September Picture Book Opportunities

Happy September! Remember to check out PICTURE BOOK LOOK, the new podcast by our own Kirsti Call and Kim Chaffee. Today’s guest: host Kirsti Call(!) along with co-author Corey Rosen Schwartz, illustrator Claudia Ranucci, and Courtney Fahy, editor at Little Bee Books, on the journey of MOOTILDA’S BAD MOOD, which launches today.

Now for the fall opportunities – and there are some great ones! To see what’s available all year ’round, and what’s coming up the rest of the year, visit the PICTURE BOOK SUPPORT resource page.

Click the links to go directly to each list.



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 


Latinx Writers: A Virtual Symposium 2020 ($)
Take part in a broad forum on Latinx children’s and young adult literature, with other Latinx writers. Live Zoom session, pre-recorded sessions, craft exercises, and small group discussions. Exercises will build from week to week in the direction of a first draft. September 15 – October 15, 2020. Hosted by Highlights Foundation. Scholarships available.

#PitMad (free)
Twitter pitch party for unagented authors and illustrators in all genres, Thursday, September 3, 2020 from 8am – 8pm Eastern Time. Happens on Twitter, but see website for detailed instructions including the #hashtags that will help picture book agents find your pitch. Hosted by Brenda Drake and the PitchWars committee.

ReVISIONweek (free)
Revise your PB manuscripts that you wrote for challenges earlier in the year!  The challenge is scaled down this year so that it is doable despite these upside-down times. A week of support, inspiration, and revision magic. OH, and prizes! Always prizes! Enroll during the first week of September, event is September 9 16, 2020. Hosted by children’s authors Lauren H. Kerstein, Joana Pastro, Katie Frawley, Lynne Marie, Shannon Stocker, and Michal BaBay.

Smart Dummies (free)
Complete a picture book dummy in 30 days. September 1 – 30, 2020, registration open August 15 – September 7. Join the Facebook group. Hosted by writer/illustrator Dani Duck.

Diversity Day: Writing Outside Your Lane ($)
Newbery-winning author Linda Sue Park, Lee and Low editor Kandace Coston, book expert and editor Kim Childress, and author Natalie Davis Miller will show you how, in this thoughtful and eye-opening online conference. September 12, 2020, 10am – 3pm Eastern Time. Hosted by Indiana SCBWI.

Researching at the Smithsonian Libraries (*See note)
Join Outreach Librarian Erin Clements Rushing and Mid-Atlantic SCBWI Non-Fiction Coordinator Marcie Atkins for an evening of learning how you can use resources at the Smithsonian for your work, from near or far. September 22, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Eastern Time. Hosted by Mid-Atlantic SCBWI. *Free, but must be dues-paying member of SCBWI.

Writing Picture Books: From Creation to Publication ($)
Award-winning children’s author Rosie J. Pova will cover the essential elements and steps in the process of creating picture books, from generating story ideas to finishing a first draft, picking a catchy title, to revising and submitting. Eight weeks beginning Monday, September 14, 2020. Hosted by Writing Workshops.

You Can Write a Picture Book! ($)
Study and Workshop with Adrien Kade Sdao. Students will achieve an understanding of the purpose, structure, and craft of a picture book. Additionally, each student will 1) submit a picture book manuscript up to 1,000 words for detailed line and global notes and 2) create a storyboard and book dummy for their manuscript. Four weeks beginning September 7. Hosted by Antioch University. 

Online courses taught by a variety of professionals, related to writing and illustrating for children.

Picture Book Bio II ($)
Join acclaimed picture book biography author Rob Sanders for this six-week online course and discover how to transform a story into a picture book biography manuscript that stands out for all the right reasons. Six Tuesdays, 7pm – 9pm Central Time, September 15 – October 20, 2020.

Mining Real Life Emotion for Fictional Stories ($)
Join award-winning picture book author Andrea J. Loney on a journey that starts with your real-life recollections and ends with your compelling new stories. Saturday, September 26, 2pm – 5pm Central Time.

Understanding Visual Storytelling in Picture Books ($)
Join author and illustrator Carter Higgins for a six-week exploration of visual storytelling in picture books. Six Thursdays, 7pm – 9pm Central Time, September 3 – October 8, 2020.


