooper, who illustrated A Day for Rememberin’.

If you have good news to share, please send it to to be included in next month’s Member News column or fill out our “Good News Survey.”

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