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by Karol Ruth Silverstein, SCBWI-L.A. Contest Coordinator

MENTORSHIP1The SCBWI-L.A. Mentorship program alternates between picture book writers, illustrators and novelists. And this year, it’s the novelists’ turn again.

Many folks can attest to the value of having a mentor—but there’s tremendous value in being a mentor as well. From learning more about your own craft to reaffirming your love of storytelling to the simple satisfaction of giving back to the SCBWI-L.A. community, being a mentor can be incredibly rewarding.

We caught up with the SCBWI-L.A. 2019 Mentor Bethany Barton, currently mentoring author/illustrator Emily Asaro, and asked her the following:

KAROL RUTH SILVERSTEIN: What motivated you to be an SCBWI-L.A. mentor?


SCBWI-L.A. 2019 Mentor, Bethany Barton.

BETHANY BARTON: I have been fortunate enough to have some amazing mentors in my life and have learned mentorships inspire and motivate both people involved. I am constantly encouraged by the talent and enthusiasm of members of SCBWI and wanted to use the knowledge I’ve gathered to help a pre-published member define and reach their goals.

KRS: How has working with your mentee helped your work and/or career?

BB: Emily Asaro (my mentee) is incredibly talented. Her style has a distinct voice and charm, and it brings a smile to my face just thinking about what she’s able to create. Talking with her about the journey to publishing, visual storytelling and trusting your own talent has been a great way for both of us to help discuss and solidify what we want to accomplish within children’s book publishing. Also she’s like… maybe the nicest person ever! So I have felt very fortunate in this process!

KRS: What advice do you have for members thinking about submitting a proposal for the 2020 mentorship program?

BB: Do it! Sure, we don’t know everything (I often feel like I don’t know much at all — ha!) but being able to critique, commiserate and discuss our craft with another passionate SCBWI member on the regular has been a delight and a sure-fire source of inspiration. So go for it! Fill out the thing now! C’mon! Whatcha waiting for?

If you are an SCBWI-L.A. PAL novelist interested in mentoring, please see the 2020 Request for Proposals on the region’s website. Proposals will be accepted from November 1, 2019, through 11:59 PM on December 6, 2019. Good luck!


SCBWI-L.A. mentors design their own mentorship contest guidelines and choose mentors from the applicants who respond. The mentorship period will run June through November 2020.

Previous winning Mentor Proposals are available on the SCBWI-L.A. website.

And if you’d like to learn how to apply as a 2020 mentee and for more info on any of other SCBWI-L.A. contests, check our contest page.

For more fantastic content, community, events, and other professional development opportunities, become a member today! Not sure if there is a chapter in your area? Check here.

KarolKarol Ruth Silverstein writes all genres of children’s books and screenplays. She serves on the board of SCBWI-Los Angeles and is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West.


Author image provided by Bethany Barton. #Mentor photo by guille pozzi and stock photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash.