October Picture Book Opportunities

It’s almost October! We’re seriously into Fall (or Spring for our Southern Hemisphere readers), and there are some seriously great opportunities this month.

Click the links to go directly to each list.

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.



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 


Antiracism in KidLit: Practical strategies for authors and illustrators ($)
Five authors, educators, and industry professionals will discuss strategies that authors and illustrators can use to actively make antiracism part of our craft. Moderated by author Valerie Bolling. Thursday, October 22, 2020, 7pm-8:30pm Eastern Time. Hosted by New England Region SCBWI.

Debut Review Challenge (free)
October-November reading challenge begins October 1. Hosted by children’s writer Laura Renauld.

#DVPit and #DVart  (free)
Twitter pitch party for historically underrepresented voices in children’s literature. Authors of Children’s & Teen Fiction/Nonfiction (picture books, chapter books, middle grade, young adult) use #DVpit; Artists & Illustrators use #DVart. October 26, 2020. See website for more details. Created and moderated by literary agent Beth Phelan with assistance from authors Kat Cho and Claribel Ortega and agent Peter Knapp.

Fall Writing Frenzy (free)
Write 200 words inspired by one of the contest photos, and submit it between October 1 – October 3, 2020 11:59 PM Eastern Time. Prizes! 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.

Halloweensie Contest (free)
Write a 100-word Halloween story appropriate for ages 12 and under, following prompt for the current year. Prize for the winner. (Link goes to 2019 event; will update when 2020 info available, or you can search host’s site.) Hosted by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill.

Inktober (free)
Challenge to draw 31 illustrations in ink, in 31 days. Hosted by illustrator Jake Parker.

#PBPitch (free)
A Twitter pitch party exclusively for picture books! Thursday, October 29th, from 8am to 8pm EST!.

Picture Book Critique Fest #PBCritiqueFest (free)
A MASSIVE picture book critique giveaway, featuring 36 of the top authors, illustrators, and literary agents on the kidlit scene. Hosted by Brian Gehrlein, creator of Picture Book Spotlight. Enter October 12– 9am Central Time October 30, 2020. Winners announced October 31, 2020.

Picture Book Summit ($)
Full-day writing conference live-streamed to your computer. Theme for 2020: Finding Your VoiceFounded 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.

Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature (RUCCL) Home-to-Home Conference ($)
This year, EVERYONE can attend the Rutgers Conference! A full day of children’s literature panels, Q&As, and keynotes, via Zoom. Saturday, October 24, 2020, 9am – 5pm Eastern Time. Must Register by Friday, October 16.

We Need Diverse Books Mentorships (free)
Pairs ten writers and illustrators who belong to underrepresented groups with experienced children’s book creators for year-long mentorships. Applications are open October 1 – 31 for the following year.

Writing Picture Book Biographies that Shine ($)
Join award-winning picture book biography author Donna Janell Bowman for this intensive 6-week online class. Twelve hours of small-group content-rich instruction, resources, and inspiration. Six Sundays–October 18, 25, Nov. 1, 8, 15, 22, 4pm-6pm Central / 2pm-4pm Pacific / 5pm-7pm Eastern

SCBWI Narrative Art Award (*See note)
Each year, a rotating panel of judges challenges illustrators to tell a story in three sequential images. The winner will receive free tuition to the Virtual SCBWI Winter Conference. This year’s theme: Silver Lining.  Deadline is midnight, Pacific Time, October 20, 2020. *Free for dues-paying members of SCBWI.

Weekly one-hour webinars with renounced children’s book creators, editors, and translators, via Zoom. Register to watch live, or watch the replay within one month without registering. Note: Some webinars may be more relevant to picture books than others. Thursdays at 4pm Pacific Time / 7pm Eastern Time. *Free for dues-paying members of SCBWI.

How and Why We Translate Books for Children with translators Emily Balistrieri, Helen Wang, Cathy Hirano, and Avery Fischer Udagawa. Thursday, October 1.

Battling the Shadow: Tools for Being the Hero of Your Creative Process During Challenging Times with Kendra Levin, Editorial Director, Simon & Schuster. Thursday, October 8.

Revising for Plot with authors Elana K. Arnold and Brandy Colbert. Thursday, October 15.

Picture-Making from a New Perspective: Crafting Illustrations that Captivate an Audience with Illustrator James Ransome. Thursday, October 22.

Transforming the Personal with author Eric Gansworth. Thursday, October 29.

The Exploding Nonfiction Market: Finding Your Opportunities and Inspirations in Informational Books with Melissa Manlove, Senior Editor, Chronicle Books. Thursday, November 19.


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 – November 24, 2020.

Perfecting the Picture Book II
Perfecting the picture book is not an easy task; let author Carmen Oliver be your guide in this online workshop. Six Wednesdays, 7pm-9pm Central Time, November 4 – December 9 (not 11/25), 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 – November 9, 2020.


Black Friday Bootcamp ($)
Online one-day livestream writing conference. 100% of ticket sales go to support First Book and We Need Diverse Books. Hosted and organized by Storyteller Academy and author Arree Chung.

Full Zoom Ahead—Illinois SCBWI Interactive Conference 2020 ($)
SCBWI-Illinois Interactive offers multiple ways to interact with professionals and new ways to get feedback. It’s a conference that is virtually perfect in every way! November 13 – 15, 2020; Register by October 30; earlier deadlines for some conference opportunities.

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 scbwi.org.

Picture Book Palooza ($)
You’ll learn from a whole bunch of amazing writers, agents, editors, receive tons of learning, book giveaways, and have gobs of fun in this fab, low-cost, two-day children’s book weekend extravaganza. Saturday – Sunday, December 5 – 6, 2020, see website for times. Hosted by The Children’s Book Academy.


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.

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. 


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.

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 October 20. 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, or use our Contact Form.


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