Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2018 Book Launch Award Winners


The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is pleased to announce that Francie Latour and Traci Sorell are the winners of the 2018 SCBWI Book Launch Award. The annual award, established by the SCBWI in 2012, provides authors or illustrators with $2,000 in funds to supplement the promotion and marketing of newly published works for children.

Francie Latour is launching her picture book Auntie Luce’s Talking Paintings (Groundwood Books), illustrated by Ken Daley, which follows young Ti Chou as she explores the sights and sounds of her family’s ancestral home in Haiti, and connects with her aunt, a working artist. Latour will use the grant to share her book at cultural events in Boston, Miami, and New York, the US cities with the largest Haitian-American populations. Latour will also partner with the Embassy of Haiti in Washington D.C. to host a family book event and distribute Auntie Luce’s Talking Paintings to elementary school students.

“The warmth and welcome I’ve received has been such an amazing and affirming experience,” Latour said of her foray into the world of children’s books. “Although as a mother I’ve been a committed reader of children’s books, I hail from the rough and tumble world of newspaper journalism; never did I think these fragmented memories and experiences of hyphenated identity from my childhood would reach kids in this way. I’m so grateful to SCBWI for recognizing a story that seeks to honor Haitian culture and Haiti’s place in the world.”

Traci Sorell is the author of We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga (Charlesbridge). With illustrations by Frane Lessac, Sorell’s picture book explores contemporary Cherokee culture, and the spirit of gratitude the community experiences during each of the four seasons. Sorell plans to use the grant to visit northeastern Oklahoma schools within the Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction, donate books to classrooms and libraries, and plan launch events in cities such as Tulsa, Kansas City, Albuquerque, and Washington D.C., where the Cherokee Nation has official satellite communities.

Sorell said, “I am both humbled and excited to receive this award! My fellow SCBWI members in the KS-MO region have been so supportive of my writing journey. I look forward to sharing this book with all children nationwide, including those in the Cherokee Nation where my family recently relocated.”

For information on how to apply for next year’s grant, visit




Founded in 1971, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is one of the largest existing writers’ and illustrators’ organizations, with over 22,000 members worldwide. It is the only organization specifically for those working in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia. The organization was founded by Stephen Mooser (President) and Lin Oliver (Executive Director), both of whom are well-published children’s book authors and leaders in the world of children’s literature.