SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

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In an ideal world, both Mrs. Jones & 217 mom are both correct, but an ideal world is so often unattainable.
(personal opinion) In the last job I had, we were instructed to change "baa baa black sheep" to baa baa rainbow". Obviously, I worked within the workplace code, but I think that was going a bit too far.
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Picture Books (PB) / Re: Picture Books that are about co-existing
« Last post by Debbie Vilardi on Yesterday at 06:17 PM »
I think lots of animal pair books are really about how to navigate a relationship you can co-exist.
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Picture Books (PB) / Re: Looking for An Editor
« Last post by Debbie Vilardi on Yesterday at 06:16 PM »
The next step is usually finding critique partners. This is a free way to get edits done. You can try posting on the Critique board or look for someone in Critique  Groups or through your local SCBWI chapter. Critique partners can show you flaws in your work that you may be blind to. We all have blind spots. Only pay someone once you can go no further for free. (If you've already worked with partners, ignore this paragraph.)

We have a few members, including myself, who critique for a price. Also The Book has a listing. Many authors do this work as do former editors and agents. I haven't worked with anyone, so I won't make a rec.
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Picture Books (PB) / Re: Picture Books that are about co-existing
« Last post by JulieM on Yesterday at 05:51 PM »
Can you be more specific, Virginia? For example, are you referring to animals or people? Certain situations?
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In an ideal world we wouldn't need this painful discussion.
This is not an ideal world.
mrh is recognizing publishing reality as is. You can do as you think is right, but do so with eyes open. This is where we are now.

Like MLK, I dream of a day when young'uns would read such old threads and wonder what it was about, because racisms would seem as unacceptable and alien to humanity as slavery is now in most parts of the world. I have a dream...

But this is reality. Main character's POV should be told by someone who is of the same race. We still allow gender swapping, (F writer with M MC and vice versa) historical time changes, (writing about a period you didn't live in) and even nationality change, sometimes. But race is off the publishing companies table.

I'm Jewish and the child of a holocaust survivor. Personally, I'm fine with someone who is neither writing a MC that is. But that's me. Many others are not fine with it.

Go with your eyes open. Wide.
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Picture Books (PB) / Looking for An Editor
« Last post by mari-tetwiler on Yesterday at 02:38 PM »
 I have completed my first picture book and realize the next step is finding a professional editor to review my manuscript.  I attended the winter SCBWI conference and the workshop with Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen. I have downloaded the SCBWI The Book, and use it as a reference.    I have read and researched possible agents and publishers who might be interested in my book.  I have edited my draft several times, reducing  my word count and yet keeping my voice.  I am hoping for suggestions for my  search for an editor. 
I am so excited to have my book read.  Thank You for your help!   :parrot
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Picture Books (PB) / Picture Books that are about co-existing
« Last post by virginia-rinkel on Yesterday at 02:37 PM »
Could anyone give me examples of picture books that have a theme of co-existing in them?
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Unless the topic of skin colour is relevant to the character, then why mention it?

This was always my thinking, too, Thundering. I always thought, "Let the reader put him/herself in the place of the character. If I identify any physical characteristic, that will automatically leave out so many."

 But too often, the default in readers minds is to make characters white. And that automatically leaves out so many. Yes, even if skin color is not mentioned at all.  That doesn't represent the world that we live in .... and it's sad (and maddening and frustrating) for kids who are not white to look for books and see themselves in 1 out of 1000 stories. Think of dolls, from baby dolls to Barbie, to GI Joe, and how impossible used to be for parents to find a doll that looked like their daughter/son. Also, it used to be that publishers would whitewash covers, even if a character were explicitly asian. We had a Blueboard member who had this happen to her book. Why? The publisher thought an ethnic cover wouldn't sell. And that's not right. It took writers, artists, and editors speaking up for changes to BEGIN to happen, and it has been and continues to be a tough fight.

So I agree that plot is a crucial element of our stories. Of course it is! But so is representation of all the children we write for. And it's just as important that the writers and artists who get contracts are not just white men and women.

In my current book I mention skin color (of each main character) briefly ... and I tried to do it in a thoughtful way. Was skin color part of my plot? Nope. Not at all. They were three kids (two white siblings, and their black neighbor/friend) who were different from each other NOT because of their skin color, but because of their personalities, their fears, their confidences, their desires, and their quirks. In another story, maybe these kids would address skin color somehow, how it impacted them, but not this time. I wanted to write a story first -- a fun story where skin color wasn't the issue. My characters were too were busy dealing with all the other stuff I was throwing at them, LOL. But I don't live in an all white world and my characters shouldn't either. And it's my intention to help representation get better as best I can, as responsibly as possible.

Not everyone will agree with me. We all are coming at this from different places. I certainly think differently now than I did ten years ago . . . and I hope that my thinking on this subject will continue to advance and hopefully get better.  We'll see!

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Okay, I'm chiming in because I hàve witnessed it a number of ways & I'm just wondering how mentioning the ethnicity of the character serves the plot. In today's climate, with the sensitivity of multicultural society it's very easy to offend a number of ethnic groups.
Mrs. Jones makes some very good points.
I lived n Bradford, a city which, after London in the UK, has the second largest ethnic diversity. Unless the topic of skin colour is relevant to the character, then why mention it? Sometimes, I think it could be left to the reader to take a lead from the plot & let them characterise the personality of who they are reading about.
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Nebraska / Re: Critique exchange: hooks, loglines, query letters
« Last post by Alison on Yesterday at 11:56 AM »
This is a great example, thanks Judith!
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