April Picture Book Opportunities

As the pandemic persists, many events continue to be offered online rather than in-person, which means a wealth of offerings for April and early May. Find one (or more) for you!


  • Too busy this month? Check out the “Register in April” list for what’s coming up next.
  • Having trouble subscribing by email? If you can’t sign up using the form on the page, send a message through the Contact form on the About page, and I’ll email you an invitation to follow.

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

Spring Fling Writing Contest (free)
Challenge for writers, find a springtime-themed gif and write 150 words. April 1 – 3, 2021. Hosted by Ciara O’Neal and Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez.

The Ann Whitford Paul—Writer’s Digest Manuscript Award (See note*)
Submissions close April 10, 2021. Annual monetary award given for a Most Promising Picture Book manuscript. *No application fee, but must be a dues-paying member of SCBWI.

SCBWI Karen and Philip Cushman Late Bloomer Grant (See note*)
Submissions close April 15, 2021. Recognizes a promising manuscript by a writer over the age of 50 who has never been published. Submit in conjunction with the Work-in-Progress Awards (see below). *No application fee, but applicant must be a member of SCBWI, which requires dues.

SCBWI Work-in-Progress Awards (See note*)
Submissions close April 1, 2021. Annual awards given to writers of children’s books in support of a work in progress that is not already under contract, including picture books. *No application fee, but applicant must be a member of SCBWI, which requires dues.

SCBWI Volemos: The Meg Medina Grant (See note*)
Submissions close April 30, 2021. This award is open to authors of Hispanic/Latinx/Ibero-American heritage who are early in their career (1-3 traditionally published books) or not yet traditionally published.

Intensive Picture Book Writing Workshop ($)
New 12-week fiction or nonfiction picture book writing workshop with one-to-one critiques taught by author and editor Anastasia Suen. April 7 June 23, 2021.

ReVISIONweek Tune-Up Day Wednesday, April 7th. (free)

Writing Picture-Book Characters with Big Emotions ($)
Editor Julie Bliven of Charlesbridge will look at what it means for a writer to evoke one’s child-like instincts and successfully express big emotions through a picture-book character. Thursday, April 15, 2021, 7pm Eastern Time. Hosted by The Writers’ Loft.

Bloom! SCBWI Montana Spring Virtual Conference ($)
SCBWI Montana spring virtual writing conference. April 17-18, 2021, 9am- 3pm Mountain Time.

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 20, 2021. Hosted by our own Carrie Charley Brown and Kirsti Call.

Let the Wild Rumpus Start! ($) An Online Conference hosted by the Iowa Chapter of SCBWI April 23-25, 2021.

SCBWI-Michigan Spring 2021 Conference: Your Story, Start to Finish ($) An Online Conference. April 23-25, 2021.

Children’s Book Challenge Week (free)
Spend a week learning from published authors, illustrators, (and two editors!). Registration opens April 16th, event takes place April 26th – May 1st, 2021. From Storyteller Academy.

New England SCBWI Spring Virtual Conference ($)
Join your fellow authors and illustrators for a weekend of online craft and camaraderie. Panels, workshops, online socials, keynotes, ask-a-mentor sessions. See schedule here, see faculty bios here. No hotel costs! Friday April 30 – Sunday May 2, 2021.

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.


Virtual Visits (*see note)
Author Claribel Ortega will share tips on what makes an engaging virtual classroom visit, and what authors and illustrators can do to make the process satisfying for readers and creators alike. An #HFGather event. March 31, 2021, 7pm. Info at link above, but register at this link. *No fee mentioned on website.

Diversify Science Scholarship for Illustrators (free)
Designed to encourage the artistic growth of Indigenous, Black, and people of color who are interested in science and nature illustration. This scholarship provides full tuition for an illustration workshop offered through the Highlights Foundation (online or in-person). Application deadline is April 20, 2021.


Idea Lab: Finding Inspiration for Your Children’s Book Writing  with author Cristina Oxtra. Saturday April 10, 2021, 10am – Noon Central Time.

THE WRITING BARN COURSES & EVENTS ($ unless otherwise noted)

Picture Book Bio II with Rob Sanders Six Tuesdays, April 6–May 11, 2021, 7-9pm Central Time.

Beyond Fact-Flinging: Essential Elements to Elevate Info Books with author Heather L. Montgomery. Six Sundays, April 11 – May 16, 2021, 6pm – 8pm Central Time.

The Heart and Humor of Amy Krouse Rosenthal: Using AKR’s Body of Work to Enhance Our Own with Marcie Colleen. Six Wednesdays, April 14 – May 19, 2021, 7-9pm Central Time.

Craft Webinar: Picture Book Revision & Cutting an Already Tight Word Count with Carole Lindstrom Saturday, April 17, 2021, 11am -12:30pm Central Time.

Animal, Mineral, Vegetable: Writing Poems About Nature with Julie Poole Six Mondays, April 19 –May 24, 2021, 6-8pm Central Time.

Elevating Queer Voices: LGBTQIA+ Writers in Community ($)
In this panel discussion we’ll celebrate the progress made, speak to current challenges, and look ahead to the future, while exploring questions related to intersectionality and gaps to be addressed. April 22, 2021, 6pm Central Time.



