THE COLOR OF CHILDREN'S LITERATURE CONFERENCE

‟Books transmit values. They explore our common humanity. What is the message when some children are not represented in those books?”
       —WALTER DEAN MYERS

Where Are the People of Color in Children's Books? 
New York Times, March 15, 2014


We begin this year's conference on Friday, April 6, 2018, from 2PM - 5PM with three Master Classes: A Story, A Story with ANGELA JOHNSON (Young Adult Novel); Waiting in the Deep: A Character Study with RITA WILLIAMS GARCIA (Middle Grade Novel) and Visual Journeys with BRYAN COLLIER (Picture Book). These workshops are limited to 12 - 15 students. 

On Saturday, April 7, 2018, from 8AM-5PM, join us at the CUNY Graduate Center in midtown Manhattan as we prepare to honor Walter Dean Myers' legacy with a conference that celebrates and supports our voices, our stories, our truth. Kweli's spring conference is an excellent opportunity for writers and illustrators of color to learn, get inspired and network with others in the industry. We have an exciting line up on Saturday with an opening keynote address by MacArthur "Genius" ANGELA JOHNSON, and panels and workshops with award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors and illustrators SAMIRA AHMED, JULIE FLETT, RITA WILLIAMS GARCIA, VASHTI HARRISON, KAZU KIBUISHI, JOHN PARRA, JAVAKA STEPTOE, NIC STONE, RENEE WATSON and others. Please note that there will be four separate tracks this year: a Publishing Track, a Novel Trackan Illustrated Books & Nonfiction Track and a new Intensives Track. Our panels and workshops will cover topics from the craft to the business of writing. Top editors, agents, and authors will discuss crucial steps to help launch a writer's career and offer carefully considered manuscript critiques. Critiques will run concurrently with panels, and books will be available for sale and signing. 



EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION ends on March 14th!
REGISTER NOW 


KEYNOTE SPEAKER

 
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Angela Johnson

Angela Johnson has won three Coretta Scott King Awards, one each for her novels The First Part Last, Heaven, and Toning the Sweep. The First Part Last was also the recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award. She is also the author of the novels Looking for Red and A Certain October. Her books for younger readers include the Coretta Scott King Honor Book When I Am Old with You, illustrated by David Soman; Wind Flyers and I Dream of Trains, both illustrated by Loren Long; and Lottie Paris Lives Here and its sequel Lottie Paris and the Best Place, both illustrated by Scott M. Fischer. Additional picture books include A Sweet Smell of Roses, Just Like Josh Gibson, The Day Ray Got Away, and All Different Now. In recognition of her outstanding talent, Angela was named a 2003 MacArthur Fellow. She lives in Kent, Ohio. 


PROGRAM SCHEDULE
Friday, April 6, 2018


2:00pm - 5:00pm
MASTER CLASSES

A. Young Adult Novel
A Story, A Story with Angela Johnson, author of The First Part Last and Toning the Sweep

B. Middle Grade Novel
Waiting in the Deep: A Character Study with Rita Williams Garcia, author of Clayton Byrd Goes Underground

C. Picture Book
Visual Journeys with Bryan Collier, illustrator of Trombone Shorty and The 5 O'Clock Band

PROGRAM SCHEDULE
Saturday, April 7, 2018

8:00am - 8:50am
Registration and breakfast

8:50am - 9:00am
Welcome and Introduction

9:00am - 9:45am
Keynote by Angela Johnson

10:00am - 10:45am
A.  Publishing Track
From Diversity to Inclusion to Empowerment to Justice: Moving the Conversation Forward Without Holding Back. 
Authors talk about the big magic that can happen when we move from diversity to inclusion, from inclusion to justice. Featuring: Fred Aceves, author of The Closest I've Come; Samira Ahmed, author of Love, Hate & Other Filters; Sheba Karim, author of Mariam Sharma Hits the Road; Emma Otheguy, author of Martí’s Song for Freedom; Traci Sorell, author of We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga; and Nic Stone, author of Dear Martin; moderated by Joanna Cárdenas, Editor at Kokila, a new imprint of Penguin Random House   

B.  Novel Track
Worldbuilding: The author's first responsibility is to build a credible reality on the page. Two authors provide a window into contemporary worldbuilding and fantasy worldbuilding. Featuring: Heidi Heilig, author of The Ship Beyond Time; and Sona Charaipotra, Co-founder of Cake Literary

