2017 has proven to be an exciting year for us at KidLit Nation. It all started in January with a casual exchange between myself, Christine Mapondera-Talley, and Urania Smith. We met in the very awesome and supportive 12×12 challenge community. Unbeknownst to us, we lived barely 20 minutes from each other, in the south suburbs of Chicago. Of course a lunch date was the next logical step and shortly thereafter we discovered we had very similar ideas on sharing resources that can help authors and illustrators of color, succeed on their journey to publication.
After a few brainstorming sessions, Urania introduced me to a friend, Matthew Kirby, a successful author in his own right. It was then that we knew our foundation for KidLit Nation was now solid. A team with a published author, a pre-published author, and an indie author (me). The common denominator being that we wanted to create a platform that could support authors and illustrators of color with education, resources, opportunities and mentorships. Now this may sound like a monuments task, and in some ways it is. However, our goal can only be accomplished if we meet people where they are, i.e online and offline. With that in mind we will have in person workshops, classes, webinars, a video library, a podcast (2018), mentorship program and whatever else we can stir up. The first set of face-to-face writing classes is already being sponsored by a Chicago based author, Barbara Binns.
Granted our mission may be to support authors and illustrators of color, we are not however a closed community. It is no secret that there’s a lack of representation and diversity in book publishing. This was true 20 years ago and is still true today. It is our belief that we can be a catalyst in ensuring that aspiring authors and illustrators receive lots of preparation so that when opportunity strikes, they can rise to the occasion with confidence.
We envision kidlitnation.com as a one stop shop. We are here to serve the needs of our audience at every stage of publication, whether one seeks to be traditionally published or self-publish.
Thus far we have received tremendous support from SCBWI-IL chapter and the kidlit community at large. Our stunning website was created by a fellow SCBWI member Angie Isaacs and logo by illustrator Russ Cox. And most importantly, all the agents, editors, authors and illustrators that are generously donating their valuable time by offering professional critiques. These professional critiques are the backbone of our raffle. Funds raised from the raffle will benefit at least 10 authors/illustrators of color who wish to attend an SCBWI-IL conference. If you haven’t seen our fantastic line up of contributors, please click here.
So please join us Sunday July 30th, 2017, as we officially launch KidLit Nation!