Children’s Publishing Reckons with Sexual Harassment in Its Ranks

Illustrator David Díaz resigned from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators board after sexual harassment complaints emerged about his past.
UPDATED February 14, 2018: Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators executive director Lin Oliver, who originally declined to comment for this story on sexual harassment in children’s publishing, has subsequently contacted the reporter to provide new details and a timeline concerning David Díaz and SCBWI’s actions in response to allegations of sexual harassment against him. According to Oliver: In 2012, SCBWI received an anonymous complaint against Díaz. The complaint corresponded with what the organization’s leadership had observed of Díaz's behavior at conferences, which they considered unprofessional. At that point, they removed him from the board for a year and he attended sexual harassment training. SCBWI then readmitted him to the board on a probationary basis for one year, during which no further incidents were observed or reported. Díaz was allowed to return to the board in a permanent capacity in 2015. When Ishta Mercurio came forward in the fall of 2017 to report a 2012 incident, Oliver discussed it with Díaz and he apologized to Mercurio.  At that time, Oliver and Díaz mutually decided he should resign from the board.   A writer was making small talk during the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ (SCBWI) annual conference when she says the man she was chatting with, a successful children’s book illustrator, reached over and touched her hair. “He fondled a lock of my hair and leaned in to my ear and said, ‘You’re kinky, aren’t you?’” says the writer, who asked not to be identified. (See updated story: "Ishta Mercurio Goes Public as David Díaz Accuser.") The exchange, which happened in 2012 at SCBWI’s winter conference in New York and was witnessed by one of the writer’s friends, left the woman feeling “horrified” and “disgusted.” The illustrator, David Díaz, was a member of SCBWI’s board and a faculty member at the conference. Still, the writer, who at that point in her career was an unpublished aspiring children’s book author, did not complain about the incident at the time. However, in December 2017,  Díaz resigned from his position on the SCBWI’s board, after sexual harassment complaints emerged about his past. The author of numerous books for children, Díaz was honored with the 1995 Caldecott Medal for his illustration of the picture book Smoky Night (Harcourt, 1994) by Eve Bunting. Ever since October, when the New York Times published a damning expose of film producer Harvey Weinstein’s decades-long track record of sexual harassment and predation, the United States has been engaged in a difficult and far-reaching dialogue about sexual harassment. The problem touches all industries, from blue collar to white collar, and as women have felt emboldened to come forward to report abuse, men who held leading positions in media, government, the arts, and entertainment have been fired or forced to resign. The situation is no different in publishing, where journalist Mark Halperin was dropped by Penguin Press due to reports of sexual harassment. In an investigation by Publisher’s Weekly (PW) this fall, numerous women reported troubling incidents of sexual harassment over the course of their publishing careers, ranging from degrading remarks to groping and physical attacks. Two recent resignations this winter have shined a light on the problem within the more close-knit world of children’s publishing.

Castellano departs Penguin

At the beginning of December, Giuseppe Castellano, executive art director of Penguin Workshop, Penguin Random House’s imprint for children’s books, resigned due to allegations made against him by actress Charlyne Yi. In a series of messages posted on Twitter on Nov. 14, Yi claims that after a work meeting at a bar earlier that month to discuss a potential book project, Castellano walked Yi back to her hotel and repeatedly pushed Yi to invite him to her room as she repeatedly refused. Yi says the interaction was unnerving because Castellano had gone on at length during their meeting about the many “creeps” in children’s publishing who abuse their power to sexually harass and assault women. He also, according to Yi, told her his wife would be OK with him having an affair. Castellano denied Yi’s claims outright, calling her story “fabricated” in a statement published on his blog shortly after his resignation. His meeting with Yi was social, not professional, he claimed, and he never pressured Yi to allow him up to her room. He resigned, Castellano says, because Yi’s public claim against him made it untenable for him to continue in his job. In response to his statement, Yi released copies of emails exchanged between them in which Castellano suggested they meet for drinks to discuss her book ideas and later apologized, saying he was “sick” about how he acted during the meeting. Penguin Random House had also previously disclosed that the company was investigating the matter. The details of Yi’s and Castellano’s interaction—outside of the office, at a bar, while the actress was traveling and staying at a hotel—highlight aspects and dynamics of the way informal socializing is embedded into the publishing world, sometimes creating scenarios that leave people vulnerable to sexual harassment. Networking is considered a crucial part of making it as an author or illustrator or rising in a publishing house, and many women told PW that they had experienced sexual harassment during off-site social situations, such as book parties, readings, and conferences. The casual nature of these gatherings lead some to test limits and engage in sexually aggressive behavior that they might not attempt in an office setting (though sexual harassment routinely occurs in offices as well). And there’s no human resources department readily available to report abusive behavior that occurs at a conference, for instance.

Complaints about Díaz

That’s the situation that the writer whom Díaz reportedly called “kinky” found herself in at the SCBWI conference in 2012. It wasn’t the first time she had met him—a mutual acquaintance introduced them at the conference the year before, and he had made a more mild but still suggestive comment to her then. After their 2012 interaction, the writer knew she wanted to avoid Díaz, but she wasn’t about to make public accusations against someone who was a conference faculty member. “Editors want to work with people they can work with. No one wants to be that nightmare author,” says the writer, who co-authored a children’s book in 2015 and has a picture book coming out in 2019. “I didn’t want [a sexual harassment claim] to stop me from becoming the writer I wanted to become in order to thrive in this industry and in order to succeed in this industry.” She summoned the confidence to come forward this October, encouraged by online conversations about sexual harassment and children’s publishing. The writer reported her experiences to the executive director of SCBWI, Lin Oliver, who told her that Díaz had previously been warned about such behavior. Díaz apologized to the writer via email, and she accepted his apology. Satisfied with that outcome, the writer believed the matter had been laid to rest, and she doesn’t know whether there were any further allegations which prompted Díaz’s resignation in December. Oliver declined to comment about Díaz’s resignation. The writer is left feeling exposed and with lingering questions about how the matter was handled. “If I’m the only one choosing to have a voice in this conversation, how is the public going to perceive this?” she says. “Keeping it behind closed doors just doesn’t help anyone.”
Drew Himmelstein is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn who writes frequently about education.
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We Closed the Comments. Here’s Why. | Editor’s Note | School Library Journal

Posted : Feb 22, 2018 07:56

SLJ Admin

On behalf of Steven Salpeter: Hi Anona and anon and supportive, A friend called me today to let me know my name had popped up in this thread, which I had stopped following after a few weeks as other commentary elsewhere seemed to be carrying the torch of dialogue. I was shocked to find my name on this list, but was not as horrified as I have been to hear about some of the offenses people in our industry have committed. If you’re reading this comment, you’re probably already aware that the reckoning we’re having in our culture for sexual misconduct is extremely important and unfortunately long overdue. If you feel this way too, I want to you know I agree and support you. I really want to know if I’ve ever made someone uncomfortable if they are willing to share. For Anona’s question: If anyone is aware of something I have done or said that hurt someone in any way connected with issues of gender identity or perceived roles, sexuality, race, or something otherwise hurtful about who they are I would fully support you in your taking the opportunity heal in whatever way will help you, including if you choose to tell your story as many have done. I wouldn’t do anything like the acts of harassment or misconduct people have been accused of in the press in many industries, but while I can’t think of anything I have done that could fall into the categories people have named in this thread, the nature of other issues like microaggressions and power imbalances are that they can be deeply ingrained and it’s scary to me to think I could have really hurt someone some time and don’t know about it. If I have done something I hope to be able to help the victim in any way I can and keep learning about gender disparity and the other important diversity issues in our industry. Even those of us that care can mess up. If someone is out there and I can apologize to you personally if you would be helped by an apology, I would love the opportunity to learn about whatever mistake I could have made. If you want to, you can reach out however makes you feel comfortable, like through the agency’s website or through a third party. Or, if it’s helpful for you to hear, I want you to know I would be in full support of you telling your story anonymously and would support its publication if I was asked. By answering for myself I don’t mean to imply that others named on this page are not guilty of sexual harassment, misconduct, or inappropriate behavior. I believe women and other brave people who have stories to tell, and will leave commentary to those experts who are leading the charge. I hope this remains a safe space for the kidlit community and those hoping to join it. People in power in the business are listening and hopefully starting to do more to enact change. Regards, Steven Salpeter

Posted : Feb 22, 2018 07:55


Dashner is the first person whom I know well enough to call my friend who has been accused. There have been lots of people whom I admire who have turned out to be sexual predators (most notably Jesse Lacey), but this is the first time I've found out that someone whom I actually know and like as a person may have actually been a monster the whole time. Obviously I believe the women, although I'll wait for harder evidence before I sever my ties with Dashner.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 05:25


Storms come and go, the big fish eat the little fish, and James Frey keeps on paddling. I've heard stories about Frey and having met him I believe every one.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 05:09


Not saying that I know that they're true, I'm just saying that his name has come up.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 06:54


Bringing up Ireland, McKinney and Heilig does derail the sexual harassment conversation, but it is true that they are harassers who gladly use their platforms to publicly abuse anyone they don't like. Calling out three people who happen to be women of color on their nasty behavior is not the same as attacking women of color as a group. There are plenty in the industry who use their platforms to speak up against racism and misogyny without also directing hate at people and starting petty drama for no reason. It's not sexual, but it is harassment. They use their victimization to victimize others while falsely accusing anyone who disagrees with them of being "problematic", "racist", and "trash." That, in addition to the sexual harassment, is no big secret anymore.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 12:53


I agree 100%. LL McKinney has attacked me horribly in the past after I stuck up for Jodi Meadows after she wrote a book with a black heroine despite being herself white. She made me feel completely worthless. Ireland and Heilig also have a deep love of ad hominem attacks and are remarkably petty.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 05:16


I agree 100%. LL McKinney has attacked me horribly in the past after I stuck up for Jodi Meadows after she wrote a book with a black heroine despite being herself white. She made me feel completely worthless. Ireland and Heilig also have a deep love of ad hominem attacks and thrive in divisiveness.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 05:17


Dangling modifier patrol- Jodi Meadows wrote a book with a black heroine despite being herself white, Justina Ireland attacked her, I stuck up for Jodi on Goodreads and LL said some truly horrible things about me and every time I tried to explain my position she'd just repeatedly shout ad hominem attacks at me until I began questioning my self-worth and actually couldn't go on Goodreads for months.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 05:28

Tez Miller

Hi SLJ, Since there is no way to Flag individual comments, I emailed you (at the address provided on this page) a list of comment URLs that I think you should moderate. Today, I came online to find all of those comments still here. The longer the defensive comments remain, the less safe place this place is for those who want to come forward with their experiences. They deserve a place to speak without being gaslighted or accused of lying. This thread is devolving into less support and more hostility. Let's turn that around. Thank you for reading.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 11:37


[Comment removed because it violates this site's comment policy.]

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 11:54


Cheryl, That’s a little harsh. I’ve been sexually assaulted but it wasn’t until years later that I fully understood what had happened to me. There’s stuff an old boss said/did that was extremely inappropriate but, again, I didn’t realize it until later. If you’re fed-up, imagine how those of us who have been harassed and abused feel. So sorry for only coping with it so late after the fact. Next time I’ll be sure to not freeze.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 11:02

Cathren Page

Anon, that's so common to have difficulty piecing it together. We have societal narratives that tell us that it isn't what it is--for instances, for many of us, raping one's wife wasn't a crime in our lifetimes. When we've been gaslit and presented with these kinds of cultural standards--and not given support--it's hard to label it even for ourselves.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 05:42


Sherman Alexie once grabbed me and kissed me without warning. After I pushed him away, he apologized. I accepted the apology, believing he'd misread my admiration for him. This was around 20 years ago. I didn't feel harassed exactly, but very shocked, and I'm sharing this to support the other women who have posted about him here. I naively assumed it was an isolated incident. Guess not.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 11:00

Cheryl Current

If a man/ woman says something inappropriate, I think I will HANDLE IT AT THAT MOMENT, instead of years later. People need to set THEIR OWN boundaries for what THEY WILL ACCEPT. If you can't stand up for yourself, please don't expect the media to do it for you.....#FEDUP

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 10:18

Cathren Page

That doesn't take into account the PTS, dissociation, and confusing cultural narratives that often cause people to freeze in these moments.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 05:44


Full transparency is important because of the slim chance that some accusations are false. Just because the numbers are extremely low doesn't mean it's something that doesn't happen. Anyone, like I'm doing at the moment, can post anonymous messages with various identity concealing pseudonyms. It's not that I don't want to believe every single accusation, but when the common thread is the lack of putting a real name to back a statement makes it seem less believable. One author in particular who's been named in the comment section (James Dashner) of this article has been let go from their literary agent. If this accusation is proven to be untrue, he was then slandered and dropped because lies told by anonymous sources. These accusations effect people's lives and should be treated as such. I'll gladly stand by the people who have faced these disgusting acts, but frankly anonymous postings prove nothing.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 10:06


Time to close the comments, I think.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 09:43


[Comment removed because it violates this site's comment policy.]

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 11:53


Mike Jung, many of us were troubled to see you defend one of the people named here on Twitter. You can't know who is guilty. We're supposed to believe victims, and we have to do that even when they name people we like. Seeing some of these names has crushed a lot of us, but if we cherry pick who to believe, there's no point to any of this.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 08:19


Posted : Feb 15, 2018 10:22

Mike Jung

Anon, you know what, you're 100% right. I've deleted the tweet about that person, and I sincerely apologize to those who've named that person here. That was a failure of allyship, a prioritization of my own feelings, which are unimportant here, over the feelings of the victims, whose feelings are of all-encompassing importance, and a direct violation of my own oft-stated commitment to believe victims and support victims. It's not the first time I've failed the people I should be supporting, and I often talk about how "we're all complicit," but here's yet another situation in which it's important for me to say it more accurately; I'm complicit, and I just publicly demonstrated that I am. Thank you for being direct and honest with me, anon. It was an act of kindness and generosity for you to do so. I'm sorry to have put you or anyone in the position of having to make that effort.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 10:34


Wow. This thread is completely out of control. Firstly, I'm a published author of over a dozen books. I have NEVER worked with a man on any of my books (publishing is almost exclusively female) and certainly never been harassed. BUT if you read through all of these comments then you'd think there was an epidemic! This cannot statistically be true. It is clear that certain men took advantage of their privilege at SCBWI. This is disgusting. It's a worthy and important thing to discuss. HOWEVER naming so-and-so because his (or even her) name was heard through the grape-vine or tossing a name out because you thought he/she was mean is NOT sexual harassment. For those of you who haven't read about the Salem Witch Trials then you should. History, sadly, repeats itself. As someone who has experienced real sexual harassment and even worse, assault, please, please, please STOP naming people when they haven't actually done either of the two listed things TO YOU. A bad joke, an honest and maybe hurtful critique, a nasty comment, etc., is not sexual harassment or assault. Also, rumors are often not true so no one should be spreading them. PERIOD. This is how the MeToo movement will die--by people casually listing names without proof or actual first-hand experience. Shame on each and every one of you who has done so. And shame on every person who has attempted to shut down constructive conversation or dissent. Again, the Witch Trials come to mind. To those who were actually harassed or assaulted, I'm sorry. Stay strong.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 05:37


I do not understand how any of these people can think this is okay. Due process is just for court proceedings? No! Due process exists because otherwise, I can go to a bathroom, write on the wall (for example) "Justine sells guns to kids!" and get Justine run out of town by angry parents who don't want their kids to be sold guns. Due process means I have to prove this accusation before it has an impact on Justine's life, or else she can sue me. This is something none of the people here are doing. HAVE YOU NEVER MET SOMEONE WHO LIES??? Anyone, anyone can make up nonsense about another person and post anonymously without consequences! And those of you about to scream it's not remotely comparable? You are idiots. You are fools. Your teachers and parents should hang their heads they produced such idiots. I am sickened you have a vote or any say in the future of this society. It boggles my mind people who are shaping the minds of children are so absolutely stupid themselves. Maybe their publishers need to be held responsible for what they're saying to discourage such people being published in the future. I just don't understand how anyone can be so brainwashed they think anything is okay about this.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 08:25

Cathren Page

Due process is a legal term that applies to the government depriving someone of life, liberty, and property--and we would never have court proceedings in the first place if we did not first have an investigation and discovery phase. During that phase, yes, you gather and vet accusations.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 05:47


