Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Read Local – Blog

May the end of the year be filled with good books, good food, and lots and lots of family and friends.

We can’t wait for 2019!

Want a preview of things to come? Check out some of our authors and illustrators on FLIP GRID–by clicking HERE! (The password is: ReadLocal). I promise, you will be hearing a lot more about all of us soon!

Happy READING!!!!



Welcome to the READ LOCAL newsletter—the place where you can read about events, ideas, and updates across our great state of Illinois. I’m Sarah Aronson, SCBWI-IL PAL and Published Coordinator.

I’m a member of SCBWI Illinois, a writer of books for readers of all ages. I also work with lots of writers on the craft of writing.

And lately, I’ve been working to help connect Illinois writers, illustrators, teachers, librarians, and most of all, READERS.

I couldn’t be more excited!

Let’s start this newsletter with some gratitude! I will try to weave my thank yous into a story—so you can see how much MAGIC happens when people put their heads together in the name of BOOKS and READING.


Read Local would never have happened had Erica Weisz not taken the initiative to find out more about Read Local programs on the East Coast. To Erica, this idea seemed like the perfect fit for our region.


Let me tell you—the minute I heard about this idea, I was ready! I am a person who eats locally. I shop locally. Reading Locally made perfect sense.


It also seemed like a lot of work. But we ignored that part.


Instead, we took the idea to Debbie Topolski.


If you are involved in SCBWI Illinois, you know Debbie. She is the leader that makes everything happen. She asks the right questions. She finds enthusiastic people. Every creative mind and organization needs a friend like Debbie! She helped us set goals. She brought more amazing people to the brainstorming.


We were also most fortunate to receive financial support from the wonderful board at I-Care, the Illinois Council for Active Reading Education. Right away, the enthusiastic and dedicated women believed in the mission of Read Local—to connect Illinois teachers and librarians with Illinois authors and illustrators.


With funding, we could now overcome both obstacles to people finding Illinois books: awareness and budget. Now we could fund visits to schools!


We were also fortunate to receive a second PAL grant from SCBWI to help fund our amazing trailer! Check it out! Huge thanks to Storyteller Chicago, operated in part by PAL Rachel Ruiz, for creating this video—and giving ME the thrill of this adventure—recording the narrative!


Then, it was time to get to work. Cedric Gilane created the amazing banner at the top of the website. He also (pretty much singlehandedly) put the website together. Alice McGinty , Sara Shacter and Jenny Wagh also provided necessary feedback and enthusiasm at every step of the way—and every email. Authors and illustrators signed up quickly to help distribute information.


I am so grateful.

I am so excited!

So: do you have questions?

Do you want to bring an author or illustrator to your school or library?

Do you want to read some books by people who live HERE! In Illinois?

Then check us out!

And keep coming back!

Every month, there will be new posts. There will be new opportunities. New ways to meet Illinois authors and illustrators.

Do you have an idea?

Let us know!

Email me at

Let’s read together!

Let’s read local!