Write for Kite Tales!

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Have a topic you’d like to share with your fellow kidlit community? Want to share your process and inspire other writers or illustrators? Or maybe you have a list of incredible authors you’d like to interview but no idea where you can publish it? Let Kite Tales be your outlet for creative community and discussion!

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‘Diversity Plus’: Diverse Story Aesthetics, Not Just Diverse Faces

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by Henry Lien

Discussions about diversity in the arts today focus on the importance of diverse characters and diverse creators. As crucial as that is, diversity can and should also include different story forms and themes drawn from diverse traditions. Western storytelling forms are almost entirely based on conflict, tension, and resolution, while themes are almost entirely focused on self-actualization/self-empowerment and a rising self-esteem arc. These are not the only ways to tell a satisfying story. Non-Western storytelling traditions offer radical alternatives.

The notion of what constitutes a satisfying story is heavily influenced by cultural values. To illustrate, let’s play a game. I’m going to use a very traditional Chinese/Taiwanese lens to describe a book that is well-known here in the exotic Occident.

Q. Majestic gold dragon is murdered by band of itinerant thieves.

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Sara Schonfeld on Making the Most of Rejection

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Jumping from journalism to editing, Sara Schonfeld never strayed far from children’s stories. She joined Katherine Tegen Books in 2019 and has recently taken on the role of Associate Editor for the imprint. Her list includes everything from picture books to young adult novels from authors such as Alice Walker, Cristina Fernandez, and Ally Malinenko (author of the forthcoming Ghost Girl).

A rabbit lover and fan of anything Marvel, this “Bunny Boss” is looking for stories that are uplifting and affirming, showing the power of relationships, identity, and self for young readers.

Sara will be sharing insights on rejection letters and how to make the most of them in her presentation during SCBWI-L.A.’s Writers Day 2021. She has given us a preview of some of those tips here on Kite Tales, but you can still register for the event here to get the full scoop.

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Interview with Nonfiction Picture Book Author Christine Van Zandt

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Christine Van Zandt is a Los Angeles writer, editor, and longtime SCBWI volunteer. She’s a familiar name here on Kite Tales, previously as the Editor and now as a regular contributor. Her debut picture book, A Brief History of Underpants, will be published in June, though that wasn’t the initial plan . . . read on to get the scoop!

FARRHA KHAN: Welcome to Kite Tales! Congratulations on your picture book, A Brief History of Underpants. Why was your publication pushed from April to June?

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Toot Your Horn!

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SCBWI members’ publishing news is something to celebrate here at Kite Tales! Check out whose book is coming to a platform near you or around the world. Horn-tooting and digital hi-fives welcome in the comments!

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Ask an Editor: Traditional Publication with or without an Agent

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“Ask an Editor” is a forum wherein SCBWI members submit questions that are answered as part of our quarterly Kite Tales blog.

Hello Christine – Does traditional publication require an agent? Thanks.

—Jay, Glendale

Hello Jay – Traditional publication often happens via an agent, but an agent is not required.

Writers who seek traditional publication typically query literary agents. Once they secure an agent’s representation, that agent will submit the writer’s manuscript to publishers.

However, some publishers will connect directly with authors. For example, I pitched my children’s nonfiction picture book idea on a Twitter pitch event called #PitMad. The children’s editor at a midsize publisher contacted me and my book was published without an agent.

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The Sue Alexander Grant is Open for Submissions!

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by Brenda Scott Royce 

The 2021 Sue Alexander Grant contest opens today, offering one SCBWI-L.A. writer a guaranteed spot and free tuition to the Working Writers Retreat (to be held virtually this year on October 9). Winning a golden ticket to this always popular event is not the only reason to enter. Since COVID-19 sidelined last year’s event, 2020 winner Nicholas Ponticello will be among the attendees at the 2021 virtual retreat. But winning the prestigious prize has already impacted his career:

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An Interview with STEM Author, Kristen Nordstrom

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by Ann Rousseau Smith, SCBWI CenCal News Liaison

Kristen Nordstrom is the debut STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) author of Mimic Makers: Biomimicry Inventors Inspired by Nature, illustrated by Paul Boston (Charlesbridge Publishing, July 2021). The picture book profiles ten real-life scientists, engineers, and designers who copy nature to create amazing new technology. Thank you, Mother Nature!

Kristen teaches biomimicry and other topics to elementary-school students in a gifted science program, and is a member of NSTA, the National Science Teaching Association. She has written innovative curriculum, and has been honored with two writing awards from SCBWI for outstanding STEM manuscripts. Kristen took a moment from her busy schedule to answer some questions for the Kite Tales blog.

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Attention Non-fiction Writers: SCBWI-L.A. Mentorship Contest Opens April 19!

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by Edward Underhill

Editor’s update (6/1/21): The deadline for the SCBWI-L.A. 2021 Mentorship Contest has been extended to June 18, 2021! Get your entries in ASAP!

In March 2020, my partner had just moved her work home for the foreseeable future, my day job was suddenly paused while everyone scrambled to set up remote work, and Los Angeles was entering lockdown. With the roads suddenly quiet outside and more time on my hands, I decided to take a risk and submit my newly finished YA novel for the SCBWI-L.A. Mentorship Contest with mentor Nicole Maggi.

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