Toot Your Horn!


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HAPPY HANNUKAH! There is a lot to celebrate this season, including SCBWI members’ publishing news! Check out whose book is coming to a platform near you or around the world:



Hanukkah Hamster, by Michelle Markel, illustrated by Andre Colin, Sleeping Bear, ages 5 – 7, Picture Book, ISBN: 978-1-58536-399-5, released 09/15/2018.




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Enter the 2019 Writers Day Contest! Past Winners Scored Agents and Publishing Deals!


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

As your humble SCBWI-L.A. Contest Coordinator, I can tell you that entering Writers Day contests is not only fun and exciting — it can also be helpful in getting your manuscripts polished and noticed. I love deadlines and have always used Writers Day contest deadlines to force myself to work on my various projects. As a result, my work has placed a few times and won twice: a picture book in 2011 (LA region) and a YA novel in 2010 (Central-Costal CA region). My winning picture book attracted my agent, Jen Linnan, who subsequently sold my winning YA. (Look for my YA debut Cursed from Charlesbridge Teen on June 25, 2019!)

Still not convinced? Here’s a little more evidence of the value of entering Writers Day contests from one of last year’s honorees, Colleen Paeff:

“There’s nothing like winning a writing contest to confirm that you’re heading in the right direction. When I won my first Writers Day contest in 2014, I’d been dabbling in writing picture books for a decade. The award was exactly what I needed to convince myself it was time to get serious. If I gave it my all, I thought, I just might end up a published author. Two years, more manuscripts, lots of workshops, a couple conferences, tons of reading, and several revisions later, the same story caught the interest of an agent who eventually took me on as a client. Continue reading

Great News!



HAPPY THANKSGIVING! SCBWI members have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season, including this GREAT NEWS! We love celebrating our members’ successes and noteworthy news, so read on to find out who’s got something to shout about. Digital high-fives welcome in the comments!


Hatching Chicks in Room 6 by Caroline Arnold is the winner of the 2018 Cybils Award for Elementary Non-fiction.



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10 Inspiring Kite Tales Quotes from 2018


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nick-morrison-325805-unsplash.jpgI’m always grateful for the community and connection that comes from being a member of SCBWI. There’s no shortage of people willing to share advice, tips, and knowledge. And lucky for us, so many in the kid lit community have shared their stories and wisdom on the Kite Tales blog.

Whenever I need a creative boost, I like to reread Kite Tales posts for nuggets of inspiration.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Kite Tales stories this year. Hopefully they’ll inspire you too as you set your 2019 writing goals. Read on and click the links to see the full posts. Continue reading

The Last Bookstore’s Manager, Katie Orphan, on Getting Your In-Store Event Right


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By Katie Orphan, manager of the Last Bookstore

One of the best aspects of working in a bookstore is making author events happen. We want them to be great for the author as well as the audience, and I’ve got some tips to help.

Before the event happens, there’s a lot to do. If you’re an illustrator, partnering with your author for the event, or vice versa, can help a lot. You each bring a special part of the creative process to the table, and being able to use your individual talents during the event makes it extra special. If you’re flying solo, don’t despair, there’s still plenty more you can do. Continue reading

Author/Illustrator Frans Vischer on Drawing to Communicate


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By Frans Vischer

My first day at school in America was a doozy. My family immigrated from Holland when I was eleven years old. I was shy, and didn’t speak English, and I needed to use the restroom. The entire class got involved, guessing what I tried to tell the teacher. Out of desperation, I made a drawing of a kid on the toilet, which to my dismay, the teacher shared with the class, before taking me to the restroom.

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#KT250 4th Quarter 2018: 5 Tips To Get Your Work Contest-Ready


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#KT250 is a Kite Tales quarterly community contest, but unfortunately this quarter we did not have enough entries to complete the contest. So instead, we’re offering you some tips as you prepare your work for any kind of contest submission and re-posting all our winning entries from this year! We’re so grateful for all who participated and made our first contest year so special. We can’t wait to see what you do next year!

And if you have any news to share about your entries, we’d love to hear it in the comments or via our “Great News” feature!

To find out how YOU can enter, check out contest info here. Entries are now being accepted for next quarter! (Please re-submit if you submitted for 4thquarter 2018 and would like to be considered for the coming quarter.)


Working Writer’s Retreat 2018: Revisions, Connections, and Karaoke


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WWR_EditingSeshThis year’s Working Writer’s Retreat brought together writers of all skill levels and backgrounds to the Holy Spirit Retreat Center in Encino, Sept. 28-30. From actors to teachers, newbie writers to seasoned veterans, participants had something to gain from the faculty and each other. In workshops, writers were grouped by category and genre and had ample opportunity to mix and mingle throughout the weekend, including a karaoke party.

Faculty included agent Nephele Tempest, agent Victoria Wells Arms, Delacorte Press associate editor Kelsey Horton, Harper Collins assistant editor Stephanie Guerdan, and author E. Katherine Kottaras.

In this post, writer and illustrator Jessica Chrysler and writer Katya Dove share a conversation about their experiences at the retreat.

Jessica Chrysler: It was so great to see you again at the retreat this year, Katya. As much as I love getting to know new people, it’s always nice to find friendly faces. Every year the organizers try to change up the panels and workshops, so I’d like to know, what was the highlight of your weekend?

Katya Dove: I thought the critique sessions were amazing. Listening to other writers read their work, sharing my own, and bonding over words was by far one of the most powerful experiences. There’s so much talent among the attendees. I was blown away by how focused and committed everyone was. Though I must say, the karaoke party brought out a whole new side to fellow writers and faculty—a wild and vivacious side!

WWR_KaraokePartyJC: I have to agree on the karaoke! It’s always my favorite part of the retreat since it gets everyone out of their quiet, writerly shell. I also really enjoyed the presentation by Katherine Kottaras on “The Joy of Revising.” It’s important to love revision as part of the writing craft and it felt like everyone had similar challenges when facing editing demons. It was great to share and learn different strategies to tackle those obstacles. Continue reading

Polish and Pitch Beach Retreat with SCBWI-CenCal


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By Ann Rousseau Smith, SCBWI CenCal News Liaison and Rebecca Langston-George, SCBWI CenCal Regional Advisor

Join us for a weekend of writing, revising, and crafting your pitch at an ocean side resort. In addition to craft workshops and the opportunity to pitch your work to an agent, you’ll enjoy sunset fire pits and s’mores overlooking the ocean, life-size checkers and chess games atop the cliff, and strolls on the sand.

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LitMingle Minute: Prepping for Mingle Season



By Renee Carter

What happens when Southern California Mingle Coordinators gather together? Magic. A few weeks ago, Jennifer S. Pitts and SCBWI-L.A. provided the venue for this special meeting.

Being a Mingle coordinatorcan be challenging. We research children’s literature, secure guest speakers, send out email invitations to SCBWI members and network to encourage the public to attend Mingles. Sometimes meetings are attended by large numbers and sometimes attendance is small. There are times we receive feedback from guests and other times we are left to interpret how the meetings are perceived. Our annual meeting allows us to brainstorm, recharge, and make sure YOU get the best mingle opportunities for the 2018- 2019 Mingle season. Continue reading