To support writers early in their career by pairing them with an experienced children’s author or illustrator.
Critical Statistics, Achievements, and Other Relevant Information
Our mentors work one-on-one with a mentee and their completed draft of a manuscript over the course of a year, offering much-needed support to improve craft and to better understand the publishing industry.
Since 2016, many of our mentees have gone on to sign with agents or have sold their work to publishers. Visit the mentee bio page to learn more about past participants and join their readership.
What are participants saying?
I'm so lucky to have a mentor who pushes me to work outside of my box and make changes to my book that I never anticipated, but totally needed. Through Google Hangout and email, we've spent the last seven months inching our way through my manuscript -- cutting, tightening, expanding, and just giving it the love it needed. Sara [Ryan] is so supportive of me and kind, but also knows when I need to be nudged into the hard work I often resist. I'm enormously honored and can't wait to see what the last half of the year holds!
- Tai Farnsworth, 2018 Mentee
For years, I've wanted to write about the kinds of girls I grew up with -- but it wasn't until I learned of the WNDB mentorship program that I truly believed these stories were needed, a belief my mentor, Angela Cervantes, has nurtured and deepened over the past six months. Her unbridled, rah-rah encouragement has instilled in me the confidence to keep at it, while also making me excited to sit my butt in the chair (nearly) every morning. I feel very grateful to have her in my corner -- and incredibly lucky to have be a WNDB mentee.
- Galina Espinoza, 2018 Mentee
I was floored and thrilled to receive one of the illustration mentorships. It was an exciting surprise to learn I’d have the privilege of meeting with four mentors, and that I’d get two meetings each throughout the year.
It’s remarkable to see evidence of my shift in perspective [since the start of my mentorship], and given the inspiring expertise opinions, and generous advice from the illustration mentorship team, I am more excited than ever to take that leap from vague painter to me.
- Jenn Kocsmiersky, 2018 Mentee
For the 2021 year, we are offering mentorships to 15 rising voices—twelve aspiring authors and three illustrators (or author/illustrators)—who personally identify with an underrepresented community or are working on a book with a diverse protagonist. This is an opportunity to be matched with an experienced children’s book creator and receive individual support and feedback on a completed draft of a work-in-progress as well as be able to ask questions about navigating the publishing industry. Applications for the 2021 cycle will be open from October 1 to 31, 2020, and will include the use of a new application form.
Please consult the following links for more information:
For more details about the mentorship initiative, please email Miranda Paul and Meg Cannistra at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To keep updated about Mentorship news and opportunities, please subscribe to our newsletter for more details.
Team Member Bios
is an award-winning children’s author of eight picture books, including the nonfiction titles One Plastic Bag and Water is Water, both named Junior Library Guild selections. Her books have received starred reviews from School Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly, and select awards include a 2017 ILA Teacher’s Choice (Whose Hands Are These?), 2016 Green Earth Book Award Honor, 2016 Children’s Africana Book Award Notable (One Plastic Bag), Maryland Blue Crab Award winner and Charlotte Zolotow Notable title (Water is Water). Miranda makes lively appearances at schools, libraries, and bookstores, and has been a guest presenter at the Library of Congress Young Readers Center along with environmental activist Isatou Ceesay. Her 2018-2019 works include Adventures to School and I Am Farmer, both co-authored with her husband, Baptiste Paul. She believes in working hard, having fun, and being kind. Though her work as Mentorship chair of We Need Diverse Books is mostly serious and professional, she also has a silly side—which, she claims, only comes out on days that end in y. Learn more at www.mirandapaul.com.
writes both middle grade and young adult books. She’s the author of THE TROUBLE WITH SHOOTING STARS, a middle grade novel coming out in Summer 2019. After living in New York City and North Jersey for a few years, Meg now resides with her two cats, Gloom and Doom, in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has a BA in English Literature from Flagler College and an MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University. When she’s not taking pictures of her cats or wandering around grocery stores, she writes magical, mysterious, and sometimes scary stories. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @MegCannistra, and learn more about her books at www.megcannistra.com.