Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Sunday Faculty and Sessions

Six workshops will be offered Sunday from 9-12.  Each session lasts the entire morning.

Betsy Bird
Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system
Current blogger for School Library Journal’s A Fuse #8 Production 
Former Youth Materials Specialist for New York Public Library

Seducing the Gatekeepers: How to Get Your Books Into the Hands of Teachers, Librarians, and Parents
Writing a book is one thing. Publicizing it and appealing to your buyers?  Entirely another. Library & blogger Betsy Bird tells the tips and tricks that work best (and the steps to avoid at all costs) when promoting your published or self-published work.

Betsy Bird is the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system, former Youth Materials Specialist for New York Public Library, and current blogger for School Library Journal’s A Fuse #8 Production.  In addition to reviewing for Kirkus and The New York Times, Ms. Bird is the author of the picture book Giant Dance Party (Greenwillow, 2013) and Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature (Candlewick, 2014) which she co-wrote with fellow bloggers Julie Danielson and Peter Sieruta. You can follow Betsy on Twitter at fuseeight or read her blog at


Stephen Barbara
Inkwell Management

Query Letters and First Pages
Stephen Barbara joined InkWell in January of 2015, after six years at Foundry Literary + Media and three years as Contracts Director of the Donald Maass Agency. He focuses on high-quality books for young readers as well as select adult fiction and nonfiction. One of the world’s leading agencies, InkWell proudly represents major literary prize-winners as well as some of the world’s bestselling and best-loved authors.

Stephen’s clients include Lauren Oliver, Laura Amy Schlitz, Lisa Graff, Lynne Jonell, Leila Sales, Sam Munson, Paul Tremblay, Todd Strasser, and Jack D. Ferraiolo, as well as the companies Paper Lantern Lit and The Story Pirates, among many others.


Mallory Grigg, Senior Designer, Simon and Schuster
Jess Tice-Gilbert, Senior Art and Novelty Designer at Scholastic's Cartwheel Imprint

A Type of Magic:  Turning Words into Illustration, Typography, Lettering, and/or a 3-D Pop-Up Galaxy
Take a step back and join Mallory and Jess to think about what is best told with illustration, and what is best left written in the text or expressed in a more novel way. How do you, as an illustrator, take the text you’re given, and add to it? What else can you give the story?

What’s more, how do you balance the two on the page? When does one need to be louder than the other? How do you create space, as an illustrator to let both live comfortably and effectively together?

After that, how should the text be rendered? If you use a computer, does it look like an afterthought? Can you draw the text into the art? What tools do you use? How can you best set up the artwork so that the publisher can make potentially necessary changes?

Join Jess and Mallory for a lively look at the childrens book artist’s creative process.  <

Born and bred in the Lone-Star state, Mallory Grigg is a sixth-generation Texan who found her way to Brooklyn, New York where she works as a Senior Designer for Simon and Schuster. She’s dropped the accent, but she still loves to get her boots dirty on all manner of projects. Specialties include book design, hand-lettering, branding and identity design. 


Jess Tice-Gilbert is many things: an experienced designer, a paper engineer, an innovator, an artist, and a creator of publishing novelties. But most of all she considers herself a Military Brat who discovered a lifelong passion for the arts thanks to her family's numerous travels during her youth. It was in 2004 that her travels led her to New York, where she began an internship with pop-up book authors Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart. It wasn't long before she was invited to join their studio full-time and contribute to such best-selling titles as Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Dinosaurs (2005), Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy (2007), and Beauty & the Beast (2010). During this time, she also headed up the Museum of Modern Art holiday card line for 7 years, earning her studio –and herself– a bevy of prestigious awards.

Today, you can find Jess's work and keen eye for design under Scholastic's Cartwheel imprint, where she spends her days as a full-time Senior Designer of novelty books. Notable titles include Carry and Learn Colors (2015), Are You My Daddy? (2015), and If You're a Robot and You Know It (2015).


Andrew Harwell
Senior Editor, HarperCollins Children’s Books

Letting Your Characters Tell You Who They Are
Using writing exercises and examples from my writers, I will take you through the process of drafting and revising with an eye toward developing fully realized characters. Please bring a work-in-progress—whether it’s a completed draft or sample chapters and a synopsis—on which to focus in this workshop.

Andrew Harwell is a senior editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where he edits award-winning and bestselling middle grade and young adult fiction. His favorite books are the ones that take risks and play for keeps, and that push normative boundaries to reach readers who feel like they exist outside them. Andrew is also the author of the middle-grade novel The Spider Ring. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Andrew now lives in Brooklyn.


Victoria Selvaggio
Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

Evaluating your Manuscript
As an Associate Agent and Author, Victoria Selvaggio knows firsthand that finding representation can be as hard as or even harder than becoming published. But…there are many things a writer can do to push their manuscript(s) to the next level. From reviewing your manuscript like an agent (pacing, tension/suspense, dialogue, voice, world building, plot/plot summary, characters, marketability, etc.) to reviewing your manuscript as the reader (I can’t put this down!), you’ll learn some quick tips on how you can look at your manuscript, while asking yourself  “Would I represent this, and why?” This presentation will also include, as time allows, a bit about The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency and Victoria—her protocol on reviewing queries vs. manuscripts, what she looks for in submissions, partial vs. full manuscript requests, and Victoria’s overall agent goals.

With a strong background in business ownership, Victoria A. Selvaggio comes to JDLA as an Associate Agent with over 7 years of actively working as a volunteer and Regional Advisor for SCBWI: Northern Ohio.  Drawn to the publishing scene first as an Author writing all genres, with her most recent publication in the 2015 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market, Vicki’s passion for honing the craft carried over into reading manuscripts for the agency. Currently, she is excited to read compelling manuscripts that will resonate with her long after she’s done.

Twitter: Victoria Selvaggio @vselvaggio1
Facebook: Vicki Selvaggio
Linkedin: Victoria Selvaggio

Traci Todd
Executive Editor of the Appleseed imprint at Abrams Books

Books for the Smallest Child: Creating Books for Children 0-5
What are the considerations that go into writing and illustrating board books and very young picture books?

Traci Todd has been in children’s media for over 15 years. She began her career as a scriptwriter for educational media. After a slight detour as a content writer for, Traci returned to children’s media as a producer for LeapFrog. From there she became an editor at McGraw-Hill, then Heinneman-Raintree , Chronicle Books and VIZ Media. She is currently Executive Editor of the Appleseed imprint at Abrams Books.