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By Bethany Barton, author/illustrator

Have you ever gotten a restaurant menu where everything looks so delicious, it’s nearly impossible to decide? That’s what it felt like going through the applications for SCBWI’s 2019 Mentorship contest! Too much good stuff!

First of all, I want to thank everyone who applied. It’s not always easy to share our artwork with the world, and so many of you were willing. I feel privileged to have gotten my eyes on what you create. I was blown away by the talent on display in every one of this year’s mentorship applicants. The passion for the craft of visual storytelling for children could be seen (and often felt!) in every image that popped into my inbox and I was oh-so-inspired to see the gifts you have to offer young readers. Please keep drawing, please keep painting, please keep telling stories with your images. You must. We didn’t work together this time, but I look forward to seeing your books on shelves, hearing about your successes, and high-fiving you at SCBWI events.

And now, without further ado, I’d love to introduce the world to my mentee:  Emily Asaro!

Emily’s art struck me with its charming weirdness. It manages to tip its hat to Lane Smith and Oliver Jeffers, while bringing something brand new to the table at the same time. My agent always says you have to have a bit of “head-over-heels-ness” for an artist’s work in order to work with them, and I definitely had that for what Emily is creating. I’m excited to work with her, to help build her confidence and portfolio at the same time.

Here’s what Emily had to say, “Since getting the news, I’ve found myself routinely dancing around with a huge silly smile on my face. I am beyond excited to have the opportunity to learn from a published author/illustrator and continue towards my dream of working in children’s books.”

I’m super excited to meet you too, Emily! And to quote John Crosby, I hope to be “a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”

The 2019 SCBWI-L.A. Mentorship runs for six months. Congratulations to both Bethany and Emily!

Mentor / Mentee Bios:

EMILY ASARO’S passion for picture books started at a very young age; sitting on her grandmother’s knee on her sun porch in New Jersey. She’s been doodling ever since she could hold a paintbrush. Emily currently resides in Glendale, CA as a Production Manager in Animation by day and an aspiring illustrator by night; working toward her dream job in children’s books. Apart from making art, Emily enjoys roller-skating, live music, and absolutely anything dinosaur-related.

BETHANY BARTON is an award-winning author and illustrator of children’s books. Bethany’s passion is to teach kids to face their fears using superpowers like facts, humor, and empathy. Her books have been translated into three languages. Her newest book, I’m Trying to Love Math, will be released in July 2019.

Find her online at bethanybarton.com, on Twitter (@awesomebarton) & on Instagram (@bethanybarton).

If you’d like to learn more about additional SCBWI-L.A. contests and how you can participate, check our contest page.


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Illustrations courtesy of Emily Asaro. Photos provided by Bethany Barton and Emily Asaro.