Your March 2021 SCBWI Houston Newsletter
Upcoming Meeting: Monday, April 5 7-9 PM
Next Meeting: May 3 7-9 PM
Please join us on the first Monday of every month from 7-9 p.m. at the Tracy Gee Community Center, 3599 Westcenter, Houston, or on Zoom if instructed to do so.
This month:
Behind the Newbery Scene with Sondy Eklund
Last month: Young Adult Yearnings: Meaning & Identity with Liara Tamani and Anna Meriano Check with website for link to Zoom recording soon.
Yahoo Listserv has ended. STAY in the loop by joining the new listserv NOW.
The listserv has proved to be a great way to keep in touch, start critique groups, announce good news, etc. With us not meeting in person in the near future, let's keep in touch virtually.

In an effort to prioritize our public health and safe community building during the Covid-19 pandemic, we have canceled all 2020 Dinner Table quarterly events and look forward to bringing this program back in 2021. Stay safe and keep creating with open hearts and minds!

Ellen Leventhal's Newest Set to Virtually Launch April 24

Brazos Bookstore will host a virtual book launch for Leventhal's A Flood of Kindness on April 24. The actual release date is April 14. Ellen will be joined by Blythe Russo, illustrator of the book. Says, "Perfect for all children experiencing loss or grief, A Flood of Kindness gracefully confronts difficult feelings and celebrates the healing power of kindness." Join the discussion at this link.
Reminder: Susan McCauley Launching Second Book in the Ghost Hunters Series: Pirates' Curse
Ghost Hunters Pirates' Curse, the newest chapter of Susan McCauley's MG fantasy series will launch online March 3, 6-8 PM on Facebook. Join the fun here. The cover, as was the first book, GH Bones in the Wall, is illustrated by Bill Ferguson.

"Readers will love this ghost hunting adventure. . ." - Janet Fox, author of The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle
New Self Publishing and Editing Service

Connie B. Dowell and Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail have decided to team up to offer both traditional and self-publishing coaching and editing services. Connie has indie published several titles from MG to adult, along with her podcast and writer's planner. Danielle is the traditionally-published author of four nonfiction books (including Alis the Aviator: An ABC Aviation Adventure from Penguin Random House) and is currently at work on several novels for readers of all ages. Together they have more than a decade of experience of researching and writing inclusive, entertaining books in a number of genres. They'd love to help you write your best work and get it out into the world! To learn more, please visit

Diann Boehm's The Moonling Adventures
Diann Boehm's The Moonling Adventures-The Serengeti is now released into the wild. Diann is also cohosting for the Indie Beacon Radio. The Story Garden is looking for authors to read their book and be interviewed. Reach out to Diann if interested.
Crystal Allen to be Inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters 2021
For the 85th year, members of the Texas Institute of Letters (TIL) have decided on the induction of new members to join the ranks of the distinguished honor society founded in 1936 to celebrate Texas literature and to recognize distinctive literary achievement.
The TIL’s membership consists of the state’s most respected writers – including winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, PEN/Faulkner Award, Academy Award, Americas Award, International Latino Book Award, Lambda Literary Award, MacArthur Fellowship, and Guggenheim Fellowship. Membership is based on ongoing and exceptional literary accomplishment. Members of the Texas Institute of Letters have overwhelmingly approved fourteen writers to join the ranks of the TIL.
The 2021 honorees include fiction and nonfiction writers Cristina Rivera GarzaGeorge SaundersBryan WashingtonDavid Samuel Levinson, and Preston Lewis; award-winning poets Allison Hedge CokeKevin Prufer, and Scott Wiggerman; children’s and YA authors Crystal Allen and Chris Barton; journalist Gail Caldwell; literary activist Tony Diaz; award-winning songwriter Michael Martin Murphey; and historian Raymond Caballero.
Sergio Troncoso, President of the Texas Institute of Letters states, “The Texas Institute of Letters continues to identify and honor outstanding writers from all literary genres: from novelists bent on experimentation and innovation in the form, to poets crafting beautiful yet technically difficult stanzas. Our newest members have also been expanding literary audiences to include diverse voices and readers, and opening minds with books that reconsider history and scholarship. We are extremely proud of the outstanding work that these writers represent: expertly crafted song lyrics, children’s stories full of empathy and humor, journalism that aims to focus on the margin’s of society, and prose exemplifying the excellence of literary creativity. These fourteen masters of the word include short-story writers, poets, songwriters, novelists, publishers, children’s authors, and scholars.”
New members will be inducted at the upcoming virtual TIL annual meeting on April 17, 2021, which will also include the Annual TIL Literary Awards. For more information and details, please visit the TIL website: or email Sergio Troncoso,


Crystal also had a stellar February! She was interviewed by Suzanne Walker (and her toucan puppet) of the Indiana Center of the Book February 8th. February 27th, she was the featured speaker at the George Memorial Library. Crystal also serves as a committee member of the Brown Bookshelf's 28 Days Later Program highlighting an African American author and/or illustrator each day of February. You can see the list of nominees at

ReFoReMo Is now OPEN
Reading for Research Month (ReFoReMo) examines the craft of making picture books through mentor texts and multiple perspectives from authors, illustrators, educators, and publishing professionals. Registration opens today and runs through March 2. From March 1-March 31, participants will be presented with many different ways to focus on picture books as mentor texts to inform the craft of writing.

Art by Michaela Goade from I Sang You Down from the Stars
The Kweili Color of Children's Literature Conference
Join us April 9th - 11th, 2021 for an incredible weekend with top editors, agents, authors and illustrators in the children's book publishing world. Our spring conference is an excellent opportunity for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color writers and illustrators to learn, get inspired and network with others in the industry. The conference features a stellar lineup of authors and illustrators, including award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors and illustrators Derrick Barnes, Carole Boston Weatherford, Brandy Colbert, Floyd Cooper, Jerry Craft, Christine Day, Michaela Goade, Veera Hiranandani, Minh Lê, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Juana Martinez-Neal, Meg Medina, Aida Salazar, Kelly Starling Lyons, Javaka Steptoe, Jasmine Warga, Renee Watson, Alicia Williams, Rita Williams Garcia and Ibi Zoboi. 

Inspiring keynote addresses by Angeline Boulley and Safia Elhillo will bookend a day of panels on Saturday, April 10th. We will end Sunday, April 11th with a closing keynote conversation between Newberry award winners, Meg Medina and Jerry Craft. 

This conference is not associated with or endorsed by SCBWI.
Sponsored by New Mexico SCBWI

March 27, 2021 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

$15.00 for SCBWI Members | $25.00 for Non-Members

Forget everything you know about Social Media. This seminar goes deeper, equipping you with the tools and the knowledge you need to use any social media platform to reach your specific goals. No more random, blind posting.

Are you stressed and confused about keeping up with Social Media? Are you feeling like it’s something you have to do, but the mechanics and the lack of direction are just too overwhelming? Where do you fit in a world overloaded with visual information?

This workshop is not about tips and tricks for how to better use hashtags, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms. It’s about helping you to develop a personal foundation and strategy that works for you.

This 2-hour seminar (with time for questions and discussion) will help you
— Understand the foundations of efficient communication and how that can help you stand out from the crowd;
— Leverage several social media platforms to maximize your content’s reach and what to do with the attention once you get it;
— Prepare for a launch (a book, website, or anything that requires massive attention);
— Maximize time and energy while keeping your feeds alive. 

About the presenter: Artist and storyteller at heart, Ânia Marcos believes empathy and stories are what drives humanity forward. After joining the online art community in 2012, she’s been building a career out of helping creatives, art schools and other creative companies stand out by finding their own voice. She also hosts a podcast that allows her to go on art rants with other artists. Find out more at her website.

Tomie dePaola Masterclass
Released for FREE
All of us in SCBWI and the children's book community lost a dear friend and artist in
Tomie dePaola. Anyone who has been lucky enough to dine or converse with him, or simply to be near his great big gregarious spirit, knows that he was the genuine article: a singular personality, and a master artist.

