January 2023

Executive Director Sarah Baker

Happy new year from all of us at SCBWI! I hope everyone had a good slide into the new year and that 2023 is off to a great start for you. Here’s a question—do you make new year’s resolutions? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, but I always have complicated feelings around them. 


This year, instead of just setting my goals and getting to work, I’m thinking about sustainability and inspiration. What nurtures us and keeps us going? What allows us to make choices and set objectives from a place of abundance and positivity? Creative work is a marathon and no matter where we are in our creative careers, we all need to keep our cups full so we can keep creating our very best work. 


Whenever my cup starts to feel empty, I dig into my memories of inspiring creators I’ve learned from through SCBWI. Some of these memories are from real-life conversations, some are from notes I’ve scribbled down while attending virtual events, but they all contain the spark of inspiration I need to fill my cup. 


Today I’m thinking about the last time I saw Tomie dePaola. I was visiting him in his art studio/barn in New Hampshire, and we were getting ready to say goodbye. I had spent the day in quiet awe, roaming around the art studio, looking at the way he arranged his paints, brushes, and markers. I noticed all the special little shelves and corners where he had placed religious, spiritual, and folk art figurines, and a special chair where he liked to meditate. Inside his home, he had pointed out a woven basket on the floor of his bedroom that was brimming with colorful scarves, each knotted up the same perfect way. 


As I got on my coat, Tomie told me something he learned from his former teacher and mentor, Ben Shahn. He told me that being an artist isn’t just about the “art” you create on paper or canvas. To be an artist, you must live your whole life as an artist. Try to find beauty and inspiration in everything you do. When you cook, when you get dressed, when you arrange your nightstand. If you make and discover beauty all around you, you will always have the inspiration to create. 


In our SCBWI community of around 23,000 children’s book creators around the world, we have a common thread—we are all creators. Artists! Some of us with words, or pictures, or both. This year, I wish for you a 2023 filled with everyday beauty and inspiration, a full cup, and the community to share it with. 

Sarah Baker, Executive Director

Read Along with SCBWI Book Club

The SCBWI Book Club will debut live on our Instagram on February 15th, 2023 @11am Pacific. The club will continue every third Wednesday of the month at the same time and place. Hosted by Aminah Mae Safi, SCBWI Book Club will feature discussions with PAL members who have published amazing books from 2020 through 2023.

To have your book considered, please submit HERE.

Aminah Mae Safi

Featured Illustrator: Matthew Rivera

Every month, a talented illustrator is chosen to be the SCBWI Featured Illustrator. This month's featured artist is Matthew Rivera. In this interview, he shares his approach of creating colorful shapes and expressive characters to make joyful illustrations for young readers. Learn more about Matthew’s work at www.matthewdidit.com


Are you interested in submitting work to be a Featured Illustrator? Click here to watch the Featured Illustrator's interview and apply! https://www.scbwi.org/featured-illustrator/

New York Conference 2023 Update

One-on-One Manuscript and

Social Media Consults are Sold Out!

Creative Labs are filling up –

Register Soon to Secure a Spot!

Registration is open for both the in-person and virtual New York conference and spaces are filling fast! The in-person conference is built around an all-new workshop model that we’re calling “Creative Labs”.

Each day-and-a-half-long lab will dive into one aspect of writing, illustrating, or marketing. The labs will be taught by established authors, illustrators, editors, agents, and art directors, and are designed to give participants tangible skills and take-aways. CLICK HERE to learn more.

For more information on the Creative Labs and to register for the IN-PERSON conference, click HERE. 

If you can’t attend the in-person conference, the virtual conference has similar half-day labs for writers of picture books, novelists, and illustrators. For information on the VIRTUAL conference and to register, click HERE


Apply to one of our awards, grants, and scholarships today!


Great Reads. Important Themes.

All-new books by our members.


Ciao, Bologna!

SCBWI Returns to the Children's Book Fair

Here's an exciting update to our involvement in the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. We will be offering free portfolio critiques on Wednesday March 8, 2023 in the Notturno Room from 9:30am--10:30am.

We’re also thrilled to be bringing back Dueling Illustrators, which will take place on Wednesday in the same room from 11:00am--12:00pm. 

SCBWI will host a meet and greet following these events from noon--1:00pm at the same venue. If you are attending the Fair and would like to be considered to participate, please let Kim Turrisi know. You can reach her at [email protected].

See Your Byline in INSIGHT!

Want to write for this publication?

You can submit to become a guest writer by filling out this form. Please include a writing sample and a pitch for a story you'd like to cover.

SCBWI regions offer affordable virtual events featuring industry professionals from all around the globe – and you can attend from the comfort of your own home!

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Tune in to the SCBWI podcast on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, IHeartRadio, Pandora, and Stitcher. New episodes every Wednesday!



DrawThis! is our monthly prompt word for illustrators. Artists can post their DrawThis! entries on Twitter and Instagram with #SCBWIDrawThis.


There is no longer a gallery for DrawThis! View all entries by searching #SCBWIDrawThis.

The December prompt was: TINKER

The December winners are...


Stephen Ingram

The January prompt is: KICKOFF

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