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May 4, 2022

Summer Conference: August 5-7, 2022

Registration opens Tuesday, May 24, 10 AM Pacific Time

This year’s summer conference will be virtual once more, and held on Zoom Events. Our fabulous keynote speakers are Jessixa Bagley, acclaimed illustrator of picture books Laundry Day and Boats for Papa, which won the SCBWI Golden Kite Award; Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times best-selling author of The Belles series, and Donna Barba Higuera, winner of the 2022 Newbery Medal and 2022 Pura Belpré Medal for The Last Cuentista.

The weekend will also feature over thirty break out sessions on writing craft and illustration. On Sunday, there will be a bonus day for writers to pitch to editors and agents (limited capacity) and an extra intensive for illustrators. More information coming soon to 


Exclusive SCBWI video content from kidlit's best and brightest

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Great Reads. Important Themes.

All-new books by our members.


You Are Not Alone: From Message to Mural Sensation


Samantha Schutz and Annica Lydenberg. Photo credit @just_a_spectator

Samantha Schutz is a Publishing Director of Licensing and Brands at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, but she’s also the author of I Don’t Want to Be Crazy, a wrenching memoir-in-verse about her struggles with anxiety disorder. The book, which was first published by Scholastic in 2006, delved into questions about mental health years before mainstream media was ready for that conversation.

Before she was diagnosed with a panic disorder in college, Samantha didn’t know much about panic attacks. “I didn’t know what I was feeling had a name,” she said, “but something was definitely going on.”

A few years later, after medication and therapy had improved her mental health, Samantha still felt paralyzed. “I had to really beat into my own head, like, your life is better. You need to live like your life is better. So I decided that the best way to drill that in was to start writing about it."


Social Media Spotlight: May 2022

by Avery Silverberg

Happy May, and welcome back to the Social Media Spotlight! Every month, I answer your most pressing questions about social media. If you have a burning social media question, email me at


Hi Avery,

So appreciate you writing your column for SCBWI.

I have been on Instagram for over 10 years but am eager to get started on TikTok. As a children’s book author, I’d like to be very intentional and informed about my approach. Can you recommend a TikTok “101” how-to or post? And/or a social media consultant I can work with to help curate my content?

Many thanks for any suggestions!



Hi Sheryl,

Thank you so much for your question! I suggest looking at this article from a previous Insight all about getting started on BookTok.

Here are some other suggestions for strategizing your content:

Define your content’s purpose: As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, staying consistent thematically and defining your niche will help you build your audience. Similarly, to telling a story, think about the “so what?” of your content. What age is your preferred audience? What jobs do they have? Who specifically are you trying to reach and what are you trying to tell them? There’s your strategy.

Keep in mind the key differences between Instagram & TikTok: The largest difference is: “56% of users feel closer to brands on TikTok that publish unpolished content featuring everyday people” ( Instagram users expect to see content that is more polished and valuable while TikTok users want to be entertained. Don’t be afraid to be makeup-free, to ramble about your honest opinions… authenticity is what TikTok users come to TikTok for.


The Rise of a Hashtag: #KidLitArtPostcard

by Gina Perry


My first book client found me at an SCBWI First Look event. What a gift! To be in a room with hiring editors and art directors and to hear “The illustrator who made this needs to find me today.” Promoting my art since then has been a bit less exciting. Creating new art is fun! Creating mailing lists, labels and spending money on printing and mailing is not. Fast forward to 2020, and things are more challenging. Email campaigns are replacing physical postcards but are harder to research. Agents will send your work out regularly, but what if you don’t have an agent, don’t want one, or are in-between agents?

In May of 2021, I read a tweet from an editor suggesting that illustrators share their work on social media as no one was in the office to look at postcards. It was a well-intentioned comment, but it struck a nerve. Sharing illustrations on Twitter or Instagram can feel like shouting into a void. How do you stand out? How do you connect with the right audience (editors, agents, art directors)? I know promotion will always be challenging, but couldn’t we find a more effective and accessible way to share work on social media?