Fall Writing Frenzy (free)
No need to register, but do plan ahead! Write 200 words inspired by one of the contest photos, and submit it between October 1 and October 3, 2020 11:59 PM EST. Hosted by Lydia Lukidis and Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez.

Filling the Writer’s Toolbox ($)
This month-long intensive online workshop will help you prepare your manuscript for submission under the guidance of renowned editor Emma Dryden. October 1 – November 2, 2020. A Highlights Foundation workshop.

Picture Book Summit ($)
Full-day writing conference live-streamed to your computer. Theme for 2020: Finding Your Voice. Founded and hosted by Katie Davis of ICL (Institute for Children’s Literature), Julie Hedlund of 12 x 12, Emma Walton Hamilton of Just Write Children’s Books, and Laura Backes of Children’s Book Insider. Register here. Saturday October 3, 2020.

Picture Books with Bibi Lewis ($)
Preparing your work for submission? In this intimate workshop, you’ll receive market and editorial feedback on a picture book manuscript from Bibi Lewis, Associate Agent at Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency, and exchange critiques with a small group of peers. October 9th, 2020 – November 2nd, 2020. Hosted by Inked Voices. Non-member registration opens September 16.

SCBWI/Smithsonian Institution Nonfiction Workshop ($)
SCBWI’s first-ever nonfiction workshop with the Smithsonian will be held online November 6-8, 2020. Registration will reopen in September with unlimited seating available. Stay tuned to


Craft Webinar: Writing a Rollicking Read-Aloud ($)
Join prolific picture book author Tammi Sauer in a craft webinar to explore ways to create a riveting read-aloud! November 8, 2020, 11am – 12:30 pm Central Time.

Exploring Paths to Publication for #ownvoices BIPOC Authors and Illustrators ($)
Award-winning picture book author Andrea J. Loney guides BIPOC kidlit creators to go deep, sharpen craft, and plan a path to publication for your #ownvoices picture book, chapter book, MG or YA novel, or graphic novel. Six Thursdays, 7pm – 9pm Central Time, November 5 through December 17, 2020.

The Heart and Humor of Amy Krouse Rosenthal: Using AKR’s Body of Work to Enhance Our Own Explore the work and techniques of the late Amy Krouse Rosenthal with author Marcie Colleen. Six Tuesdays, 7-9pm Central Time, October 13 through November 24, 2020.

Writing with Authenticity ($)
Have you ever tried to write a picture book but feel like you or your audience just aren’t connecting to the story? Join author/illustrator Jessixa Bagley for a deep dive into writing picture books from the heart. Six Mondays, 7pm-9pm Central Time, October 5 through November 9, 2020.


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.

#kidlitart (free)
Every Thursday, 9pm Eastern Time (2am UTC), Twitter chat for children’s book illustrators & friends. Moderated by author/illustrators @RubinPingk and Charlene Chua (@charlenedraws).

KidLit Distancing Social (free)
A free educational hangout for kidlit writers featuring guest speakers, news, every Thursday: 5pm Pacific, 6pm Mountain, 7pm Central, 8 pm Eastern Time. Replays available here. Presented by Children’s Book Insider.

Illustration Friday (free) Please HELP!*
Weekly challenge for illustrators with a new theme each week. *HELP! The link for Illustration Friday is no longer working. If you know anything about the status of this challenge, please leave info in the comments. Thank you!

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.

Penny’s Two Cents ($)
Picture book author Penny Parker Klostermann offers video chat sessions, small-group webinars, and packages that include feedback on picture book manuscripts. Contact Penny here to schedule.

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.

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 September 15. Hosted by our own Carrie Charley Brown and Kirsti Call.

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.

SCBWI: Tomie De Paulo Master Class (see note*)
To honor the memory of Tomie De Paulo, beloved author/illustrator of hundreds of picture books, SCBWI is making available a three-part master class he recorded with Lin Oliver. *Free, but must be a dues-paying member of SCBWI.

SCBWI: YouTube Channel, The Vault (free)
SCBWI has over thirty years of video archives featuring speakers at their annual conference–authors, illustrators, editors, agents, and publishers. SCBWI has been releasing videos from this archive to their new YouTube channel, The Vault, every Tuesday and Thursday starting this past May.

Does your local writing organization, SCBWI region, etc. host virtual events that are available to anyone with an internet connection? Would you like them listed here?  Please share the info  in the comments!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s