Member News—September 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 October 20, or fill out our “Good News Survey.”

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

Cover Reveal

In the Palm of My Hand by Jennifer Raudenbush

Author Jennifer Raudenbush recently revealed the cover for her debut picture book, In the Palm of My Hand, a lyrical concept book being published by Running Press Kids (Hachette) on March 14, 2023. It is illustrated by Isabella Conti from Milan, Italy. On an ambling walk, a child discovers they hold the promise of larger worlds—forests and meadows—in the palm of their hand. An acorn becomes a tree within a woodland wonderland. A grain of sand becomes a sandcastle in a kingdom of imagination. By exploring nature’s tiniest details, they learn even small things, including them, contain infinite potential. The book is available for preorder.

Cover Reveal

Grounded by Aisha Saeed, Huda Al-Marashi, Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, and S.K. Ali

Author Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow recently revealed the cover for her upcoming middle grade novel, Grounded (Amulet Books, May 9, 2023), which was written in collaboration with Aisha Saeed, Huda Al-Marashi, and S.K. Ali. The cover was illustrated by Celia Krampien. When a thunderstorm grounds all flights following a huge Muslim convention, four unlikely kids are thrown together. Feek is stuck babysitting his younger sister, but he’d rather be writing a poem that’s good enough for his dad, a famous poet and rapper. Hanna is intent on finding a lost cat in the airport—and also on avoiding a conversation with her dad about him possibly remarrying. Sami is struggling with his anxiety and worried that he’ll miss the karate tournament that he’s trained so hard for. And Nora has to deal with the pressure of being the daughter of a prominent congresswoman, when all she really wants to do is make fun NokNok videos. These kids don’t seem to have much in common—yet. Grounded is available for preorder.

Cover Reveal

De Grote Verjaardag (Paisley’s Big Birthday) by Heather Pierce Stigall

Author Heather Pierce Stigall recently revealed the cover of the Dutch version of her upcoming picture book, De Grote Verjaardag (Clavis Publishing), which will be released in October. The book was illustrated by Natallia Bushuyeva. In the story, today is Pien’s birthday . . . or is it? She still can’t do the things she was too small for yesterday: She can’t read better, can’t jump over the high hop in the hopstacle course, and is still in bunnygarten. When will she finally be really grown up? A sweet story about a big little bunny. For everyone ages 4 and up. The English version of the book, Paisley’s Big Birthday, will be published in spring 2023.

Book Release, Signings, and Media Appearances

Ruby Reindeer and the Magic Antlers by Dario Mescia

Author Dario Mescia launched his debut picture book, Ruby Reindeer and the Magic Antlers (illustrated by Jennifer Linden) on September 5. The book tells the story of a young female reindeer named Ruby, who is told that only boy reindeer have the magic to pull Santa’s sleigh. Join her on her courageous journey of self-discovery as she sets out to prove them wrong. Dario and his book were featured in the following local media outlets:

PHL17 Morning show:

NBC10 Philly Live:

Delco Times:

Dario will also be appearing at local bookstores and events for book signings in the coming months:

  • Nov. 12 at 1:00 – Barnes and Noble in Broomall
  • Nov. 26 at 11:00 – Barnes and Noble in Devon
  • Nov. 26 from 1-6 – Winterfest at the Grange Estate in Havertown
  • Nov. 30 – Appearing on Good Day PA in the Harrisburg market
  • Dec. 3 at 1:00 – Barnes and Noble Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia
  • Dec. 4 at 11:00 – A Novel Idea on Passyunk Ave. in Philadelphia

Book Release

Wangari Maathai: The Mother of Trees by Rona Shirdan

Author Rona Shirdan’s leveled reader, Wangari Maathai: The Mother of Trees was published by Benchmark Education as part of their Represent series of educational materials for classrooms. The materials packet includes a teacher’s guide, a text evidence question card, and a content card with a short inquiry project. The book was illustrated by Henry Ezeokeke and is available to classrooms this fall.

Conference, Festival, and Workshop Appearances

Several of our members will be presenting and participating in panels at the Push to Publish writing conference on October 8 at Drexel University in Philadelphia, including authors Diana Rodriguez Wallach, Christine Kendall, and Karen Pokras as well as literary agent Leslie Zampetti. The conference includes keynotes, breakout sessions, and virtual pitch opportunities. For more information, visit

Author Alyssa Reynoso-Morris will be moderating a discussion with Newberry Award-winning author Donna Barba Higuera at the Latinx KidLit Book Festival October 13-14. The discussion is titled “We Are All Cuentistas: The Power of Storytelling.” For more information about the online festival, visit

Author-illustrator Berrie Torgan-Randall was invited to be the Resident Advisor at The Highlights Foundation for the workshop “Begin Your Chapter Book Series: Workshop & Retreat,” which took place September 18-21. 

Starred Reviews

Author Annette Whipple received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews for Meow! The Truth About Cats, which will release from Reycraft Books on November 1, 2022 and is available for preorder. Annette’s The Truth About series will continue with books about sharks and lizards.

Author Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow received a starred review from Publishers Weekly for Hold Them Close, which will release from HarperCollins on October 4, 2022 and is available for preorder.

SCBWI Recommended Reading List—September 2022

Each month, SCBWI features books written, illustrated, and translated by members from across the globe and every month highlights a new theme that will foster discussions, activities, and enjoyment! In honor of #WorldKidLitMonth, an annual celebration of world literature for children and young adults, this month SCBWI celebrated PAL members who have translated books into English or who have had their books translated into other languages. The recommended reading list for this month featured The Cloud Artist (English/Choctaw), by Sherri Maret, which includes Choctaw translation by Dora Wickson.

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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