The Weekly 411 (9/25/20)

© Julie Rowan-Zoch

Sept. 25, 2020 vol. 39

 The Weekly 411 gathers all the links added to Kidlit411 each week. To receive this post by email, sign up for our email updates. Are you on Facebook? Join our Kidlit411 group for conversations & camaraderie. This week's illustration is by Julie Rowan-Zoch.


We are excited to have a cover reveal for the picture book FREAKY, FUNKY FISH: ODD FACTS ABOUT FASCINATING FISH, by Debra Kempf Shumaker, illustrated by Claire Powell (Running Press Kids, May 4, 2021)! Enter to win a F&G of the book (folded & gathered, a soft unbound proof copy) using the Rafflecopter below.

Isn't it awesome?


About the book: Fish have fins and gills and tails. All fish swim and most have scales. . . but not all fish are alike. From zapping, stinging, even singing, to playing dead or a see-through head, discover the freaky and funky ways fish look and act to survive in the waters they live in.


About the Author: Debra Kempf Shumaker started reading at the age of four and hasn't stopped since. She grew up on a small dairy farm in Wisconsin but now lives in the suburbs of Northern Virginia with her husband, three sons, and two cats. Her nonfiction articles have appeared in Spider, Boys' Quest, and Fun for Kidz. FREAKY, FUNKY FISH is her debut picture book. Follow her on Twitter @ShumakerDebra or find out more at:

About the Illustrator: Claire Powell is a bestselling children's book illustrator working in London, UK. She started out designing for big-hitting television brands before an impromptu visit to a children's book exhibition led her down the path of illustration. A hugely versatile artist, Claire has a talent for creating characters that are brimming with emotion and personality. Follow her on Twitter @misspowellpeeps

or find out more at:

Add the book to your Goodreads list!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


We are excited to feature a long-time friend of Kidlit411, illustrator Julie Rowan-Zoch, and her debut picture book, LOUIS, by Tom Lichtenheld (HMH Books for Young Readers), coming out on Oct 20! Enter to win a copy of the book!

We are excited to feature author Renee Beauregard Lute and her debut middle grade novel, THE EXCEPTIONAL MAGGIE CHOWDER (Albert Whitman, October 20, 2020)  Enter to win a copy!

Illustration by Luna Valentine. Cover Design by Valerie Hernández

Sept. 20-Oct 20 SCBWI Narrative Art Award
  • What: submit three sequential images illustrating the theme "silver lining" either in full color for PB audience, or B&W for MG audience
  • Who: SCBWI members
  • Prize: free tuition virtual SCBWI winter conference

Oct. 12, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. PDT Better Books Marin Online Workshop. workshop to all MG and YA writers via Zoom: 
  • What You Don’t Know You Don’t Know – Writing Outside Your Experience - Miranda and Baptiste Paul
  • Fiction, Nonfiction, and the Spaces Between: Harnessing Reality to Speak to Readers (Uma Krishnaswami)
  • Stories of the Editorial and Development Process: The Creative and Destructive Work of Attacking a Narrative We No Longer Need (Namrata Tripathi) 
  • Creating Multidimensional Characters  (Cheryl Klein)
Cost is $30 plus optional donation. To sign up, please email darceybetterbooks (at) gmail (dot) com for links to payment & live Zoom.  

                                         Writing Courses

Fall 2020 Picture Book Biography Class with Donna Jannell Bowman. A six-week online class, deep-dive into writing picture book biographies. 75 mentor texts. Topics include: narrative v. expository, marketable ideas, point of view, theme, character and narrative arc, voice, structure, and much more. Classes begin Oct. 18.

Marketing & Creating a Platform

Oct. 1 8:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Ready, Set, Debut  With a focus on pragmatic and actionable advice, Courtney Maum will empower debuting authors with the knowledge they’ll need to make the most of their first publishing experience. From tips on pre-pub communication with your editorial team to navigating the stormy waters of self-promotion and prepping for interviews (both virtual and IRL), the author of BEFORE AND AFTER THE BOOK DEAL will deliver been-there-made-that-mistake wisdom in her signature heartfelt, candid style. (Note: this is an affiliate link for Kidlit411)


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  1. Congratulations on your cover reveal. I remember you talking about your journey and always saying, never give up.

  2. Congrats Deb and Julie! Love it when friends make it to "the big time!" Author, author!

  3. That fish book would be perfect for my twins, taking them to the NY Aquarium soon.

  4. Wow! I can't wait to read Deb's book. I think kids will, too!

  5. A few years ago I did a unit on fish for an after school group and couldn't find a really good picture book to accompany it. Freaky and Funky Fish would have been perfect!

  6. Those fish look freaky, funky, and fun!

  7. Love that each fish has a personality of its own!

  8. This looks amazing! Congratulations on your debut!

  9. The cover is eye-catching and nonfiction books like this are my favorites. Congrats on your upcoming gorgeous book that readers like me will enjoy and learn so much.

  10. Congrats, Deb! So happy for you! This is a fabulous cover!!

  11. Looks like a cute book that would make learning about fish fun.

  12. CONGRATS Debra!!! I know how hard you worked to make it to be you are today, and you deserve all the success coming your way :)

  13. Congratulations on the cover!! Thank you for creating such a wonderful book:)

  14. I have Julie's book on order at Old Firehouse Books! Congrats, Julie.

  15. Congrats to the spotlight authors and illustrators (with extra personal confetti for my former student, Debra Shumaker)!
    And thank you, kidlit 411 organizers, for compiling such helpful information.

  16. Can't wait to read Freaky, Funky Fish! Congratulations on your hard work paying off!

  17. What a fantastic-looking information book with awesome illustrations.

  18. Yay Julie on your gorgeous work on Louis! And Debra, Love the title Freaky Funky Fish!


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