Announcing the 2019 CBC Diversity Outstanding Achievement Award Winners

New York, NY – September 28, 2018 – The CBC Diversity Committee is proud to announce the winners of the inaugural CBC Diversity Outstanding Achievement Awards. These awards will be given annually to professionals or organizations in the children’s publishing industry who have made a significant impact on the publishing and marketing of diverse books, diversity in hiring and mentoring, and efforts that create greater awareness with the public about the importance of diverse voices.

The winners were announced at the CBC Annual Meeting in New York City on September 27, and an official ceremony and conversation with the winners will take place on October 24 at a CBC Forum event. The winners will each select an organization to receive one thousand dollars’ worth of children’s books in their name.

Shifa Kapadwala, the CBC Diversity Committee’s moderator, said: “The committee had the great joy and responsibility of reviewing nominations from across the children’s publishing community. In making their selections, the committee has summarized the accomplishments of these inspiring people and organizations.”

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The Bronx is Reading

Interview with Saraciea Fennell, organizer of the first ever Bronx Book Festival (May 18-19, 2018).


How do you self identify?

My family is a wonderful mix of many things. I identify as Afro-Latina/indigenous (Garifuna) from Honduras/Jamaica, and black and Native American.

Tell us about the Bronx Book Festival?

I’m bringing the first book festival featuring traditionally published bestselling and award-winning authors to the Bronx. This project has been years in the making. The idea was seeded years ago after I attended my first book festival as an adult. This festival will go a long way to make the literary community of the Bronx visible and viable. I’m excited for Bronxites of all ages to attend the festival and engage with authors/illustrators and industry professionals. Representation is everything, and who knows, maybe folks attending will find themselves aspiring to be the next bestselling author or editor or marketing in the industry.

Who are some of the authors attending?

We have an amazing line up including our keynote speakers Daniel José Older (Shadowshaper Cypher) and Elizabeth Acevedo (The Poet X), featured panelists include Heidi Heilig (The Ship Beyond Time), the Bronx’s very own, Adam Silvera (They Both Die at the End), Lilliam Rivera (The Education of Margo Sanchez), and Kem Joy Ukwu (Locked Gray / Linked Blue).


Why did you decide to take on this initiative?

The Bronx has a long tradition of literary culture including Edgar Allan Poe, James Baldwin, Bronx Writers Center, and Bronx Loaf. Many contemporary authors and other book folk have come from the borough. But because the Bronx is New York City’s poorest borough, this vibrant, book-loving community has often been overshadowed and underserved. I want to get people who look like me reading. I want Bronxites living in a borough without a bookstore to see that traditionally published authors are willing to come engage with the community. My hope is that this festival will ignite passions for reading and maybe this will be the seed that helps plant the roots for people to become editors, marketers, authors and create a more diverse publishing industry.

You’ve been working in the industry for years as a publicist. How did you get your start? 

I have, it’s been a bit over 6 years now. I got my start working as a publicity assistant at Simon & Schuster at an adult imprint. It didn’t take long for me to realize that kidlit publishing was the place for me! I love the work that I do and am amazed at the kidlit publishing community.


Where can people learn more about the festival?

People can learn more about the festival by visiting and they can also checkout the Kickstarter campaign and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @thebronxisreading.


Saraciea J. Fennell is a publicist in the publishing industry. She’s worked with many award winning and New York Times bestselling authors like Daniel José Older, Tui T. Sutherland, Peter Sís, Jennifer A. Nielsen, Chris Colfer, Julie Andrews, Malala Yousafzai, Mike Jung, Deborah Wiles, Javaka Steptoe, Jerry Pinkney, and many, many more. She is passionate about books, and devours anything sci-fi/fantasy-related in books, TV and movies. Fennell grew up in the Bronx and spent four years in the foster care system. If it weren’t for books she’s not sure where she would be today. Follow her on Twitter @sj_fennell and visit for more information on the festival.