NAPIBOWRIWEE 2014: Day Four – Guest Authors, Part 1 of 2 (May 4)

The next NAPIBOWRIWEE will take place May 1-7, 2014
The next NAPIBOWRIWEE will take place May 1-7, 2014

(NOTE: For this entire week, I will post a new blog every day by 6 AM PST here. So check back daily! Also – I will post fun Tweets live each day! Follow me on Twitter @paulayoo)


It’s official. We are halfway through NAPIBOWRIWEE! Who’s still here? Are we all surviving? Any burn out? Fatigue? Frustration? Do NOT worry if you are frustrated, burned out or suffering from writer’s block. Because I myself got a little cranky, burned out and had a huge case of writer’s block, too. So there. Feel better? After all, misery loves company. 🙂

MY DAY THREE UPDATE: FYI I did not get Book 3 done. I had a concert with the Southeast Symphony. The Southeast Symphony was founded in 1948 as the country’s oldest African American orchestra (due unfortunately to segregation back in the day). Today it’s an all-inclusive ensemble with a very talented and diverse roster. I was honored and privileged to be a part of this historic group. (For more information on this group, go here: But I have Sunday Funday off  – so trust me, I will plow through and get caught up tomorrow! 🙂

To inspire everyone to make it through the halfway point, here are some special Guest Authors who have graciously agreed to give away personally autographed copies of their books in our annual NAPIBOWRIWEE Random Prize Drawing Contest! Yippee! 🙂

Remember – if you have signed up to post comments on my blog or have emailed me privately (paula at paulayoo dot com), then you are automatically included in our drawing. For more info, check out our FAQs blog here:

(Keep reading after the break to find out who are Guest Authors are!)

Don Tate (author/illustrator)
Don Tate (author/illustrator)


Children’s book author & illustrator

PRIZE: One lucky winner will receive THE CART THAT CARRIED MARTIN (Written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Don Tate, Charlesbridge 2013) autographed by both Eve Bunting and Don Tate!

Meet Don Tate! He’s an amazing author and illustrator I first met in Austin, Texas back in 2008 at the Texas Book Festival. We’ve been friends ever since. I even had the honor of meeting his family and celebrating his birthday this year! He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet!

He’s also one of the most talented! Don Tate is the award-winning illustrator/author of more than 25 trade and educational books for children. His books include Ron’s Big Mission (Dutton, 2009), a Junior Library Guild spring 2009 selection; I Am My Grandpa’s Enkelin, written by Walter Wangerin Jr., published with Paraclete Press in December 2007; Sure as Sunrise: Stories of Bruh Rabbit and his Walkin’ Talkin’ Friends (Houghton Mifflin, 2004), which received starred reviews from Booklist Magazine and School Library Journal, as well as a 2004 Aesop Accolades award, and a Texas Bluebonnet Award, 2006 – 2007; Summer Sun Risin’ (Lee & Low Books, 2002), a Bank Street College of Education as “Best Children’s Books of the Year for 2002″ and recipient of the Children’s Crown Award, 2003 by the National Christian School Association Master List; and Say Hey: A Song of Willie Mays (Jump at the Sun, 2000). His other trade picture books include Black All Around! (Lee & Low Books); The Hidden Feast (August House, 2006); The Legend of the Valentine (Zondervan, 2002), which is also a Christian Bookseller’s Association best seller; She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story (Harper Collins, 2010). In addition to illustrating, Don is an author. It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Taught Himself to Draw is a Lee & Low New Voices honor winner and will publish in 2012. In addition to children’s books, Don also licenses his art to product manufacturers. KIDZ is a line of juvenile bed and bathroom products that includes wallpaper, light switches, wall art and drawer knobs. He also has a line of children’s textile/fabric available at specialty fabric shops, which feature his designs. My Peepz, a group of African American characters, is marketed to ‘tweeners and has been a hit in the calendar market. A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Don currently resides in Austin, Texas, with his wife and son. In his spare time, Don is a gym-rat, having competed (in better fit days) in natural, drug-free bodybuilding.” F0r more information, visit his website:

(You can also read an older interview I did with Don a few years ago here:


“We live in a diverse world. Whether we like it or not, whether right or wrong, race does seem to matter in this world. For whatever reason, even the most “color-blind” human being seems to be consumed, fascinated, enamored, captivated, or in total disdain by the color of his or her neighbor. I guess that’s just human nature.

“But it’s also human nature, I believe, to better ourselves, to fix what is wrong. Too often, the media devalues people of color. Is this an accident, or is it intentional? I don’t know, but the message is clear: white people are more important, particularly to people who produce television shows, movies, books, magazines, newspapers, advertising, games. My son, if I let him (I wouldn’t), would spend the majority of his day watching teen entertainment television channels. These shows feature mostly white kids doing all sorts of really cool things. They are popular rock stars. They live exotic and exciting lives. They have magical powers and do battle with space aliens. They do just about everything imaginable . . . well, except for having many friends of color. The same can be said of children’s books.

“I can see where it would become easy for a child of color to buy into the thinking that they are not as smart as white kids, or that their futures are not as bright, or that their dreams are not as important. Must not be, because the adults who run the world around them do not value people who look like them— unless, of course, they’re playing football. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.

“Visit just about any book store and study the images in the children’s section. One will see many books featuring white children, teddy bears, alligators, ladybugs, trucks, pigs, cats, frogs, rabbits, turtles, and even more white kids. But very few images will feature children of color. It’s no wonder why my 12-year-old son questions why there are no Black superheroes.”


Kelly DiPucchio (photo credit: K. DiPucchio)
Kelly DiPucchio (photo credit: K. DiPucchio)


Children’s Picture Book Author

PRIZE: One lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of GRACE FOR PRESIDENT (Written by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by LeUyen Pham, Disney-Hyperion 2012)

Meet Kelly DiPucchio! Kelly and I met at a summer Society of Children Book Writers & Illustrators Conference many years ago. Hmmmm. It’s sounding like everyone featured on my NAPIBOWRIWEE blog is someone I met at the SCBWI summer conference. See? You should GO to the SCBWI conference! It’s amazing. Go here for more details:

Now back to Kelly… 🙂 From her website: “Kelly DiPucchio is the award-winning author of several children’s books, thousands of To-Do lists, and a few recipe cards. Two of her books, Grace For President and The Sandwich Swap, were New York Times bestsellers; Like most kids who grew up in the 1970’s, Kelly had a pet goat and bought all her clothes from the Sears catalog. Like most teenagers who grew up in the 1980’s, Kelly had really big glasses and feathered hair. Today, Kelly lives with her husband and three children in southeastern Michigan, where she enjoys writing just about everything except her own bio.” To find out more about Kelly, please visit her website here:

I asked Kelly to participate in this year’s NAPIBOWRIWEE theme of multiculturalism because she has a special behind-the-scenes story about one of her most famous books, GRACE FOR PRESIDENT. Here’s what she has to say…



“I feel it is so important that children of all races are represented in kid lit because we live in a multicultural country.

“Not to feature people of color is not only a misrepresentation of reality, it’s rude and hurtful. Maya Angelou once said, “when you know better, you do better.”

“And we know better.

“GRACE FOR PRESIDENT was first published in 2008 and the reactions from readers still continue to surprise and humble me.

“I really had no idea the book would be so well-received. I believe its popularity, in large part, has been due to the fact that the book not only empowers girls, it encourages social action, and it promotes respect for diversity.

“When I began writing a story about a student who learns the United States has never had a female president,

“I set out to create a confident, independent, strong female character who would be a positive role model for girls.

“The fact that Grace Campbell was African American had nothing to do with the story.  But because she was a child of color, a story that was actually about gender equality ignited more discussions about race equality, particularly in kid’s books.

“What I have loved the most about being a part of GRACE FOR PRESIDENT’s six year run has been the feedback I’ve received from teachers and parents all over the country. Like this excerpt from an amazon review:

“I was moved when I got to the next to the last page: when the children who’d laughed at Grace for thinking she could run for president, finally accorded her respect and admiration. I looked down at my smiling, cinnamon-faced child with her curly, happy braids, and my eyes filled with tears. The very last page…well, you’ll just have to see it. It was descriptive of everything you’d want for your child. The realization that, finally, my daughter could hope for such a life, flooded me with emotion.

“It’s reactions to the book like that one that flood ME with emotion. As a writer you really can’t hope for more.”


Thanks again to Don and Kelly for graciously donating their books to our NAPIBOWRIWEE Prize Random Contest Giveaway Drawing! 🙂

Please remember to comment on my blog below about how your DAY FOUR went. I hope you are inspired and still feeling as excited as you were on Day One! 🙂

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog featuring Part 2 of our Guest Authors and more prizes! Until then… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! 🙂


  1. Oh but Don, there are Black superheroes…Storm, Luke Cage, and the John Stewart Green Lantern come to mind. But, yes, there are definitely not enough minority superheroes.

    Paula, sorry you’re cranky, burned out, and have writer’s block too. As I was telling someone, the first 2 days were awesome and then yesterday was like pulling teeth. Have yet to get started today. Might mull it over while cleaning bathrooms. 🙂

    Oh, and thanks for reminding me that I need my own copy of Grace for President — a great story + art by LeUyen Pham is a must have!

  2. Wow, this goes fast! I fell behind and suddenly it became Day 4. Yikes! I have four drafts as of now. Yesterday was entirely lost. Like I wrote on Day 1, I have a long list of ideas to choose from and I’m in the habit of writing 500+ words/day in my journal. This reminds me of how a famous writer said, I’m paraphrasing, I had hard times writing and easy times writing but when I look at the finished draft, I can’t tell which parts were hard or easy. Thanks for the accountability week, Paula.

    • You’re welcome! Glad you are having fun. It’s amazing how fast the week goes, too! Keep up the good work, you can do it!

  3. I’m about half-way through my 4th book. Still hanging in there and I have ideas for the last 3 books. Looks like it’s turning into a series….yikes….!!

  4. GRACE FOR PRESIDENT was the very first book in my daughter’s uber-special collection of books with characters named Grace. Sadly, it is one of very few that have a diverse cast of characters.

    Day 4 done after a drizzly dash on the bike path! Congratulations for reaching the halfway point everyone!

  5. Day 3 & 4 of NaPiBoWriWee – Yesterday I took off from writing in order to do research and catch up with Grand Prix Show Jumping that I had missed on FEI TV, as well as watch the Kentucky Derby. Yay! California Chrome won!!

    I just put the finishing touches on two more rough drafts, which brings my total so far up to six. I revised my query letter for Ned and sent it out to three more agents along with a follow up letter to the agent who had asked for a full. He never got it the first time and I’m wondering if this one was also lost in cyberspace or was overlooked somehow. Oh well, it is what it is.

    After reading what Don and Kelly said I dug out my college (VC) papers and tried to locate the information on a research study that I had read about when I was doing a 6-month study on Humans & Language. At the time I came across it I studying John Lilly’s work on dolphin communication and had just read his book, Mind of the Dolphins. There was a researcher that he mentioned who wanted to take new born babies from various nationalities/cultures to an isolated island and raise them together to see when, or if, they realized that they were different from each other and what if anything happened. I believe it was based,in part,on the Diverse Environment Theory, which is based on the assumption that if we put children in a culturally, ethnically, or racially diverse environment they will believe that environment is normal.

    • Taking babies from different backgrounds and raising them together in isolation…LOL! Oh, the Human Subjects Committee would have an absolute field day with that. But, sounds like a terrific story plot though. 😉

  6. OOOh, Sunny Sunday is a tough day to make myself work. After all the obligatory family calls #4 is done….

    Everyone have a great Sunday evening. 🙂

  7. Paula, sorry about the burn out. I hope/know you’re a writing whiz today. I bet the concert was extraordinary.

    There are a few black superheroes now though back in the day there were none. I enjoyed your posts Don and Kelly. It’s up to the authors to make conscience decisions to write diverse stories from picture books through YA. Maybe then people would be more accepting.

    I’m having a blast, Paula. Thanks for the nudge to write a draft a day. I wish it could stay this way! (Been writing rhymers.) 🙂 Congrads writers! Halfway through. ONWARD HO!

  8. Love the interviews. That amazon review for GRACE FOR PRESIDENT says it all. It should be posted on the We Need Diverse Books campaign.

    It’s mid-day 4, and I’ve drafted 2 and am starting number 3. All are multicultural, though one is subtle through its theme. It’s empowering to get these stories down on paper after they’ve been simmering in my mind for quite some time.

  9. I was on a One-A-Day plan until today, when I took a break. So I will have a little catch-up to do on Monday.

    Meanwhile: I loved trolling through the WeNeedDiversBooks tumblr. This contribution especially grabbed me: “because DIFFERENT is important and could be THE SAME for someone else.”

  10. Days 1 and 2 were the best, I have slowed down a bit this weekend but will get back up to speed tomorrow.
    I like the examples shared today! Thanks

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