Don’t underestimate the power of women connecting and supporting each other in the literary world. I’m thrilled by the rise of authors committed to supporting each others work instead of competing.
Traditionally we have been taught to be competitive with one another and fight our way to the top to be the “best” by any means necessary. However, the truth is that raising each other up and channeling the power of collaboration is truly how we’ll evoke change—and have a lot more fun along the way.
Four women authors who all released picture books in January and February 2020 banded together a couple of years ago, vowed to support one another, and form a support group.
Beth Anderson: Lizzie Demands a Seat! Rita Lorraine Hubbard: The Oldest Student How Mary Walker Learned to Read Nancy Churnin: Beautiful Shades of Brown: The Art of Laura Wheeler Waring and Vivian Kirkfield: Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe. Each of their books feature strong women engendering change as they find their voices through film, music, art, education, and action.
Beth Anderson loves digging into history and culture for undiscovered gems, exploring points of view, and playing with words. A former English as a Second Language teacher who has always marveled at the power of books, she is drawn to stories that open minds, touch hearts, and inspire questions. Born and raised in Illinois, she now lives in Loveland, Colorado. Author of AN INCONVENIENT ALPHABET (S&S 2018) and LIZZIE DEMANDS A SEAT (Boyds Mills & Kane, 2020), Beth has more historical gems on the way.
Rita Lorraine Hubbard is a former special education teacher and the author of THE OLDEST STUDENT (Schwartz & Wade, 2020), HAMMERING FOR FREEDOM (Lee and Low, 2018), and AFRICAN AMERICANS OF CHATTANOOGA (The History Press, 2008). A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, she has made the celebration of unsung heroes her passion, and her work appears in The Tennessee Women Project and Salem Press’ Great American Lives: African American.
Nancy Churnin’s eight picture book biographies have won the Sydney Taylor Notable, South Asia Book Award, Anne Izard Storytellers Choice Award and Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, been honored on numerous state reading lists and been translated into Japanese, Korean, Braille and multiple languages in India, Sri Lanka and South Africa. A former theater critic for The Dallas Morning News, Nancy is an alumna of Harvard, with a masters from Columbia. She lives in North Texas.
Vivian Kirkfield loves bringing history alive for young readers. A former kindergarten teacher with a masters in Early Childhood Education, her non-fiction picture books include SWEET DREAMS, SARAH: FROM SLAVERY TO INVENTOR (Creston Books, 2019) and MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, 2020). Born and raised in New York City, Vivian has lived in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut, the wide open spaces of Colorado, and now resides in the quaint little village of Amherst, New Hampshire, where the old stone library is her favorite hangout and her grandson is her favorite board game partner.
If you are a current or aspiring writer, I hope this new trend of supporting your fellow authors resonates with you. Understand you can promote your own work and still take the time to support other writers and encourage their journeys. Remember that other writers are not your competition.
Your turn: Have you read any of these amazing picture book biographies yet? What do you think about the idea of authors banding together to support each other? Feel free to share in the comments.