Brian Won: Author/Illustrator Perspective, Writers & Illustrators Day Faculty


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Author/illustrator Brian Won was one of SCBWI’s 2016 Crystal Kite Award recipients and faculty for this year’s Los Angeles Writers & Illustrators Day, where he was a judge for the illustration contests and critiqued illustrator portfolios. He wore many hats–busboy, shoe salesman, library shelver, art director, and designer before making the leap to children’s books. Brian graduated from California’s Art Center College of Design with an honorary ninth term before co-founding National Television, a design and animation company. Read on for his insights and advice to author/illustrators and thoughts on illustrating for others as well as news about his current and upcoming projects!

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SCBWI Community Corner with Maria D. Laso and Dawne Knobbe


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The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is a dynamic community of professionals and aspirings. Read on for Dawne Knobbe’s story, in memory of her friend Mari Lou, celebrating her publishing success and her life well-lived.

Don’t ever give up your book dreams. In the publishing world, anything is possible. Imagine signing your first contract with Scholastic. Impossible, you think? Here’s how it happened for my friend, Mari Lou. Continue reading

Sue Alexander Grant Contest Opens! Where Are Past Winners Now?


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By Marcelle Greene

awards-and-grantsThe 2017 Sue Alexander Grant contest opens today, offering one SCBWI-L.A. writer free tuition to the Working Writers Retreat. We asked five previous recipients of this prestigious award how winning impacted their writing careers. Continue reading

Pam Gruber: Editor’s Perspective, Writers & Illustrators Day Faculty


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headshot_gruberPam Gruber is a Senior Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers where she has worked on everything from novelty and picture books to novels. She primarily acquires middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction. She loves alternate histories, off-beat teen romances, witty voices that can make her laugh and cry simultaneously, and stories of characters being asked to see their world in a different way. She is also on the faculty for this year’s Los Angeles SCBWI Writers and Illustrators Day (Feb. 25th) where she will deliver a keynote and lead a breakout session on immersive world-building. For a great preview and insights from an editor-extraordinaire (and cute cat photos!), read on:

SARAH PARKER-LEE: Your list includes a hybrid graphic-novel series, VIP by Jen CalonitaClaudia Gray’s new space opera, Defy the Stars, and YouTuber Josh Sundquist’s debut novel, Love and First Sight. You certainly don’t dwell in traditional spaces for content or creator! What makes you want to take a risk on non-traditional projects? What’s the difference between non-traditional and straight-up gimmicky? Continue reading

Clelia Gore: Agent’s Perspective, 2017 Writers & Illustrators Day Faculty


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cleliagore Clelia Gore is a lawyer-turned-literary-agent who heads Martin Literary Management’s kid lit division. She represents authors and illustrators in both fiction and nonfiction, from board books to young adult.

As faculty for SCBWI’s upcoming Writers & Illustrator’s Day, she will lead a session titled “The Interplay Between Art and Text in Picture Books.” She also will critique manuscripts and will be an illustration contest judge.

Erlina Vasconcellos: What do you want participants to take away from your breakout session at Writers & Illustrators Day?

Clelia Gore: I get two kinds of picture book queries: author/illustrators and authors only. For people who are authors only, they sometimes need a little help seeing how the art and writing can work together to tell the story. A lot of picture book writers who are early in their careers don’t understand how the two forms of art interplay in telling the story.

For authors who are illustrators, it’s honing in on things to think about when crafting their story…Hopefully people will leave inspired and it will lead to thoughtfully crafted books.

EV: What question are you asked often? Continue reading

Toot Your Horn!


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chicksHatching Chicks in Room 6, by Caroline Arnold, illustrated by Caroline Arnold, Charlesbridge, ages 3-7, Nonfiction, ISBN: 978-1-58089-735-8, released 01/10/17.



The Sundown Kid – A Southwestern Shabbat, by Barbara Bietz, illustrated by John Kanzler, August House, ages 5-8, Picture book, ISBN: 978-1-93-916094-2, released 01/07/17.

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Great News!


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GreatNewsSCBWI 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!



living-fossils-coversmLiving Fossils: Clues to the Past by Caroline Arnold, is a 2016 CRA Silver Eureka Award winner and on the NYPL Recommends: New Nonfiction for Kids List, Bibliofile July 15, 2016. Continue reading

Melissa Manlove: Editor’s Perspective, 2017 Writers and Illustrators Day Faculty


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melissamanloveMelissa Manlove is an editor at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. Her acquisitions tend to be all ages in nonfiction; ages 0-8 for fiction. She’s also a keynote speaker, a breakout session speaker, manuscript critique faculty, and an illustration contest judge for the Los Angeles SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Day, coming on February 25th, 2017. When acquiring, Melissa looks for fresh takes on familiar topics as well as the new and unusual. An effective approach and strong, graceful writing are important to her. She also has 17 years of children’s bookselling experience and is currently on staff at Book Passage.

Sarah Parker-Lee: Your workshop intensive for the SCBWI Los Angeles Writer’s and Illustrator’s Day event, “What We Say Without Saying: Developing Voice in the Text and Art of Picture Books,” is for authors and illustrators. “Voice” is so often associated with text. What does it mean for illustrations? Do authors and illustrators find one voice together, or a way to intertwine their individual voices?

overunderMelissa Manlove: Voice is a lot of things at once, but style and point of view are a couple of the biggest parts, whether you’re talking about text or art. Artists can make a lot of decisions that will make an impact on readers without them being very aware of it—choices that are ‘show not tell’ in the art, like palette, texture, composition—and decisions that ought to be deliberately calculated to communicate what’s most important about the book they’re illustrating; to evoke emotion, to tell a story.

Authors and artists always have separate voices, but when they are both working towards the same (or complimentary) narrative goals, they achieve a harmony that makes them feel like two halves of the same whole. Continue reading

Eliza Wheeler: Author/Illustrator Perspective, 2017 Writers & Illustrators Day Faculty


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eliza-wheeler-smallEliza Wheeler is the author and illustrator of Miss Maple’s Seeds, which debuted on the New York Times’ bestseller list. She also is the illustrator of several books, including Alison McGhee’s Tell Me A Tattoo Story, Pat Zietlow Miller’s Wherever You Go, and Holly Black’s Newbery Honor-winning Doll Bones.

Wheeler will be an illustration contest judge at SCBWI’s Writers & Illustrators Day on Feb. 25.

Erlina Vasconcellos: Congratulations on being named a 2017 Sendak Fellow! What will you work on during the retreat?

Eliza Wheeler: Thank you so much. I’ll be working solely on developing my own projects; a mixture of illustrating and writing. My second book will probably be my main focus, which is about my grandma’s childhood. But I’m also going to bring all the other littler story ideas I have on the shelf just in case inspiration strikes in a way that’s different than what I expect. I’m leaving it as open as I can. Continue reading

SCBWI SoCal Regional News, 1st Quarter 2017

By SoCal Regional Team

tahquitz-pines-forestSCBWI SoCal has some great events coming up!

May 5-7, 2017 – SCBWI SoCal Spring Retreat 2017: Finding Gold

YA and middle-grade writers, now’s your chance to work on your novel with the support of professionals in a scenic mountain retreat. Our goals? We want you to find the gold in your manuscript and query letter and inspire you to polish your work until we all holler “Eureka!”  Attendees will participate in four critique-group sessions led by an editor, agent, and published author. You will hear speaker presentations on the craft of writing as well as valuable feedback on query letters and what makes them shine. Plus, you’ll get to mingle with the editor, agent, authors, and fellow Forty-Niner writers during happy hour. Continue reading