Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

SCBWI PA West Summer Discussion Series: Conscious Language – July

Date(s) - 07/22/2021
12:00 am


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SCBWI PA West invites you to join with other authors, illustrators, and creators in a three month online discussion group focusing on how to “make peace with words” based on the website Conscious Style Guide.

Participants will read articles shared on Conscious Style Guide and meet monthly to discuss the content via Zoom.

In order to facilitate an open discussion focused on learning, Zoom meetings will not be recorded. 

Discussion groups will happen at 9am ET and 7pm ET on Thursdays in June, July and August. Discussion groups will last one hour. Each discussion group will have a theme. The recommended reading and Zoom information will be sent via email and shared on this event page.

Discussion Group Dates and Topics

July 22, 2021 @ 9am – 10am ET  &  @ 7pm – 8pm ET • “Ethnicity, Race + Nationality”

For July, please read articles in “Ethnicity, Race + Nationality”

August 26, 2021 @ 9am – 10am ET  &  @ 7pm – 8pm ET • “Gender, Sex + Sexuality”

Register for the August discussion here! 


The discussion groups and Slack workspace connections are FREE to SCBWI members.

Non-SCBWI members fee: $15.00


Discussion Group participants will receive a discount code for the webinar with Karen Yin, creator of Conscious Style Guide. This webinar is being planned for late August 28, 2021. Stay tuned for more details.

About Conscious Style Guide

Conscious Style Guide is the first website devoted to conscious language. Their mission is to help writers and editors think critically about using language—including words, portrayals, framing, and representation—to empower instead of limit. Access style guides covering terminology for various communities and find links to key articles debating usage.


“We study words so that they can become tools instead of unwitting weapons.” – Conscious Style Guide

Conscious Style Guide and The Conscious Language Newsletter were launched in 2015. Karen Yin, the writer/editor behind AP vs. Chicago and the Editors of Color Database, wanted to feature work on kind, compassionate, mindful, empowering, respectful, and inclusive language in one place.

Karen’s debut picture book, Whole Whale (Barefoot Books, May 2021), is a story about making space for all.

“Many of us seek terminology that is more accurate, logical, and reasonable but don’t have the time or the will to comb through the Internet. Though many marginalized communities have created media guides, locating them was challenging—and once you found one, it might not present opposing perspectives. Conscious Style Guide helps you construct and polish your rationale to make educated choices. The point is to peel back the layers and invite you into the discussion. Increasing access meant increasing awareness; increasing awareness meant increasing use.” – Conscious Style Guide 


What Is Conscious Language, Anyway?
Conscious language, a term coined by Conscious Style Guide founder Karen Yin, refers to language rooted in critical thinking and compassion, used skillfully in a specific context. Using conscious language involves asking yourself questions such as:
Who is my audience?
What tone and level of formality do I want?
What am I trying to achieve?
How might history change the impact of my language choices regardless of my intentions?
Who’s being excluded?
Some words are more apt than others. The most important part of conscious language is the conscious part—our intention. Good writers consciously use disagreeable language to strike a dissonant tone. The goal is not to be inoffensive or politically correct (whatever that means), because even language intended to be inclusive and considerate can be received the wrong way. If you’re interested in conscious language, then clarify your intention and evoke and provoke skillfully.
As with life, have fun with language.