As we mourn his loss, we also want to celebrate his incredible body of work
and his long and dear friendship with our organization.

We are making available to members his entire Master Class DVD that he shot with Lin Oliver, where the two of them go in depth and discuss the modern picture book, a form he helped to invent and elevate. With outsized generosity, Tomie breaks down the history of the picture book, his approach, his working methods---everything you'd want to know about how he crafts a work of art for children. Tomie was incredibly proud of this Master Class. So please enjoy it, and pull a book or three of his off the shelf.

SCBWI YouTube Featuring The Vault Let's You Relive Wondrous Moments with Best-Selling Icons of Childrens Publishing -- Or Experience Them For The First Time
We are so proud to introduce you to the all-new SCBWI YouTube featuring the Vault which launches today with a treasure trove of exclusive never-before-seen videos that put you smack in the middle of the greatest children’s book creators of our time. Culling the best moments from SCBWI conferences---from the early days in the 1970s all the way up to this year, the Vault holds the advice, teachings, and musings of the biggest and brightest names in children’s publishing over the past 50 years. Even if you never got the chance to be there originally, you can now have a front row seat to all the SCBWI conferences---the profound, the moving, the funny, the goofy, the heart-stopping moments that are at the center of this brilliant creative community.
It's easy to step into our new YouTube channel and watch featured video clips from award-winning creators including:

Kwame Alexander Laurie Halse Anderson Judy Blume
Bruce Coville  Karen Cushman Paula Danziger                                      
Sid Fleischman Gordon Korman Meg Medina
Vanessa Brantley Newton Linda Sue Park
Jerry Pinkney David Small Jerry Spinelli
Shaun Tan Richard Jesse Watson

Before Newbery medals, before National Book Awards, before the adulation, there were young writers and illustrators on the path to legend status. The awards and praises of the book industry and book lovers worldwide were heaped on the giants of the industry seen here. All of them shared the stage at our conferences over the years. You’ll be inspired, captivated, and enamored.
And that’s just the beginning! Each week we will be bringing you stunning archival footage to watch and share with your friends, family, and colleagues. SCBWI is giving its members and book lovers everywhere an opportunity not found anywhere else, to witness the history of contemporary children’s books in the making.
SCBWI members will see exclusive clips pulled from the vault just for them in Insight, the monthly e-newsletter, and in Pro Insider the e-newsletter for published members. You can follow all the fun on our social media – Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook – with sneak previews and only-on-this-platform content. Subscribe to our YouTube channel here so you don’t miss out.  And check in regularly, to keep the inspiration flowing. 
For anyone interested in children’s books, for anyone who values creativity, for anyone wanting a direct hit of inspiration and joy, SCBWIYouTube featuring the Vault is the place to be. See you there, friends.
#SCBWIYouTube | #SCBWIvault   
Renew your membership at

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SCBWI Emergency Fund
Information and Procedures

The SCBWI Emergency Fund has been established to provide assistance to SCBWI members of at least
six months’ standing in times of emergency or hardship. The emergency or hardship could involve,
for example, matters of health, family issues, or natural disasters that are in any way restricting
or preventing an SCBWI member’s ability to work as an author or illustrator.

The fund is also running low due to the high number of applications.
If you wish to donate to the fund, you may do so on the website or by mail:
 Please send a check to:
 SCBWI Emergency Fund
6363 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 425
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Your contribution will be announced in the following SCBWI Bulletin. Dollar amounts will not be listed. If you wish to remain anonymous please indicate so in your letter.
There is a $1,500 cap on any given grant, and no member may receive the grant more than twice.
SCBWI does not expect to be reimbursed for grants made from the Emergency Fund.
Applications for assistance can come from the individual member seeking the aid or from someone noting their member friend or associate is in need of assistance. Applications are confidential and not shared outside the organization.
Members should fill out the application, which can be found here. The applicant will receive an electronic confirmation and all communications will be by email unless the applicant indicates no access to a computer.
To learn more about the Emergency Fund, please click here to read the FAQ.
Don't Get SCAMMED!

