The Weekly 411 (3/29/24)

© Emma Graham

 March 29, 2024 vol. 13

The Weekly 411 gathers all the links added to Kidlit411 each week. To receive this post by email, sign up for our email updatesAre you on Facebook? Join our Kidlit411 group for conversations and camaraderie. This week's illustration is by Emma Graham.

Kid Lit News

The Middle Grade Slump

'Authors Against Book Bans' Mobilizes

Middle Grade Giveaway

We are pleased to host a giveaway of the middle grade novel, Sing It Like Celia, by Mónica Mancillas (Penguin Workshop) coming out on April 2. Enter to win a copy via the Rafflecopter below!


art by Mirelle Ortega/ design by Mary Claire Cruz


About the Book: Perfect for fans of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise and Merci Suarez Changes Gears, Sing it Like Celia is a revelatory story about a Mexican-American girl who finds her voice and herself with the help of her role model and icon, Celia Cruz.


Twelve-year-old Salva Sanchez has always been a lifelong fan of Celia Cruz, also known as “the queen of salsa.” Her love of Celia stems from her mother, who leaves Salva without explanation one awful day. Now Salva is stuck with her investigative journalist father in a trailer park. In the middle of nowhere. As Salva acclimates to her new environment and desperately tries to figure out why her mother left, she befriends a posse of campground kids who have started a band. When the kids discover that Salva has an amazing singing voice, they convince her to join their group. Soon, Salva learns how to find her voice and herself with the help of her newfound friends, her dad, and the one and only Celia Cruz.


About the Author: Mónica Mancillas is a musician and educator who authors picture books and Middle Grade fiction and non-fiction. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley. Her books include Mariana and Her Familia (Balzer + Bray), The Worry Balloon (Roaring Brook Press, July 11, 2023), How to Speak in Spanglish (Penguin Workshop, August 22, 2023), Sing it Like Celia (Penguin Workshop, 2024), and Leyendas/Legends (Chronicle, 2025).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Board Book Giveaway

We are pleased to host a giveaway of the picture book, Afikotective, written and illustrated by Amalia Hoffman (Kar Ben Publishing 2024).  Enter to win a copy via the Rafflecopter below! 

About the Book: 
A family of bears is getting ready for the Passover seder, preparing all the items for the seder plate. When the time comes in the seder for hiding the afikomen, Grandma breaks the middle matzah into two pieces. She hides the bigger piece, the afikomen, that the kids will eagerly search for later in the seder. It's a good thing one little bear has turned his toy elephant into an Afiko-Sniffer! The invention sniffs out apples in a bowl, eggs in the fridge, and horseradish in the pantry, but can it help find the afikomen?

About the Author-Illustrator: Amalia Hoffman is an author, illustrator and storyteller. Among her 13 books, The Brave Cyclist (Capstone Publishing, 2019, illustrated by Chiara Fedele) is a Junior Library Guild Gold Selection and a Bank Street College Selection Book. Her board books: Hanukkah Nights (Kar Ben Publishing, 2022), My Hands Make the World (PJ Publishing, 2022) and Dreidel Day (Kar-Ben Publishing, 2018) are the recipients of the PJ Library Author/Illustrator Incentive Awards. My Hands Make the World, Hanukkah Nights and All Colors (Schiffer Publishing, 2019) made the Betsy Bird’s selections of School Library Journal best board books. My Monsterpiece (Yeehoo Press, 2021) is the winner in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Award (Ages 0-5). Her newest picture book, Afikotective (Kar Ben Publishing, 2024) already received enthusiastic editorial reviews. First Fruits (PJ Publishing) is also a PJ Library book and will be published in May, 2024.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


For Writers

"Just Right" Emotional Appeal 2.0: Goldilocks and the Three Unbearables

Do You Need a Prologue? Take the Test

Narrative Distance and How to Control It

Picture Books

I Wrote a Picture Book. Now What?

Graphic Novels 

How Traditional Publishers Decide Which Graphic Novels to Publish

Mentor Programs

  • What: a 4-month mentorship with an agented picture book author or agent, exclusive workshops from industry professionals, publishing business intensives, community building, more
  • Who: un-agented picture book authors, illustrators, and author-illustrators, plus agented PB creators without agented-represented picture book deals
  • When: apply for mentorship March 18-April 4

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