Read Local Spotlight: Dark Was The Night

garrrOctober’s local feature is the newest non-fiction picture book from member Gary Golio, Dark Was the Night. Gary tells the story of Blind Willie Johnson, a legendary Texas musician whose song “Dark Was the Night” was included on the Voyager I space probe’s Golden Record.

Learn more about Gary’s journey to publishing this book below!


1) You’ve written about many great musicians. When did you first learn about Willie Johnson, and how did his story end up becoming a manuscript?
Gary Golio (GG): As a devoted blues-lover, I’ve been hearing about Willie Johnson–and listening to his music–for many years. His song, “Dark Was the Night,” was featured in a West Wing episode (about outer space), and was integral to the soundtrack of the movie Paris, Texas (1984), by director Wim Wenders. When I read major articles by two Texas music journalists several years ago–about the search, by laymen and music historians alike, for the missing details of Willie’s life–I found myself caught up in his mystery. Here’s a man who was once celebrated in gospel churches and on popular 78 records during the 1930s, slipped into oblivion following his death, was rediscovered during the 60’s Folk Revival, and finally had his wordless song chosen for inclusion on Voyager I’s Golden Record. To me, that says something very powerful about the mysterious course of a human life, and how we never really know how and who we may influence one day. I think it’s a hopeful tale, especially for kids, and it shines a light on what Fame is or isn’t really about.

Continue reading “Read Local Spotlight: Dark Was The Night”

Read Local Spotlight: All The Birds In The World


We are excited to kick off a new series to help boost local SCBWI members with books launching. First up, David Opie’s debut picture book, All the Birds in the World. Learn more about this fantastic story in the interview below!

Q: What inspired you to write and illustrate All the Birds in the World? Have you always enjoyed learning about birds?

DO: I’ve always been fascinated by birds, for sure. As I wrote in the “Author’s Note” in the back of the book, in my childhood I had my Peterson field guide and binoculars, and I would go birding. I kept a life list of all the birds I’d seen, and I collected feathers. I had a subscription to National Audubon magazine, and I drew pictures of the birds on its pages.

I thought that birds, with their beautiful, colorful plumage, would make a great subject for a picture book, but I needed an original way to present the material. One morning, as I was walking my dog and looking at the shorebirds we have here in coastal Connecticut, a phrase popped into my head: “Birds of many colors have feathers like all the others.” I liked that idea of using birds to represent diversity and inclusion, which became the theme of my book.

Continue reading “Read Local Spotlight: All The Birds In The World”

Logo Q&A With Cande de la Losa

SCBWI Westchester, NY now has a chapter logo!Q986_RGB2

Thank you to Cande de la Losa and all the participants who submitted logos to our chapter contest. We caught up with Cande to chat about her process for creating the winning design.

Q: Tell us a little bit about the logo. What inspired your idea? 

Westchester is very outdoorsy and surrounded by a lot of nature. I wanted that to be represented on our logo.

I live in Mamaroneck, in a house surrounded by a lot of green. From my work desk, I can always see squirrels playing and jumping from one tree to another. I’ve lived in many places, but never seen as many squirrels as I see here. I find that very unique about Westchester.

After I had sketched the logo, I played with different color schemes. The green, gold and red palette was the palette I saw more fitting. Continue reading “Logo Q&A With Cande de la Losa”