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A learning and sharing community for
DC-area children’s literature professionals since 1945

Guild Business Meeting
(Members only)

In-person meeting

Saturday, March 16, 2024

11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Cleveland Park Library at 3310 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington DC, 20008


February program

Terry Catesús Jennings

On February 15 at 7:00 p.m. EST, Terry Jennings will be hosting a panel of CBG members who will discuss their relationship with their respective agents. They will answer a few short questions and then the panel will open up to the membership for discussion. All Guild members may weigh in on the topics raised. Please come prepared with what you’ve been dying to talk about with colleagues. The members of the panel will be Debra Shumaker, Madelyn Rosenberg, Sue Fliess, Rashin Kheiriyeh, and Terry Catasús Jennings. One more panelist may be joining.

“There’s always something of me in all my books.”

January 2024 program featuring

Andrea Beatriz Arango

Summary by Desaray Mnyandu

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Andrea Beatrez Arango is a self-proclaimed “baby author” but she’s already ahead of some of her more seasoned peers. Her very first book Iveliz Explains It All was a 2023 Newbery Honor Book!  Her second book, Something Like Home quickly followed and readers found it difficult to decide which book they liked best.

Both of Andrea’s middle grade books are told in verse from the perspective of a main character dealing with big life issues and the big feelings that come with them. Readers have an intimate perspective as the characters work through their conflicts with not-so-much grace.


After Andrea read a few pages of Iveliz Explains It All, the conversation of the Guild hovered over her masterful weaving of languages through the main character’s code switching between Spanish and English. This, along with the diary-like design of the book, added to the closeness readers were invited to feel towards the character Iveliz.


While Andrea doesn’t have a set writing strategy, what is consistent is inspiration from her personal experiences as a native Puerto Rican, a middle school teacher, a care giver, and a foster parent as well as her own eclectic reading tastes. “There’s always something of me in all my books.”


Interviewer Terry Jennings asked the question we’d all like to know. “What was it like to get the call?”, referring to the call from the Newbery Award committee. True to her humble nature, Andrea who initially missed the call because her phone was turned off, said, “Finding out it was the Newbery Honor was shocking and exciting! I was not prepared!”


Arango plans to return to full-time work again after a year-long break, but that will not be slowing her momentum as an author. A third book It’s All or Nothing, Vale is scheduled to be released in February 2025. Like her other books, it still includes fan favorite topics of friendship, self-discovery, mental health and more. We look forward to all that is to come from Andrea Arango.

Remembering Phyllis Sidorsky

Remembering Joan Carris, 1938-2023

Longtime Guild member and author, Joan Davenport Carris, born August 18, 1938 in Toledo, Ohio, passed away on December 6, 2023, surrounded by her loved ones. She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Tup Carris, her daughters Mindy Goldsmith and Leigh Ann Lather, her son Brad Carris, and grandchildren Emma Lather, Margaret Lather, Ben Carris and Audrey Carris.

Joan graduated from Iowa State University and began her career as an English and French teacher. She went on to author over 30 books, including the Howard Boys series, Just a Little Ham, Witch Cat, the Aunt Morbelia series and the Bed and Biscuit series. She always bemoaned the fact that there were no awards for humor in children’s literature!

Joan also wrote and published the renowned SAT Success study guide and dedicated many hours to tutoring students preparing for the SAT. She returned to school as an adult, earning her Masters in Children’s Literature from Hollins University. Later in life she taught writing for the graduate students at the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC, and then a master’s level course on memoir writing in Charlottesville, VA.


She was truly a lifelong learner who loved science, educational travel, and all of the arts. Above all, she loved her family and she loved and admired animals and the natural world. Her philanthropy included donations to the World Wildlife Fund and similar organizations. A donation to Canine Companions has been made in her name. Joan was a beautiful, brilliant woman who will be sadly missed.

Remembering Phyllis Sidorsky

Recollections by Rhoda Trooboff

Former member Phyllis Gibbs Sidorsky passed away on December 30, 2023, in Alexandria, Virginia. She was 96.

After graduation from Juniata College, Phyllis began her career as a social worker. Her deep interest in and support of libraries led her to obtain a Masters in Library Science at The Catholic University of America. She then began a long career as a children’s librarian at the National Cathedral School for Girls, where for twenty years students affectionately called her Mrs Sid. She invited notable children’s book authors to visit the NCS Lower School Library and speak with students. In late autumn she gave annual much-appreciated talks to NCS parents about notable books their children might enjoy.

Phyllis was a prolific reviewer of children’s books. Her reviews appeared in The Washington Post, New York Times, The School Library Journal and Childhood Education. She served on the Notable Books Committee, which selected best books of the year on behalf of the American Library Association.

An avid gardener, watercolor artist, traveler, naturalist, and protector of rescued greyhounds, Phyllis was a beloved fixture of her Old Town Alexandria community. She volunteered for Alexandria’s Meals on Wheels.

Phyllis was predeceased by her husband, Raymond Sidorsky, and their daughter, Erica Sidorsky. She is survived by a nephew, Victor Humphreys, nieces Monica Grant and Ellen Plaza and their children, and remembered with blessings by former students, Alexandria neighbors, and NCS parents and colleagues.

In 1989, Phyllis published “A Girl’s Own Reading List” in the Washington Post, noting that “People expect you to have a special set of criteria when selecting books for a girls' school. Not so. Whether the reader is a girl or a boy, the story must capture the attention and hold it until the last satisfying page. But are there books in which strong female role models exist? Of course.” Here’s Phyllis 1989 list.  


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The Children’s Book Guild of Washington, DC, is committed to the fight for racial justice and support for Black lives. Please click on the links above for information on organizations to support, and readings to help educate and inspire positive change. 

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