-------To the School Library Journal--------- Your handling of this article has been reckless and cavalier. Due to the baseless series of assumptions and insinuations in this article, you have smeared the SCBWI and Lin Oliver, a woman with a spotless, dedicated, and exemplary career in children's books, and a number of awards and widespread recognition for her advocacy for women and women's rights. You have done her, and the organization she represents, great harm. Most importantly, however, you have misinformed your readers. Is there any wonder Oliver declined to comment for the original article, given how recklessly you shepherded its publication, and its subsequent update? Do you not know that people representing large groups like the SCBWI cannot simply comment about sexual harassment allegations without exposing themselves, their companies, their employees, their tireless and amazing volunteers, and their members to the immense burdens and downstream consequences of legal suits? A decline to comment is nothing more than decline to comment, not an admission of guilt, wrongdoing, or complicity in protecting alleged sexual harassers, or something as nebulous as a company's reputation. As is clear from the begrudging "update," you got the reporting wrong. You got the reporting wrong because you simply did not do enough original reporting or gather enough sources and confirmations to publish, but you did it anyway. That was reckless, harmful, and misleading. Your flippant update is nearly as irresponsible as the original article. So here are some questions for the School Library Journal editorial department: --- Was this article fact checked? If not, why not? Did this fact checker, if there was one, have access to Himmelstein's notes or any source documents she used in her reporting? --- Did Himmelstein ever reach out to anyone mentioned by name in the article to confirm or deny her reporting, or ask for additional comment once her reporting was in final form and her conclusions had been drawn? --- Do you understand that a "no comment" is not necessarily an attempt to conceal, but a necessary protection against lawsuits? Which, by the way, the SCBWI will now most likely be facing. What journalistic standards or policies do you typically follow in "no comment" situations? Do you recognize that people may have a variety of reasons for not commenting which have nothing remotely sinister about them? --- Did you consult anyone with professional expertise in reporting sexual harassment or children's literature while preparing this story, or any such experts to review it once it was done? If not, why not? --- Was Himmelstein able to gather any sources or source documents in addition to the writer who came forward, in the sections that focused on David Diaz and the SCBWI? --- Did a lawyer review the article before going to print? --- On what basis was Himmelstein assigned this story, given that she has scant or perhaps zero professional experience reporting on sexual harassment or children's literature? --- How many other editors reviewed this article before going to print? Was it discussed in editorial meetings? What level of editor would need to approve an article such as this for publication? --- Why did this article bring up Mark Halperin and the irredeemable Harvey Weinstein, making the insinuation that this industry was surely harboring such self-same monsters? --- Did you have any editorial discussions concerning the journalistic standards in this piece? By which I mean that in the sections detailing Diaz and SCBWI, the piece is presented as straight objective journalism, yet these sections appear to be entirely from the point of view of the writer who came forward. Did you have discussions about how to set off or demarcate what was Himmelstein's independent reporting, from the writer's subjective experiences and feelings and questions about those experiences? --- Did you ever consider publishing this article as an "as told to" personal essay, and not to present it as a work of fact-checked and professionally edited journalism? --- Given the mistakes in this article, are you going to reevaluate your editorial standards and processes, especially for sensitive and gravely important topics such as sexual harassment, which demand great care and expertise? School Library Journal---as a children's book writer, I have gone through far more invasive, comprehensive and probing editorial and fact-checking processes for books about construction trucks and ponies than this article appears to have undergone. A rigorous fact-check is not fun, but it's necessary. I urge you to answer the questions here or in subsequent articles, and to take responsibility where it's due. I'm certain Lin Oliver and many, many other women in positions of power in children's publishing would love NOTHING MORE than to participate in serious, searching, and no-holds-barred articles about sexual harassment in children's literature, and all relevant discussions stemming from this topic. But you have muddied the waters, and crapped in the bed, and caused a great deal of chaos and confusion for literally everyone the slightest bit connected to this article. I believe owe Lin Oliver, the SCBWI, its members, and everyone who was misinformed by this sloppily rendered article, an apology, and as well, a basic accounting of how the mistakes made in this article came to be.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 04:02

L Moon

Quote from Ms. Ursu's article: "This is not about exposing or accusing people; speculating on the identities of the alleged harassers would be damaging to everyone involved, and will only feed derailing narratives." Well, that article's intent certainly went out the window! And I think her prediction has played out here. One feels deeply saddened for sexual harassment victims who have been chased from their jobs, demoted, made to feel 'less than' or to doubt their talent. The lines of 'acceptable' need to shift. One also cringes at posts where women say, "I was taken aback, so I didn't say anything." (to the man or work/conference place.) And then, seem surprised that the man in question repeated or escalated his behavior. I worry that at least some of these stories are incidents of awkward flirting and should fall into the category of a social misunderstanding vs. predatory harassment. There IS a difference. There are a huge variety and vast differences in levels of sexually-charged indiscretion. Some offenders do deserve for careers to be ruined, names besmirched, families and fortunes devastated. And others? Not so much. A sensitivity lecture would be more appropriate. The anonymous PILING ON here is worrisome. We do want women to speak out and be believed. We don't want every shoulder or hair-touching incident to be equated with a capital offense in which the social-media crowd demands "Off with his head!" There are also odd claims that seem internally contradictory: For instance, "I reported it and nothing happened." then a sentence or two later: "After my complaint he was suspended for a year, had to take a sexual harassment course, was put on probation, and then, did resign." Excuse me, but what do you mean 'nothing happened'? It sounds like appropriate remedies were taken. I also have heard rumors of some ladies here using different e-mails/computers to up the victim complaint count. (Please let this not be true!) Whether it is or not, that many, too many, women have been sexually harassed is certainly true. I believe most accounts are heartfelt and genuine. I also realize that Anne Urdu is not a trained journalist, she did not vet any the of stories or sources. She does not know what organizations did or said behind closed doors. And neither do we. What's here is undeniably speculative. So take care. I'm a 'me too' victim of multiple serious assaults from time spent in another industry. Believe me, I get it. I know the damage. But I, and most women, clearly know and feel the difference between bad taste, clumsy expressions of interest, and true predatory or power-hostage behavior. I'm not seeing that clearly differentiated or reflected in some accounts here. It's true that no inappropriate behavior should be tolerated. But there should be room and cool mindset for discussion and education allowed. For men. For women. It's not victim-shaming to suggest we should arm and encourage our young women to learn to clearly express their dismay aloud and in the moment. Or to suggest to men that they learn to look for cues that their conduct is being perceived as aggression, attack or power-blackmail. And for commenters. Consider that mob mentality is counter-productive. Because overkill will certainly result in it's own backlash. We want progress not heads.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 03:44

Laurie Lewis

Now that the anonymous accuser of Charlie Pulsipher and Dan Wells posted here at 12:45, admitting that she made up her allegations against them, I ask the SLJ to interview these men and give them an opportunity to be publicly vindicated and reach out to their readers to minimize the damage to their careers and reputations. I've pasted her post below. Please make the vindication as equally public as the accusation. MeToo says: February 14, 2018 at 12:45 pm An admin can verify that my email matches the one in my original post. On Monday, I accused James Dashner, Dan Well and Charlie Pulsipher of sexual harassment. I made it up. I was angry, not thinking clearly and chose 2 random names from a conference. I was wrong to do this. Charlie and Dan has never taken sexual advantage of me. I’m sorry, the #metoo movement is too important for my lies to hurt it. I apologise for any harm I’ve done. I hope this clears Dan and Charlie’s names.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 01:32


Well this explains how a picture book that has a man taking off his pants in front of woman even though she protests gets starred reviews. Not one influencer or Rock Star librarian reviewer called this out. This book was put in Barnes and Noble! Come on kidlit, do better. I don't care who wrote it. It the book is offensive you need to call it out. * "Snicket fans will love this book."―Kirkus Reviews, starred review * "Expressive action-filled illustrations [will] make the reader giggle and frown."―School Library Connection, starred review "Snicket's quirky narrative voice and observations of events both great and lowly make this a fine readaloud--and a sure cure for a bad mood."―Publishers Weekly "A cheerfully wacky read-aloud sure to brighten listeners' moods."―School Library Journal "This light take on a negative feeling may be useful to adults working with children."―Horn Book "[The Bad Mood and the Stick] offers a playful way to talk about feelings we've all experienced."― Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 12:38


FYI Jay asher has been dropped by his literary agency:

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 11:21

Hey Anonny Nonny Nonny

So has Dashner.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 12:19

Justine Larbalestier

Argh. That was supposed to be Justina. Annoying Autocorrect!

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 11:09

Mike Jung

I had to edit "Justine" FOUR TIMES in my most recent comment! #argh

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 11:19

Justine Larbalestier

No, Stegosaur, Justine and Heidi and LL are speaking out against racism and bigotry. They are three of the most important voices in our field working for change. I'm eternally grateful to them. That you would hijack a thread on sexual harassment full of brave women speaking out says a lot about you. None of it good.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 11:08


[Comment removed because it violates this site's comment policy.]

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 12:00


Heidi Heilig publicly accused a young, gay, black writer on twitter of being equivalent to the Nazi Richard Spencer simply because he wrote an article mildly disagreeing about the effectiveness of call out culture in elevating the voices of marginalized writers. And you, Justine, a white woman, viciously attacked the same person publicly. You and Heidi Heilig, together with Justina Ireland, attacked, harassed, and dragged him simply for having a difference of opinion.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 04:38

SCBWI member too

The day after I posted above asking SCBWI to be more transparent and give a timeline of what happened and when/how they handled it, SLJ published an update from Lin Oliver giving the timeline of how they handled the Diaz case. Thank you SCBWI and Lin Oliver for reading and listening and taking some action. Keep it up! This is encouraging.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 11:02


An admin can verify that my email matches the one in my original post. On Monday, I accused James Dashner, Dan Well and Charlie Pulsipher of sexual harassment. I made it up. I was angry, not thinking clearly and chose 2 random names from a conference. I was wrong to do this. Charlie and Dan has never taken sexual advantage of me. I'm sorry, the #metoo movement is too important for my lies to hurt it. I apologise for any harm I've done. I hope this clears Dan and Charlie's names.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 10:45


Please tell me SLJ can verify!? I have been agonizing over this, continuing to defend women hard (including you), and slowly saying goodbye to a career I have barely begun.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 11:46


can we please please get an admin to verify this?

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 01:23


Please! This is crucial, so let's get to the bottom of it. Some may not care about false accusations in pursuit of the destruction of the patriarchy as they envision it, but those people are, with any luck, outliers.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 06:45


Sorry for my poor English. I was reading these commenters, I saw Lauren destefano I felt heart beat fast. She was absusive to my online, to my face at signing I wish her to be sorry for using my language against me

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 10:25

Genetta Adair

David Diaz. #MeToo. Harassment, inappropriate lewd comments, predatory behavior, and seemingly innocuous but unwanted touching. I never reported my experiences. I thought a predator was a creep and a jerk who had to be tolerated and repeatedly refused. I never thought SCBWI should have had to handle that situation for me. I wish now I had stepped out of my comfort zone to alert SCBWI to the situation in order to protect others. I’m sorry I didn’t. However, I am confident that Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser will do everything in their power to prevent this from happening in the future. I fully believe they will create a way for victims to feel safe to tell their experiences so that disciplinary action and healing can both take place. As a previous SCBWI regional advisor who knew the inner workings of SCBWI, I can say I never saw favoritism or discrimination at any SCBWI conference, either regional or international. SCBWI has always worked to promote a safe, unbigoted family atmosphere for kidlit creators. I love SCBWI and those who lead it.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 09:09


"So what now?" Well, nothing. It seems as though everyone has chosen Jay Asher among the people named to shoulder the burden of a larger problem. While all the other stories and accusations are being largely ignored by the broader public. Many of the names mentioned above will go on selling books, winning awards, and booking tons of speaking gigs. While everyone enabling them either chooses to ignore the victims who have come forward, or simply disregards their claims out of disbelief (or perhaps something else?) It's honestly the whole "rockstar" thing taking hold again - with *most* fans of these authors and their work refusing to believe their golden boys could do anything wrong. So, it's sad, it's unfortunate, but in reality I think the answer to your above question "So now what?" is: well, nothing. Jay Asher's story has gained some traction with the broader public and his literary agents, and his career is largely over (though those of us in the industry could argue it already was before this, so even he will not suffer great consequences) , but none of the other cases seem to be gaining any traction or attention. Which I think is a sign that despite the initial shock and furor over this, it's largely going to pass with very few changes or consequences for the men (and women) who are using their status and power and fame and art to manipulate and take advantage of (and/or worse) younger writers and other colleagues. Not to be so cynical - since this issue saddens me greatly - but it's because it's such an important, terrible thing that I think we need to sit back and really ask ourselves if we're okay letting all the accusations above fade away? And letting the offenders "get away with it." Because as of right now, it certainly appears that's the case. There's even a good chance that many people named above have even successfully lied to their spouses and have them believing it's all a lie. Because that's what people like that are good at: manipulating those around them. It certainly only helps when they're talented and produce art that is largely admired and adored by everyone. It basically gives them a free pass to be a creep - and we're seeing evidence of that right now as we speak. Aside from this thread and a short-lived outcry on Twitter, what has come of this? What consequences have any of these people (aside from Jay Asher) really faced in light of this? Answer: none.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 08:08


You could not be more wrong FYI. You have no idea what's happening behind the scenes. None.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 09:59


First, thank you to all of the victims speaking out here. In response to some of the most recent comments: this is why the conversation about harassment in children’s and YA publishing cannot truly move forward without also addressing racism (and other forms of power and oppression.) Black women and other women of color are now being named in a thread about sexual harassment, because of the ways they *resist their own harassment?* No. Let’s talk about how this community is unsafe for Black women, Native women, women of color— including what’s happening right here. If people aren’t willing to confront that, and will only speak out about harm to White women, we aren’t having the conversation at all.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 07:50

Melanie Conklin


Posted : Feb 15, 2018 12:51


This is incredibly hard to read. One, it’s triggering to read stories of other’s trauma, but two, there are several names here, on social media, on the petition, etc. who’ve been vicious and cruel trying to take down victims of abuse. I don’t want to name names. I don’t wish harm or pain on you. I only want to understand. Why do you care now? Why are you comfortable destroying a person if they’re not someone you know or like, but in the same breath, you can scream advocacy to the rafters? Trauma is lifelong damage. It’s not a hashtag. I am relieved victims are being heard. I only ask you to truly listen and not make this nothing more than the latest twitterstorm that holds your interest until something else comes along. Not every victim is a bestselling author with a huge social media platform. Few actually are. When the loudest voices in YA are drowning out the stories of the people who were hurt for more focus on them, it serves no one.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 11:36


Lauren Destefano??? So now the names are people you just don't like not sexual harassers? Great. Then I name the center figure of all toxicity in YA who is the source of all of this cancer: Justina Ireland. And her henchmen LL McKinney and Heidi Heilig. To use the same language of anon above, their treatment of literally everyone else including young members of this community is disgusting. They have also "gone way too far at times" and "harassment is an understatement". In their cases it truly is. How many people know this and dare not speak it aloud? This has continued on for two years now.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 09:51

Mike Jung

I don't know much about Lauren DeStefano so I can't comment on any interactions she's had with young women in the YA sphere, but it doesn't sound like you're accusing her of sexual harassment. Are you? And the only things Justina Ireland, LL McKinney, and Heidi Heilig are guilty of are being completely blunt, completely honest, and completely unwilling to prioritize culturally and societally dominant voices over historically marginalized voices.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 11:54


I hope this won't derail the initial purpose of all these comments - to deal with sexual harassment - but thank you for bringing up something that probably needs a long, hard conversation within this community. There are powerful writers and bloggers who have gained popularity and who wield their power in an abusive way. It creates a hostile environment where a simple difference of opinion, or an honest error that could be corrected by thoughtful reflection to do better, is turned into an event in which the person is harassed, brigaded, driven away - and these abusers do so with relish as they direct their followers to jump in on the destruction. To add insult to injury, whenever these abusers make mistakes themselves, they're rarely held to account for it. They sometimes leave social media, delete their posts, then hop back on as if nothing happened, and their followers seem not to care. It is frustrating that these abusers do the very behavior they claim others use to harass them - retweeting mentions so followers will see and swarm, deleting posts to gaslight, deliberately misconstruing statements, sharing screenshots of private accounts and communication, and hopping into people's mentions when that person has asked to be left alone. I've seen these abusers start a fight with a victim, then pull back and claim to their followers that they're the one being attacked. If we're trying to empower women with #MeToo, if we're trying to change the culture so not only that sexual harassment doesn't happen but so that we feel able to tell a sexual harasser, "Hey, that type of speech is not okay" without fear of retaliation, then we must broaden our horizons and seek to halt all types of abuse. We need to be able to tell our powerful friends and idols that their behavior is not okay without fear of being brigaded and blacklisted. And as a community, and as individuals, we need to strive to understand each other, to not devolve into knee-jerk reactions when someone says something we don't like or makes a mistake. We are all imperfect creatures, and stepping back for a few moments to listen and think before instantly responding in outrage would go a long way to making this a better, more welcoming community.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 12:22


Valkyrie, your comment DOES derail the conversation. And I assume its vagueness is intentional - are you suggesting that bloggers/influencers/etc encouraging their followings to believe victims and work towards pushing harassers out of the industry is a bad thing? "Differences of opinion" are things like whether pineapple is an appropriate topping for pizza or whether Bud Light counts as beer. "Johnny Big-Deal has been accused of harassment by a dozen people and is a dangerous creep" is not really an opinion, at this point. It's a fact. If you're trying to bring up the familiar conversation about the drama surrounding YA Twitter, yeah, now is not the time. We're talking about sexual harassment. It's an important conversation and deserves our full attention right now. Rest assured, someone who hasn't read a YA novel since Twilight will publish a thinkpiece about YA Twitter in a couple of weeks. We can all rehash the old arguments then.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 07:16


Mike Jung, to say "the only thing" someone "is guilty of" means you are privy to information that resides inside another person's body. How do you know? Knee-jerk defenses like this make it harder to speak out about harassment that is visible to anyone with a twitter feed, and a thousand times harder to speak out about harassment of a more demeaning and sexual nature. It stops the conversation and scares people into silence. Your post, while I'm sure well-intentioned, is a good example of shutting someone up. In the interest of education, since you, a man, decided to call to our attention the "rules" of this comment thread's subject matter with this challenge, “it doesn’t sound like you’re accusing her of sexual harassment. Are you?” let us visit the definition of sexual harassment for reference. Here is the EEO definition. "It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general. Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex. Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted). The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer." Regarding the offshoot conversation here, attention to this phrase. "harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted)." I understand it’s hard not to feed trolls, but please, if you do, take a step back and try not to be an intimidating male when you do it. In the interest of this conversation going forward, let’s revisit the idea of “Just because someone is your friend doesn’t mean they are perfect.”

