Member News—November 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 December 20, or fill out our “Good News Survey.”

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

Book Release

Nellie in Knots: Talent Show Trouble by Amy Neeren

Author Amy Neeren’s chapter book Nellie in Knots: Talent Show Trouble, illustrated by Annia Leon, was published last month by Bushel & Peck Books (October 4, 2022). The book features an adorable and quirky girl who loves all things sparkly and gets through life with her adoring pet parrot, Larry; her beloved psychologist Dr. Neederburger; her family; and her quick-witted best friend, Emmie. Nellie Paparelli has an anxiety disorder. She worries about thunderstorms, car accidents, fires, and thieves. When her teacher, Ms. Rubinflaker, announces there will be a talent show, it’s officially too much! Nellie’s anxiety explodes like a volcano. Will Nellie be able to cope with her anxiety? Or will it be the biggest disaster of the year?

Awards and Honors

Last month, several Eastern PA SCBWI creators were recognized at the Pennsylvania Library Association’s annual meeting in Harrisburg, PA. Alison Green Myers received the Carolyn W. Fields Award for her middle grade novel in verse, A Bird Will Soar (Dutton Books for Young Readers, October 2021). The award was established in 1983 by the Youth Services Division of the Pennsylvania Library Association. Honorable mentions for the award included Eastern PA members Hilda Eunice Burgos for Miosotis Flores Never Forgets (Tu Books, October 2021) and Judy Schachner for Stretchy and Beanie (Dial Books, November 2021). Click here to see this year’s winner and honorees as well as past winners and honorees:

Cover Reveal and Publication Announcement

Salat in Secret by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

Author Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow revealed the cover for her upcoming picture book, Salat in Secret, which is due to release on June 6, 2023 through Random House Studio. The cover was illustrated by Hatem Aly. In this beautiful story of community, family, and acceptance, a boy named Muhammad receives a special salat rug on his seventh birthday. Seven is the age when Muslim children are encouraged to pray, and Muhammad is determined to do all five daily prayers on time. But one salat occurs during the school day—and he’s worried about being seen praying at school. His father parks his truck to worship in public places, and people stare at and mock him. Will the same thing happen to Muhammad? In the end, with help from his teacher, he finds the perfect place to pray. Salat in Secret, by two highly acclaimed Muslim creators, is a poignant and empowering look at an important facet of Islam that many observant children cherish but might be scared to share.

Book Release

Author Katey Howes recently released her picture book A Poem Grows Inside You, illustrated by Heather Brockton Lee, from Innovation Press on November 22, 2022. We all hold the seed of something wonderful inside us, just waiting for the right moment to bloom. In A Poem Grows Inside You, the seed of an idea waits for the rhythm of the rainfall to awaken it, then takes root and begins to grow. At once a celebration of the deep connection creatives have with their art and an acknowledgment of the courage it takes to let it into the sun, this beautifully illustrated picture book encourages readers to nurture their talents and boldly share them with the world.

In the Right Lane by Stephanie Henson

Author Stephanie Henson of West Chester, PA will be releasing a children’s poetry book on December 3, 2022 through Experiments in Fiction. In the Right Lane is an SEL-based poetry collection that includes many confidence-building and motivational pieces for the middle-grade audience. Every kid should have a dream, a plan, a path, and a future. This collection of poetry is meant to inspire a new way of thinking to help kids find their lane through poetry and help them navigate life on the road to happiness. Coping techniques, managing emotions, and finding your place in the world are points that are explored. These pieces also capture the pure joy of being a kid. Experiencing nature, feelings of love, and—of course—acceptance of self. This book is a guidepost for upper elementary and middle school-aged children on those topics. The book will be available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats.

Publication Announcement

The Way We Say Hello by Andrea Denish

Author Andrea Denish has announced the upcoming publication of her picture book The Way We Say Hello (Starry Forrest Books; February 7, 2023), which is illustrated by BlueBean. In this book, a young child searches for the best way to welcome a new baby to their family as they ask, “A special day. A special place. How will you greet a special face?” With rhyming text, heartwarming art, and educational facts about cultures and customs around the world, The Way We Say Hello takes you as far as Tibet and as near as your front yard as you learn greeting after greeting. Along the way, you’ll also discover how to welcome the world into your heart in different languages, gestures, and places. You can say “namaste,” “howdy,” or “annyeong.” You can use a traditional greeting like the Māori hongi or European cheek kisses. You can use sign language to greet those who are hard of hearing or send a card to someone far away. Perfect for new big siblings, baby showers, and kids curious about different cultures and languages.

Award Nominations

Nominations for the 2022 Cybils Awards have been announced. The Cybils Awards are organized by a group of readers passionate about seeking out and recognizing books that portray diversity, inclusion, and appropriate representation for children and teens and work to recognize books written for children and young adults that combine both the highest literary merit and popular appeal. The following Eastern PA SCBWI members’ books have been nominated for the 2022 Cybils Awards: author-illustrator Berrie Torgan-Randall for Bella and Blue; author Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow for Abdul’s Story, author Hallee Adelman for Way Past Afraid and Way Past Lonely, illustrator Kate Garchinsky for The Secret Life of the Sea Otter, author Adam Perry for Ghosts Come Rising, and author Alison Green Myers for A Bird Will Soar.

SCBWI Recommended Reading List—November 2022

The Cloud Artist: A Choctaw Tale by Sherri Maret

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! SCBWI PAL members are invited to submit their books to the SCBWI Recommended Reading List according to each month’s theme. This month SCBWI featured books that celebrate the diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Native people including The Cloud Artist: A Choctaw Tale by Eastern PA SCBWI member Sherri Maret.

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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1 Response to Member News—November 2022

  1. Wow! Such fantastic news. Congratulations, everyone!

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