Thursday, December 1, 2016

Current Scratch: Join Us, Local Events and Brazos Valley Blooms Volunteering, The Snowy Day

Time to scratch that holiday itch! 'Tis the season for books about snow, celebrations and, if you're from around here, Christmas tamales...yum. Hope 2016 ends well for everyone. Great things are going to happen for SCBWI Brazos Valley in 2017! Read on...   

Join us

Our next regular meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 25th at 10 a.m. in the College Station Barnes & Noble (if you'd like to see us before then come to the holiday party - see info in next section). Topic TBD. We'll also discuss news and provide encouragement. Gentle critique begins at 9:30 a.m. Bring copies of 5 double-spaced pages of your work in progress. Those who have time may go to lunch at a local restaurant. Members and friends welcome.

Local/Regional Events 

SCBWI Holiday Party! - Dec 6th
Please join us at the Olive Garden on Tuesday, December 6th at 7pm. Spouses are welcome. We'll play some games, catch up, and wish each other a new year full of brilliant ideas and the time to put them in print!
Please bring a wrapped book for the gift exchange and blankets and new and gently used books for children for our annual donation. Follow this link for more info about Books and a Blanket. Each participant pays for his or her own food and beverages.

Brazos Valley SCBWI Conference - March 4th
Yes, you read that correctly, we will be hosting a conference here in March! The conference name is "Brazos Valley Blooms: Celebrating Our First 25 Years Creating for Kids." Registration will open soon. See below for ways you can help us make it a great success. 

Brazos Valley Blooms Volunteering

Have you been searching for a new year's resolution? How about resolving to help with the upcoming SCBWI Brazos Valley regional conference? Signing up early for a volunteer task or position will help the organizers plan in advance and keep things running smoothly. 
We have volunteer opportunities for all types:

  • Gather door prizes and silent auction items
  • Stand watch over the illustrators portfolio showcase (during the conference)
  • Make name tags
  • Assemble gift bags
  • Prepare baked goods/snacks for the conference
  •  Stuff folders
  • Greeters at the conference
  • Drivers for faculty (or  you can donate fund for a shuttle ride)
  • Bookstore liason
More money than free time? You can donate funds for
  • Airport shuttle for our speakers
  • Snacks/food, coffee & tea to server at conference
Minimalist with too many Christmas presents?
  • Consider regifting presents that were nice but just not your style to our silent auction
Don't live near B/CS?
  • Help spread the word about the conference in your town/community. Please sign up to put up flyers in your local bookstores, coffee shops, schools, etc and share the conference info throughout your social circle via email, social media, etc.
Stay tuned for more info!

The Snowy Day

This morning NPR aired a wonderful story on the story of the story behind the classic children's book "The Snowy Day." Sorry, I couldn't help myself. To clarify, the piece was about "A Poem for Peter," written by Andrea Davis Pinkney, which covers the life of Ezra Jack Keats and the creation of "The Snowy Day." Give it a listen here.

That's it for this month's Scratch. Happy holidays!

 Disclaimer: The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of the SCBWI.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Join us, Local & Regional Events, The Pura Belpré Award, Links I´m Liking

Howdy, y'all! There are so many cool events coming up in the next few months. Finish slurping that pumpkin spice latte, sign up, and join us! And if you aren't already part of our Facebook group, join that too!  

Join us

JOIN US Wednesday, October 26th at 10 a.m. in the College Station Barnes & Noble for our monthly meeting.Our topic this month is:

Westerns: More than "Cowboys and Indians"

We'll also discuss news and provide encouragement. Gentle critique begins at 9:30 a.m. Bring copies of 5 double-spaced pages of your work in progress. Those who have time may go to lunch at a local restaurant. Members and friends welcome.

Local/Regional Events

Can't make the regular daytime meeting? Join us for our monthly mini-meeting at 7 p.m. at Starbucks, Hwy. 6 at Rock Prairie Road.
October 22 - SCBWI Houston Conference
Registration is still open for the upcoming conference in Houston! The day's theme is "Surrender to the Story." 

We'll organize carpooling on our SCBWI Brazos Valley Facebook group.

November 11-13th - Work-on-your-own Beach Retreat

Can't concentrate at home? Then join us for a work on your own beach retreat.
Writers and illustrators! Join us for a weekend retreat to concentrate on your work-in-progress or start that new project. Refresh your perspective and enjoy the company of other creatives. We'll stay on the beach at the Mustang Towers condos in Port Aransas, Texas, where we can fix our own breakfasts and lunches. We'll go out for dinner and set aside time for everyone to share their work.
Housing for 10 attendees in 2 units—2 in single rooms, 8 in shared quarters.
Total for two nights: $159 single or $79.50 shared. Additional registration fee of $15 for members and $25 for non-members.
Deadline to register is Oct. 29. Cancel by Nov. 4 for room fee refund. $10 of registration fee is non-refundable. Based on registration a third unit could be rented. Food costs to be borne by attendees. 

The Pura Belpré Award


As children's book writers and illustrators we have all heard of the prestigious Caldecott and Newberry medals. We think of them the way an aspiring actor thinks of an Oscar. The holy grail, on par with getting picked up my the Scholastic book fair. But there are other awards out there, ones that award a subset of books aimed at a specific population. If you have a specific group you write for, it is worth checking out what literary award focuses on books aimed at said group. In my case, that would be the Pura Belpre Award

Established in 1996, the Pura Belpré Award is given to "a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth." Each year one book receives the Narrative medal and another the Illustration medal and there are a few honors in both categories as well. Who was Pura Belpré? She was the New York Public Library´s first Latina librarian. As we've mentioned before, librarians are a key resource for guiding children to just the right book. Thanks to the Pura Belpré Award, there are now 20 years worth of award winning books for librarians, teachers and parents to easily recommend to Latino children as well as anyone wishing to connect with the Latino experience

If you're interested in learning more about the books that have received the Pura Belpré Award or further resources check out

 Links I´m liking this month

Here are a handful of stories and posts I enjoyed running across in the past couple of weeks
  • The New York Times published a great piece listing children´s books that tackle race and ethnicity. Check out the article by María Russo here. Included in the list are classics like "The Snowy Day" and recent award winner "Last Stop on Market Street." 
  •  In late September El Paso author Pat Mora won the Texas Institute of Letters' Lon Tinkle Award for Lifetime Achievement. In addition to being a prolific Latina writer, Pat Mora created the child literacy event "El día de los niños, el día de los libros/ Children´s Day, Book Day." Read more about Pat Mora here and on her own website,
  •  Did you know that October is National Bullying Prevention Month? Me neither. Check out A Mighty Girl´s list of bullying prevention books for young children

That's it for this month's Scratch

 Disclaimer: The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of the SCBWI.