This week, Brandy Colbert and Mary Cecilia Jackson cast a spell on the digital crowd; the Duchess of Sussex hosts a charitable storytime; Maris Wicks, Ali Wilgus, Wyeth Yates, and Rosemary Mosco speak on a panel that’s out of this world; and Sarah S. Brannen and Lucia Soto throw some rice for their new book.

Come Together

Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, Calif., hosted a digital event on Crowdcast featuring Brandy Colbert (The Only Black Girls in Town, Little, Brown) and Mary Cecilia Jackson (Sparrow, Tor Teen) on May 12. The authors discussed research, character development, creative processes, the importance of writing about difficult subjects for young readers, their book covers, and their current reads. The Only Black Girls in Town is Colbert’s middle grade debut, and follows the friendship of two black 12-year-old girls as they explore the secrets found within a box of old journals. Jackson’s YA debut Sparrow centers 17-year-old ballerina Sparrow and her experiences with abuse.

A Royal Read Aloud

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, recently read Duck! Rabbit! (Chronicle) by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld to her son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor in support of actors Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams’s Save with Stories initiative. In partnership with Save the Children and No Kid Hungry, #SavewithStories aims to provide children’s storytime videos on Instagram and Facebook during the pandemic. Donations to the fund sustain the campaigns’ support of meal provisions for schools and community programs, as well as food banks and meal delivery trucks.

Space Oddity

Last month, graphic novel illustrator Maris Wicks (Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier), writer Ali Wilgus (The Mars Challenge), artist Wyeth Yates (The Mars Challenge), and author Rosemary Mosco (Science Comics Solar System: Our Place in Space) (all First Second) gathered in the digital space on behalf of Belmont Books in Belmont, Mass., for a Virtual Kids’ Space Panel. Middle school science teacher Elizabeth Schibuk (pictured) served as moderator for the evening Zoom session.

Wedding Bells

This past Tuesday, May 12, the Silver Unicorn Bookstore in Acton, Mass., threw a virtual launch event for Uncle Bobby's Wedding (Little Bee). Author Sarah S. Brannen (top r.) and illustrator Lucia Soto (lower l.) were joined by Kyra Wilson Cook (top l.) of The Silver Unicorn for a conversation. The picture book, produced in coordination with GLAAD, features Chloe, who’s worried that her close relationship with her favorite Uncle Bobby will change after Bobby marries his boyfriend, Jamie.