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 07:50

Allie Jane Bruce

"When you are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression." - I cannot find the original source on this quote. Help? What you see above is the backlash women of color get for speaking things that are true and fighting against the norm.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 07:24

Kimbra Power

I searched too, couldn't find it, but read some great articles along the way. What a great quote Allie Jane Bruce, it really resonated. Thanks to the many contributions above, especially those who add to the conversation in an honest and gracious way, and share their stories. That must be hard. Thank you.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 08:24


Sounds like you've got a vendetta against WOC. Good job derailing this important discussion about sexual harassment by falling back on tried and true racism.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 11:49

Kelsey Cole-Burns

To all the victims: Thank you for having the courage to speak out. I'm listening. I believe you. I stand beside you.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 07:44

A friend

So now what?

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 07:35

A friend

I mean--is anyone going to be brave enough to dis-invite these named creepy authors above to all their festivals and schools? Because I know a lot of non-creepy authors who could really use that $$$ and are guaranteed not to harass women. Just look at the events schedule for any of the authors above and they are slated for big $$ and big invites all through summer. Just sayin'... so sorry for all the creeps' wives and kids back home who are most likely just finding out about their husbands...and so sorry of course to all the victims most of all.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 07:40


Answer: no, it does not appear that anything will happen, sadly. It seems as though everyone has chosen Jay Asher among the people named to shoulder the burden of a larger problem. While all the other stories and accusations are being largely ignored by the broader public. Many of the names mentioned above will go on selling books, winning awards, and booking tons of speaking gigs. While everyone enabling them either chooses to ignore the victims who have come forward, or simply disregards their claims out of disbelief (or perhaps something else?) It's honestly the whole "rockstar" thing taking hold again - with *most* fans of these authors and their work refusing to believe their golden boys could do anything wrong. So, it's sad, it's unfortunate, but in reality I think the answer to your above question "So now what?" is: well, nothing. Jay Asher's story has gained some traction with the broader public and his literary agents, and his career is largely over (though those of us in the industry could argue it already was before this, so even he will not suffer great consequences) , but none of the other cases seem to be gaining any traction or attention. Which I think is a sign that despite the initial shock and furor over this, it's largely going to pass with very few changes or consequences for the men (and women) who are using their status and power and fame and art to manipulate and take advantage of (and/or worse) younger writers and other colleagues. Not to be so cynical - since this issue saddens me greatly - but it's because it's such an important, terrible thing that I think we need to sit back and really ask ourselves if we're okay letting all the accusations above fade away? And letting the offenders "get away with it." Because as of right now, it certainly appears that's the case. There's even a good chance that many people named above have even successfully lied to their spouses and have them believing it's all a lie. Because that's what people like that are good at: manipulating those around them. It certainly only helps when they're talented and produce art that is largely admired and adored by everyone. It basically gives them a free pass to be a creep - and we're seeing evidence of that right now as we speak. Aside from this thread and a short-lived outcry on Twitter, what has come of this? What consequences have any of these people (aside from Jay Asher) really faced in light of this? Answer: none.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 08:05

Tori Rigby

To all the victims: I believe you, and I am so sorry this has happened to you. You are so brave for speaking up. Much love to each of you. <3

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 07:32

Anonymous Please

Lauren DeStefano. Her treatment of the young female YA book community is disgusting and has been for years. She’s gone way too far at times and harassment is an understatement, especially on Twitter. Friends of mine have suffered at her cruel words in the past and I believe she’s used disabilities against them.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 05:27

Sadly anonymous for my safety

In regards to the acquisitions editor for Fille Verte publishing, Tiffany Rosenthal Hoffman aka Courtney Lynn Rose. She is a woman in a power position (editor, who is also trying to get on as a pitchwars mentor, even though she's banned from the contest under her real name). She ran 'ficfest' mentoring writing contest, cocreated with Kara Leigh Miller. Tiffany and her board of directors (Jadah McCoy, C.M. McCoy aka Colleen Oefelein also a literary agent, E.G. Moore, and Laura Noakes) fired a disabled WoC, Julie Lonewolf, after a couple men and their friends complained to get Julie fired. One of the men (Christopher T. Nugent) not only made racist and discriminatory remarks to Julie, he also sexually harassed her, (he also sexually harassed numerous other women and young girl writers in the community. And then he threatened them to stay quiet when they spoke out against his abuses/backlighting, misogynist remarks, or else he'd sue.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 03:04

Sadly anonymous for my safety

To follow up on my post above, the only reason I mentioned a victim's name is because she passed away year. Also, to add, many of the board members I listed above are current members of SCWBI, write children's literature, and are also member's of romance writer's of america. Christopher T. Nugent is an editor, children's author and mentor for many writing contests. He deleted his accounts, resurfaced as elcnubrac in twitter, then disappeared again.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 03:56


+1 for Myke Cole.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 02:14

SCBWI member too

Thank you to all who have told their stories, I hear you and believe you. Mari Talkin--thank you for a thoughtful statement that sums it up so well. I appreciate SCBWI very much and I hope they will make all the members and conference attendees their top priority. So far the statements people involved in SCBWI leadership roles feel more protective of the organization and not about making us feel it is safe to attend SCBWI conferences. SCBWI needs to rebuild trust that it is fully committed to a safe and professional community for all. I hope SCBWI and all the chapters will rewrite their harassment policy with the main goal of it being to help people feel safe. WisCon has an excellent and detailed policy (as others have noted). Being very specific and detailed in the harassment policy is important. Vague statements about Board members being the ones who will review concerns is not adequate (especially when a Board member is one that people are concerned about). Transparency is very important. They can tell us the timeline when they first heard the allegations--and how and when SCBWI took action--without making the people who bring them up feel unsafe (please, please always think of how you can protect those who come forward from further harassment or fear of the abuser). And if mistakes were made, acknowledge that and tell us how you will change. We are all rooting for an improved and more fair and equitable SCBWI--and kidlit community. And thank you SLJ for your articles and forum and creating space for this important dialogue.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 01:05

Mari Talkin

My support goes out to all those who have suffered abuse and harassment. Thank you for speaking up. I love the kidlit community, and wrapped up in this love is the recognition that it is not perfect and must strive to be better. We have so much to be proud of AND we have to be better at creating a fair and equitable playing field and at holding abusers accountable.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 12:24


I implore anyone reading this thread with a bit of intellectual capability to pay attention to one thing in the future, an argument technique: 1) Person lays out argument 2) Person immediately also derides any possibility of counter argument by mocking either "due process" or "muh free speech". Watch this. It is used over and over again. It's a propaganda technique: you give your argument and then mock the very valid counter argument to try to get casual onlookers to disregard it before it is even spoken. I don't think many on this thread or in the kidlit community do it consciously. Honestly I've come to the conclusion many of you are not very bright. Many of you are also true believers every bit so fanatical as religious extremists. I don't know what is so wrong with children's publishing that so many of these brainwashed fundamentalists are raging through it without pushback like there's been in most every other community. It's like we have no immune system for this virus and that is tragic. If I could level a curse on most of you who are on this thread and stroking each other on twitter, it is this: reap the fruits of your own labor. Live the future you are creating. I really think most of you are well intentioned but much less intelligent than you think, so I know you will be very slow to notice when it happens but I pray you do: may you look around with horror one day to find yourself trapped in the world you have created. I hate that you are forcing the rest of us to live in it too but at least I have the satisfaction of watching you inevitably eat each other.

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 11:46


trying this again because the comment seems to keep disappearing; this is in response to the john green comment above:

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 11:14

why is no one saying it

John Green. He reacted extremely violently to teens expressing discomfort with him forcing attention on them, and the YA community came to his aid. Why exactly should anyone trust a community of adult women who turned on teenage girls for calling "creepy" an adult man who compulsively followed, messaged, and tried to ingratiate himself with them when they did not want it? He's also friends with, or had a professional relationship with, way more sexual predators than one would think is the average amount. Like calls to like. Why does he end up surrounding himself with rapists and pedophiles if something about their dynamic as people doesn't resonate with him? (Sam Pepper, Alex Day, Tom Milsom, Mike Lombardo, Austin Jones, Ed Blann, Josh Macedo). The percentage of sexual predators who have been, or are, in Green's "inner circle" is really worrisome, and I wonder just how many people his illusion of Ultimate Rockstar Status is silencing.

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 03:30

johngreenisagoodperson dot tumblr dot com

In response to this comment:

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 10:22


This is disingenuous and untrue.

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 10:34


The reason John Green has not been mentioned is because no one who's posted here has a personal story to share about how they were in any way harassed or abused by Green. (Will that happen? Who knows? But it hasn't yet.) This is supposed to be the point of this thread (more or less). People are sharing their experiences. Yes, some people have tried to interject hearsay into the thread by reporting rumors they've heard or things they've been told by friends of friends of friends and others have stepped in to shut it down because it's just conjecture and NOT first hand accounts. This discussion works best when it's about survivors bravely coming forward to share their experiences, not aggregating every bad thing you've heard about someone, forming an opinion based on this, and then spewing it out here. If Green hasn't done anything to you personally, then you don't get to add fuel to the fire with wild speculation. If someone has a story of personal abuse to share, I'll gladly listen to it. But we're helping no one if we're supporting imagined victims that you've dreamed up because of hearsay. THIS is exactly how a search for justice becomes a witch hunt: when people stop sharing their stories of abuse and the discussion becomes dominated with suspicions and allegations that are based on how we "feel" about someone.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 12:37

Bella Kraft

My stomach is absolutely churning reading all of this. I am so sorry any of you have ever experienced wrong doing and harassment by anyone. I wish my words could change things or there was something I could do to take your pain away. I believe you. I’m with you. I’m here if you need me. Let’s end harassment and have those offenders called out loud and punished.

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 02:00

Cathren Page

In addressing all the concerns and arguments raised here, we might be mindful of the multiple purposes and motivations we have in this thread. Several of those could be: 1) to call for an examination of behavior and standards so that we might all embrace more healthy and egalitarian standards moving forward; 2) to ignite change in those who might deserve a chance to reform their behavior; 3) to seek empathy and support in the face of trauma and discrimination; 4) to bring evidence to light for further investigation; 5) to warn others and to protect them from the same harm; and 6) in some instances, to begin the process of ousting those against whom there is sufficient evidence of sufficiently egregious actions. Legal Disclaimer—No Legal Advice Intended My disclaimer on all of these things. I am a law professor and was a child protection lawyer, but none of what I am saying is meant to constitute legal advice. Anyone seeking legal advice should consult a lawyer who represents their interest, who specializes in that area of law, and who is licensed and experienced in the jurisdiction where the claim is being filed. Legal Terms Inapplicable at This Stage Since our purpose is not always to achieve ouster, the arguments raised do not all apply. I’ve seen legal terms bandied about here that are not necessarily relevant yet—“due process,” “libel,” “slander,” and “hearsay.” “Due process” only applies when someone is being deprived of life, liberty, and property. While that could be the ultimate consequence of some of these things, we’re not at that stage. We’re having a discussion and that discussion has a variety of goals. Hearsay also is an evidence rule that applies in court and in other tribunals. It refers to an out-of-court statement made by a non-party and presented in court for the truth of the matter asserted. Note, by definition, it is doesn’t cover all out-of-court statements, and it also has numerous exceptions. Libel and slander typically require that the statement be false in most jurisdictions, and it is typically the person suing who has to prove falseness. In some jurisdictions, they also require malice. If someone had the goals listed above as opposed to mere harm or revenge, it’s unlikely that malice would apply. Learning, Setting New Standards, and Creating a Healthier Environment for All The #metoo movement has rocked so many of us to the core and caused us to examine our own lives. That examination can help us to grow despite how painful it may be and despite the reasons for the push-back. We need to be aware of some of the pushback factors to overcome the pushback. Some of the push-back is likely due to several of the following factors: 1) we have long lived according to a different cultural standard, under which much of the alleged behavior was considered acceptable, despite the toxicity of that behavior; 2) our culture and authority figures have taught many of us the cultural standard by abusing us, which often causes a symptom of abuse, known as “acting out sexually;” 3) due to this prevalence and this standard, some may be examining either our own behavior or that of our parents, siblings, children, spouses, partners, and loved ones and wondering whether we will be next; 4) one of the most challenging aspects of abuse is that the abuser may also be someone whom we love or who has helped us in many ways; and 5) anyone who has ever been gaslit by an abuser may worry that abusers will now weaponize #metoo to make false allegations against us or make false allegations to discredit the movement. Despite these concerns, we can take this opportunity to set new standards moving forward. As a survivor of various abuses and as a former a child protection lawyer, I welcome that change. As someone who learned boundaries from an abusive culture and who was a community scapegoat, of course, I also find myself picking over my own life to see what the consequences will be. Despite the pain and difficulty of that, I see it as an opportunity to grow. We all have the opportunity to examine where and how we learned boundaries. For instance, in one of my cases, a child whose mother prostituted her “acted out sexually.” Later, she was caught touching other kids’ privates at a facility. Her abusers taught her lack of boundaries and taught her that she was sexual property in the most visceral possible way. She herself was investigated by the police, and I had to get them to drop the case in favor of a more therapeutic approach. When it comes to those boundaries, I myself could label sexual abuse cases, but it’s only in about the past decade that I have fully understood every other type of boundaries. #Metoo has me not only scraping over all of the times I’ve been abused or discriminated against, it also has me scraping over my past and examining my boundaries. For instance, did I dance too close to someone? Yes, I did dance inappropriately close to someone once. Retrospectively, I see now that I failed to read the situation and see that this interactions we was unwanted. I know now that doing so was wrong. In the past eight years, I have become a much more boundaried person, and #metoo is helping me to see not just the ways that people have violated my boundaries but how I can best respect others’ boundaries. Whatever the contact, if someone’s body language or words indicate lack of consent, we need to listen. To do otherwise is to reinforce the message that women, or others who have power imbalances, are property. Again, anyone facing their own transgressions who wants to know legal consequences should consult with a lawyer who represents them and their interests and specializes in the area. What I am about to say is my opinion morally and not my opinion on legal matters. When faced with boundary violations we or our loved ones may have committed, the right thing to do is to own them, to make a amends, and to embrace a new code of conduct moving forward. To deny facts is to further injure not just the survivor but all survivors—many of us survivors feel gaslit by every denial. Many of us may be constantly questioning and doubting ourselves and wondering what is real and what is not. To do deny that those facts constitute an inappropriate boundary violation is to set a standard treating people as property. This standard most harms those who lack power—women, children, disabled people, people of color, people from minority religion, and so on. People who lack power are less able to assert boundaries and find less recourse. Seeking and Giving Empathy and Support The push-back also ignores a primary reason for posting these allegations—healing through empathy—and providing support to the injured. Sexual abuse and sexual harassment injures our sense of reality. In forcing unwanted remarks or contact on us, the offender denies our point of view—our wishes—our perspective. We become invisible to them. Our voice grows silent for them. That’s the wound--that and shame. The wound causes us to question ourselves, our sense of reality, others’ perceptions of us, our inner definition of ourselves. We may question whether anyone will ever see us, hear us, or understand the world through our lens. When we speak out, we are frequently further gaslit. Even here on this thread, anonymous trolls have called all of the accusers liars. How can anyone even know that they are all liars? The only person who would know that would be the survivor and the accused. Since there is more than one accused, then one person cannot know that all are liars. This further gaslighting can reinforce that invisibility wound—that self-doubt—those questions about self-worth. And, again, this next part is not meant as legal advice. Anyone seeking legal advice should consult an attorney who represents them. From there, the legal system further injures the survivor. Typically, proof of rape requires intent. The legal system examines the accused’s state of mind. The survivor’s state of mind is only relevant insofar as it sheds light on the accused’s state of mind. So once again, society diminishes the survivor’s perspective. Plus, once blamed, accusers fight back and shift blame onto the survivor. The survivor, already struggling with shame, now has to overcome more blame. We see that already happening in this thread here. These anonymous trolls question why the survivors won’t out themselves on the one hand and blame them on the other. Why won’t they out themselves? Because they fear that blame and shame. Because they fear further negation of their experience. Part of healing that wound, part of growing a strong voice and strong presence—part of that can mean being finally seen and heard. It can mean that someone finally sees it from our perspective, someone is finally listening to us. I can think of few greater reasons for sharing than seeking healing. I applaud anyone who seeks to heal their wounds in this way. I see you! I hear you! Bringing Evidence to Light for Further Investigation While hearsay may not be admissible in court and due process is required for deprivations of life, liberty, and property, these concerns don’t apply to investigations. Hearsay frequently triggers investigations, and due process does not kick in until the government is actually depriving of life, liberty, or property. Here, the various institutions can conduct investigation and determine what action to take. In some instances, they have already collected sufficient information. In some instance, they have even made determinations. In terms of our individual judgments, we can do the same. Yes, I share the concerns of the poster who said that the trolls in this thread could also try to discredit this movement by propounding false allegations. As someone who was frequently scapegoated both by a narcissistic parent and by the community as an agnostic child in a 100% Christian community, I fear scapegoating for various things all the time. Seeing that someone spoofed Jandy’s name also reinforces that concern. At the same time, the stats provided about false allegations being so rare match the stats I’m familiar with as well. As someone who worked with investigators, I can say that true stories share certain features as do false ones. False stories tend to be accompanied by a whole slew of other types of false accusations, law suits, etc. I trust most people here to evaluate the credibility of the stories, compare with their own corroborating experiences, and seek out other information. I see plenty of some credible and corroborated stories here. Nonetheless, people sometimes want to reject such stories because they value or even love something about the accused—perhaps on many levels. Unfortunately, our love and survival often depends in some way on abusers. With abused kids, often they are abused by the one person on whom all their health, nurturance, and needs for love depends. Making an outcry can mean risking health, life, love, career, and so on. We hesitate to outcry, and sometimes we hesitate to believe because we love, depend on, or admire our abusers. Decrying abuse does not mean decrying all that someone is to us. We can still value what we’ve learned from an abusive parent, mentor, or artist. We can still admire their past work. We can still love an abusive parent. It’s just that whether it’s political representation, healthcare, parental love, art, or writing skills—none of those things should come at a sexual price. We cannot be Diane Keatons. We cannot refuse to weigh allegations on their merit or investigate them because we love the accused or depend on the accused in some way. Warning Others Due to the same dynamics regarding our legal system, regarding victim-blaming, and regarding perception negation, survivors do not often come forward or go to authorities. They have already suffered a traumatic injury to their own self-perspective. Nothing could be more healthy, sane, or rational than protecting themselves from further injury—protecting their voice, their point of view, their presence—from being negated and denied again. Shame is a part of the wound. Nothing could make more sense than protecting themselves from further blame having already been shamed. So the only recourse for warning others often winds up being discussions like this one. Perhaps if we keep having more discussions like this one, we’ll create a space where there is other recourse. Perhaps, if keep having more discussions like this one, one day no one will need recourse again.

