Thank you to everyone who attended our 2022 Walter Awards ceremony last month. Watch the entire event here

The Power of Diversity at the 2022 Walter Awards

Change, perspective, and the power of diverse literature were all heralded during the 2022 Walter Awards, held last month in Washington, DC.

"You don't have to be a grown-up to be a change maker," honoree Kekla Magoon told the audience, as she discussed her Walter honor title, Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People (Candlewick). "There is no part in making change that is too small. If all you can do is walk up to your librarian and say, 'I want diverse books in my library,' that's part of making change. Because if 100 people in your school do that, your librarian is going to know, there's a lot of people that want this change, they're going to make an effort." 

The power of diverse books was highlighted throughout the event. From history, underscored by honoree Eden Royce accepting virtually for her book, Root Magic (Walden Pond Press). "For so long, stories of my people have gone unheard by those outside my community, or if a story was told, it was stripped of its origins and represented by others," she said. To perception, which illustrator Natasha Donovan discussed in her virtual acceptance of honoree title Borders (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), saying, "Even just a small shift in perspective … can change the way the reader thinks, and I think that's very valuable and exciting." To empathy and understanding, which emcee Grace Lin related to the pervasive book bans sweeping the country, telling the audience, "When we talk about equity and inclusion, we are really talking about humanity.

Winners Rajani LaRocca and Angeline Boulley accepted their awards as they emphasized the importance of diversity in literature. "The younger a child is when they see themselves in the pages of the book, it changes how they view themselves, and their place in the world," said Angeline, who wrote the award-winning Firekeeper’s Daughter (Henry Holt and Co.). Added Rajani, author of Red, White, and Whole (Quill Tree Books), "Books. Writing them, reading them, and sharing them, are the key to opening minds and creating the world we all need, want, and deserve."

You can watch the entire ceremony here
"Seeking Mentors and Mentorship Program Judes" in large text with smaller text below: "We Need Diverse Books is looking for mentors and judges for our 2023 Mentorship Program!" On a colorful, bright orange, pink, and purple background.

WNDB is Looking for Mentors and Judges!
Join our Mentorship Program

We Need Diverse Books is looking for mentors for our 2023 Mentorship Program. Mentors must be traditionally published authors with at least 3 published or forthcoming books. We are seeking mentors in the category of middle grade (MG). Mentors receive a $1,000 stipend for working with an author in your genre for one year (January-December 2023). As a mentor, you will create the scope of work with your mentee, who you will select from a group of finalists toward the end of 2022, and the two of you will decide how often to meet, what types of feedback or critique you're interested in giving, and what topics to discuss. If you're interested, please send an email to with your name, your publication history, and the genre you are seeking to mentor.

WNDB is also looking for judges for our 2023 Mentorship Program. We are looking for picture book, middle grade, and young adult judges. Judges will receive all of the applications in their selected genre in October and will have approximately one month to read them and submit reviews using our rubric. Judges are paid a $300 stipend for this work. We are particularly interested in judges who are published authors, librarians, book reviewers, and educators, or who otherwise have expertise reading in their genre. If you're interested, please send an email to with your name, a brief paragraph detailing your professional experience, and the genre you are seeking to judge.

Walter Grants Submissions Extended to July 31

The Walter Grants are open for submissions! Apply for one of our general Walter Grants or our three additional Walter Grants for trans creators, Muslim creators, and Native/Indigenous creators now — extended through July 31, 2022. We will be awarding $2,000 grants to unpublished diverse writers and illustrators!

Apply now!

Volunteer to be a Walter Grants Judge

We're looking for 2022 Walter Grants first-round judges! We are currently seeking judges who can commit to reading first-round submissions (across the categories of picture book, middle grade, young adult, and illustration) during the month of July. We can offer a $50 stipend for each reader. You will most likely receive between 20-30 submissions and will have about 2-3 weeks to read and judge them according to our provided rubric. Interested? Email Thank you!
"WNDB Rise Up" Text on a Purple Background with a rainbow line underneath

Join Rise Up's Discord Server

Apply to join our NEW Rise Up Discord server! Rise Up Discord server members, upon application approval (see eligibility criteria on our Rise Up program page), will have access to connect, share resources, and join in virtual meet-ups on the private server, which will be facilitated by WNDB. Rise Up Discord server members will also have special access to an ongoing virtual professional development event series for diverse mid-level publishing professionals, among many other perks in the works!

