M.F.A. Student Selected As “We Need Diverse Books” Mentee

Donald Sutton

Donald A.D. Sutton, an aspiring author and illustrator who is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in children’s literature and children’s book illustration at Hollins, is one of ten book creators chosen to take part in the We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) Mentorship Program for 2020.

WNDB is a nonprofit organization of children’s book lovers that advocates for essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.

Sutton, who hails from Hazlehurst, Mississippi, discovered his passion for children’s literature and illustration while completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in animation at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He and the nine other mentees, whom Mentorship Program Co-Chair Meg Cannistra called “phenomenal, an extremely talented group,” will spend a year engaged in one-on-one relationships with authors and illustrators who are established in the picture book, middle grade, and young adult genres. Some of the program’s former mentees have gone on to sign with prominent industry agents, publish multiple works, or secure a debut book contract.

Sutton will be mentored by Floyd Cooper, an illustrator of nearly 100 books for children, including Ruth and the Green Book, These Hands, A Beach Tail, and A Dance Like Starlight, which received a Kirkus Starred Review. He is a three-time Coretta Scott King Honoree and an NAACP Image Award winner.