Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Full 2022 Conference Schedule


Due to the ongoing pandemic we have moved the conference online. 

The schedule remains the same. Critiques are all virtual.

And . . . drumroll please . . . the price is reduced!

Recordings of all sessions will be available for 30 days after the live event to all registered participants.


Saturday, March 12, 2022


8:30-9:30 AM: Welcome/Keynote Address by Linda Sue Park Writing Outside Your Lane 


9:40 AM – 10:30 AM: Breakout Session A

A1. A Team Effort (Gabriella Abbate): how each publishing department is integral to the book-making process. In this presentation, I’ll cover the major publishing departments, including but not limited to Editorial, Marketing, Publicity, Sales, and Managing Editorial. We’ll discuss what they do, how each house may vary, and what you can do as an author to support those supporting your book.

A2. Celebrity Picture books! (Jim Hoover):  Jim discusses a few of the books he’s worked on, experience, time frame, and the scheduling of a picture book: celebrity edition! Illustrating a celebrity’s picture book can be demanding, but exciting and great exposure. We will discuss the process and what to watch out for in a contract.

A3. Writing a Picture Book Biography That Kids Can’t Wait to Read (Laurie Wallmark): 

The first step in writing a picture book biography is to choose your subject. Sounds simple, right? Not so fast. There are many questions to consider: should that person be famous or a relative unknown; contemporary or historical; be of wide-spread or niche interest; etc.? Great, you’ve found your perfect subject. Now it’s time to choose what aspect(s) of that person’s life to highlight. Again, there are many questions to consider. Finding a focus for your book can be one of the most difficult parts of writing a biography. This webinar will help you with the many decisions you need to make before writing the first word of your picture book biography.


10:40 AM – 11:30 AM: Breakout Session B

B1. Paths to Publication Panel (Joy Jones, Tracy Gold, Meg Eden, Yvonne Ventresca, moderated by Kathy MacMillan)
Big press, small press, self-publishing, oh my! Authors today have more options than ever for getting their work into print. This panel will cover the many different paths available, the pros and cons of each, and how to choose what’s best for the project and career you want.

B2. Create Character sheets for your Picture Book like an Animator (Young Vo): Come learn an animator’s approach to creating character sheets and turn-arounds through understanding proportions, retaining volume, clear posing, expressions, line of action, and silhouette. Attendees will be shown traditional to modern approaches to solving the old question “how do I draw my character consistently?”

B3.  Editing Etiquette: Tips & Tricks for Navigating Revisions (Danielle Collins): Learn how to use Microsoft Word Track Changes to its fullest potential, and the etiquette to send revisions in a clear and organized manner. Whether you’re working with your own agent or editor, a critique group, or going through a Revise & Resubmit, sending clean and clear revisions is key. This presentation will walk participants through the best practices of Track Changes, and offer advice for navigating the back-and-forth communication of the revision process.


11:40 AM – 12:30 PM: Breakout Session C

C1. Nonfiction Panel (Laurie Wallmark, Linda Sue Park, Lakita Wilson, moderated by Lisa Crayton)
A panel of nonfiction writers discuss writing for different presses, writing nonfiction for different age groups, aspects of craft, and promoting nonfiction titles. Our panel will also share best practices. All nonfiction creators at all stages of their careers are welcome.

C2.  PICTURE BOOKS: Writing for Pictures (Andrea Cascardi):
Picture books are in many ways like little movies. One of the ways that’s true is that the writer isn’t the one to bring their words to visual life. In this presentation, I’ll use examples from both classic and current books to explore the tools a picture book writer can use to create character and story that will then be brought to life visually, and to work in harmony with the illustrator.

C3: Deepening POV for Emotional Impact (Yvonne Ventresca):

How do readers become immersed in stories? Often, it’s through a sense of connection to the main character. This workshop explains specific techniques for deepening point of view. Learn how to create more immediacy in your storytelling by adding effective interior monologue, eliminating filter words, and avoiding common pitfalls that lessen emotion. Yvonne will share specific examples and provide tools you can use immediately to deepen the impact of your own work.


12:30 PM – 1:30 PM: Lunch Break

1:40 PM – 2:30 PM: Breakout Session D

D1. Creating and Submitting Chapter Books, Graphic Novels and Other Categorical Oddities (Jonathan Roth):

If you create picture books or middle-grade to YA novels, you have a lot of good company and many resources for how to format and submit your work. But what if you find yourself penning stories that may work better as 5,000 word chapter books for newly independent readers, or you have ideas for graphic novels but you don’t draw, or you write and illustrate but aren’t sure how to start submitting? What about graphic picture books, early readers, board books? Kids love and need all kinds of formats, and in this talk Jonathan (Beep and Bob chapter book series, Rover and Speck graphic novels) will shine some light onto how to create and submit the types of books that make up a large part of the market, yet don’t always fall into the most talked about categories.

