Your September 2020 SCBWI Houston Newsletter
Upcoming Meeting: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 7-9 PM
NOTE: There will be no meeting in October. Next Meeting: November 2 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:
Tuesday, Sept 8The Three P's to Publication: From Query Letters to Contract

Alda P. Dobbs is the author of the upcoming novel Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna. She was born in a small town in northern Mexico but moved to San Antonio, Texas as a child. Alda studied physics and worked as an engineer before pursuing her love of storytelling. She’s as passionate about connecting children to their past, their communities, and nature as she is about writing. Alda lives with her husband and two children outside Houston, Texas
Next meeting: November 2How to Write the Best Dialogue
Lane Riosley -

Since our Annual Conference is being held first week of October, there will be no meeting that month.

The August Zoom meeting has been recorded. If you missed it or just want to refresh your notes, feel free to access it online here.

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!

On the 15th Anniversary of NOT NORMAN, A GOLDFISH STORY comes a sequel! Bust out the tuba! Shake those fins! Norman swims again! NORMAN ONE AMAZING GOLDFISH by Kelly Bennett & Noah Z. Jones, published by Candlewick Press, backstrokes into bookstores Sept. 8, 2020. In celebration Norman is hosting a 2nd Book Birthday Bash!
Kelly also tells us that her motion poem "Fly Ladybug!" was published in Babybug Magazine's May-June 2020 edition.
Cheryl Pilgrim's Art for The Littlest Voyageur
Slated for Display
Cheryl's art for The Littlest Voyageur will be displayed at the Hillery Community Gallery at the Pearl Fincher, Sept. 19-Nov.11

The exhibition, entitled Along for the Journey features illustrations created for the middle grade novel The Littlest Voyageur (2020), written by Newbery Honor author Margi Preus. The book follows a red squirrel – Le Rouge – as he joins a group of Canadian voyageurs in the late 18th century traveling from Montreal to Grand Portage by canoe. The ensuing adventures come to life through Pilgrim’s illustrations of Le Rouge and his forest friends. The exhibition includes an acrylic painting featured on the book jacket, as well as several pencil drawings that together tell the tale of the squirrel’s brave journey through the Canadian wilderness. Visit the library here.
Lynne Kelly Reveals Covers
from France and Korea for Song for a Whale

Additionally, Lynne tells us translations for China, Turkey and Italy are coming soon! Also Song for a Whale is a Spirit of Texas Reading Program selection.

Belinda May Announces Honors
I Am, God's Affirmations For Little Boys, was recently awarded a 2020 Purple Dragonfly Award in the Spiritual/Religious category. Her companion book, directed at girls, also won a Book Excellence Finalist Award at the Christian Indie Awards

Doris Fisher Describes Her Experience with Upwork
Thanks to her picture book education of 20 years in SCBWI and seven published books, Doris has been a freelance picture book editor on Upwork for the past five years. It has become a part time job that she loves. "It's wonderful to help a picture book authors' dreams come true. I even ghostwrote a picture book and was credited as the author of it!" Seen here is the cover for My Forever Guardian, for which Doris helped the client with her idea and together they wrote and edited the final version of the book. It was then self published.
Upwork is a marketplace for freelancers in fields like writing, graphic design and web development. The site helps professionals find projects, communicate with clients and get paid.
Newest Book in Ten Dinosaurs Series Released
The Best Dinosaur Picnic Ever by Lynn G. Abrams is the seventh book in the easy reader Ten Dinosaurs series. This one finds the fun-loving youngsters frolicking together in the great outdoors. The combination of lively picnicgames, adventure, and yummy snacks makes this, indeed, their best picnic ever! Brightly-colored illustrations by Bill Megenhardt help tell the story with silly humor and verve. As with all books in the series, the reader is invited and encouraged to deduce the book's surprise ending.This book, or any of the others in the series, may be ordered online at

The cover price of $9.95 will be discounted for SCBWI members and for multiple orders.
Congratulations to our Austin friend, Carmen Oliver. This exciting notice appeared this week in  PW Children’s Bookshelf
How To Sell Books in 2020 – Pandemic Edition

The Ultimate Guide to Promoting a Book Launch [Free Download]

September 15- October 15

This latest entry in their "Essential Conversations" series is an in-community intensive experience for Latinx writers of children’s and young adult literature and will feature Live Zoom sessions, lectures, panels, interviews and open Q&A’s; pre-recorded lectures; hands-on writing exercises; small group round tables and many opportunities for peer and mentor engagement. See the full description of the Symposium

Manuscript Workshop: Writing for Children.
Beginning September is offering a 10 week course with Sarah Aronson for $430. Sarah leads this intermediate/advanced workshop that offers support, structure and detailed feedback on manuscripts.
Vermont College of Fine Arts Makes Special Offer
to SCBWI Members

SCBWI welcomes VCFA as exclusive education sponsor to its Summer Spectacular event. SCBWI active members may apply to the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults ( program for the Winter 2021 residency from January 10-19, 2021. VCFA will waive the $75 application fee for any SCBWI active member applying for the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program between now and October 15, 2020.

Once you have registered in Slideroom, email before submitting your application with your membership details (Associate, Full, or PAL; membership expiration date), and she will waive your fee. This must be done prior to the final submission of admissions materials.

New Virtual Magazine Call for Entries
 Voyage is a new, online journal that is open to publishing any genre of YA. They are especially interested in quality work by writers from a variety of backgrounds, especially #ownvoices and are excited about creating a space that supports both emerging and established voices. Voyage features short-form YA fiction and nonfiction weekly and are typically looking for unpublished work, though they do consider reprints. All submissions should be 6,000 words or less.
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

Suggestion Box
Have an idea on how to improve Houston SCBWI?
Leave a suggestion in our new Suggestion Box!
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.

2020 schedule of meetings

Aug 3Steppingstones to Success: From Query Letters to Contracts
Alda Dobbs

Sept. 8 (Tuesday)How to Hook Readers on Your Writing
Lynne Kelly 

Oct. 5The Illustrator’s Voice
Diandra Mae – email: 

Nov. 2How to Write the Best Dialogue
Lane Riosley –

Dec. 7Holiday Celebration: Potluck, Literary Bingo & Book Sales

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

Copyright © 2020 SCBWI-Houston, All rights reserved. 

Our mailing address is: