Member News—March 2023

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 or fill out our “Good News Survey” before the 20th of the month.

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

Award Nomination

“I am the Dragon,” a poem by Elizabeth Fletcher, has been nominated by the editor of Spaceports and Spidersilk for the Rhysling Award in the long poem category. The Rhysling award is given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry association Poems that are selected as finalists will be included in the 2023 Rhysling Anthology.

Deal Announcement

Illustrator Tom Uleau, a.k.a. Mr. Tom, will illustrate the upcoming picture book Knight & His Trusty, written by Deb Buschman. The book has been acquired by Michele McAvoy at The Little Press and is scheduled for release in fall 2026. Knight & His Trusty challenges the fairy tale norm: why can’t a knight have a trusty alligator, giraffe, armadillo?

Book Release, Cover Reveal, and Grant

Author Jessica Whipple will be releasing her debut picture book, Enough Is . . . , illustrated by Nicole Wong, on April 18, 2023, through Tilbury House. The book follows one child as she learns the difference between wanting and needing and, in the end, feels the contentment that flows from being satisfied with what she has. The text, meanwhile, frames a difficult idea in simple, spare language: “Somewhere between a little and a lot, there is Enough. It might be hard to spot, but it’s always there.” A public launch event will be happening at Aaron’s Books in Lititz, PA, on the afternoon of April 16, in advance of the official release. Jessica will be there to read the book, sign copies preordered from Aaron’s or purchased day-of, and do a Q&A. Details on specific times can be found at

Jessica’s second picture book, I Think I Think a Lot, will be published August 29, 2023, through Free Spirit Books, an indie publisher and imprint of Teacher Created Materials. I Think I Think a Lot, illustrated by Josée Bisaillon, had a cover reveal this month. The book was inspired by the author’s experience with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and can be a starting point for discussions about overthinking or obsessive thought and about the many ways individuals see and experience the world.

Jessica was recently awarded a grant from the Pa Council on the Arts called the Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program. Stay tuned for a future blog post with more information about this local grant. Writers and illustrators are eligible!

Cover Reveal

Paisley’s Big Birthday by Heather Pierce Stigall

Author Heather Pierce Stigall has revealed the cover for Paisley’s Big Birthday (Clavis Publishing, August 2023), illustrated by Natallia Bushuyeva. Paisley’s birthday is today, right? Then why doesn’t she feel any older? She still has trouble reading, still has trouble jumping in the Hopstacle Course, and is still in Bunnygarten. When will she finally be big? A sweet story about having patience as we grow. For everyone ages 4 years and up. You can visit Heather’s website at and find her social media and other links at

Publication Announcement

Heather and the Stormy Birthday by Linda Oatman High

Author Linda Oatman High has signed a contract with Astra/Kane Press for a chapter book series titled Heather Whirl, Weather Girl. The first book in the series, Heather and the Stormy Birthday, will be released in November 2023 with art by Kris Aro McLeod. Heather Whirl is fascinated by the weather. With eyes that change color in response to rain or wind or heat, Heather would like nothing more than to be a meteorologist or a climate scientist when she grows up. When Heather turns eight, her eccentric great-grandmother gives her a family heirloom—an umbrella with the power to teleport her to areas experiencing wild weather conditions. Heather’s umbrella has a built-in magical doppler that alerts her to wild weather happening somewhere. In the blink of an eye, Heather travels to the middle of a superstorm! Heather observes and learns about the weather, but also lends a helping hand and documents her adventures with her friend Edward and animal companions Fog the dog and a lizard named Blizzard. Her journal entries, notes from her helpers, definitions, and activities provide additional information for the curious reader.

Book Release and Deal Announcement

Calling the Moon: 16 Period Stories from BIPOC Authors featuring a short story by Hilda Eunice Burgos

Author Hilda Eunice Burgos’s short story, “Thicker Than Water,” appears in the anthology Calling the Moon: 16 Period Stories from BIPOC Authors, which released on March 28 from Candlewick. The anthology is edited by Aida Salazar and Yamile Saied Méndez. Other contributors include Veeda Bybee, Susan Muaddi Darraj, Saadia Faruqi, Nikki Grimes, Leah Henderson, Mason J., Erin Entrada Kelly, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Elise McMullen-Ciotti, Emma Otheguy, Christina Soontornvat, Padma Venkatraman, and Ibi Zoboi. Calling the Moon offers coming-of-age stories and poetry as varied as the phases of the moon, from funny to heartbreaking to powerful, all of them reassuring readers that they are not alone in their period journey. 

