The second annual 2023 Picture Book Rising Stars ⭐ Mentorship Program is an amazing opportunity to grow and learn as a writer. Authors Kailei Pew and Ebony Lynn Mudd began the program with a tweet and received an overwhelming response from picture book creators.
Debbie Ridpath Ohi, author and illustrator, interviewed Ebony and Kailei in March 2023.
“The PB Rising Stars Mentorship program started with a tweet, a huge response from the KidLit community, and two picture book authors looking for ways to pull other creators up the turbulent publishing ladder.“
During the month of April, I read each of the mentors’ bios and wish lists to see who may be a good match to support my writing. The application process opened on April 17 and closed on the 27th. I completed seven applications for consideration to the following mentors:
Ebony Lynn Mudd
Sara Holly Ackerman
Lisa Varchol Perron
The 2023 PB Rising Stars sent an email on May 10th with a request from Maria Marianayagam to see additional writing samples. “We understand that you’ve sent over your completed manuscript with your submission, but Maria would love to see 2-3 more works in progress (even if they are not completed) that you’d potentially like to work on with a mentor this summer, if selected. Please send to this email address by the end of day May 12th, and we will send them along to Maria.” Not wanting to get my hopes up and shared three additional stories for Maria to consider as she made a tough decision to choose the just right mentee who she felt she could best support.
On May 25the the official 2023 Picture Book Rising Stars mentee, runner-up, and honorable mention announcement was made via a Twitter.
The 2023 PB Rising Stars Mentorship Program included 25 mentors. There were 2,589 applications. As Ebony shared, “Your art is the prize.” An email from Ebony and Kailei, “Some mentors didn’t select certain applicants because they thought they were near ready to query.”
While I was not selected to partner with a mentor, I will continue to read, write, and create as I continue along my writing journey. The application process was very thorough and thought-provoking which encouraged me to dig deep into why I am a writer.
I wish all the 2023 Picture Book Rising Stars mentors and mentees a successful partnership during the next three months as mentees are guided to take their writing to the next level.
Thank you, Ebony and Kailei! You both are stars! ⭐