D2: Punch Up Your Presentations (Joy Jones): This workshop will offer techniques for making your presentation both easier for you and more engaging for your audience. We will also cover strategies for managing stage fright. Topics covered: Ideas for icebreakers; Ways to present an experiential component to a topic; How to manage nervousness and use it to advantage.

D3. Literary Lawyers and Agents: The Role of Law and Lawyers in a Publishing Career (Jacqueline Lipton) Legal issues are often the last thing a writer or illustrator wants to think about. But whenever you sign a contract or deal with a copyright issue, you are dealing with the law. In this session I’ll touch on the main kinds of law that impact an author or artist’s work, and talk about the role that agents, literary lawyers and consultants can play in helping you avoid legal pitfalls.


2:40 PM – 3:30 PM: Breakout Session E

E1. All Together Now First Looks Panel: Visual Storytelling (Young Vo, Jonathan Roth, Jim Hoover, moderated by Cheryl Mendenhall)

What makes a compelling book illustration? How can our art keep readers turning the pages? How do we balance clarity and rich world building? Join the Illustrator Faculty as they share insights to help deepen your narrative skills. Our panel of industry professionals will offer feedback on images submitted in advance, followed by Q and A. To submit a image, please follow these formatting guidelines:

  • provide a high resolution .jpg, .jpeg, .png, or.pdf file
  • your image should be 300 dpi, but no larger than 5 MB
  • there should not be any writing on the image
  • DO NOT include your name anywhere on the image.
  • name your file ATNFirstLooks_your initials. For example, Jane Doe’s file would be called ATNFirstLooks_JD
  • email your JPG to to by 11:59 PM Eastern on Saturday, March 5, 2022

Images will be shown anonymously in the order received, and we will get to as many as time allows. You do not need to submit an image to attend this breakout!

E2: Collaborate for Success (Frances and Ginger Park):

How the Park Sisters found their collaborative voice through harmonious balance. The Park Sisters will discuss the challenging and joyful process of writing picture books, novels, and memoirs together.

E3. How to Build an Author/Illustrator Website (Brigitta Blair)

How do I create an author website? What’s the difference between WordPress and Squarespace? How do I show up in Google? If any of these questions sound familiar, I’m here to help. I’ll teach you about: 1) Different website builders and basic website terminology 2) Setting up your website from scratch 3) Saving costs based on your individual needs 4) Leveraging analytics from your site to make your website appear higher on Google search 5) Finding tools and plugins to make updating your site and creating a newsletter easier


3:40 PM – 4:30 PM: Agents, Editors Panel with Jacki Lipton, Andrea Cascardi, Gabriella Abbate, Danielle Collins, moderated by Rebecca Evans



Sunday, March 15, 2020

9:00 AM-12:00 Noon: Intensive Workshops (pre-registered)

A: Perfecting the Nonfiction Proposal (Jacqui Lipton) how to pitch/market nonfiction and write powerful nonfiction proposals in kidlit

B: Real Time Revision (Linda Sue Park): Linda Sue Park will introduce revision strategies, techniques, and tips for participants to practice in real time. The aim is to develop a critical eye for your work so you can become your own best editor. Bring at least ten pages of a work-in-progress on a laptop. (A few of the exercises can be done on paper, but the workshop is designed for laptop use.)

C: Write a Winning Picture Book Manuscript (Ginger and Frances Park): Award-winning authors and sisters Ginger Park and Frances Park discuss their journey to success and help participants fine-tune their writing skills to create winning picture book manuscripts. This workshop will be fun and interactive, so bring two hard copies of your picture book manuscripts (or in-progress) for group discussion and critique.

D:  Two Picture Book Spreads (Jim Hoover): Psst—hey, you! Want to add a couple of spreads to your portfolio? Look no further! In this intensive, sketch any original spread concepts of your choice. It can be something you are currently working on, want to be working on, or an existing public domain story or fairytale. It can be sequential, or any part of the story you feel like fleshing out. Submit the sketches (character studies a bonus!) and any bit of descriptive text to Cheryl Mendehall by February 11, 2022 at and Jim will give you feedback. We will discuss the final art together as a group—college art school crit-style! How fun is that? Check our critique instruction page  to see details on how to submit.

E: Picture Book Pagination: Understand the Mechanics and Perfect Your Pacing (Danielle Collins): Pagination, pacing, page-turns—these are some key elements that can make or break a picture book. In this workshop, you’ll learn the mechanics of picture book pagination. Such as, what’s a signature? And how do those lovely endpapers factor into the page count? Then, we’ll look at pagination from a craft perspective, exploring examples of how careful pagination can keep the reader engaged by building tension, orchestrating surprises, encouraging pauses, and more. We’ll consider examples of fiction and nonfiction manuscripts with both sparse and heavy text that keep the reader turning pages, and make them want to return to the story time and again. Participants will break down the pagination of some familiar titles in real time, and have a chance to practice paginating pre-existing manuscripts as well as their own works in progress.


12:10 Noon: Closing Keynote with Marc Tyler Nobleman