How I Got into Publishing

By Cassandra Pelham, Senior Editor at Scholastic

I was a sophomore English major at Spelman College, spending the afternoon in the Office of Career Planning and Development. I had started to get anxious about not knowing what I’d do after graduation, and needed to find an internship for that summer. People often asked me why I was working toward an English degree if not to pursue teaching or law, and I’d say that I just really loved to read and think about books. I had been that way my entire life.

I had almost browsed the entire catalog of internships when I noticed a large envelope that was underneath a stack of papers and other envelopes. It caught my eye because a familiar logo was printed above the return address: the red bar of Scholastic. I was immediately intrigued because I had, like many kids, grown up reading and loving Scholastic books. I opened the envelope.


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Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling and award winning author of many books for children and young adults. She is also Vice President, Executive Editor at Scholastic, where she served as Walter’s editor. Andrea has been named among the “25 Most Influential Black Women in Business” by The Network Journal, and is the mom of two incredible teens who love to read. 

The “It’s Possible” series showcases six inspiring publishing professionals, including this forward from Andrea Davis Pinkney, sharing a little bit of their experience with Walter and how working with him helped push his goal of more diverse literature forward.

Pam Muñoz Ryan On The Creative Process Behind ‘Echo’

Scholastic will release Pam Muñoz Ryan’s latest book, ‘Echo,’ on February 24, 2015. Ryan challenged herself as a writer by linking together three interconnected storylines for this project. She used a large whiteboard to keep track of all the details for each different plot and incorporated a fairy tale.


Congrats to the young adult finalists for the 2013 Bisexual Book Awards! 

  • Love in The Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block, Henry Holt and Co. (Bisexual Speculative Fiction and Bisexual Teen/Young Adult Fiction)
  • Bi-Normal by M.G. Higgins (Gravel Road Series), Saddleback Educational Publishing (Bisexual Teen/Young Adult Fiction)
  • The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Arthur A. Levine Books (Bisexual Speculative Fiction and Bisexual Teen/Young Adult Fiction)
  • Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg, Arthur A. Levine Books (Bisexual Teen/Young Adult Fiction)
  • Pantomime by Laura Lam, Strange Chemistry (Bisexual Speculative Fiction and Bisexual Teen/Young Adult Fiction)
  • Inheritance by Malinda Lo, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Bisexual Speculative Fiction and Bisexual Teen/Young Adult Fiction)
  • The Elementals by Saundra Mitchell, Harcourt Children’s Books (Bisexual Speculative Fiction)
  • Coda by Emma Trevayne, Running Press Kids (Bisexual Speculative Fiction)

What a beautiful list from the unprecedented number of submissions (60 books) that were nominated.

…I was afraid of being stereotypical without realizing it. Afraid someone would take issue with something I wrote and call me racist. Still, I didn’t back down, and did the best I could, because ultimately, I believe diversity in fiction is something we all need to work on. And I truly believe trying is better than not trying. If I got something wrong, and I most likely did, I will learn from my mistakes and work hard to do better in the future.

– Lisa Schroeder, Thoughts from a scared, white author on diversity in Kid Lit

Author, Lisa Schroeder opens up about feeling uncomfortable writing outside of her perspective but embracing it because she wants all of her readers to know that they are important and should be able to see themselves in the stories they read.

14 Books for Children & Teens About the Freedom Summer of 1964

The “Freedom Summer” of 1964 was a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark year in American history.  Here is a list of 14 children’s books that deal specifically with the remarkable events of 1964 – and 3 additional books specifically for teachers and librarians. Thank you to the following for their invaluable input:

  • Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • Deborah Wiles
  • Augusta Scattergood
  • And Scholastic’s “Guide to Teaching and Talking about the Civil Rights Movement with Books for Children and Teens”


Picture Books for Young Readers


Freedom Summer 


Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Summer

By Deborah Wiles

Illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue

Aladdin / Simon & Schuster

Ages 4 - 8

Friendship defies racism for two boys in this stirring story of the “Freedom Summer” that followed the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Now in a 50th Anniversary Edition with a refreshed cover and a new introduction.

Freedom School, Yes!


By Amy Littlesugar

Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Philomel / Penguin

Ages 4 - 8

In this triumphant story based on the 1964 Mississippi Freedom School Summer Project, that celebrates the strength of a people as well as the bravery of one young girl who didn’t let being scared get in her way.

The Other Side


By Jacqueline Woodson

Illustrated by E. B. Lewis

Putnam Juvenile / Penguin

Ages 5+

Though not specifically about the 1964 Freedom Summer, this award-winning book also deals with the themes of segregation, friendship, and fairness.

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