2 Picture Book People Use Their Scholarships for “Inspirational and Invigorating” Workshops

May 15, 2023 | Scholarship Stories

Pooja Makhijane and Jamila Beale each received a General Scholarship in 2022 and chose workshops to help them further their picture book manuscripts.

Pooja’s Story

Pooja is the author of Mama’s Saris and Bread is Love. She is also the editor of Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America. Her bylines have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, Real Simple, The Atlantic, WSJ.com, The Cut, Teen Vogue, Epicurious, Publishers Weekly, ELLE, Bon Appétit, The Kitchn, BuzzFeed, and Catapult among others.

Her essay, “The Path to an American Dream, Paved in Vienna Fingers” was named Notable in The Best American Food Writing 2019. She is represented by Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch Literary Services.

Pooja attended our Summer Camp, where, she says, “I took risks because I could — wrote a picture book in verse and revised a chapter book outline. I don’t think I would have/could have done that outside this artistic space. The time and space gave me such freedom.”

“The entire experience was magical. It was inspirational and invigorating. I’d wanted to spend time at the center for years, but cost was always a deterrent; I’m so grateful for this opportunity.”

Find out more at poojamakhijani.com.

Author photo of Pooja Makhijani
Book cover: Mama's Sari

Jamila’s Story

Jamila says: “I wrote my first story, “How I Would Change the World”, when I was five years old. Over the last few years I’ve devoted more time to improving my writing craft by participating in a writers group and taking writing courses. Recently, my short story, “Red Flags” was published in the Best Short Stories of Philadelphia by Toho Publishing. As a female engineer I enjoy writing about STEM topics or my African American culture and upbringing in Philadelphia, P.A.

Jamila chose to attend So You Want to Be an Author/Illustrator, with “a goal to complete a picture book I have been working on for 5 years, maybe even more I will admit, and I accomplished that goal with help from this course, and the amazing instruction from Courtney Pippin-Mathur and Kelly Light.” She learned that “writing a picture books is 50% illustration and 50% words. Emotion is very important with picture books and young readers.”

She’s a parent, too: “As a mother with three kids I want to inspire them to be life long learners and to have passion with everything they do. I hope my writing accomplishes this same goal with all kids and adults.”

Jamila Beale

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