May 2023


Notes from your Houston SCBWI Co-Regional Advisors

Whew! I'm writing this in the heat of prepping for the Austin Conference and will keep this short!

  1. The retreat is almost full! Down to our last few spots, we talked to Camp Allen and they were able to give us an additional five rooms! As of Friday morning, we've got just six spots left! If you're interested in joining the fun, register now, because they've been slipping out the door all week! And, don't forget: REGISTRATION CLOSES THIS SUNDAY at midnight!
  2. We've added a SILENT AUCTION to the retreat line up! Made up entirely of critiques, it's a great chance to get eyes on your work! Currently, we have critiques from retreat faculty Jennifer Ziegler, plus seasoned local authors Varsha Bajaj, Joy Preble, Crystal Allen, and Lynne Kelly! We also have items from our resident agents, Jennifer Chen Tran of Folio Literary Agency and Ann Rose of Tobias Literary Agency--each include both a query letter and manuscript critique!
  3. Houston SCBWI lanyards are in! I am SO excited to share this with you, as it took a lot of work to get the lanyards designed and a lot of worry that they wouldn't meet expectations. BUT they are super cool and came out so much better than I imagined! Proceeds from lanyard sales support our chapter scholarships! More information is below, including how to get yours!

I hope you all have a wonderful and productive May. If you're also attending the Austin Conference, please make sure to say Hi! And maybe we can round up enough Houstonians for a group photo!

Keep being awesome,

Meghan Senkel

Co-RA, SCBWI Houston

[email protected]


Show off your Houston SCBWI pride and support our chapter's Scholarship Fund, too!

These premium lanyards are custom designed with our chapter's banner art work on the front and the SCBWI logo on the back. Upgraded hardware makes it easy to add and remove items from the clip. Plus, the upgraded zip-top badge holder holder is big enough not only for standard size conference badges (3" x 4"), but also has room for a credit card, ID, room key and anything else you want to keep close and secure!

The best part? All proceeds go to supporting our chapter's Scholarship Fund. This year alone, we've awarded 4 scholarships which have helped deserving members attend the Austin SCBWI Conference and our upcoming retreat!

Lanyards can be purchased for $15, payable by cash, check, or Zelle! They will be available at all in-person meetings and events. Please make checks out to Houston SCBWI.

Attending the Austin Conference and want a lanyard? Houston Co-RA Meghan Senkel will be at the conference and have some with her! If paying with cash, exact change will be helpful!


Lost & Found Hanukkah

Daria Harper at Chronicle has bought world rights to Lost & Found Hanukkah by Joy Preble. Illustrated by Lisa Anchin, about a boy who recently moved and is missing everything about his old home, including his menorah was lost in the move.

The publication is scheduled for fall 2025; Jennifer Rofé at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented the author, and Andrea Morrison at Writers House represented the illustrator.

Author Book Signing Tomorrow!

Come get books signed by award-winning authors Nova McBee and Candace Kade at Artisan Culture Coffee on Saturday, April 29th (2260 Buckthorne Pl #179, The Woodlands) from 10 AM until noon.

This event is free to the public.

Book Launch!

Ellen Leventhal is excited to announce her newest picture book, DEBBIE'S SONG: The Debbie Friedman Story released April 4, and her launch at Brazos bookstore was April 23.

Have News? Share It With Us!

Submit author & illustrator news for the next newsletter to Angela Yeh by the 25th of each month via this form. Event submissions for member book launches and signings can be added to our regional calendar! Please be sure to include the date, time, and location.


Houston SCBWI Monthly Meeting VIRTUAL!

May Monthly Meeting

Get In, Writer, We’re Going Plotting: How Your Character Drives the Story with Lynne Kelly

Whether you like to plan your story before you start writing or figure it out as you go, the characters you create determine how the story events unfold. In this session, we’ll work on developing characters that drive the plot and plot points that reveal who our characters are.

Next Month's Meeting - June 5, 2023

All the Feels and Then Some with Michelle Nott.

In June, author and former primary and secondary educator Michelle Nott will talk about what SEL is, why it’s important, and how we can most effectively incorporate emotions into our work in original ways.



