Your May 2021 SCBWI Houston Newsletter
Upcoming Meeting: Monday, May 3 7-9 PM
Next Meeting: June 7 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:
The Recipe for Great Nonfiction with Nancy Castaldo
Last month: Behind the Scenes of the Newbery Awards with Sondy Eklund Recording of the zoom presentation can be viewed here.
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!

Lynne Kelly's Song for a Whale is on the Oregon Reader's Choice Award List
Coincidentally, and perhaps presciently, the awards are called ORCA, which of course is also a kind of whale. Students in grades 3-12 who have read two or more books in any of the three divisions may vote for their favorite in that division. 2021 winners were Front Desk by Kelly Yang, Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, and The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. Fins crossed that Song for a Whale will be among them this year! Song for a Whale is now also slated to have a German language edition!

Tonya Ellis Selected to be Member of the Brown Bookshelf's Amplify Black Stories

In partnership with the Highlights Foundation, the Brown Bookshelf today announced the cohort of storytellers selected for Amplify Black Stories, a six-month program focused on supporting Black storytellers, confronting industry challenges, and fostering change. 
The cohort is comprised of 24 debut, midlist, and vanguard Black authors and illustrators across all children’s literature genres and formats who live and work in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Kelly Bennett's
Norman, One Amazing Goldfish
was a Finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award
Kelly tells us while it didn't win, it was a huge honor to be recognized, as sequels rarely make the cut. Read more here. Also she says that Norman T. Goldfish's advice column, Ask Norman, is going swimmingly...every letter receives a personal response and one per week is posted.
St. Jude Children's Hospital Pop-Up Book Completed
Due to Covid-19, visitations to the hospital are understandably restricted. Bruce Foster was commissioned to create a book that will serve as a tour of the campus, its history, and its mission, Finding Cures. Saving Children.

Bruce has also been selected as an artist in residence the weekend of September 11 at the Ocean House in Westerly, RI. He will teach workshops and make presentations while there.

Susan McCauley New Orleans Interview
Susan was recently interviewed about her book Pirate's Curse and the Ghost Hunters series on New Orleans CBS channel 4 (Great Day Louisiana).
Next Virtual Illustration Meetup
Penguins, Tigers and Elephants Oh Boy! This month's Illustration meetup will be animals. We will be zoo and nature preserve hopping to draw nature’s various magnificent creatures from the comfort of our own homes. So bring your art supplies and paper and join us via Zoom, Saturday morning May 15th from 10am to 11am (central time), for some good ol’ creative fun.

Mention Scrivener to another writer, and you’re likely to get a strong opinion. But there’s a reason this writing software is so beloved. Jess Capelle wants to show you how it can completely change your writing life for the better (minus a big learning curve). Register Here.
Celebrating Asian Voices
Six children's book creators discuss the role their Asian or Pacific Islander identity plays in the writing and art they create as well as the importance of overcoming stereotypes and providing positive representation. With Julie Abe, Samira Ahmed, Mike Jung, Emily X.R. Pan, Dow Phumiruk, Paula Yoo and moderated by Lavina Ling, VP & Exec Editorial Director LBYR
Thursday May 20, 3-4 pm. Live on Zoom.
Webinar: Create a Graphic Novel with Drew Brockington
Sponsored by the SW Texas Chapter of SCBWI, Friday, May 21, 7PM. Drew will examine different styles of graphic novels and the mechanics of how a comic page works. He will break down the process of creating a graphic novel into manageable chunks of pitching, scripting, story boarding, and illustrating. Whether you’re curious about comics or ready to start inking your own graphic novel, this session will offer some great insight 
into the genre.

Triple-Scoop Picture Book Revision ReTREAT will include Varsha Bajaj as a Faculty Member
Ohio chapter's first virtual picture book retreat!
It’s a going to be a Triple-Scoop Picture Book ReTREAT!
Here’s the Scoop(s):
SCOOP 1 (June 5): Picture book craft presentation by an agent or editor to inspire your project revision process, followed by small group critiques led by your assigned* picture book author coach!
SCOOP 2 (June 12): A second picture book craft presentation to fuel more revision ideas, followed by another small group critique session with your assigned picture book coach with the goal of getting your picture book ready for…
SCOOP 3 (June 19): A small group first-impression critique session with an agent or editor matched with your group — and your picture book coach will be there to cheer you on! The cherry on top will be an agent/editor Q&A panel to wrap up the retreat.
JambaLAya Kidlit Conference

Join us June 11-12, 2021. So … you have a children’s story and want to get it published? Or, you want to learn how others got their stories and/or illustrations published? Or, you like learning about the fascinating world of children’s books?
Whatever made you click to get here, BIENVENUE!

Faculty and Presenters include:

 Linda Sue Park, Elizabeth Law, Talia Benamy, Maria Middleton, Alysson Bourque and Lori Orlinsky

2021 Version of The Book now available.

THE BOOK is updated with invaluable, up to date market surveys, and several new articles including Bringing Your Backlist Forward, Putting Together a Winning Virtual Presentation, and Beware Author Self-Publishing Scams. Whether you are published or pre-published, there are many helpful articles to jump-start your career and/or provide the encouragement and knowledge you need moving forward.

THE BOOK is one of your most invaluable member resources that should be within reach at all times. Check out each section for information and insights: Preparing & Submitting Your Work, Published and Listed (PAL), Self-Publishing, SCBWI en Español, SCBWI Market Surveys, SCBWI Directories and Resources, Publicizing Your Published Work, SCBWI School Visits, and SCBWI Legal Questions.

To view THE BOOK, just log into your profile page and click on PUBLICATIONS, then on The Book in the dropdown menu. You must be logged in to download or order THE BOOK.
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
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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.

June 2021 Kelly Starling Lyons
Our Staff

Regional Advisor:
Asst. Regional Advisor:
Lynne Kelly
Illustrators Coordinator:
Monthly Program Chair:
Cheryl McCosh

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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