April Picture Book Opportunities

Hoping this post finds you and yours safe and healthy at home. This month’s list includes extra offerings from the ever-generous kidlit community, intended to help us during the Covid-19 outbreak. If you know of more special events, let us know in the comments so we can add them to the list. First, a PSA for anyone with children out of school.

Free STEM Education Resources for families at home:  The Museum of Science (where I work) is providing FREE live streams, recorded webinars, and downloadable at-home activities for parents and learners from PreK – middle school. See #MOSatHome. New resources each week.

Click the links to go directly to each list.


To see what’s coming up the rest of the year, and what’s available all year ’round, visit the PICTURE BOOK SUPPORT resource page.




Fee or free? Here’s a key:
– no fee to enter or to participate
($) – fee to enter or to participate
(*See note) – look for *explanation within the blurb

Here are April’s online opportunities to develop yourself as a picture book writer or illustrator, all from a safe social distance.

#DVpit and #DVart
Twitter pitch party for historically underrepresented voices in literature. #DVpit and #DVart for children’s and teen fiction/nonfiction, including picture books, is on April 22, 2020 from 8am ET until 8pm ET. There is a second #DVpit event later in the month for writers of adult fiction/nonfiction. Created and moderated by literary agent Beth Phelan with assistance from authors Kat Cho and Claribel Ortega and agent Peter Knapp.

The Extraordinary Craft and Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books ($)
Six-week online interactive course from the Children’s Book Academy begins April 6, 2020. Lessons, critiques, and submission opportunities. Presented by Dr. Mira Reisberg, Acquiring Editor and Art Director, Clear Fork/Spork and Allison Remcheck, Acquiring Agent, Stimola Literary.

The Magical Unexpected ($)
Crafting Picture Books that Surprise and Delight Readers! In this hands-on virtual workshop, award-winning author Kate Messner shares ideas for thinking outside the box to come up with picture book ideas. Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 1pm ET. Hosted by Julie Hedlund.

New Voices Award (free)
Given annually by children’s book publisher Lee & Low for a children’s picture book manuscript by a writer of color or Native/Indigenous writer. Submission window opens April 1, closes August 31.

Picture Book Writing Mini Lessons (free)
A brand-new series of short (15 min.) informal picture book writing lessons, intended to be both helpful and inspirational as we shelter in place. From author Julie Hedlund.

Punch Up Your Pitches! (free)
How to Polish Your Picture Book Pitch. Free webinar replay by Julie Hedlund & Emma Walton Hamilton.

ReFoReMo Monthly Mini Writing Challenge (free)
Themed monthly writing challenges the third Tuesday of the month from April through January, with a focus on extending mentor text research from the March ReFoReMo Challenge into writing. This month’s challenge happens April 21. Hosted by our own Carrie Charley Brown and Kirsti Call.

SCBWI Digital Workshops (see note*)
Special series of weekly one-hour webinars with renowned children’s book creators, editors, agents, and art directors.  *Free, but must be a dues-paying member of SCBWI.

Spring Fling Writing Contest (free)
Challenge for writers, find a springtime-themed gif and write 150 words. April 7 through April 9, 2020. Hosted by Ciara O’Neal and Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez.

The Writing Barn in Texas offers online courses you can take from anywhere. Both March & April courses listed so you can plan ahead & register.

How to Manifest the Courage to Create in Difficult Times ($)
Picture book author Bethany Hegedus will help participants create a flexible, manageable plan to continue your creative work as they navigate the pandemic. Wednesday, April 1, 7pm – 9 pm Central Time, replay available to registered participants.

Picture Book Biographies: Style and Substance ($)
In this 6-week course, author Rob Sanders helps participants dig deep into the style and substance of today’s creative non-fiction picture book biographies. Mondays, April 6 through May 11, 2020, 7pm – 5pm Central Time.

The Heart and Humor of Amy Krouse Rosenthal ($)
In this 6-week course, author Marcie Colleen will guide writers through a deep dive into the late Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s body of work. Tuesdays, April 7 through May 12, 2020, 7pm – 9pm Central Time.

Perfecting the Picture Book II ($)
Perfecting the picture book is not an easy task; let author Ann Marie Stephens be your guide in this 6-week online workshop! Thursdays, April 16 through May 21, 2020, 7pm – 9pm Central Time.


Spring into Writing (free)
Set your own writing goals for the month of May. Registration open April 15 – May 7. Hosted by writer/illustrator Dani Duck.

Storyteller Academy Intensives ($)
Storyteller Academy Term 3 courses starting in May:
Making Picture Book Dummies
with Arree Chung
Writing Picture Book Manuscript with Jim Averbeck
Drawing 1 with Arree Chung & Alex Leon
Character Design with Vanessa Newman
Picture Book Wordsmith (version 2) with Carter Higgins
Hosted by writer/illustrator Arree Chung.

#WriteMentor Summer Programme (free)
UK-based program pairing professionals in children’s literature with pre-agented writers for online summer mentorship. Applications open April 15 – 17 only.


Color Collective (free)
Weekly Twitter challenge for illustrators where you make work based on a single color.

Ditty of the Month Club (DMC) (free)
Practice writing in rhyme and submit your poem. A new challenge each month, plus interviews. Hosted by Michelle H. Barnes on Today’s Little Ditty website.

FireButtChallenge (free) (#FiBuCha)
About once a month, without warning, a #FiBuCha notice goes out on Twitter. You have 24 hours to write a new PB draft or revise an existing one. Grab a writing partner to keep yourselves accountable. Hosted by children’s authors Michal Babay and Katie Frawley.

Illustration Friday (free)
Weekly challenge for illustrators with a new theme each week. 

Making Picture Book Magic ($)
A 4-week course with short, daily lessons. Options for working with a small class or on your own. New enrollments begin the first of every month. Taught and hosted by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill.

Monthly Twitter Writing Challenge (free)
Participants agree to aim for 500 words or 1 hour of editing each day for a month. Five hundred words? That’s a whole picture book. Founded by author Kristy Acevedo.

#PBChat (free)
Every Wednesday, 9pm Eastern Time (2am UTC), Twitter chat about picture books, featuring special guests & topics. #PBChat. Hosted by children’s writer Justin Colón.

Picture Book Study Hall ($)
Marcie Colleen hosts this month-long online critique group for writers who have multiple picture book manuscripts to revise. New session starts each month.

SCBWI Draw This! Challenge (See note*)
Monthly challenge for illustrators with a new theme each month. Submit by the 20th for next month’s gallery. *No application fee, but must be a dues-paying member of SCBWI.


Know the lingo! Bookmark the Writers’ Rumpus Glossary of Publishing Terms so you can look up unfamiliar terms when you find them. And if you find a term that’s missing, let us know. Thanks!

Months of a Year Banner Illustrations by Blue Ring Media, Shutterstock


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