The Team Goes to YALLWEST


We had a fabulous time representing SCBWI at YALLWEST, at Santa Monica High School, on April 30. Besides doling out YA-themed stickers, tote bags, and publishing advice, our booth gave away two free tuitions to the online Summer Conference and two free SCBWI memberships via the YALLWEST giveaway site. We can't wait to see you there next year!

Haunted States Update

A big THANK YOU to all the authors who sent in stories for the sixteen states that were low on submissions. We are almost done reading the hundreds of stories we received and will send out notifications soon. Thank you for your patience!

Don't Neglect This Amazing Opportunity for Self Published Members!

If you’re an author who has published a book independently (or are thinking about publishing independently), then don’t forget to download The Indie Author, a self-publishing magazine published by the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). SCBWI is an organizational partner of ALLI, and their publication is available free to all SCBWI members. So take advantage of all the expert advice and information offered!


A new issue of The Indie Author is released each April, August, and November and covers state-of-the-art technologies and tools, interviews with authors who are making a living from self-publishing, and everything you could possibly want to know about selling your sub-rights, marketing, and developing creative business plans to further the success of your books.

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Tune into the SCBWI Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, IHeartRadio, Pandora, & Stitcher. New episodes every Wednesday!


Apply to one of our 34 awards, grants, and scholarships today!


A. Orr Fantasy Award Opens May 5

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Are you an unpublished author with a fantasy or sci-fi manuscript for young readers? From epic fantasy to grounded fabulism, space opera to horror, paranormal to post-apocalyptic...if your book falls under the broad banner of "speculative fiction", we want to read it. You have the chance of winning free tuition to the online SCBWI Summer Conference, along with a $600 cash prize.

This award was founded by SCBWI member Michele Orr, in memory of her sister, Alice Orr Sprague. Under the name A. Orr, Alice wrote two fantasy novels, The World In Amber and In the Ice King’s Palace, published by Bluejay Books in 1986 and 1987, before she passed from cancer in 2018. It is Michele's hope that other promising genre writers can use this support to follow in her sister's footsteps.

Eligible members may email a cover letter and the first ten pages of their manuscript to beginning on May 5. Click here for full submission instructions.

Kate Dopirak Award Winners

The winners have been announced for the third annual Kate Dopirak Craft and Community Award. Administered by an independent committee of SCBWI members, The Kate Dopirak Award provides tuition to the SCBWI Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles to the author of a promising manuscript who is dedicated to honing their craft and expanding their writing community. This award is offered in celebration of Kate Dopirak, a picture book author and beloved SCBWI member who lived her life lighting the way for others.



Honorable Mentions:

Remi Kathawa for NANA'S YOGURT

Amita Snyder for MEHNDI THE WORLD

Visit for more information about this award.


SCBWI Exclusive with... Tara Gonzalez, Agent, Erin Murphy Literary

Tara Gonzalez is an Agent at the Erin Murphy Literary Agency, as well as the social media coordinator. She's located in Florida, although pre-pandemic, she was always looking for an excuse to go elsewhere. Tara is actively building her client list. She loves all ages of children's literature, from picture books to young adult, with some forays into the adult space. Her taste spans across broad range of genres, from contemporary, historical, and literary to adventure and fantasy. She loves characters and stories that resonate and strong voices. Beyond books, Tara loves movies, cats, buying things she probably doesn't need on Etsy, making candles, and getting hooked on TV shows that get canceled after one season. She has her master's degree in Media and Communication Studies and a background in sports social media and team management.


Tara Gonzalez

What Are You Reading?

Sarah Baker (Executive Director):

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Kim Turrisi (Director of Programming and Content):

Private Label by Kelly Yang

Tammy Brown (Director of Marketing and Communication Strategy):

Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre by Brandy Colbert

Sarah Diamond (Senior Manager of Awards and Publications):

Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel

Avery Silverberg (Social Media Manager):

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Joshua Smith (Director of Web Development)

The Bishop of Hell and Other Stories by Marjorie Bowen

Laurie Miller (Manager of Events and Special Projects):

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green


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

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

The April prompt was EARTH DAY

The April winners are...

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Sally-Anne Walker

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The May prompt is: DRAMA






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