December Picture Book Opportunities

Wrap up 2020 and look ahead to 2021 with this month’s roundup of Picture Book Opportunities!

Click the links to go directly to each list.

To see what’s available all year ’round, and what’s coming up in 2021, 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 


Apply for 12×12 Challenge 2021 Scholarships
The 12×12 Challenge? Write 12 picture books in 12 months! Up to 6 scholarships will be awarded: 3 for financial need, 3 for authors of backgrounds underrepresented in the canon of children’s picture book literature. Deadline to apply for scholarship is today, December 1, 2020. Winners will be announced January 1st, 2020. Regular registration will be open in January and February, 2021.

Holiday Writing Contest (free)
Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as age 12 and under) not to exceed 250 words about a Holiday Helper. See details at link above. Prizes for the winners! Hosted by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill.

KidLit for Luzon ($)
A KidLit community campaign for typhoon victims in Luzon, Philippines. Give to a donation drive for typhoon victims, and redeem for donated gifts (critiques, original art, and signed books). See participating patrons here. Campaign began late November 2020; donations still being accepted. Founded by Gail D. Villanueva, with help from Jes Cunningham, Mae Coyiuto, and Caris Cruz.

LET’S DANCE! A Virtual Kidlit Holiday Dance Party (free)
Author Valerie Bolling and agent Kaitlyn Sanchez share their favorite dances and talk inspiration in both writing and agenting. Giveaways! Free, but attendees are encouraged to donate to the charity of their choice. Saturday, December 12th, 7pm – 8pm Eastern Time. Hosted by author Kailei Pew.

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. Plus, you’ll be contributing to a scholarship fund! Happens Saturday – Sunday, December 5 – 6, 2020, see website for times. Hosted by The Children’s Book Academy.

#PitMad (free)
Twitter pitch party for unagented authors and illustrators in all genres, happening Thursday, December 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.

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 December 17. Hosted by our own Carrie Charley Brown and Kirsti Call.

Scholastic Ages 0-8 Open Submission Call (free)
Do you identify as a BIPOC kidlit creator? Scholastic’s ages 0-8 team would like to hear from you! Open call for submissions from authors and author/illustrators. See full information, eligibility requirements, and submission instructions at link above. Submissions will remain open through December 15, 2020 only.

Tipping the Scales Toward Publication ($)
Picture book creators share tips that helped them snag their book deals, featuring authors: Nicholas Solis, Ellen Leventhal, Meera Sriram, and Lisa Katzenberger. Saturday, December 5, 2020, 10am – 11am Mountain Time. Hosted by Annie Bailey and the Utah/Southern Idaho SCBWI.

Virtual ShopTalk: When Two Is Better Than One ($)
Join the dynamic mother-daughter team of Corinne Demas and Artemis Roehrig as they discuss the advantages of co-authorship, from brain-storming to book contract. Tuesday, December 1, 2020 (tonight!) from 7pm – 9pm Eastern Time. Hosted by New England SCBWI. 


12 Months of Books Challenge
For authors/illustrators with 2021 children’s books, and for relatives/friends of children who love to receive books as gifts. Authors with 2021 children’s book releases register to be included on a list organized by month. Book buyers refer to the list to choose books, then preorder from their own favorite bookstores, so that every month of 2021, a new book will arrive on their favorite kiddo’s doorstep! Authors/illustrators can update information through the year for a regular update email that goes to buyers. Hosted by author Tamara Girardi.

Astra International Picture Book Writing Contest 2020 – 2021 (free)
The purpose of this contest is to encourage, discover and honor talented writers of texts for picture books from all over the world; to foster literary excellence in books for young children; and to promote international cooperation and understanding through picture books. Significant cash prizes in addition to option for publication for winners. Submissions open October 22, 2020 through April 30, 2021.

The Craft and Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books ($)
Join Assistant Editor Rosie Ahmed (Penguin Random House), acquiring Editor/Art Director/former Agent Mira Reisberg, and five guest Editors and Agents for a six-week intensive journey starts January 11, 2021. Hosted by Children’s Book Academy.

Editing Children’s Picture Books ($)
Interested in editing as well as writing? Learn to identify the characteristics of a picture book, understand how these characteristics work together, identify and analyse problems in a manuscript and do a developmental and line edit of a picture book manuscript. Four-week course begins January 11, 2021. Taught by freelance editor Lou Piccolo. Hosted by Editorial Freelancers Association.

Rate Your Story ($)
Rate Your Story is a service paid annually (January through December) where writers from all levels can submit their story to receive honest feedback from published authors. Early bird registration for 2021 opened on November 1st, 2020 and will close when full; individual critiques are sometimes available to nonmembers using SpeedPass.

SCBWI Virtual Winter Conference ($)
SCBWI’s annual winter extravaganza, usually in New York City, will take place on Zoom in 2021. Theme: Inside Children’s Publishing. No travel! No hotel! Faculty, program, and a full schedule available at link above; scroll to bottom for registration. February 19 -22, 2021

Virtual SCBWI Florida Annual Regional Conference ($)
This year’s theme: Finding Your Place in KidLit and Leaving Space for Others. Keynotes, Panels, Speakers, critiques. Registration opened November 7, 2020.  Event is January 16 – 17, 2021.

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 Mondays beginning January 11, 2021, enroll by January 4. Hosted by Writing Workshops.

Beyond Fact-Flinging: Essential Elements to Elevate Info Books
Join Acclaimed nonfiction author Heather L. Montgomery for a six-week deep dive into the essential elements that take your nonfiction project from boring to breakthrough! Six Sundays, January 17 – February 21, 2021, 6pm – 8pm Central Time.

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 Tuesdays, January 12 – February 16, 2021, 7pm – 9pm 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.

Inktober 52 (free)
A weekly drawing challenge for the entire year: one prompt a week, 52 weeks in the year, 52 drawings. Hosted by illustrator Jake Parker.

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.

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 dePaolo Master Class (see note*)
To honor the memory of Tomie dePaolo, 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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