Ten-Minute Blog Break - 18th November

Diversity is a word that gets bandied around a lot, and I hope we can agree that diversity in children's books is generally a good thing. But moving from that concept to actually bringing more diverse books to the market seems to be a tougher job.

K.M. Lockwood takes on the diversity question this week, in a blog post that starts with dressing up and ends with the challenge of trying to write a character who sits outside of your own cultural experience. This is something I've been tackling in my own writing (with much trepidation), and K.M.'s post has made me think and reflect more than anything else I've read this week.

The checklist that Kate Peridot uses to evaluate her picture book ideas is immensely useful for pinning down what makes a story work. But it also strikes me as a little controversial in its focus on the commercial appeal of an idea over its creative merits. How do you choose which ideas to develop and which to put aside?

There are more picture book happenings at Story Snug, where Catherine Friess is interviewing SCBWI US illustrator Hazel Mitchell. Hazel talks about her process and the inspiration for her illustration work on Imani's Moon by (fellow Scoobie) JaNay Brown-Wood.

A lot has happened in Larisa Villar Hauser's life since we last checked in with her. In particular, her self-published book has gone out into the world and been received pretty well. Read Larisa's insightful blog for her reflections about launch week.

NaNoWriMo is motivating for sure, but also a big ask in terms of commitment. Those seeking a somewhat gentler November may appreciate Julie Day's approach, which focuses on good process rather than strict word count.

Show don't tell - this simple mantra hides a multitude of complexity, especially for a novice writer struggling with character, dialogue, structure and everything else in-between. Thankfully, Dr Vanessa Harbour has put on her teacher's hat for a succinct and illuminating post that explains when to show and when not to. Thanks, Doc!


A SCBWI member since 2009, Nick Cross is an Undiscovered Voices winner who currently writes children's short fiction for Stew Magazine.

Nick's most recent blog is all about the reasons Why You Should Support Stew Magazine, in their Kickstarter campaign.


  1. Thank you for including Story Snug's interview with Hazel Mitchell. Hazel is also giving away a signed copy of her book, Imani's Moon.

    1. Thanks for mentioning the interview ... As I am an ex-pat living and working in USA, feel strong ties to UK SCBWI!

  2. Really good recommendations- thank you Nick


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