It was also recently announced that Hilda’s next book will be the first in a new young middle grade series, Bodega Cats, which has been acquired by Carina Licón at Henry Holt. Each book will be set in its respective family’s bustling bodega and revolve around the friendship between a bodega owner’s kid and their newly adopted furry friend. The first book is planned for spring 2024. Illustrations will be done by Siara Faison.

Honor Book Award

A Poem Grows Inside You by Katey Howes

A Poem Grows Inside You (The Innovation Press, November 2022), written by author Katey Howes and illustrated by Heather Brockton Lee, was named an Honor Book for the 2023 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award. The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award was named for the late internationally renowned educator, poet, anthologist, and passionate advocate of poetry for young people. The Pennsylvania Center for the Book and the Penn State University Libraries share joint administration of the annual award, and its winning titles are selected by a panel of authors, librarians, teachers, and scholars. “This book is a celebration of poetry—one that gently introduces young readers to the joy of poetic expression, rhyme and rhythm,” said one judge. “A beautiful and playful picture book that fittingly celebrates the joy of writing poetry through the poetic form. The pictures support and enhance the gentle narrative, creating a heartwarming and uplifting read for its child audience,” said another.

Cover Reveal

Ruptured by Joanne Rossmassler Fritz

Author Joanne Rossmassler Fritz had a recent cover reveal for her second novel, Ruptured, which will be available from Holiday House November 14, 2023. The cover was illustrated by Maeve Norton and designed by Kerry Martin. Ruptured is a sensitive, suspenseful story of a family coping with a life-changing tragedy, told in stunning verse. Claire’s mom and dad don’t talk to each other much anymore. And they definitely don’t laugh or dance the way they used to. Their tense, stilted standoffs leave thirteen-year-old Claire caught in the middle. So when the family takes their annual summer vacation, Claire sticks her nose in a book and hopes for the best. Maybe the sunshine and ocean breeze will fix what’s gone wrong. But while the family is away, Claire’s mother has a ruptured brain aneurysm—right after she reveals a huge secret to Claire. Though she survives the rupture, it seems like she is an entirely different person. Claire has no idea if her mom meant what she said, or if she even remembers saying it. With the weight of her mom’s confession on her shoulders, Claire must navigate fear, grief, and prospects for recovery. The novel speaks to kids’ fears and credits their strength, and stems from the author’s incredible experience surviving two ruptured aneurysms.

News Feature

Salat in Secret by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

In recognition of the start of Ramadan, author Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow was featured on Channel 6abc Action News on March 22. Jamilah’s work puts Black Muslim characters at the center of her stories. Her upcoming picture book, Salat in Secret (Random House Studio, June 6, 2023), tells the story of a Muslim boy who receives a salat (prayer) rug on his seventh birthday and becomes empowered about his faith. The book is a poignant and empowering look at an important facet of Islam that many observant children cherish but might be scared to share. You can catch the news clip here:

Book Release

Poems Stuck in My Brain by Stephanie Henson

Author Stephanie Henson is releasing her second children’s poetry book, Poems Stuck in My Brain, through Alien Buddha Press on April 3. For middle grade readers, ages 9 to 12, Poems Stuck in My Brain is a collection of SEL and lyrical poetry that is meant to inform, inspire, and entertain. It touches on the topics of friendship, seasons, nature, and love—a mix of wonder and awe for children. Available in paperback on Amazon.

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.”

This entry was posted in General, Member News, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Member News—March 2023

  1. alisongreenmyers says:

    The good news overflows!!! Congratulations to all!!

  2. Wendy Greenley says:

    It’s exciting to see new and familiar names here!

  3. Congratulations, everyone, on your good news!

  4. adillustration says:

    So much good news! Congrats to all!!

  5. Nadine Poper says:

    Congratulations everyone!!!

Comments are closed.