Are you aware of Writer Beware? It's a good site to check on complaints about publishers. This 2019 roundup covers the year in review. If you're not familiar with how "vanity publishers" scam authors, be sure to study the links under SAVE YOUR CASH and ADVICE YOU CAN USE. It also touches on how awards can take advantage of authors.

Use the SEARCH THIS BLOG function to look up specific publisher and agent names.
FREE On-demand webinars from SCBWI MD/DE/WV!
Creating Your Portfolio with Rebecca Evans
• Formatting Your Manuscript for Submission with Kathy MacMillan
• A Conversation with Picture Book Authors 1 (Read Local Challenge webinar featuring
J.H. Diehl, Amy S. Hansen, and Rebecca Evans)
• A Conversation with Picture Book Authors 2 (Read Local Challenge webinar featuring
Ann McCallum, Karen Leggett Abouraya, and Lezlie Evans)
 • Conversation with Picture Book Authors 3 (Read Local Challenge webinar featuring Veronica Bartles, Sue Fliess, and Megan Wagner Lloyd)
• A Conversation with Middle Grade Authors 1 (Read Local Challenge webinar featuring
Laura Shovan, Leah Henderson, and Barbara Carney-Coston)
• A Conversation with Middle Grade Authors 2 (Read Local Challenge webinar featuring
R.D Henham and Deborah Kalb)
• A Conversation with Young Adult Authors (Read Local Challenge webinar featuring
Kathy MacMillan, Linda Budzinski, Meg Eden, Pintip Dunn, and Christina June)

We are pleased to offer these free webinar recordings, available anytime
SCBWI Podcast Goes Public
In a bold expansion to new platforms, SCBWI has made the first season of its popular podcast, SCBWI Conversations, available to the public. Our library of in-depth, insightful episodes feature the best of editors, agents, authors, and illustrators in the children’s book industry. As of today, we have over nine thousand listeners on six continents who have joined us since our public launch in May. The most current season will remain exclusive content for SCBWI members only. It is available for streaming from our website here
An Ongoing and Updated List of Webinars
The Nevada SCBWI chapter has a new feature listing and updating webinars of interest to our members. Be sure to bookmark this page to stay abreast of new opportunities...

Austin's Cynthia Leitich Smith Is Compiling
an ever growing list of Texas children's-YA
authors and Illustrators.
Howdy! Texas is bursting with talented children’s-YA book creators.
Once again, my Cynterns and I are updating the ever-growing list of 
Texas children’s-YA authors and illustrators at:
It’s a popular resource for event planners, gatekeepers and Texas book lovers.
Please share widely and/or reply to with new 
listings or updates to existing listings.
Those who currently live in Texas or have previously lived in Texas are 
eligible for inclusion.
Please reply with byline, official website URL, preferred titles to 
highlight, and current city and/or state of residence.

Chapter Events

Monthly Meetings
When: Meetings are held on the first Monday night of each month (first Tuesday if first Monday is a holiday), 7-9 pm. Fiction, Nonfiction and Illustration critique groups meet from 6-7pm.
What: All regular monthly meetings are open to all at no cost or obligation. To suggest speakers or topics and/or to be added to our monthly meeting reminder e-mail list, contact Program Coordinator via our Contact Us page.
Where: The meetings are held at the Tracy Gee community center, located at 3599 Westcenter Dr, Houston, TX 77042. Please note: Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, meetings will be held online through Zoom until further notice.

2021 schedule of meetings will be coming soon.

Our Staff

Regional Advisor:
Asst. Regional Advisor:
Lynne Kelly
Illustrators Coordinator:
Monthly Program Chair:
Sarah Choi

Listserv Coordinator:
Twitter Coordinator:
Newsletter & Website
Art Credit
Header Design:
Join our conversations on the SCBWI Texas discussion boardPlease send your author/illustrator news for the next newsletter to Bruce Foster by the 25th of the month at

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