We Need Diverse Books™ Mentorship committee announces an expansion

by We Need Diverse Books

Miranda Paul, WNDB™ Mentorship Co-Chair
Laurie Ann Thompson, WNDB™ Mentorship Co-Chair
Steven dos Santos, Mentorship Committee Member

For Release September 23, 2016

On the heels of a successful first year, the We Need Diverse Books™ (WNDB™) Mentorship committee announces an expansion—the 2017 program will include twice as many award-winning writers and illustrators. Beginning in October, upcoming writers and artists will get the chance to apply for one of ten mentorships through this non-profit program.

Two year-long mentorships will be given in each of five categories: picture book text, illustration, nonfiction, middle grade fiction, and young adult fiction. The 2017 WNDB™ mentors include an award-winning lineup of children’s book creators including Jane Yolen, Kevin Lewis, Carole Boston Weatherford, Padma Venkatraman, Alex Sanchez, Tara Lazar, William Alexander, Juana Martinez-Neal, Jessixa Bagley and WNDB™ founder and president Ellen Oh.

In a post announcing 2016 WNDB™ mentee Jacqueline Alcántara’s newly-achieved agent representation, illustrator-mentor Carolyn Dee Flores describes the mentoring process as “magical.” “My primary job as a mentor,” Flores states, “is to see what is already great and encourage it loosely, allowing the mentee’s voice to rise up on its own.” 2016 picture book mentee Lisa Brathwaite (mentor: Patricia Hruby Powell) also announced success earlier this year—a publishing contract for Show and Tell: The Story of Eunice Johnson and the Ebony Fashion Fair, the WNDB™ application manuscript that won her the year-long mentorship.

Children’s writers and illustrators seeking mentorships are invited to submit applications between October 1-31, 2016. The applicants will be reviewed for mentorship need and readiness, and manuscripts will be evaluated on such elements as craft, story, and diversity. WNDB™ mentorship recipients will be announced publicly in early 2017. Additional information about the mentorship and applications are available on the WNDB™ website: http://weneeddiversebooks.org/aboutapply.

We Need Diverse Books™ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization advocating for essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. Read about the organization’s broad definition of diversity and more at www.diversebooks.org. For more information about the mentorship program specifically, please email mentor@diversebooks.org.

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