Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Webinar: My Journey to Diversity with Vanessa Brantley Newton

Date(s) - 09/26/2017
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Learn Craft From Home with this Webinar!

My Journey to Diversity with illustrator Vanessa Brantley Newton

Sept. 26, 7pm to 8:30pm Central time

Vanessa Brantley NewtonVanessa Brantley Newton shares her journey to becoming an advocate and illustrator of diverse characters in children’s books. She discusses the groundbreaking work of author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats, who made a lasting impact on diversity in children’s books. Keats’s work had a huge influence on Vanessa as a child and an artist, demonstrating the power of art and inclusion in young readers’ lives. In this funny, exciting, and moving talk, Vanessa seeks to answer the question of why it is important for children of color to see themselves in picture books, chapter books, and middle grade and YA novels.

This webinar costs $10 for SCBWI members, $35 for non-members. If you're not a member, click here for more information.

Vanessa also is doing a limited number of dummy or portfolio critiques after the webinar. If you would like your dummy or portfolio critiqued by Vanessa, choose that option when you register. Critiques cost $30.

Vanessa Brantley Newton was born during the Civil Rights movement, and attended school in Newark, NJ. Being part of a diverse, tight-knit community during such turbulent times, Vanessa learned the importance of acceptance and empowerment in shaping a young person’s life.

When she read Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, it was the first time she saw herself in a children’s book. It was a defining moment in her life and has made her into the artist she is today.

As an illustrator, she includes children of all ethnic backgrounds in her stories and artwork. She wants all children to see their unique experiences reflected in the books they read, so they can feel the same sense of empowerment and recognition she experienced as a young reader.

Vanessa celebrates self-love and acceptance of all cultures through her work, and hopes to inspire young readers to find their own voices. She first learned to express herself as a little girl through song. Growing up in a musical family, Vanessa’s parents taught her how to sing to help overcome her stuttering. Each night the family would gather to make music together, with her mom on piano, her dad on guitar, and Vanessa and her sister, Coy, singing the blues, gospel, spirituals, and jazz.

Now whenever she illustrates, music fills the air and finds its way into her art. The children she draws can be seen dancing, wiggling, and moving freely across the page in an expression of happiness. Music is a constant celebration, no matter the occasion, and Vanessa hopes her illustrations bring joy to others, with the same magic of a beautiful melody.