Diversity Fellowship

Diversity Fellowship in Children Literature

The Highlights Foundation Diversity Fellowship in Children’s Literature launched in 2019, and was a 24-month professional development and mentorship program for people of color and Indigenous authors or illustrators who are actively pursuing publication within the children’s publishing industry. Note: due to COVID we extended our inaugural Diversity Fellowship through the end of 2021.

Program Description

Each Fellow received:

  • A robust curriculum specifically intended for professional development, leading Fellows closer to publishing their work.
  • A Mentor specifically selected and dedicated to one full year of one-to-one professional coaching to build the Fellow’s knowledge, skills, and aptitude in preparing their manuscript and/or art samples for submission.
  • Full travel and tuition costs to attend the five workshops at the Highlights Foundation that make up this Fellowship.
  • Opportunities to meet as a cohort for peer review, creative exchange, and community-building.
  • Opportunities to meet industry professionals: published authors and illustrators, editors, art directors, and agents.

Three immersive workshop experiences were focused on goal-setting, with community-building activities centered around the craft of writing and illustrating for children and young adult audiences, a Mentor panel, industry insight how-to’s, work sessions, and roundtable discussions. These workshops engaged Fellows in enriched dialogue exploring the perspectives of marginalized voices and spend significant time exploring the craft of writing and illustrating as it relates to their own personal work.

Diversity Fellows also enrolled in two additional workshops of their choice from The Highlights Foundation’s workshop catalog, allowing Fellows the opportunity to customize their sessions to meet their specific writing and/or illustrating goals.

Resources and Materials from the Diversity Fellowhsip in Children’s Literature

We asked the 2019-21 Fellows: What’s on your mind when you create for children? Watch what they had to say:

Links of Interest

We Need Diverse Books, a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.

The Brown Bookshelf is designed to push awareness of the myriad Black voices writing for young readers. Their flagship initiative is 28 Days Later, a month-long showcase of the best in Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult novels written and illustrated by Black creators.

The Children’s Book Council Diversity Initiative advocates for an inclusive and representative children’s publishing industry and highlights diverse creators, books, resources, and articles through its blog and monthly newsletter.

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators provides grants to promote diversity.

The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf, a TED talk by author Grace Lin.

Can A Children’s Book Change the World?, a TED talk by author Linda Sue Park.

New Voices Award, given annually by Lee & Low Books for a children’s picture book manuscript by a writer of color or Native/Indigenous writer.

American Indians in Children’s Literature provides critical perspectives and analysis of indigenous peoples in children’s and young adult books, the school curriculum, popular culture, and society.

Our Mission in Action

Share Your Story, Inspire a Child
Equity & Inclusion in Kidlit
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The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.