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 12:44

Diana Toledano

Thank you, Cathren, for such a well written and well rounded explanation. Have you shared this somewhere else so I could share a link with people? I think your comment is worth reading.

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 03:39

Kathryn Lasky

I have encountered this kind of behavior on two different occasions--not at SCBWI. Both times the men were very prominent authors. It was vile. And in one case the author threw in a racial slur.

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 12:35


I've wanted to name my harasser for years and posted his name here. The thing is, I'm not sure what to do now. Who am I supposed to tell? Is it too late? Can I do anything to prevent him from doing this to someone else?

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 12:33

Michael Karg

To echo the silliness of “rock star” status, I hope we can begin to disentangle the currency of celebrity from the true value of trust. Famous actor/producer/publisher/author has too often gotten a pass because enablers have mistaken their great work as a ticket to personal trust. Trust is earned slowly, over years, and is rightfully lost in a second of inappropriate behavior. To quote my mother, “they’re just people”. Let’s stop placing the famous and powerful on pedestals. Thanks to everyone for demanding basic decency from all. The legacy of the #metoo movement is empowering people to say “no” and naming people who don’t accept “no”. Bit by bit, your courage is making the world a safer place.

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 12:22


SLJ: Have some comments been deleted? (Or did this very large discussion break the commenting system?) There are a few I don't see anymore and I am curious if and how that is being decided.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 11:35

Stephanie's Friend

NotJandy I am sure that Charlene Yi appreciated all the free publicity she got in Publishers Weekly when she reported Giuseppe Castellano's unprofessional and predatory behavior to his employer. The Old Boys are going to circle the wagons around their own and gaslight the outsider. Not the first time, and it won't be the last.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:48


Please don't use "circle the wagons." It stems from America's racist history against Native people and is unnecessary.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 01:39

Laura Jimenez, PhD

I don't think I have seen this piece by Roxane Gay posted yet in this forum but I think it well worth reading and thinking about.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:45


Thank you for sharing this. It is helping me figure out how to deal with the news that two of my favorite authors are on this list.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 11:39

Angela M. Isaacs

To all the brave people who are sharing their stories, I see you. I believe you. To all the people who can't share their stories right now, I believe you, too. You don't owe anyone your story. And to all those reading, this stops now. If you see something, say something. Don't perpetuate a culture that has allowed this to happen. Kidlit folks truly are some of the best people I have ever met, but in every crowd, there are bad eggs. If we really are the kind of warm, caring folk we want to believe we are, then we need to make sure those bad eggs know they are not welcome and they will be held accountable.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:25

Annie Kuhn

I am in awe of those of you who are courageous enough to speak out. I believe you, and I thank you.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:07


For all of you speaking up. I believe you. I support you. You are brave. It sucks seeing some of the names being tossed about and realizing how many of them were attached to amazing books. But the reality is, you can be amazing artists but still be a horrible person.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 09:40


I am concerned by the lack of traction this seems to have gotten outside of these comments. For some of us a whisper network wasn't good enough, I never knew about most of these names (alas that I did know about Dashner). Will SLJ be doing a follow up piece with the information here, including naming names? Will they investigate and get in touch with those people who have paper trails and see if more concrete facts can be added to the mix? (I should add I 100% believe the victims reporting here, I just also know that in journalism the more facts one can present, the better) It seems a shame that the news revealed here in the comments could vanish and that writers would remain as ignorant of these predators as before.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 09:16


The article and the resulting comments thread were mentioned in a prominent post in the Publishers Lunch Deluxe email that comes from Publishers Marketplace. Two names (David Diaz and Jay Asher) were mentioned in it because Lin Oliver's comment is quoted in the piece. So it is getting traction outside of this page and Twitter (if you were on Twitter at all yesterday, it was INSANE). Link: Note that Publishers Marketplace is a paid subscription service so you need to have an account to read the whole thing.

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 12:20


This has been a major topic of discussion in my publishing office this morning

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 12:22


I think it won't receive as much traction until other articles from other sites have been written about it. I'm surprised nothing else has yet. I'm assuming they're trying to, as you said, get more concrete details. I'm pretty sure the authors, publishers, illustrators named have gotten wind of it. Think they're preparing to release statements. Dashner's fans have been very vocal about their disappointment and pain on Twitter, so I think something will come of that soon.

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 12:36


The knots in my stomach have twisted into a tangled mess as I read through these comments, and tears are trailing down my face. I wish I’d known. I wish I hadn’t been as young and eager to succeed and eager to please. I wish I hadn’t been so stupid. Just like there are repeat offenders, there are repeat victims as well. Three of my predators names have been mentioned in this thread. All were incidents at SCBWI events. I was warned about one predator, but only after I’d figured it out for myself. I stopped attending the NYC/LA conferences years ago. Because of a lifetime of similar incidents, I really did believe it was something wrong with me, that those kinds of things happened because of something I was doing wrong. I didn’t imagine it was happening to so many others as well. I now realize that in keeping my shame Secret, I was adding to the problem. It’s okay if you blame me. I blame myself. I’m currently writing the last volume of YA trilogy that deals with the harsh realities of recovering from sexual harassment and abuse. My goal is to normalize victims and show that they can not only survive, they can thrive. I hope to one day accept my own message.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 09:02


None of the incidents were your fault. Blaming yourself gives a reprieve to the men who harmed and scared you. Blame them...and the organizations that allowed this kind of thing to happen because of everyone's laissez faire attitude about behavior. It's a hard culture to change, but this shakeup just might make a difference. You're not alone. Stand tall.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 09:17


I, too, have been sexually harassed by two of the men mentioned in the comments, multiple years, all at SCBWI events. I too have spent a lot of time wondering if it was something, some sort of vulnerability I was projecting. Should I have dressed even more conservatively then I already had? Should I not have smiled or joked and been friendly? Shouldn't I just have been flattered that it was happening? If I said anything, would people judge me? I believe you and I'm sorry. We shouldn't blame ourselves, even though it's an internalized response and perfectly understandable. That said, SCBWI dealt with the two men in a way that was more of the norm at the time. In retrospect it all looks bad, but at the time, it was normal. I am so happy that times are changing and we no longer have to be retraumatized seeing those predators back in positions of power after being "rehabilitated."

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 09:28


Instead of Lin, her son, and all the other apologists posting their knee jerk defenses, I would strongly suggest that Lin's time would be better served by examining how her own conduct gave anyone the idea that this kind of behavior at conferences was okay. It was not. It was toxic. It was an open secret. And why was it that no one felt safe enough to report it? And now that you know about Mo Willems, Sherman Alexie, Matt de la Pena and others, what are you prepared to do about it now? Or is simply putting up a hotline your band aid response?

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:55


What LameGame said. If Ms. Oliver was commenting on featured creators's marital status or their looks, she was setting up a situation where a lack professionalism was validated. I am a big believer in those at the top setting a tone at such events.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:43


#MeToo but no more. I quit writing. At first it was Dashner. A fluke, right? Then later Charlie Pulsipher and recently Dan Wells. And the other women just protect, saying boys will be boys and I'm a snowflake. I can't trust anyone.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:48

just another librarian

My heart goes out to everyone who has gone through this kind of harassment. I can't imagine what that must be like because it's never happened to me. And yet, I believe there are many more victims here than the ones being harassed. Those who witness it but don't know how to speak up. Those who believe they will never make it in this field because they're not young and pretty. (Which is not to say that being harassed is desirable, but rather to the outsider it feels like exclusion.) This is problem with our culture, both within the kidlit industry and society as a whole. And it hurts everyone.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:25

too afraid so staying silent

To everyone speaking out, I commend you. You are so courageous. I wish I was as strong as you.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:21

Jeremy West

To everyone naming names and speaking out in children's publishing right now, know that I believe you and support you. Thank you for your bravery and your voice.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:07

Ellen Wittlinger

Just adding my voice to the many here to say thank you to the brave women telling us these hard truths. I believe you, and I'm sickened by all of this. Although I've never been sexually harassed by anyone in the children's publishing world, I have been made uncomfortable by the worship of so many of the male authors (particularly if they're young or "cute.") I hope this is a time of reckoning and change for the better.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:59


My story was also mentioned in Anne's article, and Drew Daywalt was the one that made me never want to return to Los Angeles. This is really tough for me to post, even anonymously, because I’ve always tried to be such a peacemaker, but honestly, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this goes beyond me. I felt confused and hurt over the entire interaction for a long while, and after reading Anne's response in her article, she truly helped me understand why I felt the way I did. Thank you, Anne! And to those also speaking up, I'm glad we're all having this conversation, and my hope is that those being called out will truly reach out for help and want to change. Here is Anne's response for those who haven't been able to read the article: This is one of the effects of this kind of harassment; we live in a society centered around powerful men, and thus when a powerful man sees you for who you are you feel validated — and then they pull the rug out from under you. He sees you as an object, thus you feel like an object. He treats you as fungible, thus you feel fungible. And ashamed for ever thinking you were something else in the first place. As Jia Tolentino writes in the New Yorker: [T]his is a basic and familiar pattern: a powerful man sees you, a woman who is young and who thinks she might be talented, a person who conveniently exists in a female body, and he understands that he can tie your potential to your female body, and threaten the latter, and you will never be quite as sure of the former again.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:57


You are not alone. For 20 months, I have kept silent about what Drew Daywalt did to me. And because of how he handled things at the end, and everything that he told me, I wasn't even sure what had happened, and how to process it all. I wasn't sure, because he groomed me for months, used me, and in the end, he gaslighted me. In the end, he sent me a cruel text, telling me I'd wrongly accused him, and he couldn't believe I'd said such things. For 20 months, I doubted and second-guessed myself, and felt like a horrible person for doubting his word. It was all my fault, I figured. After talking to a few writers that I know (and one who knows him), I know that what he did is NOT my fault. I also know that we two are not the only ones; I've heard there are more of us. If you can find a way to contact me, please do. As of yesterday, there are a few writers who know my story. If you can find them, you can find me. Thank you for posting this. Thank you for opening up. And thank you for making me realize that I am not alone.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 09:22

SCBWI member

Add the opportunistic Earl Lewis [or E.B. Lewis as he likes to refer to himself as] to the list. He took advantage of me on two different fronts and I did report him. Thankfully he isn't on the board anymore.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:55

SCBWI Observer

Yes. There are ways that men can demean women and take advantage and condescend that isn't strictly in the realm of sexual harassment. They (the men - or anyone who behaves this way towards another person) are handicapped in a way. They can't (have been conditioned not to) see women as equals. They are insecure.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:27

Lynne Kelly

This is all so heartbreaking. Thank you to all of those who have spoken up. Whether you've been able to tell your story or not, I'm so sorry you were treated this way. And even if speaking out now and/or reading others' comments eases the pain somewhat and lets you know you're not alone, I'm sure it's not a pleasant experience to relive. Remember to take time to take care of yourself. <3

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:44


James Dashner is innocent

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:44


Go away, James.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:09


I was present at a conference and heard firsthand how he put his hand on a woman's thigh. He is not innocent, and you're complicit for trying to protect him.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:55


I believe all the accusers. It's clear the industry needs a professional code of conduct that covers not only those who work for publishers and literary agencies, but also the authors, illustrators, and conference organizers/faculty. I'm so sorry that so many of you have had to endure this treatment and salute your courage in speaking up.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:42

Kim Purcell

I believe all survivors. False reporting is very rare. I wanted to add that unchecked power leads to abuse. People who sexually harass or abuse others do it for power. They are often very charming, so it’s not a surprise that you *like* them. This is why they get away with it. Victims sometimes feel complicit or wonder if they misunderstood, and victimizers pick people they don’t think will speak up. What is so upsetting to me is that these are kidlit authors. They have regular exposure to kids and teens. I’m not saying that they are crossing that line but we can’t risk that. We must protect them above all.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:29


First, to those speaking up, I believe you and I appreciate the courage it took to come forward, even anonymously. To those who are concerned about the men being accused here: You can go to their social media accounts and see that hardly anyone has even noticed this discussion, and their fans are as adoring as ever. And as for the longlasting damage to their reputations, there won't be any. Even if people don't outright forget, as most people will, the industry will be quick to forgive. Forgive the men, that is. Meanwhile women are telling us that they've seen devastating damage to their careers because of this. EVERYONE in this industry needs to take a long hard look at the difference between how men and women are treated.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:28


I believe you. The trolls are here to frighten more victims from calling out their abusers. It's because they are frightened themselves. I appreciate your bravery in the face of these tactics.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:24


I'm sorry I invented everything. I didn't know I could make so much fuss. James Dashner is innocent.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:23


Multiple people have quietly told others of his harassing behavior for years. The support of one internet troll is not going to help him.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:55


No one here is dumb enough to believe you’re anything more than a troll trying to discredit Dashner’s real victims.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 11:48

Sharon Biggs Waller

Chiming I’m here with another nightmare person to avoid. Peter Yarrow, author of the song and picture book Puff the Magic Dragon molested me when I was a young teen. It was a grooming situation where he took me under his wing, wrote to me, gave me tickets to shows, backstage passes. He meant to so much to me. It took me years to talk about it, even to my family, because I was so ashamed. I found out later he’d done the same to a 14 year old girl in the 70s. He went to jail and was pardoned by Jimmy Carter. He blamed groupie culture in his behavior and mused on how jail wouldn’t have happpened to Mick Jagger. He hides behind his social justice work. I saw some little girls reading his picture book after it came out a few years ago and I nearly tore it out of their hands. I was thinking about keeping this post anonymous because dragging up these memories is painful and I don’t want to deal with the repercussions. But I think people deserve to know what he’s done and probably still does.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:23


I’m so sorry that happened to you, but thank you for sharing your story.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 11:46


I believe the women. I don't believe the trolls who have taken over this comments thread.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:19

Marie Cruz

To all who have spoken up about these horrors, I BELIEVE YOU.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:07


I’ve been around SCBWI a long time and when I look at the board members it’s comprised of what I call The Mean Girls/Guys. Many have treated me in a way that made it clear they felt entitled. Time for fresh energy and voting in the board by your members like most organizations and enough with vague promises of the future. After all these years, this business has still not caught up to real diversity or sexism. All talk, no action. These stories have been around for a long time and yet the people mentioned here were embraced until it became obvious they could no longer be enabled. I saw Jane and daughter thick as thieves with Diaz not very long ago.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:54

Another Anon

I'm sorry this conversation needs to happen, but thankful that it is happening. I'm glad to hear that SCBWI will be examining their policies and making them explicit and readily available. I hope the Board also thinks about the images and photos they use--especially in a community so adept at visual literacy. Right now, there is a lovely picture of the SCBWI board of advisors, and David Diaz is right in the middle despite the fact that he was banned from SCBWI. Thank you, SCBWI, for your mission and hard work in helping us all be better writers and illustrators and fostering community. And thank you for taking a hard look at what can be improved.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:35

Another Anon

The picture is on their website.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:46

Another Anon

The photo has been taken down. Thank you!

