I met with Ellen Myrick of Publisher Spotlight as part of my outreach for Multicultural Children’s Book Day and she was one of the organizers of USBBY. I wasn’t familiar with USBBY but when she said that Jacqueline Woodson, Linda Sue Park, and Yuyi Morales would be speaking, I was all in!
USBBY is the U.S. national section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). One of the children’s book awards they give away is the Hans Christian Andersen Award.
The Hans Christian Andersen Award is the highest international recognition given to an author and an illustrator of children’s books. Given every other year by IBBY, the Hans Christian Andersen Awards recognize lifelong achievement and are presented to an author and an illustrator whose complete works have made an important, lasting contribution to children’s literature.
The Author’s Award has been given since 1956 and the Illustrator’s Award since 1966. The Award consists of a gold medal and a diploma, presented at a festive ceremony during the biennial IBBY Congress.
I hopped on a plane to Nashville, Tennesse and I can honestly say that it was one of the best children’s book conferences that I have ever been to.
First of all, it was small. Covid small. Typically, Ellen says that the turnout is around 200 people and it was around 100 due to people not traveling due to Covid fears. I really liked the small size.
The people were all super nice and friendly so it was easy to meet people and feel comfortable. I met many, many retired librarians and children’s book professors as well as authors, illustrators, and even a few publishers.
Here is Jacqueline Woodson receiving the Hans Christian Anderson award:
Rajani LaRocca was also a presenter and I bummed a ride home to the airport from her. We also picked up Tim Ditlow, Vice President of Content at Epic! as a carpool buddy. Tim and I were on the same flight.
Rajani took us to Parnassas Books, an amazing independent bookstore, where she signed a pile of her books for them.
I was also thrilled to meet Angus Yuen-Killick, a veteran of the children’s book industry and now an entrepreneur with his own publishing company, Red Comet Press.
One of his picture books is by Ukrainian creator, Oleksandr Shatokhin, The Happiest Lion Cub. It’s available for pre-order!
The Happiest Lion Cub by
A lion cub prince, with a passion for music, struggles with his destiny to be king.
In the savanna lands of Africa lives a lion cub who dreams of being a musician. But his father is against this desire because he expects his son to become king of all the animals. And in order to become the king, he must learn how to growl menacingly, not how to play instruments and sing. Will this lion cub really have to abandon his dreams to fulfill his destiny? [picture book, ages 3 and up]
He tells us what is happening in Ukraine for the Ukrainian publisher:
Chris Lloyd’s company, What On Earth Books, is coming to America! I would describe it as Barefoot Books + National Geographic Kids.
He is also launching a new magazine for kids, Britannica Magazine, which is a surefire way to get kids reading! Check it out here.
I have more videos on my Nashville YouTube playlist here. Watch golden-voiced audiobook voice talent Dion Graham read Trombone Shorty. Hear Yuyi Morales read Bright Star and sing a song! Ruta Sepetys describes how Between Shades of Gray got turned into a graphic novel.
p.s. Related posts:
Resources for Pre-Published BIPOC/Minority KidLit Authors and Illustrators
My First SCBWI: NESCBWI Springfield 2019
Scbwi: Matt de la Pena and his comeback from sexual misconduct accusations
My Most Popular Children’s Book Videos (and why)
SCBWI Minnesota Racist Illustration and Gaslighting Response
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.