Monday, January 23, 2012

Sara Palacios and Rafael López - Pura Belpré Illustrator Honors

Congratulations Sara and Rafael!

pura belpre medal

The American Library Association announced their prestigious annual awards today---we were thrilled to see two FCL talents on the list! Sara Palacios and Rafael López were awarded 2012 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honors for their latest picture books (and Sara's debut picture book in the US!). The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. It is co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, an ALA affiliate.

2012 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Books

The Cazuela book cover imageThe Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred illustrated by Rafael López, written by Samantha R. Vamos, and published by Charlesbridge.

Nothing is better than a delicious bowl of arroz con leche unless, of course, a host of farm animals have a hand in the preparation! Lopez’s blazing illustrations for the rhythmic, rollicking cumulative tale, “The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred” radiate a cheerful exuberance and are peppered with Latino cultural details that extend Vamos’ perky narrative.

Marisol McDonald book cover imageMarisol McDonald Doesn’t Match /Marisol McDonald no combina illustrated by Sara Palacios, written by Monica Brown, and published by Children’s Book Press, an imprint of Lee and Low Books Inc.

Bright and vivacious Marisol, a young Peruvian-Scottish-American girl, loves peanut butter and jelly burritos and speaks both English and Spanish. Unfortunately, her teacher and classmates do not appreciate Marisol’s mashing of cultures. Using mixed media techniques, Palacios’ illustrations exude child appeal and biculturalism, allowing astute visual readers to identify the blending of cultures.

We're thrilled for Sara and Rafael, and even more thrilled and that their gorgeous books will be in the hands of so many young readers thanks to the wonderful librarians that support Latino/ Latina artists. We'll be spotlighting Sara and Rafael in the coming weeks for a look at their creative work, forthcoming books and what they are both working on next.

In the meantime, you can read more about MARISOL MCDONALD in Monica Brown's guest post on Cynsations blog.

Visit with Rafael in this recent Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast feature.

For a complete list of 2012 American Library Association award winners see the Publishers Weekly announcement here, and click here for the complete list of 2012 Pura Belpré award winners.

We hope you'll join us congratulating Sara and Rafael by visiting your favorite bookseller and adding these winners to your bookshelf!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Taylor’s Tips for the New Year

Hello, Full Circle community! I am so thrilled to be writing this post today. Having joined the Full Circle team in October, it has been a wonderful Fall season and start to the new year, and I’m so happy to be a part of this fabulous agency.

Over the last few months, I’ve had a busy conference schedule, attending three in October alone. I was able to do a lot of traveling and met some really great authors and writers groups. Having spent so much time at conferences recently, I thought I would say hello with a post and some quick refresher tips on how to make the most of every conference. Many of you will be well-versed in these suggestions, but it never hurts to hear them, and I think they’re important for new authors to know.

Getting the most from your conference experience:

Attend with the attitude that you are there to work.

Before you head to a conference, put yourself in the right mindset. A conference, more than anything, is a work event for you. You’ve also likely spent some money to be there, so you’re hoping to get some useful information. You will get the most from your time if you’re prepared to work for it. This is especially important for workshop weekends. Yes, it seems obvious, but I’ve spent time working with both kinds of authors: those attending specifically for critiques and notes they could take to the drawing board, and those who expected to just be meeting an agent or editor for their big break. The former makes for much more successful meetings. I was a faculty member this Fall for the wonderful Pacific Coast Children’s Writers Novel Workshop, and was so impressed by the attitudes of everyone there. Those writers were so positive about every critique they were given, because every note was something they could use and evaluate for both their own work and take back to their writers groups. They squeezed every last bit of value from that conference because they worked their butts off for three days straight. I was thrilled to work with authors who had this mindset.

Go into your consult appointments with more questions than “Are you interested in requesting material?”.

When I participate in conferences with scheduled consults (i.e. 10-15 min one-on-one meetings), I consider that time to be the author’s time. Most often, you’ve paid for that meeting, so those minutes are yours. Sometimes the conference rules will state that the meeting is strictly an “author pitches, yes or no from the agent” format, but many times you may be able to just chat with that publishing professional if you have extra time. When I run my pitch sessions and we have extra time after your pitch, I am happy to sit and answer other questions you might have, whether they’re about your pitch or about publishing in general. To that end, I always suggest that authors go into these meetings with extra questions, just in case. You’re getting one-on-one time, so use it!

Be open to advice, but remember to trust your instincts.

When you get feedback at a conference, be sure to listen. We understand how hard it is sometimes to hear a critique of your work, and I don’t know a single agent who is inconsiderate of this when talking to authors. If you’re being given advice, you can trust that it is well-intentioned and truly meant to help you move forward on the right foot for your project. That said, sometimes we are only able to respond to your pitch or maybe a few pages. At a recent conference, I heard the wonderful Joan Slattery of Pippin Properties say that an agent’s or editor’s intention is always to “do no harm,” but rather see where they can truly be of help. Know that this is how we approach your work, but that it is up to you as the writer to know how and if our suggestions can be best incorporated into your work. Don’t forget to listen to your own instincts.

Don’t give material to an agent or editor unless specifically requested.

Pretty please. This comes from a practical standpoint, as we can’t take material from every meeting home on the plane. Also, and this is a side note, it’s a little awkward for us to hand it back to you. We will occasionally ask to take some sample pages with us (I asked to keep a copy of some sample illustrations this summer, for example), but don’t assume that we’re taking printed material home. It’s fine to have materials in your meetings, but plan on us not taking anything with us unless we specifically ask for it.

I hope these little reminder tips are useful! I was happily surprised to meet many authors this year who were at their very first conference, and I’m always impressed with the confidence it takes to put yourself out there. I love going to conferences – for the many opportunities they present and for the chance we get to connect away from desks. I know I can speak for my colleagues when I say we hope to see you soon at our next conference.

Here are the event dates I have scheduled for 2012 so far, and see for where our other agents will be in the upcoming year!

SDSU Writers Conference, Jan. 27-29,

SCBWI San Diego Agent’s Day, Feb. 11,

San Francisco Writers Conference, Feb. 17-19,

Pikes Peak Writers Conference, April 20-22,

Wishing all of you a very happy and healthy 2012,

Taylor Martindale

Happy New Year from FCL!

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday. We're all excited about the new year --- we hope to meet many of you at conferences and look forward to exciting projects in the new year.

Our warmest wishes for a wonderful year---enjoy this fun piece created by our talented artist Sara Palacios!

--Stefanie, Adriana, Lilly, Sara & Taylor

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