Great News!



SCBWI loves celebrating our members’ successes and noteworthy news, and there are many! Read on to find out who’s got something to shout about. Digital high-fives welcome in the comments!



In 2018, Joan Bransfield Graham had poetry featured in five new poetry anthologies: School, People, World Make Way (Abrams in conjunction with the Metropolitan Museum of Art), Great Morning!, A Bunch of Punctuation, and National Geographic’s The Poetry of US. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Educational purchased rights to use her book The Poem That Will Not End in their Reading Series for 5th Grade. Continue reading


2019 Book Festivals, Conventions, and SCBWI Events You Won’t Want to Miss


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By Sarah Parker-Lee and Erlina Vasconcellos

No matter where you are on your career journey, it’s always time to hone your craft and connect with other writers, illustrators, and children’s book industry professionals. Book fests, conventions, and other kid lit events are a great place to start. So grab your calendars and consider this list your compass!

SCBWI’s Biggest Events for 2019:

Writers Day
Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles

This is a full-day to immerse yourself in expert keynote speakers, manuscript critiques, and agent pitch sessions. This year’s event is themed “Who’s Reading? Keeping It Fresh for Today’s Generation.” Knowing your target audience sounds simple but are you really in touch with today’s readers – and editors? Our faculty will share insights, knowledge and advice to keep pace with those savvy end-users. Join us for a morning of keynotes and a panel and an afternoon of informational breakouts. And don’t forget there are awesome contests that have led to great things for previous winners. Learn more about that here. Read author Charlotte Offsay’s recap of last year here. Continue reading

Story Coach and SCBWI-CenCal Workshop Leader Lisa Cron on Plot vs. Story and Why Backstory is Crucial to Both


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By Ann Rousseau Smith, SCBWI CenCal News Liaison

Lisa Cron, story analyst, speaker, UCLA Extension Writers’ Program instructor, faculty member of the School of Visual Arts MFA program in New York City, and author of Wired for Story and Story Genius, will be leading a workshop, Wired for Story: Becoming a Story Genius with Story Coach Lisa Cron, on Saturday, February 16, 2019, in Santa Barbara.

Lisa has worked as a story consultant for Warner Brothers and the William Morris Agency. As a story coach, she has helped writers, nonprofits, educators, and organizations master the power of story.

Lisa agreed to answer some questions ahead of her February workshop.

ANN ROUSSEAU SMITH: We are looking forward to your visit to the SCBWI CenCal region. What is a story coach? Continue reading

#KTWriteOn with Author Andrea J. Loney: Use Childhood Memories to Brainstorm New Story Ideas


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The year’s first #KTWriteOn writing prompt is brought to you by Andrea J. Loney, author of Bunnybear and Take a Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee! Andrea was a SCBWI-LA PAL mentor for 2018. Follow her on Twitter, @AndreaJLoney, or at

By Andrea J. Loney, author

Happy New Year, SCBWI writers! 2019 has given us a fresh new page to start scribbling down our creative plans. One of my favorite January activities is brainstorming new story ideas. I use several different techniques, but like New Year’s resolutions, this technique is based on lists.

Continue reading

Ask an Editor: Rhyming Picture Book, featuring Renee LaTulippe


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“Ask an Editor” is a forum wherein SCBWI members submit questions that are answered as part of our quarterly Kite Tales blog. This month, we feature a guest host, Renée M. LaTulippe, children’s poet, freelance editor, and founder/teacher of The Lyrical Language Lab

Dear Editor – I’ve written a rhyming picture book, but now that I’m starting to search for an agent it seems a lot of them don’t want rhyming picture books. What should I do?

 —Sam, Los Angeles

Dear Sam:

This is a question that gets a lot of airtime in kidlit writer circles, and for good reason. After all, we can all see how many rhyming picture books come into the world each year, so someone is writing and selling and publishing them, right? Seeing so many agents and publishers put up “No Rhyme Allowed” signs on their clubhouse doors is frustrating indeed. Continue reading

Calling All SCBWI-L.A. PAL Illustrators: Be a Mentor In 2019!


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

For the past four years, SCBWI-L.A. has been offering mentorships to pre-published members, switching between writers and illustrators. It will be illustrators’ turn again in 2019, and that’s where out PAL illustrators come in!

As past mentors can tell you, the experience is incredibly rewarding. We asked some of them to share about why they decided to throw their hats in the ring and how they’ve benefitted themselves from being mentors.

Here’s what they had to say: Continue reading

SCBWI CenCal Writers’ Day 2018 Tips, Take-Aways, and Winners!


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By Ann Rousseau Smith, SCBWI CenCal News

Hannah Mann, Allison Moore, Sarah Jane Abbott

Numerous new attendees mingled with a sold-out crowd at SCBWI CenCal’s 2018 Writers’ Day on Saturday, October 13. Although the Central-Coastal California region hosts this event every year, ALL SCBWI members, as well as non-members, are welcome to attend, so keep an eye out for next year’s info on our website.

Two editors and two agents imparted their craft and industry knowledge to an eager audience. Sarah Jane Abbott, Associate Editor at Paula Wiseman Books and Beach Lane Books (Simon & Schuster), shared her insights on picture books with heart. Editor Allison Moore from Bloomsbury Children’s Books presented resource lists for crafting and submitting our manuscripts. Agent Hannah Mann from Writers’ House spoke of using personality flaws to create real characters. Continue reading

Author Mary Jo Hazard: How to Find, and Write For, a Niche Market


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By Mary Jo Hazard

img_0134.jpgPeacocks have lived on the Palos Verdes Peninsula since 1924, but no one ever wrote a book about them until I did in 2010. Since then, The Peacocks of Palos Verdes has sold over 4,000 copies — identify a niche market and you can do it too! Read on for my road map on how it worked for me.

Continue reading