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 11:21

Martha Brockenbrough

I love the SCBWI. My career is possible because of the organization. But we must be truthful. David Diaz was put back on the board after his training. He was considered rehabilitated. I questioned this and was told the board was OK with it. This is part of what we need to learn at this moment: how we are kind and believe in redemption, and how this sometimes means men get second and third chances. He should not have been given a position of power after this was known. There are other people who can oversee the organization. This was a mistake. Let us acknowledge it and learn from it. We all make mistakes. We cannot learn and grow if we are not honest and humble. Again. I love the organization and am committed to its success. We cannot claim perfection on this score. I wish it were otherwise.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:33

Ishta Mercurio

I agree with all of this. I have learned so much from SCBWI, and we can recognize the value of the organization while also acknowledging that mistakes have been made when it comes to the handling of harassment. Positions of power must be given with great care. I also believe that for the continued success of SCBWI, admission of these mistakes is crucial. Mistakes are okay. The point is to learn from them. Let us learn from them. None of us are perfect, and I am dismayed at the lack of humility in some of these responses by members of the organization. Thank you for saying this so eloquently, Martha.

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 12:34

debbi florence

To the victims - I believe you. Thank you for speaking up. I hear you, I believe you.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:25

Anony Mouse

First off, let me preface by saying I believe everyone and my hearts go out to the victims. But there are a lot of people saying things like “I’ve heard things about such-and-such, can anyone confirm/deny?” Because this post is now going viral, the names on it are being posted on Twitter, Facebook, agents and editors and bosses are being notified, not to mention significant others, and the names will doubt will end up on more mainstream media sites. It’s not right that someone’s name gets posted on Twitter as being named as an abuser here if their only mention is “I heard something, can anyone corroborate?” It should be the right of the victims to name their abusers, and this isn’t the right place to drop names unless there’s a very good and concrete reason. The victims should be praised for their bravery, and abusers held accountable.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:23

Anonymous SCBWI member

A voice of support for everyone sharing your story. I see you and believe you. A note for the tangent about SCBWI, power imbalances, and the structure that allows serial harassers to hang on for years: Most professional organizations are governed by a board of directors elected by the membership. The BOD holds the responsibility - fiduciary & ethical - for the organization, hires and fires staff. Board members are elected to limited terms, and have have written ethics and responsibilities contracts they have to sign when they take on their roles. SCBWI does not have elections, and the founders are the presidents. The board of advisors is not the governing body, and is not elected by the membership. All of these quirks of the organization are part of its corporate culture. It’s not set up to be a democratic, member-driven, transparent organization. It’s not organized or run the way most professional organizations are organized and run. Other large professional assns have also had harassment problems, that’s not unique to SCBWI. But the culture within SCBWI is unique and perfect for predators, who rely on writers’ fear of being kicked out of the industry for their silence. This is not a criticism of any person involved with or working for SCBWI - everyone I’ve met has been a wonderful human being. It’s an observation of the structure of power within the organization.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:07

Melissa Stewart

The SCBWI has a Board of Directors as well as a Board of Advisors. The Board of Directors is probably less visible to most people because the members are not book creators. They are people from a wide range professions with all the kinds of expertise needed to run a nonprofit organization effectively. But this really shouldn't be a conversation about how a particular organization is run. It's an opportunity for victims to speak out and for others to show them support. I believe you and support you. It's a tragedy that so many people have been mistreated, and I'm glad that they are having an opportunity to be heard. Now that we realize the problem is so pervasive, we can work together to create a safer and more supportive environment for everyone.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:30


This is a conversation about predators within an industry, many of the stories shared here are about predators acting over a long period of time within SCBWI. It absolutely matters that the organization is run the way it is run. If there is a BOD, it is not on the SCBWI website, and it is not elected by the membership. Who are they? How are they a;pointed to the board?

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:11

Anonymous SCBWI member

A voice of support for everyone sharing your story. I see you and believe you. A note for the tangent about SCBWI: Most professional organizations are governed by a board of directors elected by the membership. The BOD holds the responsibility - fiduciary & ethical - for the organization, hires and fires staff. Board members are elected to limited terms. SCBWI does not have elections,

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:06

Jane Yolen

First I want to say I am horrified at your stories of abuse and yet relieved they have come to light. But in some ways it replicates the history of childrens' books themselves. From the beginning the main people in the field have been women ("You know about children--you will be our first children's book editor was approximately how American childrens' books as a distinct genre began.) l For years children's books editors were paid less, children's writers paid less, and the genre itself looked down upon, just as women teachers and women librarians were. We clawed our way upward and into the light. This in NO WAY excuses abusers. It in no way gives those who prey on others a free pass to our conventions and mentorships. But it does put things in a historical perspective. I would dare say that there are few woman in publishing--myself included--who do not have difficult and sometimes horrific stories to tell. Bravo to the women brave enough to speak out. It is a turning point in our history, though I am ashamed that good people--men and women and those elsewhere on the gender scale--have had to suffer because of it. But as the second person to join SCBWI, the first regional director, and on the board from the beginning, I I want to underscore that actions were taken as soon as we knew about the bad stuff, about the few bad actors prowling under our big tent. Was it publicized? No. There are legalities that have to be followed. But at no time did Lin and Steve flinch at taking the prescribed actions. There was counseling, there were outright bans. Yes, there was an earlier list of rules and warnings. But now we see we were not clear enough and are in the process of making those early rules, prohibitions, and penalties stronger. The entire board is united in this undertaking, with Lin and Steve at the fore. We are trying to move forward as quickly as possible. We believe your voices. I hope you believe ours. Jane

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:03

Alexia Andoni

Thank you to all the people speaking up. You are strong and courageous.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:49

Pamela Ross

Is anyone shooing the trolls out of the room? Please. This conversation needs to be had without the silly stabbing and jousting of one who comes to prey on thinking, concerned people. Thank you, SLJ.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:36

Julie Rowan-Zoch

I concur, Pamela. I’d like to add my full support and gratitude for those coming forward, and understanding for thos echo do not. I believe you.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:50

Julie Rowan-Zoch

*for those who

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:50

Donna koppelman

Thoughts on ALA Booklist announcement?

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:35


Could you elaborate? Not sure what you mean.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:52


You mean how committees are busy doing their jobs of picking the best books and might not be constantly refreshing a single comment thread. Sure, let's roast 'em.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:59


I’m so sorry for your experiences.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:03

Claudia Pearson

I have been involved with SCBWI for almost 20 years, and have found it to be an open and welcoming organization. I have held regional leadership positions for more than half that time, and a significant part of my roles in regional leadership has been to organize and conduct conferences and other smaller events. These positions which would have made me a logical person to contact with comments or complaints, and I have received complaints about how certain things are handled at conferences. We take ALL feedback seriously. The thing is, I have never received a complaint about sexual harassment or inappropriate sexual conduct from anyone. Having read the entire thread and all of the comments, I honor and appreciate all that has been posted here by victims of inappropriate conduct and sexual harassment. It takes courage to come forward. I know this from personal experience because in my prior life I was a plaintiff's lawyer pursuing complaints of racial and sexual harassment and discrimination in federal court. This is known in our region and is part of my personal profile. And yet, no one has felt comfortable coming forward to report any incidents to me. Having read the full thread, it seems highly unlikely that our regional members and conference attendees have experienced no problems at all. But I haven't even heard about problems through the "whisper" channels. I would greatly appreciate advice from the brave victims who have come forward: what can we do so people will know they can safely contact us with their complaints? Is anonymity enough? There are problems with acting on anonymous complaints, but those problems seem small compared to the failure to receive the information we need to act. If you have suggestions about how organizations like SCBWI and its regions (which are 100% unpaid volunteers) can make the process of reporting incidents more accessible I would be interested in hearing from you.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 03:20

Lisa Papademetriou

Thanks so much for these questions. Gwenda Bond has posted some wonderful thoughts on how to institute and publicize a robust anti-harassment policy. If people know that there is a policy, they will be willing and able to report inappropriate behavior. Here is the link:

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 03:48

Enough is Enough

It’s not enough to say “we support people and you can come to us anytime.” There needs to be a written policy about harassment, and it needs to be EVERYWHERE. Your website. The information packets people get when they sign in at conferences. Posted publicly at events. An extra page in a speaker’s contract that must be signed before they can present. Referenced verbally at the opening of every conference. People need to know SCBWI takes this seriously.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:46

Claudia Pearson

A more visible policy is a start, but it isn't always that easy. It is clear that many people here do not trust the process and that is my concern. SCBWI takes these things very seriously. See Jane's comment. As a regional advisor I take them seriously too. Individual victims should feel free to contact me privately and my email is available on my profile page on the SCBWI website. And Lisa, thanks for the link. Enough, I agree that saying "we support you and you can come to us anytime" is not enough. We already have signed contracts that require adherence to our anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy. The policy is also on the website, both the main one and our regional one. But it is apparently not enough, just as the anti-discrimination laws are not enough to ensure that women (and men) feel comfortable speaking up. I am asking for feedback from the victims who have been the ones who changed their minds and stepped forward now: what more can we do to make people feel more comfortable about coming forward? What led you to decide to do it now? How can we embed that in our process?

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 09:33

Melanie Conklin

Not having received a report of harassment is a strong indicator that your reporting practices are not well know, well distributed, well promoted, or well managed. Take a look at how ComicCon addresses and monitors harassment. They've done a lot of work on their policies. If I was running large cons and not getting any complaints, I would be very concerned, because it is a statistical improbability that nothing occurred at the event. The victims just did not know how to report or did not feel comfortable reporting with the current procedures.

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 12:22

Mari Talkin

Thank you, Melanie. Totally agree. When my daughter and I were researching colleges for her, we looked specifically at how many cases of sexual assault/harassment were reported each year and what each college did to address them. Research shows that those institutions that had few to no reported cases had the biggest problem in this area -- its stakeholders were actively dissuading victims from reporting and/or covering up those cases that were reported. The institutions that had total transparency about the number of cases reported and robust policies in place to address them were MUCH safer places for young women.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 12:15

Ishta Mercurio

I appreciate you asking this question. I can't speak for all of us. But I believe that knowing that there will be real consequences for people who harass, and seeing a public statement in conference materials and elsewhere of what those consequences can be, will help more people find the courage to come forward. Transparency is important -- it is fine to say "we support you," but without a sense that there will be concrete and visible action behind those words, the words are meaningless. Additionally, fostering genuine and ongoing connections with your chapter's membership is vital. I went to Lin Oliver with my harassment complaint, but I also went to my regional adviser, because I know her and I trust her. It was she who told me that Lin was the correct person to speak to about what had happened to me. Her encouragement and unwavering support helped me to continue to move forward.

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 12:25

Go away, little troll

Just stop it.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 02:33


To everyone arguing against second-hand accounts or hearsay, I'd say that it's still incredibly nerve-racking to speak up. Sometimes we end up knowing things we'd rather not, and then we face the question of whether or not to tell. Will we be believed? Will our words do any good? Would the victim be better off if I don't say anything? Being the secret keeper is an awkward position. As I read this story and all the comments last night, I saw a name of an author I knew would be at an event near me soon. And I had to wonder if the organizers knew. Could I tell them? If I told them, would they take it seriously? Would they protect my identity from the author if necessary? Speaking up on someone else's behalf was scary. I can only imagine how hard it's been for the victims. And I thank you all, and I'm so sorry and furious that you've had to endure this. To the naysayers: Stop looking for excuses to dismiss accusations. Listen up.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 02:08

Laurie Young

Reading all these comments has been heartbreaking. I support all the brave women who have shared their stories as well as those who feel they cannot. We are listening. We believe you. This will change.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 01:48


And not 8 hours after I commented, I was confronted by who I named, trying to belittle me and hold my words against me. Bullying and shaming me for telling the truth. I have Every. Single. Email. Ever sent to me saved. Every single thing I said was truth and I have his own words to prove it. He will not belittle me any longer.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 01:42

This is funny as

lets see them then.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 02:16

Enough is Enough

Hey there, anonymous person on the internet. Victims of harassment owe you nothing. Stop insulting people you don’t know.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:42


Sorry for the typos. "Hugs to those who are grieving", I meant.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 12:32


First off, thank you to every brave person speaking out, support to those who can't yet speak, and hugs to this while are grieving as they watch the sickness be exposed. Necessary, but painful! Secondly, please check your profiles. Several people say "anonymous" but your profile photo has your face on it. I recognize several of you and I don't know how to reach you (nesting isn't working on my phone right now but I'll try fb) to know to change your photo to a blank. Again, love and support to all of you.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 12:31


This seems to be attached to the email address that is used for the required field. I don't know if it's changeable after being posted. Other than asking SLJ to delete the comment outright or edit the metadata of the commenter. For future commenters, I would use a throw-away email address, something that isn't connected into Google or Wordpress or whatever the site is using.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 12:46

This is funny as

[This comment has been removed because it violates this site's comment policy.]

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 02:15

An Lol

You're not very good at this trolling. You should probably stop while you're behind.

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 03:47

Patti Buff

Thank you to everyone who has spoken out about their experiences. I am listening and I believe you. With this openness, we can change things. Knowledge is power and all of this knowledge has solidified my resolve to be more observant and call out inappropriateness when I see it.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 12:09


Although not in YA, I’d like to add Myke Cole to the list. He presents a very feminist attitude publicly, but privately he’s an abusive misogynist.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 11:57

Yet Another Anon

This is the first I've ever heard regarding Myke Cole... is it possible to elaborate on this?

