SCBWI Local Chapters

Houston SCBWI Newsletter

July 2022


There was an error in the original July newsletter, where new member Suhasini, who goes by the shortened name Su, was mistakenly called Sarah. We apologize for the error and have corrected the mistake.

Illustration by Marissa Valdez



Hello from the Regional Team!

I am so happy to announce that our Regional Team is complete! Kaye, Lynne, and I are excited to share that Lisa Chow (yes, the same from the newsletter!) has joined the chapter as our new Illustrator Coordinator!

The RT met up for a get-to-know-you dinner in June (Photo, from left: Co-RA Meghan, ARA Lynne, IC Lisa, & Co-RA Kaye). Not only do we already feel like good friends, but we had a great time talking about the future and our goals for the chapter!


Lisa is an illustrator with a business background. She's working on a graphic novel and has a fun pastel style with a healthy dose of 80's vibe. Lisa's goal is to energize Houston-area illustrators by organizing more illustrator-focused events through critique sessions, field trips to local museums, and shared knowledge sessions. 

Lisa can be reached at

Open Local Volunteer Positions

Even good news can come with a downside... As Lisa moves into the IC position, we will be in need of a new General Webmaster and Newsletter Editor. In addition we are still seeking a Conference/Retreat Chair and an Events Webmaster & Ticketing Manager. These positions offer critical support to the Regional Team and ensure that we can continue to deliver the programming we've come to enjoy.

Don't sit on the sideline, get involved today! Click here to find out more and apply.

Stay cool 😎,

Meghan Senkel

Co-RA, SCBWI Houston


Photo: Meghan Senkel


Kaitlyn Wells is proud to announce her debut picture book, A FAMILY LOOKS LIKE LOVE (PRH, May 2022), is now on bookstore shelves! The children's book explores the author's multiracial identity and belonging from the perspective of her dog. It's a heartening story about a young pup who looks different from her siblings and ultimately learns that love, rather than how you look, is what makes a family. Available at Bookshop and PRH.

Blue Willow Bookshop is hosting a book launch event for Varsha Bajaj's new middle grade book, THIRST! The book signing party is on July 16th at 3:30pm and books can be preordered ahead of the party!

For more event details, please visit here.

Have News? Share It With Us!

Please submit your author/illustrator news for the next newsletter to Lisa Chow by the 25th of the month via this form.

Any form submissions that include an event with a time/location can be added to our regional calendar!



This month's topic: HUMOR AND HEARTACHE: How I Mix It Up and Let It Fly

Monday, July 11th

7pm-9pm CT (via zoom)

A fun, and maybe funny presentation about the importance of humor and heartache in children’s books, how to create emotional arcs, and top ten serious rules for writing humor!

Crystal Allen is the author of five middle-grade books, all published by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins. Her forthcoming book, BETWEEN TWO BROTHERS, will release in 2023. Crystal lives in Texas with her husband, Reggie, and two sons, Phillip and Joshua.

Photo, from left: Co-RA Meghan, RAE Vicki Sansum, and new member Su

Photo: Meghan Senkel


A group of members met up for lunch, cool drinks, and bookish talk at Willies Ice House in Katy. This meeting perfectly encapsulated what SCBWI is about with attendees ranging from Su (a brand new member) to Varsha (one of our most accomplished members) and everyone in between!

Quarterly Socials are a great way network with fellow authors and illustrators, and just plain ol' commune with those who love children's literature as much as you. Our next Quarterly Social is planned for September and will be located in Pearland. Keep your eyes out for more information. We hope you'll join us! 


SCBWI Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia


with Olga Herrera

July 7, 9:30-11AM CT


Learn to use Procreate for illustration, from sketch to share and a few things in between. Review layer management, clipping masks, quick shadows, and highlights, plus a few tricks to improve and streamline your work. Learn how to share final files with clients, and if time permits, play with animation too.

More information and register here.

Highlights Foundation


with Alisa Alering & Intisar Khanani

Tuesday July 12 + Thursday July 14

7-8:15PM ET

World building in your novel includes crucial aspects of developing a physical environment, AND the social systems that your characters inhabit. When physical and social systems interact, truly immersive fictional worlds come to life!

More information and register here.

This is for informational purposes only and SCBWI in no way endorses the advertiser. We can only endorse SCBWI events and opportunities. Before doing anything with another organization, do your research to make sure the opportunity is right for you.

SCBWI Oregon


with D. Ann Williams and Cindy Baldwin

July 14, 7-9PM PT


Have you ever wondered how to compose the perfect pitch for your manuscript? What notes to hit, what tempo to follow, and when to let it rest? Learn how to conduct an elevator pitch! 

More information and register here.

SCBWI Ohio: North


A Panel and Q&A with 5 Kidlit Authors

July 27, 7-8:30PM ET

Five published kidlit authors and author/illustrators will share personal insight and experiences and discuss disability representation in picture books, middle grade, and young adult books.

More information and register here.

SCBWI Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia



July 28th 9:30AM CT

FOR ILLUSTRATORS: With special author/illustrator guests, Houston’s own Marissa Valdez and Austin’s own Emma Virján. Exciting strategies for presenting yourself as a professional illustrator. Sharing top tips on how to plan the most effective and fun book launch events, both online and in-person, and cover topics such as:

• planning and promoting your own book launch and other events

• collaborating with your publishers and authors so you can play an active part in their marketing plans

• creating interactive talks and hands-on workshops for presentation in schools and libraries

• how to utilize your own community of illustrators and other book professionals to create buzz around your books

More information and register here.


Find many more Regional Virtual Events from the SCBWI website.



By Jim Smolski

A Positive

There are times when I feel down.

Many things not going well.

Standing still to let it pass.

To regroup as my dreams fell.

You’ll tell me I’ll get through it.

It’s in my blood to do so.

Dig deep and keep your chin up.

Hold on! No letting go.

So, with all that I can gather.

You made sure that I succeeded.

A friend to give

a positive.

Is all I ever needed.

The smallest ray of sunshine can start a leaf to turn and look with hope. 

I want to be the sunshine that creates that moment for at least one leaf every day.


Suggestion Box

Have an idea on how to improve Houston SCBWI?

Leave a suggestion in our  Suggestion Box!

Our Volunteers

Regional Team

Co-Regional Advisor:

Meghan Senkel

Co-Regional Advisor:

Kaye Marc-Charles

Asst. Regional Advisor:

Lynne Kelly

Illustrators Coordinator:

Lisa Chow

Regional Advisor Emeritus:

Vicki Sansum

Chapter Volunteers

Newsletter & Webmaster:

Lisa Chow

Monthly Program Chair & Evite List:

Cheryl McCosh

Critique Group Coordinator:


Social Media Chair:

Heather Walters   

Chapter Logo and Header Design by Marissa Valdez

Join our conversations on the SCBWI Texas discussion board

Copyright © 2022 SCBWI-Houston, All rights reserved. 

News and other information may be passed on without attribution; original artwork and writing are the property of their creators and may be reproduced only with written permission.

Write to Lisa Chow at

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