Last weekend I was in Naperville IL for the SCBWI Wild Wild Midwest conference. It was a terrific gathering, 500 writers and illustrators sharing and learning from one another.

On Saturday morning, I got to address the whole group with agent Marietta Zacker and author Miranda Paul, on the We Need Diverse Books initiatives. We each took a few moments to update the conference attendees on various WNDB efforts, like the internship program, the Walter Grants and Award, and the mentorships. We took questions and explored some of the difficulties and rewards of the kind of societal change WNDB is striving for.

Then attendee Karmen Kooyers, from Holland, Michigan, raised her hand and took the mike. “Why don’t we all donate now?” she said. “If each of us gave $5, that would be $2,500 total!”

Such a simple idea….

The conference organizers rallied the troops. WNDB secured $1,000 worth of matching grants.

And in 24 hours, more than $3,900 was raised.

It’s not the first time an SCBWI regional conference has contributed to a cause near and dear to my heart: SCBWI Midsouth did a similarly amazing thing back in 2011. Nor is it the first time SCBWI has supported WNDB.

SCBWI. WNDB. Two organizations I love and support. It’s like two of my best friends met and fell in love and are now spreading that love far and wide. THANK YOU, WildWildMidwest conference. I’m verklempt.


And it’s NEVER too late to join the fun. Here’s what I told the conference participants they can do–how to make supporting diversity part of your everyday life.

BUY books by diverse authors.


REQUEST them at your local library/bookstore.


TALK about diverse titles that you love. Talk, blog, post, pin, tweet!

We need you–every single one of you!–to be part of the conversation!


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