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 12:08


I'm going to slide in and say I suspect there is nothing to elaborate on here. Just my suspicion, of course, but... As #metoo has gained traction, it has of course gained its share of pushback from trolls insisting so many of the allegations are false, attention seeking, witch hunts, etc., with demands for "proof" and "due process." These are probably mostly coming from indignant MRAs and other misogynist men, who are already invested in spreading the narrative that false rape accusations are as common as rain in Seattle. But I would be wary of the other kind of #metoo troll (who may be these very same men): the kind who jumps into comment threads such as these deliberately making false accusations — not for the purpose of damaging the writer they're accusing (though that wouldn't be an unwelcome side effect, especially if the author is a man known for being feminist or sympathetic to feminism), but to damage the credibility of #metoo, in an attempt to turn it into exactly what they accuse it of being, just a parade of wild unevidenced smears that everyone's uncritically believing because they're caught in the heat of the emotional moment. Of course I can't prove that's what this anon is doing. But when we hear a claim popping up out of the blue lacking any other corroborating accounts (as we have with Alexie and Dashner, for instance), I think it's at least worth considering the possibility that attempts to hijack and derail #metoo will be more and more of a reality going forward in threads like these.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 01:52


Seconding Myke Cole. He preys on and belittles younger women in the industry. Someone to be wary of.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:11


I posted earlier but want to clarify: MC did NOT harass me. I don't want to conflate creepiness and sexism with more serious charges.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:33


After leaving my comment outing my harasser (I had been sitting on terrified to post ALL DAY by the way), I am compelled to say this. Had I not been too scared to do so, I would be using my real name. I hope everyone who has nothing to fear from a specific person is using their real name to show who is behind us. “Fake Jandy,” your point does not stand. You do not get to claim someone’s name as your own without permission (slanderous in and of itself), lie about why you did it, then try to pull a fast one equating your cowardice with the courage of women who have been belittled, intimidated and abused and speak out anyway, with the intention of protecting other women. Women do not falsely accuse anyone 98%+ of the time. Look it up. Learn how we know this. Why? Because it’s terrifying. Most people on this thread have called out someone more powerful than they are. The more information they venture the more they have to fear being threatened, bullied, and black listed. And when there are multiple accusations listing the same person, the odds that all of these women are conspiring to lie for the sole purpose of tearing down a male colleague (for fun?) are just about nothing. There is no such thing as “due process” when these men are abusing their power to minimize and intimidate women, and there’s no due process when they finally get called out for it. Deal with it. And if you’re one of them, time’s up.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 11:53

Laura Ojeda Melchor

Thank you, thank you, everyone who has courageously spoken. As a survivor of sexual harassment (and possibly abuse), though not within this field, I know how hard it was to share. And for those who haven’t shared, I understand, and I am sorry for what you’ve suffered.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 11:38


This whole thread has been deeply distressing - not only to find out these names, but to find I am less alone than I thought I was. My entire career track changed after an incident probably far less serious than most. I might as well have fallen off the kidlit planet. Thank you to my sisters for helping bring these dark places to light.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 11:23

Patti Buff

I am so sorry that happened to you.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 12:14

Amy G Koss

Is anyone else getting chest pains from this? Let’s all breathe! And thank you to the brave souls coming forth, chest pains or no.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 11:13

Trisha Shaskan

Thank you to all the women who are speaking out against the perpetrators in our industry. Thank you for your courage and bravery. I support you and believe you. I am so grateful you are pushing this conversation forward so change can occur.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:59

Myrna Foster

I just want to add my support and thank those who’ve come forward and those who will work to make our industry a safer place. I’m angry. If there’s any way I can help, I have your back.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:45

Jandy Nelson

I see someone's posting comments here using the name Jandy. Just want to say since it's an unusual name that it's NOT me: Jandy Nelson. This is my first post and my unequivocal support is with the brave ones speaking out.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:33


My apologies. I hit send before I remembered I'd heard the name before. I clarified immediately.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:50

Jandy Nelson

Would you change it on the above comments and for any additional comments? It's a very unusual name and we hold very different beliefs on all this. I don't want people to read your comments and think I wrote them. I'd very much appreciate it.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:55

Sarah Aronson

I have spent the today reading and thinking about these comments. To the victims: Thank you for your bravery. I believe you. I am sorry you have suffered. I hope we can all work together to create a truly safe space.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:26

nunyo biznes

whats brave about anonymously accusing people of harassment on a forum while offering no proof? How do you know all these anonymous accusations are 100% true?

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 10:27


Thank you to those speaking up and thank you to those offering unqualified support.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:22

Emily S. Keyes

I apologize. I brought up the false report statistics because they are so LOW, many people believe false reporting in rape and sexual assault cases is higher than other crimes. Thank you, Anon for the better stats. I will show myself out since I obviously can't think/type clearly.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:14

Stories Galore

I have stories to tell, but for now I want to say (ask) that this is not about politics. I've read several comments online that blame Trump and his supporters (I'm NOT one) and it has me shaking me head. Inappropriate behavior and abuse of power has been happening for years and years. Period. I've attended plenty of conferences and events that have political campaigning and that's not what I pay for. So, seeing it here and elsewhere online ... when it has nothing to do with the current conversation makes me a bit sad to be honest. I believe you all and thank you!

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:05


Also for those of you who say victims have no reason to speak up, are you kidding? Our kidlit victims get free publicity, a huge amount of free marketing, people who buy their books to feel good about themselves, patreon donations (because there seems to be a huge intersection of patreons + victim narratives despite some patreon people being NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERS) and I haven't even talked about all the sympathy and cooing and kindness and virtual 'ghost hugs'. Come the eff on. There are huge incentives for being a public and self-proclaimed victim.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:04


Anonymous victims get publicity? How does that work, Jandy?

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:13


Please take a moment to sit down and try feeling some empathy instead of trolling. It would be a much better use of your time, I promise.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:13


You're seriously misinformed if you think naming harassers brings anything but stress and grief and misery to the people calling them out. There is no publicity boost; often the people (usually women or queer people) receive threats of violence, death, and more. They're declared attention whores, liars, and worse. 9/10 their careers suffer, if they're not straight up destroyed. 'Ghost hugs' don't do shit when you find out you no longer have a career/income and just lot a whole lot of friends they thought they had. Women who come out and say things that people don't want to hear, especially when those things involve men (or white people, cause I ain't about to pretend us white women are oh so perfect) are almost always punished for doing so. I said things that men didn't want to hear, I was called a bitch, told to die, told I was doing it for the attention, that I always start drama, and worse. I find it amazing that you read the article, and all these comments, and think that ANYBODY involved is doing it for a career boost. History will tell you that has never happened.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:19

Mike Jung

NotJandy, you're dead wrong about pretty much everything in your comment - publicity, marketing, sales, bestseller lists, and basic human psychology don't work that way. The kind of anonymous, attacking comment you're making here is replicated exponentially in the private communications received by women, especially women of color, who speak up about anything that involves gender bias (among many other things). And I'm not the one who first said this, but the Salem Witch Trials were all about powerful men destroying the lives of women, and that's not what kidlit publishing is turning into - that's clearly what kidlit publishing already was. And your attempted gotcha of Jandy Nelson is both irrelevant and transparent to the point of absurdity.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 11:27

Carol Brendler

I can confirm that the [Not]Jandy trolling above is not the author Jandy Nelson, whom I know personally. Mike is right; publishing and publicity doesn’t work that way. No one would make up such stories in hopes of becoming well known by that means, and it is not going to result in increased sales. I believe the victims. I support the victims. I have heard the whisperings about some of these predators as well. I think it cannot be stressed enough that even the smallest touch or bawdy joke proferred by a person in power toward an aspiring writer, a fan, a colleague, a student, or anyone vulnerable is violating, invasive, and harmful—especially in a business setting, which is what a writers conference is, even during the after-party. Being in, say, a hotel bar or outside the classroom does not, should not, make the relationship more equal or less professional. Therefore, anything you wouldn’t say or do in a business setting should not be said at all in such situations. The men (usually) who say they don’t know when they can flirt or show interest in a woman anymore need to learn about unequal power and inappropriate environments. It really isn’t that hard.

Posted : Feb 13, 2018 09:48

Jandy Nelson

I just want to say here too. This is not me posting above and below: Someone else is using the name Jandy. I have nothing but love and support for those speaking out. Jandy Nelson

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 11:51

Katie Mitchell

We support you, real Jandy Nelson. I like Mike's use of NotJandy for the troll.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:31

Anon Because of Reasons

NotJandy, This is absolutely an abhorrent, disgusting, inappropriate comment. Free publicity? Are you serious? No one wants publicity for victimhood. And I say that as a survivor of some heinous things. The trolling attempts then the back-pedalling with using the name Jandy leads me to question whether you are one of the abusers listed here.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 11:54

nunyo biznes

“nobody wants publicity for victimhood?” thats provably false. even a cursory google search will turn up thousands of stories of people lying about everything from rape allegations to cancer diagnosis to get attention and money and for a host of other reasons.

Posted : Feb 15, 2018 10:12


By the way: picked Jandy at random. I am not that author, in case some of you then set out to brigade her ffs.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:02


So you picked an extremely unusual name that also happens to be the name of a well known children's author at "random." If there's anyone in this thread who shouldn't be believed, I think we know who that is.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:41


Typed it in and remembered a second later. That's the reason for the follow up post clarifying matters.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:49

Jandy Nelson

Want to say it here to as I have below. THESE ARE NOT MY POSTS ABOVE. I was told someone was using the name Jandy here. My unequivocal support is with the brave people speaking out. Jandy Nelson

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 11:04


Kidlit Publishing has turned into the Salem Witch Trials. I don't believe any of you anymore.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:01


Then you're part of the problem.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:04

Jandy Nelson

I just want to say here too. This is not me posting above and below: Someone else is using the name Jandy. I have nothing but love and support for those speaking out. Jandy Nelson

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 11:31

Bridget Heos

Wow. I'm so sorry for those who have been harassed in this industry. Your reporting will make things better in children's books. I've always thought it strange the way men are revered in Kidlit. As a woman business traveler, I've seen how quickly things have changed from an exchange of ideas to unwelcome advances. For this reason, I've avoided networking opportunities. We have lofty ideas in Kidlit; I hope we can do better.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 09:31

Bridget Heos

Wow. I'm so sorry for anyone who has experienced harassment, and appreciate your sharing. You are helping children's books to move forward. I've always thought it strange the way men are revered in this industry. As a woman business traveler, I've seen how quickly things can turn from networking and sharing of ideas to unwanted advances. I've avoided networking opportunities for this reason. We have lofty ideas in kidlit; I hope that we can live up to them in the future.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 09:23

Allie Jane Bruce

I am not usually quiet, but I find it very, very hard to speak on this subject. I am so, so grateful to everyone who is not being quiet. I need to name a few things, apologies if I have missed someone else naming them: -13 Reasons Why romanticizes suicide. It features sexual assault. It is not an accident that it landed a Netflix series. Jay Asher capitalized on sexual assault and suicide ideation, all while sexually preying upon women if these accusers are to be believed (and I believe them). It takes a high-level predator to recognize the nature of predation, prey nonetheless, paint oneself as an ally, and capitalize on the whole deal. Mr. Asher, if you want to make amends, a small start would be to donate every cent you've made from 13 Reasons Why to RAINN. -It is telling that a real conversation on sexual harassment in children's lit didn't launch until people started naming names. Anne Ursu's excellent piece ( encouraged us to focus on systems and culture, and I encourage everyone to read every word she wrote. Yes, naming names is important. So is naming the culture and systems that gave rise to this behavior. By naming names, we can isolate "the problem" in a few individuals. The problem is over there--not over here, where I am. This is how we protect and comfort our egos and our fragility, and prevent ourselves from stepping into the power we all have to change the culture and the system. Read Anne's piece. Culture, systems, matter. It's easy to say to yourself "oh, if I ever see Jay Asher harass someone, I'll step in." It's harder--and so much more important--to say to yourself "I'll learn about the multiple situational and behavioral patterns that give rise to harassment, and make different plans of action for how to counter them actively." -And with that in mind, please go over to Gwenda Bond's post: Read it carefully. Read it again. And again. And only sign your name if, when the time comes, your actions will align with your words.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 09:17

Patty Blount

To those hurt, I am so sorry this happened to you. I'm awed by your bravery in speaking up. I will support you anyway I can. For those who can't speak, I'm so sorry you're triggered and hope you're finding the support you need. I understand. I've experienced this twice. First was when I was 5 and molested by a neighbor. They tried to dismiss me as having an overactive imagination then. Second time was a boss at my first corporate job. I reported him and the HR rep told me to relax. That's how he treats all the girls. That was a long time ago. It fills me with such hope to see our willingness to put up with this behavior as "part of doing business" is shrinking every day.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 09:17


Okay - true enough on the risk of telling too many details as well as our entitlement to anyone's trauma. Sorry. Hard to tell which books I personally should remove from my shelves based on some of these accounts. So many things in this thread feel dangerous - such as the comment that the only way to get a certain mentorship is to sleep your way there. What does that say about every single woman writer in that program?

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:46


Yeah, Hi. I was honored to be a recipient of the illustration portfolio mentorship years ago. I've spent the last two days beating myself up and bawling and going over every thing I can remember about my interaction with David Diaz to know if I could've prevented his harassment of other women. We met at a table for 15 minutes and went over my portfolio. He told me to follow him on Facebook. That's it. I wasn't victimized, but I believe those who were and now I'm suffering along with many others. An acknowledgment I was so proud is now associated with his sleazy actions. I'm so mad that he used this opportunity to lure and seduce and harass women. It feels like this fantastic honor is now dirty because people assume you had to provide favors to be awarded with this mentorship. That is just sick and I'm SO pissed. I will forever be grateful to my other mentors who gave me meaningful advice and genuine encouragement and an honest pat on the back for working hard to make my portfolio stand out and be unique. I'm sorry for all who've been hurt and taken advantage of. I wish I could've stopped it.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 11:17


It's not your fault. It's not the fault of anyone who didn't know. The truth is I think I might have convinced David Diaz not to quit the SCBWI many years ago because he felt it didn't offer illustrators enough. If I had known then what I know now, I would have said good riddance. There's nothing either one of us could have done! Please don't beat yourself up for something that is absolutely not your fault.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 01:32


Legally, "hearsay" is when someone reports what someone else said. It's not admissible as evidence in a court of law. This is not a court of law. The Whisper Network has always relied on "hearsay" as protection. "I've heard things about him" is a warning passed from one woman to another. And that's what's going on here. Of the names I've seen here, I'm mostly not surprised. I've heard things. In a social system where traditionally women are expected to put up with constant microagressions than range from comments on our clothes from total strangers to being grabbed from behind by same, and just grin and bear it... Sorry. We're not using the same standards of evidence that are required in a court of law. Because we can't afford to. Women are trying to stay safe.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:42


Please believe victims regardless of if they tell their whole story. It is very scary to speak up, period. These stories almost all involve an imbalance of power in a shared industry. The more details one shares the more they make it clear to their abuser who they are, and that is not required of them.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:29


Totally agree about the hearsay. I believe victims, too (especially when they say what their experience was rather than just calling out someone's name #metoo). Hearsay is too low for this level of discussion.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:21


You should believe victims regardless of whether or not they share their experience. You are not entitled to their trauma, and that shouldn't affect your faith in them.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:24

Megan Hoyt

Courageous women -- I am here to add my name to the list of those who trust you, believe you, and support you. I know how to raise a ruckus when something needs to be said, and I will retweet you like mad: meganglasshoyt .

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 09:47


Everyone dropping names based Of of hearsay and second/third accounts need to stop. I believe the victims speaking out, but don't muddy their stories by throwing in "I've heard things!"

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:13


So you believe the victims who posted here, but you don't want me to believe the victims who have told me about their experiences?

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:19

Conference Honcho

It's not your story to tell. As the head of a big conference I've been getting lots of, "My friend told me that such and such thing happened to so-and-so by This Guy." Well. I can't do anything with that. But if that victim comes to me privately, I can blow the whole conference up for her. And I would. But I can't go to her and say, "Hey, I heard you said such-and-such" because that undermines the trust of someone who was trying to help her by telling me, possibly revictimizes her by asking her to revisit the incident, and puts a lot of pressure on her that her silence says she doesn't want to deal with. NOR SHOULD SHE HAVE TO. So when we hear things through the whisper network, all we can do is keep an eye on rumored offenders and encourage friends of victims who don't want to speak out to let those victimized friends know we're safe, and we're here to help. And the second we have actionable information, we do. And have. And will. But when someone is saying, "I heard This Guy is no good," then no. We can't do a damn thing about that except keep an eye out if they're already booked, or avoid booking them in the future if they're not. But these guys are good at not doing the wrong thing in front of the wrong person. So that only does so much. And "I heard XYZ about This Guy or my unnamed friend said XYZ about this guy" IS NOT ACTIONABLE. And as someone else pointed out, muddies the waters. It can serve MAYBE as an unofficial heads up. Maybe. But generally: Muddies the waters. We need facts. And we can keep those who report facts from direct experience safe, but we understand why they don't feel safe reporting OR why they wouldn't want to revisit such a sucky time.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:33

Brianna Zamborsky

To all survivors: I believe you. Thank you for speaking up.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:09

Tez Miller

Thanks to the victims and witnesses who've spoken out. I hear you. I believe you. If there's ever trash in your Mentions you'd like Reported to Twitter, contact me anytime. I have a BlockTogether if you need it, too.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:07

Anon Anon I Come Anon

It's not up to the abuser to decide what abuse is. That's up to the victim. I had a longer post written out, but tl;dr. I just said my piece.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:56

Anon Anon I Come Anon

I really need to learn how to nest comments.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:57


Matt de la Peña. You are powerful and respected in this industry, you should be ashamed of the way you speak to and treat female students. Your business is how we write, not how we look. Among several inappropriate comments, you minimized me down to my appearance in a moment of my education that I worked hard for, that should have been one of my proudest. You made me feel small and objectified. I resent it. I am not shocked to see that I am not the only student you abused your power over.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:55


