FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sixteen Creative, Rising Voices Named 2021 We Need Diverse Books Mentees
January 12, 2020
Washington, DC — After combing through hundreds of manuscripts and portfolios for the 2021 We Need Diverse Books Mentorship Program, the committee and mentors have made their winning selections. According to the program’s co-chair, Miranda Paul, this year’s cohort is “the most internationally diverse group of winners yet—currently living in seven different countries around the world.”
The reader teams also noted many remarkable applications, naming nearly sixty finalists across the categories. The sixteen creators selected to receive a year-long mentorship include: Leo Quiles, TeMika Grooms, and Katherine Ahmed (Illustration); Paola Santos, Tonya Abari, Thushanthi Ponweera, and Taunya English (Picture Book Text); Sope Martins, Brionni Nwosu, Anushi Mehta, and Malia Maunakea (Middle Grade Fiction); and Ayida Shonibar, Naeemah Philippeaux, Clara Kumagi, N. Lidia Garcia, and Manuia Heinrich (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 nearly 70 twelve-month mentorships since the first round of applications were received in 2015. Current and former recipients have gone on to publish or contract dozens of books for children and teens, several of which have been highlighted in the WNDB in the Classroom initiative and OurStory App. Angeline Boulley, a 2019 mentee who worked with author Francisco X. Stork, sold her debut YA novel The Firekeeper’s Daughter after a 12-bidder auction. It will be published on March 16, 2021 by Henry Holt and Co.
Applications for the seventh annual WNDB Mentorship program are expected to open in fall 2021, and details will be posted in the future on the WNDB website’s Mentorship page. Multi-published and actively working kidlit authors and illustrators who’d like to mentor a writer or artist are encouraged to reach out to the co-chairs by June of the year preceding the mentorship.
About We Need Diverse Books. We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots 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. It is our mission to put more books featuring diverse characters in the hands of all children. You can learn more about WNDB programs at www.diversebooks.org.
Press Contacts: Alaina Lavoie, firstname.lastname@example.org
Miranda Paul, WNDB Mentorship co-chair, email@example.com
Meg Cannistra, WNDB Mentorship co-chair, firstname.lastname@example.org