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SCBWI Announces On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award Winners

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is pleased to announce the 2015 On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award winners.  The annual award, established by SCBWI and funded by Martin and Sue Schmitt, is given to two writers or illustrators who are from ethnic and/or cultural backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in children’s literature in America and who have a ready-to-submit completed work for children. 

Congratulations to Jackie Dorothy for her manuscript Wind Rider, the story of one Arapaho boy’s struggle to protect his family from an evil shaman while the battle between modernization and tradition plague his tribe’s reservation; and to Judy Allen Dodson for Fast Friends, the story of Jesse Owens and Marty Glickman’s inspiring relationship during the race for the gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Jackie is an active member of SCBWI’s Wyoming Chapter as well as a member of the Northern Arapaho tribe in central Wyoming and is the sixth generation of her family living on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Jackie blogs at www.ArapahoLegends.com and is currently unrepresented.

Judy is an active SCBWI member in the Carolinas Chapter and has been a librarian for several years. She believes strongly in providing authentic and positive images of African Americans in children’s literature. She multiple manuscripts and is currently unrepresented.

The winners will each receive a paid trip to the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles to meet editors, agents, and other industry professionals. The winning manuscripts will also be available to select agents and editors via a secure website.

The award is inspired in part by the SCBWI’s increasing efforts to foster underrepresented voices in children’s literature.  According to SCBWI Executive Director Lin Oliver, “every child should have the opportunity to see themselves reflected in the pages of a book. And all authors should have the opportunity to write their truth. SCBWI is proud to contribute to this important effort to bring forth new voices.”  

The grant is made possible through the generosity of Sue and Martin Schmitt of the 455 Foundation. Sue wrote: “Diverse writers need to know that not only do their voices and stories matter— but are necessary!  We live in a world where we must strive to understand other points of view and each other for the betterment of humankind.”  

More information can be found in the “Awards and Grants” section at www.scbwi.org.

About Martin and Sue Schmitt

Martin and Sue Schmitt are the founders of We Can Build an Orphanage, sponsoring the Kay Angel orphanage in Jacmel, Haiti. The organization was established in 2007 with the mission to provide a home and education for abandoned children infected with or affected by AIDS in Jacmel, Haiti.  The Schmitts’ generous and continuous efforts to support SCBWI’s long-term goals also co-sponsored the 2007 Global Voices Program, which highlighted Mongolian artists and authors. To find out more information about the Kay Angel orphanage please visit www.kayangel.org.


Founded in 1971, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is one of the largest existing writers’ and illustrators’ organizations, with over 22,000 members worldwide. It is the only organization specifically for those working in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia. The organization was founded by Stephen Mooser (President) and Lin Oliver (Executive Director), both of whom are well-published children’s book authors and leaders in the world of children’s literature.  For more information about the On-The-Verge Diverse Voices Award, please visit www.scbwi.org, and click “Awards & Grants.”

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