Learn more and apply for Rise Up here.

"2023 Walter Awards" Text over background image of glass engraved Walter Awards

Publishers: We are Now Accepting Submissions for the 2023 Walter Awards!

The​ ​Walter​ ​Dean​ ​Myers​ ​Award,​ ​also​ ​known​ ​as​ ​“The​ ​Walter,”​ ​is​ ​named​ ​for​ ​prolific​ ​children’s​ ​and young​ ​adult​ ​author​ ​Walter​ ​Dean​ ​Myers​ ​(1937-2014).​ ​Myers​ ​was​ ​the​ ​third​ ​National​ ​Ambassador for​ ​Young​ ​People’s​ ​Literature,​ ​appointed​ ​in​ ​2012​ ​by​ ​the​ ​Library​ ​of​ ​Congress.​ ​He​ ​was​ ​a​ ​champion of​ ​diversity​ ​in​ ​children’s​ ​books.​ ​The​ ​Walter​ ​Awards​ commemorate ​Myers’​ ​memory​ ​and​ ​his​ literary legacy,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​celebrate​ ​diversity​ ​in​ ​children’s​ ​literature. The submissions deadline for The 2023 Walter Dean Myers Awards consideration is November 15, 2022. 

Learn more about how to submit books for consideration for the 2023 Walter Awards.

Have you witnessed the soft censorship of diverse books in your community?

WNDB is gathering information to learn where this censorship is happening, which books are being targeted, and how to best support educators affected. Replies can be anonymous.

Fill out our survey about soft censorship in your community.

Spotlight on Social …


… and the WNDB Blog

BREATHE AND COUNT BACK FROM TEN book cover, with a long-haired person in a red bikini swimming through waves, next to a head shot of Natalia Sylvester in a white shirt on a colorful background with the WNDB logo in the top left corner

Award-winning author Natalia Sylvester shared on the WNDB blog about her new YA, Breathe and Count Back From Ten (Clarion), saying, "I was afraid to write the book—I hadn’t really grown up with the language to speak about my body, not regurgitating internalized ableism,” Natalia said. “I had to figure that out to tell the story in a way that honored it.”

Support WNDB with Our Exclusive Merch!

Want to support us and sport some cool swag? Check out everything that we have on sale at our Bonfire store! You can find exclusive WNDB merch, including T-shirts, tote bags, mugs, sweatshirts, and more, all while supporting our mission and highlighting the importance of diverse books. 
Accessible Digital Content Specialist; Benetech (Remote)
Editorial Assistant, Berkley (Fantasy / Horror / Mystery / Speculative Fiction); Penguin Random House (New York, NY)
Editor, Humanities; Yale Press (New Haven, CT)
Editor / Senior Editor; Island Press (Washington, DC; Remote)
Marketing Director; Lee & Low Books (New York, NY; Hybrid; Remote)

Join the free and virtual BookTalk Event, from July 15 to 24, featuring authors including R.F. Kuang, Ali Hazelwood, Hafsah Faizal, and more! BookTalk’s mission is to connect with authors, publishers, and other creatives in the book industry to inspire critical approaches to reading and uplift marginalized voices to highlight the importance of equitable representation in storytelling. 

[margins.] conference, August 5 to 7, is created by and for marginalized writers and creatives of all genres and stages of career. The conference offers three primary tracks: writing craft, publishing tools, and community for writers from the margins. Details here.

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Please send an email to Senior Program Manager Elissa Petruzzi at with the name of the position, the salary range, and if applicable, the location, plus a link to where applicants can apply. Please include whether the position is remote (for now), in office, hybrid, or permanently remote. 

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