7:00-9:00 pm Central


Tracy Gee Community Center

3599 Westcenter Dr, Houston, TX 77042

Houston Chapter Critique Group

When: Prior to all in-person/hybrid meetings at the Tracy Gee Community Center, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM CST


What: An informal critique group to meet before all in-person chapter meetings which are also held at the Tracy Gee Community Center. All written and illustrated works-in-progress intended for the children’s market are welcome.

Please view the group's guidelines prior to attending.


We're excited to announce a spring retreat planed for May 19-21, 2023!

The three-day event will be held in the beautiful woods of Camp Allen in Navasota, Texas!

Put it on your calendar now for a fun mix of craft, work time, and socials.

Our schedule will allow attendees to Choose their Own Adventure!

Illustrator Corner

Calling all illustrators! We want to feature you! Please submit your completed works to [email protected] for a chance to be featured in an upcoming newsletter.

Sunday, May 28

1-2:30 PM CT


6725 Stella Link

Houston, TX 77005

Ilustrator Sketch Sesh!

Come sketch, write, and meet your fellow local kidlit creatives!

Our Illustrator Sketch Sesh meetups are meant for anyone (yes, writers, too!) to work alongside fellow Houston SCBWI members.

Bring your current WIPs, start something new, and/or brainstorm ideas with other members!



Find many more Regional Virtual Events from the SCBWI website.

(Austin) Online Member Co-working Session

Looking for some accountability to finish up a project, start something new, or just have some time to work? Join our online co-working sessions for some focused work time! Having friend by your side, even virtually, can help get us to the finish line on a project. Login for the zoom link.



9:30 am - 11:00 am

More Info

Illustrator as Designer with JOHN HENDRIX



6:30PM Central

His next graphic novel, The Mythmakers, about the remarkable literary and spiritual friendship between C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, will be out in 2024, also from Abrams Books.

Please join us to learn from this versatile, experienced, and highly-respected teacher!

More Info

SCBWI Awards & Grants

Novel-in-Verse Award

Submissions are open from May 1 through May 31, 2023.

Eligibility: Any writer with a completed novel-in-verse for middle-grade or young adult readers. Writers should not be traditionally published in the children’s book market. (Self-published authors are eligible.)

More Info

Graphic Novel Award

Submissions open May 1 through May 31, 2023.

This award was created for aspiring cartoonists with an excellent unpublished graphic novel. Eligible applicants may submit sample pages of comic panels and full summary of the story.

More Info

Monthly Illustrator Awards

Featured Illustrator

Open each month to members. Click for submission guidelines.

Past winners & Featured Illustrator Interviews


Open each month to members.

Click for prompts & submission guidelines 


By Jim Smolski

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. -Jim

Dragons Breath

A dragon came to my house.

To tell me of his sorrow.

It seems his fire had gone out.

Did I have some he could borrow.

I asked him to come in.

I would help him stop his crying.

I said your breath can’t light back up.

Despite how hard you’re trying?

He sat down on the big couch.

Dragons won’t fit on little chairs.

His breath is not working right.

And needed some repairs.

I told him all my happy jokes.

To help him to forget.

Stop the tears from falling.

That kept his hot breath wet.

We were having fun

Then I asked, “what made him sad?”

The dragon said he lost someone.

The best friend he ever had.

He said, “he started crying.”

When his friend moved far away.

It made his heart start hurting.

It keeps hurting every day.

That’s when his fire left him.

He could not imagine why.

I said, “you put it out yourself.”

So, let’s give my jokes a try.

We began to laugh together.

Which made the teardrops end.

The dragon got his fire back.

All he needed was a friend.

So, when you have a close friend.

And they move away from you.

Get back your dragon breath. “They did!”

By finding someone new.

Open Opportunities

OPEN Volunteer Positions

We want to create a chapter that is more involved, engaged, and active, and we need your help to do it!

Open Positions:

Critique Connection Coordinator, Event Webmaster & Ticketing Manager, Membership Coordinator, and PAL Coordinator.

Click here for more information or to apply.

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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:

Angela Yeh

Conference/Retreat Chair:

Annie Harmon

Critique Group Coordinator:

Nancy Blair

Membership Coordinator


Programming Chair & Evite List:

Cheryl McCosh

PAL 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 Angela Yeh at [email protected].

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