SCBWI Local Chapters

Houston SCBWI Newsletter

April 2022

Illustration by Marissa Valdez



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Happy April & Volunteer News

As spring continues, I find myself reflecting on the direction of the chapter and what the next couple of years may hold for me as Regional Advisor. I am growing more aware of the demands pulling me in all directions, especially from my children who are getting more involved in extracurriculars--and I know it won't let up anytime soon!

With that in mind, the Regional Team has decided to create a new Conference Chair position, which will lead our 2023 Conference Committee (with lots of support and guidance from the Regional Team). This is a great opportunity to get involved in the direction of the chapter, especially if you might ever consider taking on the mantle of Regional Advisor at some future date.

In addition, our Event Webmaster volunteer position is also open. This position is critical to the workings of our annual conference and other ticketed events like webinars.

Lastly, our fantastic Illustrator Coordinator (IC), Joe Balat, will be stepping down from his position in the coming weeks. We wish him well on his future endeavors and thank him deeply for his service to the chapter, which included the monthly 3rd Saturday Sketch sessions, which were well attended by a group of regulars!

The IC is another critical member of our chapter and is part of the leadership of the Regional Team. Among other things, IC's play an important role in the direction and growth of the illustration-side of our chapter. Could that be you?

If you are interested in more information or applying for any of these positions, please click here for more information. Please note: the deadline to apply for the IC position is midnight on Saturday, April 30, 2022.

And don't forget: volunteering has some perks, too! Depending on the position and chapter finances, we try spread the love with free SCBWI memberships and attendance to our region's events. We like to try and show our appreciation whenever possible!

I hope you all will consider getting involved with our chapter as a volunteer. Not only is it a great way to influence the day-to-day workings of the chapter, but it's also a great way to pay it forward so that the benefits you've enjoyed are there for tomorrow's newest members.

Take care,

Meghan Senkel

Regional Advisor, Houston SCBWI



Marissa Valdez illustrates the first two titles of the HATTIE HARMONY picture book series written by Robbie Arnett and Elizabeth Olsen of which Tamar Brazis at Viking has bought world rights. The first title, Hattie Harmony: Worry Detective, is about a kid detective who helps "solve" her peers' cases of first-day jitters with real-world anxiety tools and techniques. Publication is set for June 2022, with the second in summer 2023; Hannah Mann at Writers House represented the authors, and Kelly Sonnack at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented the illustrator.


Charles Beyl has his third book in the Chip and Ben Book series out this month. MY FRIEND BEN AND THE BIG RACE is published by Albert Whitman & Company. Charles is represented by Elizabeth Bennett and the Transatlantic Agency. 

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Susan McCauley received a nice Kirkus Review on her upcoming middle grade fantasy book scheduled for a January 2023 release MERLIN'S APPRENTICE: THE MAGE.




This month's topic: WORKING WITH AN EDITOR

April 4th

7pm-9pm CT (via zoom)

This presentation will cover the different levels of editing (and some variations in terminology), the process, editor/author relationships, red flags to watch out for in working with an editor, and some self-editing basics. Presented by Connie B. Dowell, a freelance editor and writer of history and cozy mysteries and children's books. Learn more here.

There will be no 3RD SATURDAY DRAW-A-LONG for the month of April.

Stay tuned for next month's topic!


Copperfield's Books is having an author fair in May at their store in Spring. It's touted as an Indie Author Fair, but is open to all indie and traditionally published authors. The registration link for authors is here. If authors have questions, please contact Shawn at Copperfield's at 832-761-5559.

NOTE: This is a paid event and is not associated with SCBWI. SCBWI in no way endorses this event, and encourages readers to thoroughly investigate this and all non-SCBWI events which require a fee.


SCBWI Ohio Central & South


April 3, 2pm-5pm ET (via zoom)

An overview of the nuts-and-bolts of series writing for chapter books, middle grade, and young adult novels. Link to learn more here.


SCBWI Pennsylvania East


4-Webinar Series

April 7 - May 5, 7PM ET

Meet the team at Raven Quill Literary Agency and discuss topics such as: Publishing Law 101, Mastering Your First Five Pages, Do You Feel What I See, The Magic of Revision and a bonus Pitch Parlor. Link to learn more here.

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Highlights Foundation


April 24-27 (In-Person Retreat)

An in-community retreat for AAPI creatives hosted by Grace Lin and Debbi Michiko Florence. Lightly structured with informal gatherings as they arise, with a majority of the time reserved for your own creative retreat. Learn more here.


Find many more Regional Virtual Events from the SCBWI website.


National Library Week is April 3-9! is an initiative of the American Library Association and is a great resource for library news and for ways to get involved.

What it feels like to be a librarian during an attempt to ban books ilovelibraries

Houston ISD has 276 schools, nearly 200,000 students — and only 58 librarians Houston Chronicle

Texas has seen a surge in requests to pull books from schools. Here are Houston's numbers so far Houston Chronicle



By Jim Smolski

A Stone

It bothers me, some things you do.

This cannot be denied.

It bothers you, some things I do.

No matter how I tried.

But differently we see the world.

Yes, we are not the same.

But many things we share are good.

No cause to finding blame.

Understanding is the better way.

Finding wrong can make us wonder.

What looks to be may not be so.

There’s good in each down under.

So, I have decided not to be.

The first to throw a stone.

Cause if people need to be perfect.

We all would be alone.

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.

Suggestion Box

Have an idea on how to improve Houston SCBWI?

Leave a suggestion in our new Suggestion Box!

Our Volunteers

Regional Team

Regional Advisor:

Meghan Senkel

Asst. Regional Advisor:

Lynne Kelly

Illustrators Coordinator:

Joe Balat

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

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