C.  Illustrated Books and Nonfiction Track
The Power of the Picture Book: Creators talk words and paintings. Featuring: Cozbi A. Cabrera, author and illustrator of My Hair Is a Garden; Julie Flett, illustrator of When We Were Alone; Vashti Harrison, author / illustrator, Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History; London Ladd, illustrator of Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School; Minh Le, author of Drawn Together; John Parra, illustrator of Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos; Javaka Steptoe, author / illustrator of Radiant Child, The Story of Young Artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat; moderated by Kait Feldman, Associate Editor, Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic)

D. Intensives Track
First Pages                    
A select number of first pages will be critiqued before an audience. Featuring: Phoebe Yeh, VP/Publisher, Crown Books for Young Readers, Random House Children's Books; Tiffany Liao, Editor at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers; Grace Kendall, Editor, Farrar, Straus, Giroux Books for Young Readers / Macmillan; moderated by Serene Hakim, Junior Agent, Ayesha Pande Literary

11:00am - 11:45am
A.  Publishing Track
Getting in on the Ground Floor: Strategies for Submitting Your Work. Featuring: Linda Camacho, Literary Agent at Gallt & Zacker Literary; Kandace Coston, Assistant Editor at Lee & Low Books; Peter Knapp, Literary Agent with Park Literary & Media; Beth Phelan, Literary Agent at Gallt & Zacker; Nicholas Thomas, Editor, Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic; moderated by Nancy Mercado, Editorial Director at Scholastic

B.  Novel Track
#Own Voices: Too "Ethnic" or "Not Ethnic" Enough. Featuring: Fred Aceves, author of The Closest I've Come; Tracey Baptiste, author of Rise of The Jumbies; Leah Henderson, author of One Shadow On the Wall; Chandra Prasad, author of Damselfly, Rebecca Roanhorse, author of Race to the Sun; Ibi Zoboi, author of American Street; moderated by Joseph Bruchac, author of Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code

C.  Illustrated Books and Nonfiction Track
On and On:
Creating Chapter Books and Early Middle Grade Series. Featuring: Zetta Elliott, author of Dragons in a Bag; Debbi Michiko Florence, author of Jasmine Toguchi Drummer Girl; Veera Hiranandani, author of Phoebe G. Green; Kelly Starling Lyons, author of Jada Jones: Rock Star and Jada Jones: Class Act; moderated by Weslie Turner, Assistant Editor, Arthur A. Levine Books, Scholastic Inc.      

D.  Intensives Track
Ways of Seeing: Revising the Novel with Renee Watson, author of Betty Before X and Olugbemisola Rhuday Perkovich, author of Naomis Too 

12:00pm - 1:00pm
Lunch

1:00pm - 2:30pm
D.  Intensives Track
Pathways to Plotting a Novel: Where Do You Start? Workshop. Featuring: Samira Ahmed, author of Love, Hate & Other Filters; Sona Charaipotra, author of Tiny, Pretty Things; Weslie Turner, Assistant Editor, Arthur A. Levine Books, Scholastic Inc.; Leslie Youngblood, author of Love Like Sky

1:15pm - 2:00pm
A.  Publishing Track 
Queries, Synopses & Pitches: What You Should Be Asking? Featuring: Rhoda Belleza, author of Blood of a Thousand Stars; Kurestin Armada, Associate Agent, P.S. Literary; Zetta Elliott, author of Dragons in a Bag; moderated by Serene Hakim, Junior Agent, Ayesha Pande Literary

B.  Novel Track
Keeping it Real: Weaving the Past and Present into Your Fiction. Featuring: Tonya Bolden, author of Crossing Ebenezer Creek; Joseph Bruchac, author of Arrow of Lightning; Veera Hiranandani, author of The Night Diary; Rita Williams Garcia, author of Gone Crazy in Alabama; moderated by Olugbemisola Rhuday Perkovich, author of Naomis Too

C.  Illustrated Books and Nonfiction Track
Seeing the Story:
Graphic Storytelling. Featuring: Kelly Fernandez, winner of Scholastic “Get Published By Graphix” contest; Kazu Kibuishi, writer and artist of Amulet graphic novel series; Cassandra Pelham Fulton, Senior Editor, Graphix and Scholastic Press; moderated by Preeti Chhibber, Senior Editorial Manager for the Teens & BookBeat Scholastic Reading Clubs

2:15pm - 3:00pm
A.  Publishing Track
What to Expect:
The Author/Editor Relationship. Featuring: Phoebe Yeh, VP/Publisher, Crown Books for Young Readers, Random House Children's Books; & Nic Stone, author of Dear Martin; Stacey Barney, Executive Editor at G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR; Alexandra Villasante, author of The Grief Keeper; Jessica Echeverria, Senior Editor at Lee & Low Books; Emma Otheguy, author of Martí’s Song for Freedom; moderated by Connie Hsu, Senior Editor, Roaring Brook, Macmillan Publishing 

B.  Novel Track
Magic and Ritual:
Celebrating Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Featuring: Rhoda Belleza, author of Blood of a Thousand Stars; Sayantani DasGupta, author of The Serpent's Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond Book 1); Serene Hakim, Junior Agent, Ayesha Pande Literary; Rebecca Roanhorse; author of Race to the Sun; moderated by Alvina Ling, VP, Editor-in-Chief/Little Brown Books for Young Readers

C.  Illustrated Books and Nonfiction Track
Portfolio Review Panel: Authors and illustrators will review two or three preselected portfolios before an audience. 
Featuring: Vashti Harrison, author / illustrator of Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, Connie Hsu, Senior Editor, Roaring Brook, Macmillan Publishing; Kazu Kibuishi, writer and artist of Amulet graphic novel series; Cozbi Cabrera, author /illustrator of My Hair Is a Garden; Minh Le, author of Drawn Together; Julie Flett, illustrator of When We Were Alone; John Parra, illustrator of Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos; Javaka Steptoe, author / illustrator of Radiant Child, The Story of Young Artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat; moderated by Kait Feldmann, Associate Editor, Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic)

3:00pm - 4:15pm
D.  Intensives Track
The Picture Book Puzzle: Constructing a Picture Book Workshop. Featuring: Kevin Lewis, author of Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo 

3:15pm - 4:00pm
A.  Publishing Track
Beyond the Book Birthday:
Strategies to build An Author Platform. Featuring: Jalissa Corrie, Marketing Associate at Lee & Low Books; Peter Knapp, Literary Agent, Park Literary & Media; Kelsey Marrujo, Publicist at Macmillan; Nisha Sharma, author of My So-Called Bollywood Life; moderated by Ashley Woodfolk, author of The Beauty That Remains

B.  Novel Track
Global Storytelling:
Traditions and Transformations. Featuring: Kheryn Callender, author of Hurricane Child; Tami Charles, author of Like Vanessa; Sayantani DasGupta, author of The Serpent's Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond Book 1); Aram Kim, author of No Kimchi for Me!; moderated by Namrata Tripathi, Publisher of Kokila, a new imprint at Penguin Young Readers

C.  Illustrated Books and Nonfiction Track
Lifting the Veil:
So you want to write and/or illustrate nonfiction. Here's what you need to know. Featuring: Cozbi Cabrera, author and illustrator of My Hair Is a Garden; Bryan Collier, illustrator of Trombone Shorty; Wade Hudson, editor of We Rise. We Resist. We Raise Our Voices!; London Ladd, illustrator of Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School; John Parra, illustrator of Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos; Traci Sorell, author of We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga; moderated by Kandace Coston, Assistant Editor Lee & Low Books

4:15pm - 5:00pm
A.  Publishing Track
It's a Wrap:
Closing Q&A. Featuring: Kazu Kibuishi, writer and artist of Amulet graphic novel series; Beth Phelan, Literary Agent at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency; Kate Sullivan, Senior Editor, Delacorte/Random House; Javaka Steptoe, author / illustrator of Radiant Child, The Story of Young Artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat; Namrata Tripathi, Publisher of Kokila, a new imprint at Penguin Young Readers; Renee Watson, author of Betty Before X

Click here for details on the conference presenters. 

Click here for listing of accommodations near The Graduate Center/CUNY.

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions. 

EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION ends on March 14th!
REGISTER NOW! 


HIGHLIGHTS OF 2017 CONFERENCE

 
 

Click here for details on the 2017 conference presenters.

Click here for details on the 2017 program.


HIGHLIGHTS OF 2016 CONFERENCE

 
 

Click here for details on the 2016 conference presenters.

Click here for details on the 2016 program.


SPONSORS

Victoria Sanders & Associates

John N. Blackman Sr. Foundation