2020 Mentorship Press Release
Keep Your Eye on These 10 Book Creators, the 2020 We Need Diverse Books Mentees
Correction: An earlier version of this press release and the WNDB email newsletter incorrectly named mentee Eloise Freeman as Eloise Greenfield. This press release has been updated with the correct spelling of Eloise Freeman's name.
The final quarter of 2019 kept We Need Diverse Books volunteers and team members busy as they sifted through nearly 200 applications for their Mentorship Program. According to the program’s co-chair, Meg Cannistra, this year’s selected mentees are “phenomenal, an extremely talented group.”
The reader teams noted many remarkable applications, naming over four dozen finalists across the four categories. The ten creators ultimately selected to receive a year-long mentorship include: Donald Sutton and Thuỳ cốm (Illustration); Cynthia Harmony, Eloise Freeman, and Valerie Bolling (Picture Book Text); Lily Quan and Kesha Grant (Middle Grade Fiction); and Nadine Pinede, Sarah Loch, and Mary Stewart Lyda (Young Adult Fiction). Photos and bios of the mentees and their mentors are available online.
The We Need Diverse Books Mentorship Program has now awarded over 50 mentorships, producing a total of 88 industry professionals and upcoming voices who have participated in one-on-one relationships since the first round of applications were received in 2015. Some of the program’s former mentees have gone on to sign with prominent industry agents, publish multiple works, or secure a debut book contract, including past WNDB Mentee Angeline Boulley, whose 7-figure deal was recently on our website and in Publishers Weekly.
Applications for the sixth annual WNDB Mentorship program are expected to open in fall 2020, and details will be posted in the future at the Mentorship page of the WNDB website. Although the program focuses on mentees’ needs, mentors reflect yearly on benefits of participation. Multi-published and actively working kidlit authors and illustrators who’d like to mentor are encouraged to reach out to the co-chairs by June of the year preceding the mentorship.
We Need Diverse Books™ is a nonprofit organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. More about the organization is available at www.diversebooks.org.