Your January/February 2021 SCBWI Houston Newsletter
Upcoming Meeting: Monday, February 1 7-9 PM
Next Meeting: March 1 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:
Passion and Poetry
with Van G. Garrett
Next meeting: March 1TBD
Still time to rewatch the recording for the January zoom meeting with Nikki Loftin.
It will be available until Feb. 7

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!

Charles Trevino's Newest Launched Jan.19, But Online Webinar Coming Soon

Charles Trevino's Seaside Stroll, published by Charlesbridge and illustrated by Maribel Lechuga, will be hosted by Blue Willow Bookshop with an online launch/webinar February 6 at 1pm. Join a mother, a daughter, and a doll for a wintry outing on the beach. "Scruffy shoes, socks, sweater... scratchy, silly scarf. Step, Step, Sidestep... snow."
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

Tonya Duncan Ellis Continues to Enjoy Success with Her Sophie Washington Series

Sophie Washington: Code One, will be included in Scholastic's upcoming Rising Voices: Girls Lead the Way program centered around girls in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Girls Lead the Way is a companion to their Rising Voices Library program that provides students with high-interest, culturally relevant texts that give context to what they’re experiencing in the world around them. Scholastic now has rights to reprint paperbacks of the independently published book, and include it in Scholastic book fairs. Sophie Washington: Code One is the eighth book in Ellis' eleven-book middle grade series about an African African tween from Houston and her diverse group of friends.

Pop-Up Book for St. Jude's Children's Hospital
Bruce Foster is currently designing a pop-up book for St. Jude's Childrens' Hospital in Memphis, TN. The book will be a tour of the facilities, as well as an introduction to the charity's history and ongoing mission to Cure Childhood Cancer. St. Jude's is famous for removing all financial stress for parents of children battling these serious childhood diseases and are never charged for treatments, food, or lodging. Since many of these children are immuno challenged, an annual visit to the campus by guests is not advisable during these pandemic times, so the book will serve as a virtual visit instead.
Coming February 2021, the SECOND annual NF FEST online challenge!
Houston author Pat Miller and the Nonfiction Chicks invite you to join the second annual NF Fest online challenge. If you’ve ever wanted to write nonfiction, have searched for workshops on writing true, or are an experienced NF writer looking for more advanced help, NF Fest is for you.
In February, 2021, 28 experienced authors and illustrators, many of them best selling and/or award winning creators, will teach, inspire, and support us. Last year we had 673 people registered from nearly every state and four continents. There were 1.2K in our Facebook group. Evaluations of the experience were enthusiastic.
There will be opportunities for you to read, write, and research with guidance and the company of hundreds of writers like yourself. There will be prizes. And it is all FREE!
Registration is January 15 – January 31. You can join the FB page now for updates and immediate camaraderie, All the posts from the first NF Fest are archived at the challenge site: Mark your calendar, and make 2021 your Year of Nonfiction.

Registration for the SCBWI Winter Conference is now open! 

If you thought the Summer Spectacular was spectacular, you’ll be amazed at what we are offering for the annual Winter Conference! Programming that is contemporary and relevant, focusing on popular genres and behind-the-scenes looks into the children’s publishing industry. There will be:
  • Dynamic keynotes and industry panels
  • A fly-on-the-wall look at the book acquisition and design process
  • The Golden Kite Awards Gala
  • Online networking opportunities and socials
  • The career-launching Portfolio Showcase
  • A full-day, optional Illustrators’ Intensive
The conference will include incredible keynote conversations between Adam Silvera and Becky AlbertalliChristian Robinson and Matt de la PeñaJerry Craft and Victoria Jamieson, plus a rare appearance from the legendary Patricia MacLachlan. The event will also provide an inside look at the children’s book industry through visits, mock meetings, and an in-depth, state-of-the-industry interview with Jean Feiwel. 

The conference takes place live on Zoom, but video recordings will be available to attendees through March 31, 2021. Participate live or watch at your convenience. Visit the SCBWI website for more information.
For the past three months, we have been putting together
monthly themed Recommended Reading List to promote our authors and illustrators who have books published by PAL publishers. Each month we feature books on a particular theme. And if your book doesn’t fit that monthly theme, there are other themed months ahead!
This premiere list is made available to teachers, librarians, and booksellers. Additionally, with uncertainty surrounding school openings and closures, our marketing efforts are also directed toward parents/caregivers, homeschooling organizations, and parent/caregiver magazines and media. It's another way SCBWI is supporting your work and spreading the word about excellent books for children and young people. 
February's theme is Black History. If you have a book published by a PAL publisher that celebrates the achievements of people of African descent or features a Black character or characters, then your book can appear on this list. Here’s what to do:
1.    Go to your Member Profile page and scroll down to the "Publications" section and click either “Add” to add a new book, or “Edit” to use a book that exists on your profile.

2.    Next, make sure the following fields are complete:
   a.    Book Title - Add your book's title
   b.    Front Cover Photo - Upload an image of your book's front cover
   c.    Publication Year – Enter the year your book was published
   d.    Publisher - Select your publisher from the dropdown list of PAL publishers

3.    Once you select a Publisher, you will see a section with a light green background. This is where you'll enter information specific to the Reading List:
   a.    Check Submit to Reading List
   b.    Use the dropdown field to identify the type of contributor you are: author, illustrator, translator
   c.    Enter the name of the contributor(s) (separate names with commas)
   d.    Category - Select the book's category
   e.    Book Description - Enter the description (max 25 words)
   f.     Book Website - A link to your website
   g.    Buy Link 1 - First of two links where to buy the book
   h.    Buy Link 2 - Second of two links where to buy the book
To have your book included in the February Black History list, please enter your book no later than January 25th.
If you have any questions, please contact 
Bonnie Bader:

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
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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.

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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