NEWSFLASH (please spread the word): Patchwork Collective Virtual Mentors

Hi again,

this is a Multiculturalism Rocks! premiere: you’re treated to two posts in one day, and this one is also the bearer of great news!


The Patchwork Collective for Writers of Color is accepting
applications for its Virtual Mentoring Program! If you are a writer of
children’s literature looking to improve your craft and get a better
understanding of the children’s publishing industry, read on.

Participants will be invited to join an online group and receive
personalized advice from mentors on manuscripts and technique (no more
than one critique of 10 pages of a long-form work, or 1 PB over the 8
week period), industry- and craft-related information (books,
conferences, helpful organizations, Web sites, etc.), and more.
Mentors will not be offering referrals to any agents or editors. If
you are a writer of color in the “intermediate” stage of your pursuit
of a career in children’s literature, this is an opportunity for
one-on-one online communication with a published children’s book
author (PB-YA).

Mentors include authors Kelly Starlings-Lyons, Y.S. Lee, N.H. Senzai,
Ebony Joy Wilkins, Jerry Craft, Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Neesha
Meminger, Christine Taylor-Butler, Jennifer Cervantes, Crystal Allen,
and Rachel Renee Russell. They are generously donating their time and
expertise to this project, and I am extremely grateful.

If you are a writer of color 18 or over interested in this
opportunity, please send 1) a short (one paragraph) biographical
sketch of your work/writing career so far; include the URL of your Web
site if you have one 2) the classes, groups, conferences or other
resources you’ve been involved with, etc. and 3) a one-page writing
sample (for mentor matching purposes, not to be evaluated) to This is for writers of CHILDREN’S
LITERATURE ONLY, defined as picture book (PB)-young adult (YA).

APPLICATION in the subject line. Submissions that do not adhere to
these guidelines will be discarded. There are at least 10 spots
available, and matching will be first-come first-served, according to
genre. The Spring 2011 submission process is open from Feb 1-Feb 4.

Disclosure: information received from
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
8TH GRADE SUPERZERO (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic)

Note: Olugbemisola was interviewed about the program by Doret, at the Happy Nappy Bookseller. Read about it here!


NonFiction Review: SACRED MOUNTAIN EVEREST, by Christine Taylor-Butler

One of my favorites lines:
“When people think of Everest, they most often think of its enormous height and the challenge of reaching the summit. But Everest is more than a mountain carved of rock and ice. It is Chomolungma and Sagarmatha–home to the Sherpa who have served as its spiritual caretakers for hundreds of years. “

Sacred Mountain Everest is written by award-winning author Christine Taylor-Butler and published in 2009 by Lee & Low Books, one of the most awarded independent publishers I know.

I have read several children’s books on Mount Everest, but strangely enough most of them focused on the “challenge” aspect and record-setting performances of those who either attempted or successfully climbed the majestic mountain. Sacred Mountain Everest took a different approach. The author begins each paragraph with a quote that explores what the mountain means to the people who were touched by its proximity, people who often lived there. Christine Taylor-Butler introduces us right away to the other names of the Mount Everest, names used by the locals: Chomolungma and Sagarmatha.

Quiz: what do you know about the spiritual aspect of Mout Everest? If you’re like me, not much initially. I therefore enjoyed reading about it. To some, Mount Everest is related to gods and goddesses. By also feeding us with that information, in addition to the facts and numbers than we learn of–populations, climbers, height & more–we are given the unique opportunity to relate to the mountain from the point of view of the natives. I loved it and found it quite unique.

Christine Taylor-Butler raises awareness on just how endangered Mount Everest currently is. There is hope for the future, but there is still much to do.

The pictures are gorgeous and its great to have a glimpse at Sherpa children’s lives through them. It would be amazing to have the pix in PowerPoint in a classroom while reading the book loud. Let a sister dream. But seriously, what an impact it would have on kids.

The book has already won several awards, including Best Children Book of the Year from the Barnes & Noble Review. For a complete list, visit the publisher’s website.

About the author
Christine Taylor-Butler has written more than forty books for children, including biographies, state histories, and several science and fiction series. An avid reader since she was a child, Taylor-Butler believes that for many children books are their introduction to the vast diversity on our planet. Taylor-Butler is a past president of the Missouri Writers Guild, sits on the board of their children’s literature chapter, and is a member of the MIT Regional Educational Council. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband and their two daughters. Visit her online at

Disclosure: I purchased the book and I’m considering including it in a library donation project currently in progress.