ILF Announces Recipients of the Stephen Fraser Encouragement Fund

We are beyond excited to announce that we have selected the three recipients of this cycle of the Stephen Fraser Encouragement Fund.

Of this year’s grant cycle, Impact and Legacy Fund managing director Lin Oliver says, “The ILF is incredibly grateful for the generosity of Stephen Fraser for continuing to fund this grant, which offers support and hope to three worthy children’s book professionals.”

This year, we offer congratulations to Nadia Salomon, Jessica Stremer, and Diana Castillo! Each of these incredible children's book creators will receive a no-strings-attached grant of $2,000 to encourage them as they continue to create remarkable work.

Nadia Salomon is a #PitMad Success Story and award-winning author. She writes on themes of South Asian and Caribbean culture, STEM, nonfiction, and humor. Nadia is also an award-winning journalist. When she's not writing, you'll find her working closely with SCBWI, 12x12 Challenge, Kids Comics Unite, and Storyteller Academy. Of the award, Nadia says, "Thank you for awarding me the Stephen Fraser Encouragement Fund Grant and congratulations to the other two recipients. I am concurrently working on two fantasy graphic novels. I hope to use the grant money to attend a writing retreat or take more graphic novel classes to complete both works in progress." Her previous work includes Goodnight Ganesha (Viking Books, 2021) and the forthcoming A Voice of Hope (Philomel Books, 2024). 

Jessica Stremer, whose 2023 picture book The Great Carrier Reef was longlisted for the Russell Freedman Award for Nonfiction for a Better World, combines her love of science with her love of the written word. We're also very excited for her two forthcoming books, Lights Out (spring 2024) and Fire Escape (summer 2024). Jessica says,”I am extremely grateful for this grant. I plan to use part of the funds to travel for research for my next middle grade nonfiction project, and another portion for additional marketing and promotion of my upcoming picture books.”

Illustrator Diana Castillo is a Cuban author/illustrator hailing from Havana, who draws inspiration from the colorful city and sandy beaches she grew up in. She has recently embarked on a new adventure and now lives and works from beautiful, snowy Norway. Her debut picture book is forthcoming in 2025 from Holiday House. Of the grant she says, "This grant money will allow me to focus my time and energy on both writing and illustrating the stories I want to put out into the world. Creating book dummies as both Author and Illustrator takes a lot of time, and can sometimes feel overwhelming in an industry where rejections are common. The support of Stephen and the Impact and Legacy Fund has rekindled my hope and enthusiasm to keep pursuing my dream of being a fulltime children's book author/illustrator."

We are so delighted to support these incredible children's book creators with a burst of encouragement!

Applications for the next round will open in Autumn 2024. We encourage any children’s book professional with one publication under their belt to apply.