Something AMAZING has happened. THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for the Texas/Oklahoma region!
It’s always excited to know that your work is appreciated by readers, but this award in particular means so much to me for many reasons.
Firstly, SCBWI’s Crystal Kite Awards are the only peer-voted awards for children’s books. Knowing that others writers—who have been in the trenches of creating a story with heart, mystery and action with me—voted for this book, is so wonderful.
Secondly, because it’s an award through the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, which has been such a huge part of my publishing journey.
I joined SCBWI as soon as I realized that all my story ideas were geared toward young and young at heart readers. I knew nothing about the industry and next to nothing about writing a novel. I couldn’t afford an MFA in children’s literature, but through SCBWI workshops and conferences, I learned about craft and career—and I’m still learning through SCBWI today.
SCBWI also gave me support, through its online discussion board as well as the events of the regional chapters. When I first joined SCBWI, I lived in Los Angeles and attended the Los Angeles SCBWI chapter’s amazing retreat weekend right before my husband and I moved to Texas. I learned, found camaraderie and felt at home. I was hooked.
I got the idea for THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST while we were living in Houston, and the chapter’s Clear Lake critique group were my first readers as I figured out the opening pages. A few years later, at the Houston SCBWI annual conference, I won the chapter’s Joan Lowry Nixon Award, which awarded me a year’s mentorship with the amazing Newbery Honor-recipient Kathi Appelt.
The Austin SCBWI chapter has been my home for the past nine years, and here I’ve made amazing writer friends, been supported by the community and learned so so much through the conferences, webinars, workshops and more. It was at the Austin SCBWI conference that I was connected with my agent and met the art director of THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST, Laurent Linn, for the first time.
Every year since I joined SCBWI, I’ve gleely voted for my favorite titles for the Crystal Kite Awards, and I’ve applauded other authors and illustrators as they’ve received statues. As a Regional Advisor, I also been so proud to present them!
But I never thought I’d one day get a statue of my own.
I want to say a huge THANK YOU to all the SCBWI members in Texas and Oklahoma who voted for THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST. There were so many wonderful books in the contest, and I know the choice was a difficult one.
And a big CONGRATULATIONS to the other 2019 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award winners. Check out the full list on SCBWI’s website.
I’d like to especially give a shout out to fellow debut authors Kim Tomsic, whose middle-grade novel THE 11:11 WISH won in the South West Division (Nevada, Arizona, Utah, southern Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico), and Jan Eldredge, whose EVANGELINE OF THE BAYOU won for the South East Division (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama).