Calling all aspiring authors! We are thrilled to announce the establishment of the New Visions Award, which will be given to a middle grade or young adult fantasy, science fiction, or mystery novel by a writer of color. Established by Lee & Low’s fantasy, science fiction and mystery imprint, Tu Books, the award is a fantastic chance for new authors of color to break into the world of speculative fiction, a genre that would benefit greatly from more diversity.
Under the Mesquite author Guadalupe Garcia McCall thanks the William C. Morris and Pura Belpre award committees that honored her book, along with readers:
Here’s one of my very favorite parts of Guadalupe’s Morris Ceremony speech at the American Library Association Midwinter Conference:
We’ve got some exciting news to share: LEE & LOW BOOKS has acquired multicultural children’s book publisher Children’s Book Press.
From the press release: January 26, 2012—Continuing to expand despite a difficult economy, LEE & LOW BOOKS, an independent publisher of high quality books for children that focuses on diversity, announced today that it has acquired the assets of Children’s Book Press. Founded in 1975, Children’s Book Press, based in San Francisco, was the first specialty publisher of multicultural children’s books in the United States. With this addition LEE & LOW BOOKS becomes one of the largest independent multicultural children’s publishers in the country with over 650-titles in print. “This is a tremendous honor for us to keep the prestigious collection of Children’s Book Press alive, and have the opportunity to build on its 36-year history,” said Jason Low, Publisher of LEE & LOW BOOKS.
We are THRILLED, thrilled I say, to unveil the covers of our first three Tu Books! Tu Books is our newest imprint and will be publishing multicultural middle grade and young adult science fiction, fantasy, and mystery. We now introduce our Fall 2011 launch list—drumroll, please:
Tankborn, by Karen Sandler
Best friends Kayla and Mishalla know they will be separated when the time comes for their Assignments. They are GENs, Genetically Engineered Non-humans, and in their strict caste system, GENs are at the bottom rung of society. High-status trueborns and working-class lowborns, born naturally of a mother, are free to choose their own lives. But GENs are gestated in a tank, sequestered in slums, and sent to work as slaves as soon as they reach age fifteen.
When Kayla is Assigned to care for Zul Manel, the patriarch of a trueborn family, she finds a host of secrets and surprises—not least of which is her unexpected friendship with Zul’s great-grandson. Meanwhile, the children that Mishalla is Assigned to care for are being stolen in the middle of the night. With the help of an intriguing lowborn boy, Mishalla begins to suspect that something horrible is happening to them.
Winning a major book award is surprising every time it happens. Like all publishers, we pretend not to pay attention to the mock award committee announcements that multiply in our inboxes each December and early January. Of course, we do not deny ourselves a little excitement when we spot one of our titles on someone’s favorites list, but we try to keep our expectations realistic. The chances of winning one of the “big” awards are like the chances of winning the Lotto, and it is a good idea to protect ourselves by not letting our hopes get too high.
We took a short break from blogging in the wake of last week’s big event in the children’s book world: the American Library Association’s annual announcement of their Youth Media Awards—or, as some like to call it, “The Oscars of Children’s Literature.” No outlandish outfits at these Oscars, but a few of our books do now have nice, shiny accessories on their covers:
Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty, winner of the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor and an ALA Notable Children’s Book
Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace, winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in Illustration
We know we’ve done something right when readers share their excitement for our books with the entire Internet. Amy Cheney, librarian at Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center, is one of those excited readers: she made a video with other staff at the ACJJC, all explaining why they love Yummy and why it’s great for the kids they work with every day.
It’s official! Our new Tu Books imprint has acquired its first two books, which will be published in Fall 2011. Here’s the formal announcement:
Stacy Whitman at Lee & Low Books has acquired the first novels for the Tu Books imprint, which launches in fall 2011. The imprint will focus on multicultural MG/YA science fiction and fantasy. For the launch list, Whitman has acquired World rights to a YA paranormal thriller tentatively titled Wolf Mark by Joseph Bruchac, author of Codetalker and Skeleton Man. When Lucas King’s black-ops father is kidnapped and his best friend, Meena, put in danger, Lucas’s only chance to save them is hidden away in an abandoned, monster-guarded mansion. The deal was done by Barbara Kouts of the Barbara S. Kouts Agency.
Note: This post was originally written in 2010, however we continue to update the comments section with answers to your questions.
The New Voices Award is open to all authors of color who have not previously had a children’s picture book published. The winner receives a cash prize of $1000 and our standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor winner will receive a cash prize of $500.
We periodically get some questions about the Award, so I’d like to answer a few of them if I can:
What does it mean to be a person of color?
Well, that can be a pretty complicated question, but for the purposes of our New Voices Award specifically, we accept contest entries from people of African, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latin American, Middle Eastern, or Native American/Indigenous descent.
Why is the New Voices Award only open to people of color?
The New Voices Award was founded to encourage and support authors of color in a market where they’ve been traditionally excluded and underrepresented. That was true in 2000 when the award was started and it’s still true today (see these stats for some surprising figures about the number of books published by/for people of color). The New Voices Award is one of the ways in which we’re trying to close the gap.