The Children’s Book Council, the nonprofit trade association for children’s publishers in North America, has revealed the winners of its third annual CBC Diversity Outstanding Achievement Awards. The awards are given each year in honor of children’s book professionals who have helped create and promote diverse titles for young readers and who foster more inclusive employment practices within the industry.
The 2020 winners, which were announced during the virtual CBC Annual Meeting on September 17, are as follows:
Kait Feldmann, editor at Scholastic/Orchard Books
Since joining Scholastic in 2014, Feldmann has shaped her list with a focus on picture books and graphic novels by BIPOC creators, including Isuri, Sarah Jung, Isabella Kung, Jon Lau, Aida Salazar, Shannon Wright, Gracey Zhang, and more. She is also v-p and director of special projects for People of Color in Publishing; the founder and chair of the Scholastic Diversity Committee; and a member of the Diverse BookFinder Advisory Council.
Ebony LaDelle, associate director of teen marketing at HarperCollins Children’s Books
Over the course of her eight years in book publishing, LaDelle has worked with authors such as Elizabeth Acevedo, Tahereh Mafi, Angie Thomas, and Ibi Zoboi, among many others. She helps strategize and create content for Epic Reads, HarperCollins’s virtual YA community with more than seven million followers across all social platforms and online. LaDelle is also the co-host of Epic’s Why Not YA?, a monthly video series featuring interviews with YA authors, alongside Karah Preiss from Belletrist.
Christopher Myers, creative director of Make Me a World at Random House Children’s Books
In addition to his work as an acclaimed author and artist, Myers heads the Make Me a World imprint at Random House, which launched in 2019 with the release of Pet by Akwaeke Emezi. He has illustrated the works of numerous writers, including e.e. cummings, Zora Neale Hurston, and his father, Walter Dean Myers. The two worked together on the Caldecott Honor title Harlem, as well as the Coretta Scott King Honor winners Black Cat and H.O.R.S.E. Most recently, Myers collaborated with dancer Misty Copeland on the picture book Firebird.
Laura Pegram, founding editor and publisher of Kweli Journal; director of the Kweli Color of Children’s Literature Conference
Since 2009, under the direction of Pegram, the mission of Kweli (meaning “truth” in Swahili) has been to seek out and legitimize the work of Indigenous writers and authors of color who “sing the truth.” Kweli’s Color of Children’s Literature Conference is the nation’s largest conference for BIPOC creators of children’s and YA books.
Jamie Tan, senior publicist at Candlewick Press
Tan entered the book business as a bookseller at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Ariz., before earning a Master’s degree in children’s literature from Simmons College. With a commitment to elevating diverse voices in publishing, she has worked at Candlewick Press for six years; is a former member of the CBC Diversity Committee; and is a PW Star Watch 2020 Honoree.
The winners will have the opportunity to select an organization to receive $1,000 worth of children’s books in their name.
Ryan Mita, CBC staff liaison to the CBC Diversity Committee, said in a statement: “The committee had both the joy and responsibility of reviewing nominations from across children’s publishing. In making their selections, the committee is shining a light on five people who are leaders in the diversity movement through their passionate dedication to change in the children’s book community.”
Executive director Carl Lennertz added, “In 2018, I wanted to recognize role models who work every day to lift up diverse voices in every way possible. Shifa Kapadwala and the CBC Diversity Committee made these awards a reality, and now, while there is so very much still to do, the honorees to date and to come continue to inspire us, lead by example, and make lasting change.”
An awards presentation and conversation among the winners will take place in November, moderated by 2019 winner Andrea Davis Pinkney.