ORIGIN STORY: Picture Book Opportunities

How the generosity of writing communities turned a blog post idea into a whole new resource page and 12 monthly posts.

In 2019, in response to a challenge from Kim Chaffee, I started writing picture books. I needed all the help I could get. Fortunately, there is a LOT of help out there for picture book writers and illustrators. But sometimes I found out about challenges when they were already over. So I thought, “Hey, why don’t I make a list of all the challenges and events for the whole year and post it on the blog, so everyone can plan ahead? I’ll stick to online opportunities, so geography is no barrier.” I set my goal to post the list in January, 2020.

The first draft of the list was sparse. Some months had nothing, others had only one or two events. I’m a big believer in the power of community, so I reached out first to my critique groups and then to online picture book communities. The response was enthusiastic, with people not only posting suggestions but also tagging their friends, who tagged their friends, and before I knew it I had a Word document that was over 12 pages long. TWELVE PAGES! Much too long for a single blog post. So I thought…12 pages, 12 months. One post a month, and for those who like to plan ahead, a resource page that can hold not only the monthly events, but also some amazing resources that are available any time, all year long.

As the year progressed, and COVID-19 sent us all ZOOM-ing into virtual get-togethers, the number and variety of online opportunities grew and grew, and the list grew right along with it.

When I started, I wasn’t sure whether this would continue beyond 2020, but the response has been so enthusiastic that yes, we’ll be continuing the list for 2021. Watch for a post on either the last Tuesday of the outgoing month, or the first of the new month, depending on the calendar.

And that’s how YOUR generous help turned this single-blog-post idea into 12 monthly posts each year, and a year-round PICTURE BOOK SUPPORT resource page. Keep on being generous–use and share the lists far and wide!

How to Help

The list will never be 100% complete, because there are SO MANY wonderful opportunities in the kidlit community, and new ones are added all the time. But you can help make the list more complete, and keep it current.

  • If you host an online course or event, please contact us with dates and links and I’ll add them to the upcoming monthly posts.
  • If you know of an online event that is not listed here, please contact us with the name and a link, so we can add it. For now, please send only information relevant to picture books and chapter books. We will add a page for MG/YA at some future point and will ask for current info then.
  • And of course if you find any errors or broken links, send them my way too, so I can fix them. The list is so much stronger because hosts have reached out with updates and corrections, ever since the list began.

To contact me, you can comment on any of these monthly posts, or send a message through the Contact Form on the About Us page. It may take me a while to get back to you, but I will. I promise!

Thanks to EVERYONE who contributed, including Writers’ Rumpus and members of the Facebook groups for 12×12, Children’s Book Academy, KidLit 411, and Picture Book Summitteers. Special thanks to Silvia Liu of KidLit411 and to authors Anna Maledon and Rachel Funez, whose extensive lists included several unique additions.


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