I've been an SCBWI member for over 3 years, and started to get wind of "the article" several days ago. I thought of posting a comment on this crisis to my social media account, but social media as it is, decided posting to a site like this the better choice, as an unpublished writer who's writing skills are unknown, and may very well remain that way. But, as a man who endured a childhood of abuse - both physical and emotional - let me say I do understand completely, the statements of all who've been abused or made to feel uncomfortable. For some reason, one I will get to in a moment, there has been a sudden awakening of American women to sexual abuse. Is it frustration over the outcome of the Presidential election? Perhaps. P.S. I did NOT vote for Trump or Clinton. But, as someone asked recently, is there another reason? I believe there is. It is likely a spiritual reason - but it may not be a good one. That aside for a moment, there are men and even some women who are abusers, and they do and can at times appear to be decent, but then there are times the darkness in their soul is made very apparent. Often, it requires something to set them off - usually this involves drinking, and explains the complaint about the behavior of the accused at conferences - most in large hotels with very accessible bars. From what I've been reading, so far there are no claims (and this is spoken from the standpoint of someone who worked for attorneys) of a intimate or violent crime being committed, unlike the horrible crimes committed against those in gymnastics. But, and saying this as a man of old school manners - if a man puts his hand on a woman's leg under the table - it better be his wife. However, if a man touches another woman inappropriately, then a crime has been committed, and the woman can file charges on the spot - but as we know for many reasons (fear, embarrassment, ruined career) that will not happen, and likely gives the person responsible the idea he can "get away with it" though strangely enough, as in the Penn State crimes, the accused believes he did nothing wrong. It's a terrible dilemma for victims, because even in the gymnastics case, the women who gave their brave courtroom testimony will now have to deal with endless "she's the one I was telling you about" whispering - a case of society punishing the victim. As a man who was a victim of childhood abuse, my childhood is something I normally will not talk about - though after many years, I can write about it, and do, in the hope it will help others. Still, despite everything said and known, there seems to be a dark side to this recent society-wide "house cleaning." Is it just frustration over the election, or a deeper resentment of men in general? Or even a level of radicalizing of women towards men? I refer to what was mentioned by media at Halloween, regarding the present explosive growth of the Wicca movement in this country - also in the past year. If nothing else, an unusual coincidence, but something to be seriously considered. To be blunt, there are men who are guilty, for lack of a different word - though some are not, and are unfortunate victims of circumstance. Being of the Baby Boomer generation, my Mom told me of the McCarthy era, and how someone's career or livelihood could be ruined, because they innocently said they liked Russian food. Russian food! I acquaint this to something read yesterday, when a woman said she was "inappropriately touched" - because the man accused of sexual abuse once put his hand on her shoulder. I'm from European descent, and for a man to lightly touch a woman's shoulder was nothing more than being polite. Yes, incidents of men who are sexual abusers and falsely accusing women of leading them on is as old as the Bible (I'm not a Bible expert, but it's in the Old Testament and found in Daniel, Verse 13 - I just searched it, to make sure). Then, and as mentioned earlier, there are cultural factors. Though not Hispanic, I live in a part of the country that is, and there have been "what gives" comments made by Hispanic female co-workers of mine - professional and non-professional - about the ongoing sexual scandal in all parts of society at this time. Why? In many but not all Hispanic countries, a weak man is considered one who is NOT forward with women. Due to my own abusive childhood, I was never forward with women when a young adult, and was branded weak more than once, by Hispanic female friends, two who now always find it funny to say, "You had your chance." As you can tell, this is a complicated matter. What can be done? It's all about dignity. In today's world, there is a terrible lack of it, about as bad as the world has ever seen - mostly likely due to technology. In just the past month, a news article appeared about the brothels in Madrid, and how prostitutes were recently replaced with - robots. Of course a brothel is as abusive as it gets - but replacing humans with machines has brought society to a level never seen before. Human life has become cheapened to the point that abuse is considered acceptable - until there are consequences, and there are always consequences, in this life or the next. But, we cannot let it keep us from our joy of writing. The past 3 years have given me joy not seen since my 20s - and that is saying a lot. I hope all involved will quickly do what needs to be done to make sure no one is made to feel threatened or uncomfortable, anywhere in the literary process. In the end, a zero-tolerance policy is often the best rule - but the very best rule is realizng each person's dignity. In the end, it's our most important asset.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:38


Wow, congratulations in making this all about you. Really well done.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:45


Took the words right out of my mouth, Anon Dude, seriously. This space isn't for you. This isn't the place for novel-length posts that take the emphasis and attention off of the victims and onto yourself for reasons passing understanding

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:49

Zach Estel

Wow, this comment is an adventure, and not a good one. I think it's safe to say that you missed the point, and wrapped back around again on yourself. Like others are saying: this is a space for the victims, and the time and place to hear them and take care of them, not to go all out on a masturbatory mansplaining tangent. Listen. Don't feel the need to explain or interject. Not here, not now. With writing like this, I'm sure some other venue, like the New York Times would be glad for your perspective. But it's inappropriate here.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:01


Very nice way to speak to an abuse victim.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:20


Paragraph breaks are good too.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:48


"Or even a level of radicalizing of women towards men? I refer to what was mentioned by media at Halloween, regarding the present explosive growth of the Wicca movement in this country – also in the past year. If nothing else, an unusual coincidence, but something to be seriously considered." Well this is refreshing, anyway. So it's not a witch hunt but witches hunting. Got it.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:56

Andrea Torrey Balsara

I’m sorry you suffered a childhood of abuse. And I’m sorry that people have left really cruel comments. Is there not room for people to have a voice on this? Is this JUST a women’s problem, or is it a societal one? And why do we feel we can be so rude to each other when we don’t give our names? This is a KIDLIT community, not a fight club. Could we PLEASE treat each other with respect, even if we don’t agree with each other? I am not going to be a part of this comment stream anymore because it’s becoming influxed with a mob-rule mentality. And yes, those who commented snarkily on the grammar of Pete’s post can comment on mine. It’s petty. It shouldn’t be in this conversation. Go elsewhere if you want to be mean and unhelpful. This is about social justice, equity, listening to each other...I’m disappointed and disillusioned...again. First by the sexual abuse of some prominent members of the community, and now by the petty, mob-mentality of anonymous/named commenters. Yuck.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:27


Several people here are pointing out that there is a difference between sexual assault and inappropriate comments. I don’t think this conversation is conflating them, or denying all the gradients of the acts reported. Women spend their lives navigating those nuances so it’s insulting to suggest they can’t tell the difference. The fact that there are gradients is not the point of this conversation. The point is to shine a light on a culture that would rather see women and accusers leave than hold the accused accountable—whether that be a probationary period at work, getting banned from a conference, termination, or criminal charges, depending on the severity of the transgression. We all know there is a difference between a rapist and a sexual harasser. But the outcome for the victim often looks similar: shame, trauma, gaslighting, fleeing their chosen industry, etc. That’s what we’re here to focus on.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:36


I'm an unpublished author who's attended the SCBWI Summer Conference many times. I love SCBWI and Lin and Steve are wonderful, kind and generous people. I'd like to share my experience with sexual harassment at the conference. David Diaz's reputation was well known and my group of friends joked about it privately A LOT. I read a comment here about the "whisper network" and totally agree. That was a thing. The people who behaved badly at conferences were known in the community. When these allegations were first made public my friends and I obviously talked about them. And I had a very profound a-ha moment. I realized that every one of us who quietly warned others or joked about this behavior contributed to the problem. Did we report it? Or have a conversation with Lin or Steve? No. We did not. The industry is tough and very intimidating and "clique-y" for those trying to break in. And that contributes to this problem. Because no one wants to risk being "labeled" and blacklisted by the gate keepers. And that's something those in power need to work on. They own that piece of the problem, helping to create an environment where silence in the face of snow or unprofessional behavior is fostered out of fear. Is there room for improvement and awareness across the board in this industry ? Yes. But, I agree with Theo's post in defense of his mom and Steve and the SCBWI organization as a whole. I think they've earned our good will. There are powerful people in the industry who abused their power. Who knew what and when? I cannot say. All I can do is watch how the organization responds and I believe they will respond appropriately. But I can also be reflective and examine my role in this. I heard the rumors, saw the behavior at the lobby bar and never shared my concerns with anyone in the organization. I invite everyone here to reflect and examine as well. One of the things that makes SCBWI great is the community building and the support. I think we all have a role to play in this moment. And Lin and Steve deserve our support as they work to figure this stuff out. And, of course, or focus should be on supporting anyone who was hurt by someone abusing their power. When I read the account about the illustrator who's confidence was so badly damaged by David Diaz's behavior, all I could think was about how awful that must have felt. How heart breaking. And how sorry I was for my role in helping to keep the open secret. We can all learn and grow. All of us.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:35

Julia Durango

Agree on all counts. Thank you for this thoughtful response.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:03

Anonymous Alexie

For the person who commented that gross talk at dinner isn’t the same as some of the other comments: true, but I did acknowledge that. It was creepy though and that’s enough. But we’re we just lucky to be in a group? I still worry about my colleague who went to the bar with him after dinner. And there are many comments about him on this page where women are saying there was harassment.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:26

Anon Supporter

In my opinion, no one is trying to make illegal behavior and assault equivalent to poor boundaries, inappropriate (and pathetic) dinner conversation, etc. There is criminal assault, legal harassment, and many shades of in between. Point of fact, however, is that in most structured workplaces, "hostile environment" *would* include unwelcome sexual banter, jokes, leers, and onward. The literature community is a unique work environment, and it is difficult to determine when all that would apply. In the end, though, this moment, with these comments on this article, seems to be more about letting the victims speak, giving them the air the need to open the conversation, about anything that caused them to feel violated or pressured toward giving of themselves in ways they did not choose in order to advance their careers. I hope we can all reign the impulse to define what is "okay" to speak about, and what isn't. Just let people speak about what's happened, and breathe, and then all of us will have to begin the process of sorting out how we make things better.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:23


I don't know how to reply inline with my comment above. I'll respond by saying that there is no way someone saying inappropriate stuff at dinner is as bad as a rapist. Grouping them together minimizes violent and illegal actions and discredits those victims. I know this is an unpopular stance right now. But, #legalaction is stronger than #offendedme. #metoo

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:14


No one is saying that. It's a spectrum, but it all stems from the same basis of rape culture and viewing women (and nonbinary folk and sometimes men) as sexual objects ripe for the plucking and not nipping that stuff in the bud instead of making light of it.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:18


No one is equating the two. Women have the right to go to professional dinners and conventions without being objectified. It really should not be that hard for people to refrain from making sexual remarks or overtures at a professional event.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:54


I've heard awful things about Mark Gottlieb and Steven Salpeter. Can anyone confirm or deny abuse from them?

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:05

anon and supportive

We shouldn't be asking for anyone to "deny" abuse. Nor confirm it really. If you don't have a personal experience to add, just sit and listen to those that do. There are comments further down now talking about hearsay etc, and this post is exactly what we need to be careful of.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:31

Lin Oliver

Hello everyone. I am listening and learning and open to your comments, and especially to the stories of victims. Please understand that SCBWI can only take action on what has been reported, Two men have been reported---David Diaz and Jay Asher. Both have been expelled from the SCBWI and are not welcome as members, faculty or speakers. All the other names are truly new to me. As of tomorrow, we will open a new email called where anyone who has been victimized can report the offense. A committee of our Board will review and respond. Please note that we have always had a harassment policy and a name and email (mine) to which you can report. But in these times, we are aware that we need to be more specific about that policy, about a code of conduct at conferences, and more detailed about a reporting procedure. That said, it would be great to also acknowledge that the children's book industry is filled with caring, selfless, progressive people who want to make improvements going forward. There is a zero tolerance policy for harassment, there is a preponderance o powerful and respected women on our board, on our staff, and in our membership; there is absolute parity of payment without regard for gender; there are huge staff benefits for women and their dependents; everyone at the SCBWI at the "Director" level is a woman; and we do not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind. Within a few days, we will post our new and extended policies. Until then, we are listening. And in case anyone is interested, I have been wearing a pink pussy hat since 1970.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:02

Shellie Braeuner

I appreciate the fact that you are listening. I hope that we can work together as an organization and just as caring human beings to stop this behavior and help each other heal.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:49


Lin, are you able to go one step further? How about this: "I apologize that our organization hasn't always maintained a safe environment for the conference attendees. We haven't been paying enough attention to this problem, but will try to be better from now on."

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 09:07

Julia Durango

Thank you, Lin, for your measured, sincere response in the face of criticism. I am guilty of being a part of the "whisper network" -- not just in our business, but in all arenas since elementary school -- and I am proud of those who are coming forward now to make it stop. Progress is always painful, it seems, with some collateral damage along the way. I hope you will take heart that the organization you have devoted your life to has helped me and so many other women achieve their dreams. But there is still work to be done, clearly, and I believe that you are listening. Thank you.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 09:56

Megan Hoyt

Thank you for chiming in, Lin. You have our full support as you stare down this monster of a problem. I know it must weigh heavily on you, both personally and professionally. I believe in our organization, and I am relieved to hear that you are coming up with constructive ideas and firm plans for the future. Another concern of mine is for the authors (especially but not ONLY women) of the books David Diaz illustrated. Yes, he has been outed and banned, but for that to translate into a slump in book sales for those writers he was paired with as an illustrator would be a travesty. Such a dilemma, especially for school librarians who may not want to reward his bad behavior by ordering his books.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 10:33


Thanks, Lin. I hope that the policy will be included in all conference and workshop materials going forward so no one is stuck at a loss for what to do if they find themselves at the receiving end of such harassment. May I suggest that the policy also explain that sexual harassment will not be tolerated and that anyone who commits such harassment will immediately be removed from the conference or workshop, no exceptions. This is the policy of the New York Comic Con. It should also be the policy of the SCBWI.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 01:47

Melissa Stewart

Thank you, Lin, for everything you and Steve Mooser have done for the SCBWI and for children's publishing in general for the last 47 years. The SCBWI has long been a leader in children's publishing, and there is now doubt that the organization is responsible for launching the careers of hundreds of book creators. I'm so glad to see that the SCBWI is working diligently and swiftly to address issues as they arise and to redouble efforts to make sure that everyone has safe and productive experiences at conferences.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 04:55

Enough is Enough

I know you’re probably already considering this, but does SCBWI’s harassment policy include a maximum number of incidents that can take place before a person’s membership is revoked? If not, it should, and that number probably shouldn’t be higher than 2.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:31


What makes someone feel uncomfortable and harassed may not be an issue for someone else. The people in these comments, whatever happened to them, feel violated, and therefore, their concerns are valid. Just because something in a story might not make *you* uncomfortable, doesn't mean it wasn't a traumatic experience for that person. That all being said, it seems like many people in the publishing industry have been in situations that have made them uncomfortable or unsafe, and that is something that needs to change. Speaking out about what is or isn't okay (whether that's just for you personally) is all helpful in changing the culture. My love and support for everyone speaking out in these comments.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:01


There is a big difference between someone making pervy/gross banter at a group dinner and someone touching a bare shoulder at a bar and someone offering career advancement for sex. I'm not victim blaming (been in all these circumstances...including dinner with Alexie) but the idea that someone who's made a crude joke and generalized sexual suggestions is held to the same criticism as someone who has raped or falsified career advances is infuriating.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:57


A good rule is to just not do any of the behaviors you mentioned. You don't get to decide how victims feel. And no, you're not victim blaming, but you are minimizing their experiences.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:03


All abuse, sexual or otherwise, is a power play. With sexual abuse, it's not even about sexual desire, it's about a desire to feel powerful. Regardless of the level of invasiveness of each story here, they're all about a person abusing their power. The point is these men make women feel unwelcome in the industry, and that holds true with many levels of predatory behavior, whether it be a crude joke or touching or assault.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:08

Theo baker

I have/had no intention to insert myself into this. I am simply defending my mom against unfounded accusation and insinuation. That’s all. I’ll log off here.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:54


But you did insert yourself. Please exit stage right.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 09:25

Andrea Torrey Balsara

I believe the women who’ve spoken out. It’s taken incredible courage. I applaud them and admire them. But this does not mean that you have the right to try to shut someone else down, and stop them from joining this conversation. Theo Baker is NOT one of the accused. His mother, Lin Oliver, is NOT one of the accused, but her name has come up many times in relation to some of these allegations as her somehow being complicit. There is an element of character assassination going on, if we can’t allow her, or her son, to speak up. Trying to shut them down, trying to have a white-knuckled control over the conversation, is not okay. Especially when you are commenting anonymously. That old saying, “Two wrongs don’t make a right” may be trite, but it’s true. We can’t allow a bully mentality to overtake this conversation.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:56


And to those saying he/she isn’t like that, wouldn’t do that - Ann Rule worked side by side with Ted Bundy and never suspected a thing.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:48

Anon Anon I Come Anon

I was married to a man who was sexually harassing my friends and I never knew until after we divorced.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:10


I support and believe everyone coming forward. You are so brave. It’s disappointing to see the names of authors/illustrators I admire - what a gross abuse of power. It’s a reckoning that needs to happen. Time to slay dragons.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:45

Theo baker

My name is Theo baker. I am Lin oliver’s son. I’ve read a lot of the comments as well as those insinuations in the main article that my mom did not take this and other incidents seriously. Nothing could be further from the truth. Am I biased against my mom? You bet. I’ve known her well for all 38 years of my life, and she is she is the strongest, most remarkable woman I know. Is she perfect? Of course not. But for 38 years, I have watched her work tirelessly to promote and elevate children’s literature, and to create a safe, inclusive, and extended family for children’s book people the world over. It has always been her mission to promote, hire and encourage people of color, LGBTQ, and yes, women! She has consistently been far ahead of the culture in all of her positions and actions, and to say otherwise is just wrong on the facts. While my mom worked tirelessly at the scbwi when I was kid, her day job was working in the tv and films. This was during the 1980s. She was a pioneering figure, a woman with power. I doubt many know how much women hating and abuse she had to put up with in that field, and succeeded despite that. I know from personal experience that it was always her determined and obsessive goal to banish those kinds of abusive and women hating behaviors from her organization, to create a real and truly safe place for women and everyone under the sun to thrive. I am incredibly disheartened to learn of how little good will my mom has earned from some of the commmentating class. The SCBWI takes any allegations as serious as cancer. There’s no sweeping things under the rug, or conspiracy, or a willful promotion of patriarchal creeps. (My mom loves people, she is biased FOR everyone. Spend five minutes with her and tell me otherwise.) But the Scbwi is not the retroactive police. They are a non profit with a small full time staff. And despite that, they do everything they can to make sure that the Scbwi and its conferences are inviting, safe, and welcoming to all. And they will be doing much more, as much as they are capable of. The Scbwi has been my mom’s life work. Before you trash that with a dashed off comment or insinuation, take a moment and think of how much good will and love she has given the world, especially the world of children’s books. If despite that you still believe she is part of the problem, recognize you will be eating one of your own. There is no better ally than my mom. Believe me.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:28

Another anonymous author

That might not be what this conversation is about.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:34


Derailing a conversation that needs to be happening.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:40

Don't try to derail

Being a loyal son is admirable, but this space is not for you nor about you. This space is not a forum for a debate about SCBWI. This is not a space for debating the character flaws or virtues of people or organizations who have been complicit in victimization. I say this with all due respect: please stop taking space and attention that should be devoted to the victims.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:40

Theo Baker

With the same respect and good will, I would gladly cede this space and not make another peep, but to indirectly call my mom complicit in sexual abuse or any sort of victimization is really crossing an ugly line. It is categorically untrue in every respect. My mom is a woman as well, and all I ask is this. Give her the benefit of the doubt. Allow her to prove her actions have always been in the best interest of women. Look to her fifty plus year career of selfless advocacy for women, families, childhood literacy, and multiculturalism, and give the same weight to that as you do the assumptions of a reporter who spent all of five minutes interviewing her.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:33


Can we please keep the focus where it belongs, which is on the VICTIMS? Thank you.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 09:25

An observer

Officials at publishing conferences -- or anywhere -- should not be commenting on others' looks or marital status. So inappropriate and demeaning to all.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:29

Pam Victorio

It’s taken me all day to read these accounts I’m sorry that our industry has failed so many of you. I’m sorry that we aren’t doing better. I’m here if you need to talk.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:22

Betsy Ickes

I applaud the women who are speaking up- kudos to you! Just because a guy treats you with respect doesn’t mean he doesn’t act the same way with everyone. Maybe he’s not attracted to you. Maybe you don’t give off vulnerable vibes. Maybe you remind him of his sister or mom. That doesn’t mean that someone else isn’t his type of prey. Thank God women are now speaking up - we need to support each other!

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:03


For those who are, as I am, refreshing this thread, I just wanted to point out that Sherman Alexie has won the Carnegie award at ALA just now... maybe a good time to take to twitter and spread the word of what's been revealed here.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:02


Jesus H. Christ. Does this ever end?

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:06

Anon Supporter

For those taking to Twitter, don't forget to tag the organizations and accounts who need the information. They can't act on what they don't see.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:48


my tweet is getting some attention, please let me know what organizations and accounts i should tag.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 07:20

Annon Because Scared

There's a certain editor at Tor who thinks its okay to proposition writers in exchange for getting their manuscript published. To make it worse the editor is a woman. You can't trust anyone.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:00

Kate Messner

Sending love and support to the brave women speaking out here. And also sending love to everyone who's not able to do that right now. We see you, too, and support you.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:54

Sharon Levin

Thank you all for your courage and your voices. I hear and believe you.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:51

Anon Anon I Come Anon

I agree. You're not alone in this feeling. <3

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:46

Anon Anon I Come Anon

(this was meant for the anon afraid to speak out.)

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:47

Courtney Milan

Hey girl in the red dress, RWA has an anti-harassment policy at conference, and we did in 2015. If you feel comfortable at all coming forward, please consider talking to me or another board member, and we can figure out what to do. I am sorry that this happened to you.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:40

Girl in the red dress

Hi Courtney, thank you for reaching out. I've added you on Twitter.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:02


I know others I want to name but I’m scared to. Thank you to all those braver than I.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:39


All what people is saying about Dashner is fake.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:34


Do you follow him around 100% of his life? Because I'm betting you don't, which means You. Don't. Know.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:39


And do you? I guess not, so you. Don't. Know. Either.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:10


I’m sorry to hear about all of this and I applaud all of the people who spoke out. I believe you. To those who haven’t spoken out yet, I understand the difficulty in speaking out l’ll listen when you are ready.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:24


I haven't experienced any of this at conferences, which is probably because I've only been to a very few conferences, but i've worked in publishing for decades and when I think back on things, wow, it's really all of a piece. As a young woman I had no idea, for example, what to do when I worked in a major publishing company's NYC offices and my cubicle was across from the esteemed male art director, who spent much of the day talking with a freelance artist analyzing the various attractive women in the company and discussing sexual experiences and spying on people having sex from their apartment windows, etc. in great detail. All the powerful male editors knew about this behavior but pretended it was not happening. And then there were a few years spent in an educational publishing house that developed works for elementary school children in which several highly ranked men who behaved inappropriately were "punished"--but only by letting them go and then hiring them as 'consultants'. And I'm still scratching my head about what motivated the various women in power who were so condescending and mean to young women, but catered to the men lavishly. I'm not at all surprised that harassment is going on in all corners of the publishing industry.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:12


"And I’m still scratching my head about what motivated the various women in power who were so condescending and mean to young women, but catered to the men lavishly." YES. A THOUSAND TIMES YES. So many of my colleagues left their job or left publishing altogether for this very reason. I was harassed for almost a year by a female colleague before I quit, too.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:59

Christina Tugeau

this is terrible in every way.... but lets keep our heads and hearts....not throw out the SCBWI bath water with the baby! Time to hunker down, continue the honesty, and mend the holes. This is OUR world...lets support it being the best it can be!

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:08


Sherman Alexie: me too. Looking forward to the end of him getting to do whatever he wants to young women with the full knowledge of the people in power.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:06


As far as agents and editors being held responsible there were a ton of them in the bar when Jenny Bent got completely wasted and tried to grind on a very handsome editor of romance while his wife was in the same room. Women can be abusers too.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:05


I have some questions with this statement. Yes, women can be abusers - but this seems more like someone who was watching the incident and feeling uncomfortable on the editor's behalf, does it not? If the editor came forward and says "this made me feel extremely uncomfortable" then I think it would come across as more genuine than someone reporting it like it was at a christmas party and they disapproved, rather than the person it was done to. I understand that if the roles were reversed, it might be looked upon in a more scrutinised way - a man rubbing up against a woman, drunk? Terrible. And yet we don't know their relationship, it could have been seen as good humour by both of them. note I'm not defending anyone - just concerned that this could be lumped in with more serious allegations.

Posted : Feb 14, 2018 07:03


i dined with Sherman Alexie several years ago with a group of librarians and, throughout dinner he talked pretty continuously about sex, told us that he loved all types of women (age, body type, level of attractiveness, HINT HINT) and showed us his hotel room number. He also said that at author conferences no one slept in their own rooms. Maybe not harassment per se, but definitely gross. I don’t doubt he’s done worse.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:02

Amy Fellner Dominy

I just want to add my support to those who have shared their stories. I believe you, and I believe that your voices--all of our voices together--will lead to change.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 04:59


To everyone speaking up and sharing your stories, I know it’s painful to do so, but I believe you. <3 I support you.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 04:58

Julie Berry

To all who've faced abuse, I am so very sorry. Thank you for courageously speaking out. It's been so sickening to read these many accounts. Of course we knew this wasn't a perfect industry, but the magnitude of the problem is deeply disillusioning. And, of course, sexism/sexual harassment isn't the only systemic vice we're grappling with, as others have bravely pointed out. I imagine most of us who devote our lives to children's books in any fashion do so because kids' books are the magic place, the happy place, of our childhoods. To have that magical forest infested with predators -- hm, maybe this is what Little Red Riding Hood was trying to tell us. But it is a betrayal of the utmost kind, and an assault on your personhood, and a violation of that safe/sacred space of kidlit. I hope this #metoo moment of greater listening and believing victims coming forward will signal a lasting change, a moral awakening within this industry and other communities, that we ALL need to change our values in a lasting way. And this is always painful. So many people would rather attack back than look inward, acknowledge error, sincerely apologize, and change. Perhaps in tiny (or not tiny) ways many of us, without realizing it, have participated in the culture that enthrones and protects the famous, the popular, the bestselling, the influential, and the attractive. (And the male. The straight male. The straight white male. Straight white young male. Etc. Insert "handsome," etc.) We all want to advance our careers and not be That Difficult Person, and those aspirational dynamics increase our risk of Complicity Lite: smiling along and laughing along at parties/conferences/events, etc.. Overlooking misbehavior. Mildly flattering the narcissist in the room. (Embarrassing confession: I often can't hear what's being said at parties, etc., so I smile and laugh along as a cover for my cluelessness. Heaven knows what I've overlooked.) (Other embarrassing confession: part of why I write for kids is that I Just Don't Get Grownups, and the flirty/flattery/smartypants way adults talk in professional settings makes me want to go home and hug my teddy bears.) So, my prayer for myself at this moment is that I will speak up differently, notice and defend those affected by power imbalances more instinctively and consistently, and give no more "polite" support or silence or indulgence to behavior that doesn't belong. For victims, a prayer of healing, peace, renewed hope and belief in their ability to tell stories, and the world's need to hear them. Now more than ever. For industry pros: a prayer that they'll have the wisdom and courage to make hard but right choices and enact firm policies. For perpetrators, a prayer that they STOP, look inward, admit wrong, make what amends can be made, and return to positive engagement with creativity. Or at the very least, go away and do no more harm. Each of us has a high bar to reach to be worthy of the kids who will, if we're lucky, read our work.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 04:58

Andrea Torrey Balsara

I totally relate to what you wrote about feeling like so uncomfortable with the adult stuff, and racing home to hug a teddy bear. I think there are many of us who were traumatized as children, and who write to create a sense of safety around ourselves, to make new the safety and innocence we did not feel as children. I am so angry at the people who have trampled in this “magical forest”, this place where we thought we were safe. Well, we are safe now. Now we are all speaking up, and speaking out. I will no longer be complicit either, although I haven’t witnessed such horrors in the kidlit industry personally. But I won’t let stupid, sexist comments slide, wherever they are said. And I’m taking Krav Maga which trains one to have a hair-trigger response to any physical, non-consensual touching. I thought about that for the poor woman who gave a hug to one of the accused who then proceeded to grope her. A hard knee to the groin (or two, or three) would have been a just response, but unless we are trained to react, we often freeze because we can’t believe what just happened. I highly recommend it for abuse survivors.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 08:32

this is not going to go the way you think

I had a completely consensual sexual relationship with David Diaz, who is about 30 years older than me, and I have 0% regret about it. I never felt like he was taking advantage of me, though he ostensibly has more power than me, and I knew exactly what I was getting into and I was seeing several other men at the time (not in the industry) and I knew he was chasing every librarian/teacher/publisher/writer he could. As long as all of it was as consensual and satisfying as our connection was, I didn't have a single problem with it. After several months of this, including sexual encounters that were consensual and pleasurable, and tons of texting and text flirting, he discovered that I had told other people in our industry (obviously I had - I wasn't hiding anything and wasn't embarrassed) and told me he was cutting off all contact because it was supposed to be a "secret" - huh? And it would never work if I told people about it. Excuse me? AND THAT'S WHEN I KNEW I HAD BEEN PLAYED and it had never been a consensual relationship between equals. He thought I was just another piece (which wasn't even the issue, I was fine with being another piece. That's all he was to me, after all.) that he had to keep secret because GOD FORBID it "get out" he was the kind of person who picked up (multiple, multiple) women who didn't have the same level of power as him within the industry and at industry events and then strung them all along. In the end, the creepiest part of it all - THE ONLY CREEPY PART OF IT FOR ME - was the way he "broke it off." In my mind, we hadn't done anything wrong/worth hiding. But in his mind, I was just another broad that could run my mouth about him and that was an issue because, well, that's how avalanches start. Let's bury these fuckers.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 04:44


If you're spreading rumors you might have heard instead of first-hand accounts you're adding to the problem.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 04:41

Another anonymous author

That rather begs the question of what "the problem" is.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 06:40


OMG. So appalled that this has happened to so many of you through SCBWI. Keep speaking out. Stay strong. :(

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 04:25

Emily S. Keyes

Wow these comments are upsetting and eye opening. I would like to thank everyone who is telling their story, you might be able to save someone else. It's now getting kind of contentious about libel and who is "lying." I think our default should be to believe women. Yes, there will always be false reporting. (I think about 7% of sexual assaults are false reports, but I could be misremembering!) So that means there are probably some false reports here with so many posts but if you keep seeing the same names over and over it is time to ask yourself WHY you don't believe. If it is because you love their books, remember Bill Cosby is a comedy genius and still a predator. You can still be talented and problematic. As someone who was victimized in another area and not believed, I hope we can at least treat everyone respectfully. We need to discuss this in kidlit. It is important that this happens. And we are all complicit in making men the "superstars" when so many women have been mostly the innovators of Kidlit. Our society is... I don't know how to end this. I don't have answers. I am sorry to victims. If anyone needs to talk, you can contact me. I am just SO SORRY.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 04:25


"That means there are probably some false reports here." You either believe victims or you don't. You can't have it both ways.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 04:46


8% is on the high end of the estimation based on research. This article has it "between 2% and 10%": But consider though that that percentage is based on women NOT coming forward because they're too afraid of being accused of lying. If 100 report assault, and 5 percent are falsifying, and 500 never come forward at all because they're too afraid... what's the percentage now? Also, when men are falsely accused, it often comes out in court. Their lives aren't ruined, not compared the the women assaulted. From the article: "out of 216 complaints that were classified as false, only 126 had even gotten to the stage where the accuser lodged a formal complaint. Only 39 complainants named a suspect. Only six cases led to an arrest, and only two led to charges being brought before they were ultimately deemed false." What do the stats tell us then? That conjecturing about who is lying only serves to harm victims. Believe victims. They have nothing to gain and everything to lose.

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 05:17

The girl in the red dress

Adding to the chorus of accounts here, Stefane Marsan (an editor from France), approached me at RWA in 2015 after the RITAGHs award ceremony at the bar when I was alone and more than a little drunk. He wouldn't stop TOUCHING me. My hands. My arms. We were surrounded by romance publishing elite, Tiffany Reisz was in my line of sight with her Rita award and yet he felt comfortable cornering me, offering his business card and telling me how big of a star he'd make me in France. He had me there for ten minutes. Always touching. As soon as I'd move one hand he would have the other already on me. Touching. Stroking. Smiling. I nodded and smiled, because I didn't want to offend him - in case he was a big publisher - but in my head I kept thinking does he really think I'm this stupid, that I'll sleep with him for a publishing contact? Because the subtext was heavily implied. I had no one at the conference I could go to. I was new, entirely alone and without friends for backup. I returned to my hotel room where my husband and infant son were sleeping - I scoped him out on twitter just to be sure he was a real editor, which he was. Then I threw out the card, and had a shower to wash his 'touch' from my body. It never occurred to me to report him because I'd dealt with this kind of behaviour so often at my workplace, it was like another Tuesday. It never occurred to me that I could or should report him, and I almost didn't share this here but a friend managed to help me track him down from the RWA guest list cache and I screamed when I saw his face pop up on scream. All I had was a first name and his face branded in my brain. About 5'7-5'9" with curly brown hair, paunchy in a tailored suit, trimmed beard and trendy glasses. He spoke with a heavy french accent. That's it. But my friend is a genius, so now I can say his name. His full name. Stephane Marsan

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 04:21


Michael Neff, the director of the New York Pitch Conference, took advantage of a post-conference dinner to grab my arm and make it clear he could grant me publishing favors in exchange for sexual ones. He singled me out because I was young and inexperienced, and often tried to get me alone at the conference with the promise of information and mentorship. Thankfully, I was able to evade him

Posted : Feb 12, 2018 04:20