Low-cost webinars hosted by SCBWI regional chapters, available everywhere. See links below for details. Click link above for complete list of webinars for this and upcoming months. Webinars for March, 2021:

Picture Book Pep Talk featuring And J Pizza from the Creative Pep Talk Podcast ($) April 7, 2021, 5pm – 6:30pm Eastern.

Illustrator Day 2021 with Véronique Lefèvre Sweet, Associate Art Director at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers ($) April 10, 8:30am – 10:45am Central.

The Dynamics of Science and Nature Writing for Fiction and Nonfiction (Free) with nonfiction authors Claire Datnow and Heather Montgomery. April 10, 3-4pm Eastern

Spotlighting and Promoting Your Books and Your Brand ($) with Julie Gribble and Roxie Munro. April 11, 1-4pm Eastern

Career Scaffolding: Building your Writing Support System with Olivia Hinebaugh ($) Sunday April 11, 2pm – 3:30pm Eastern.

Memoir Into Make-Believe: Turning Your Life Into Fiction ($) taught by Tina Tocco. April 14, 7:30pm – 9:30pm Eastern.

Lights, Camera, Action: Using Cinematic Techniques to Deliver Character and Story ($) Presented by Cinda Williams Chima. April 15, 7:30-8:30pm Eastern.

Butt-in-Chair-a-Thon (Free) 10 minute Brain Dump, then two 40 minute sessions. April 15, 8-10pm Eastern.

Agent Day ($) Lisa Amstutz (Storm Literary), Paige Terlip (ABLA), Kelly Dyksterhouse (Raven Quill), and Kayla Cichello (Upstart Crow) discuss finding the best agent for your work. April 17; live event full, can register in advance to purchase recordings.

Nonfiction 101 with Melissa Stewart ($) April 17th at 11 AM Eastern

Writing Outside Your Lane: Yes, It Can Be Done. Here’s How, and I Never Said It Would Be Easy! with Linda Sue Park. April 17, 10am-12pm Pacific.

Leaving Room for Art in Picture Books with Laura Gehl ($) April 17, 1PM Eastern

From Soup to Book: Behind the Scenes of WATERCRESS ($) The making of this picture book, with author Andrea Wang, illustrator Jason Chin, and agent Erin Murphy. April 17, 12pm-3pm, Mountain Time.

Nonfiction Series Webinar: Science Writing Panel (free) Mary Boone, Curtis Manley, and Ellie Peterson. April 19, 7pm-8:30pm Pacific.

Picture Books as Physical Objects with Laurel Symonds ($) April 22, 7pm Eastern.

Get Your Picture Book Across the Finish Line with Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen ($) April 24, 9am – Noon Central.

Southern Breeze Illustration Masterclass 2021 ($) Kyle T. Webster on creating color harmony in illustrations, 10am – noon; Agent Jessica Saint Jean on navigating the query process as an illustrator or author/illustrator, 1-3pm. April 24, Eastern Time.

Characters: Reading Like a Writer & Developing Characters Readers Love ($) with Susie Wilde. April 27, 7:30-8:30pm Eastern

All STEAMed Up! ($) with Senior Editor Shelby Lees of National Geographic Kids and author Jennifer Swanson. April 29, 7-9pm Eastern.


Spring into Writing (free)
Set your own writing goals for the month of May. Registration opens in April, check host Dani Duck’s blog here, or Twitter @DaniDuck.

#WriteMentor Summer Programme (free)
UK-based program pairing professionals in children’s literature with pre-agented writers for online summer mentorship. Open to anyone who writes in English. 2021 Applications open April 15 – 16 only.

MayFest Conference ($)
Full day online conference with Keynote: Author/Illustrator Brian Lies, Editor panel, and breakout sessions. May 1, 2021. 9am – 5pm Pacific Time. Hosted by San Diego SCBWI.

Poetic Techniques to Help Make Your Writing Come Alive ($)
Can studying poetry help a prose writer? Yes! Interactive session with author Jo Watson Hackl. May 4, 2021, 7:30-8:30pm Eastern.

Self-Care for Writers (Free)
A craft chat with Corinne Crossley. Tuesday, May 4, 7:00 pm ET. Tuesday May 4, 2021, 7pm Eastern Time. Scroll down page at link for more info. Hosted by The Writers’ Loft.

Diving Into the Wreck: How to Edit Poetry ($)
A craft chat with Irene Latham. Monday May 10, 7:30 pm ET. Scroll down page at link for more info. Hosted by The Writers’ Loft.

The Extraordinary Craft and Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books ($)
Six-week online interactive course from the Children’s Book Academy begins June 7, 2021. Lessons, critiques, and submission opportunities. With Literary Agent Kaitlyn Sanchez, Illustrators Chantelle & Burgen Thorne, and Acquiring Editor & Art Director Dr. Mira Reisberg. Scholarships available, apply here.


Writing the Rainbow: Crafting Picture Books With LGBTQIA+ Themes ($)
With authors Lesléa Newman, Rob Sanders, Kyle Lukoff, A.M. Wild and Gloria Day. Three weeks, June 1 – 18, 2021.

Deep Dive into Children’s Book Illustration: A Two-Week Artist Intensive ($)
With illustrators James Ransome and Anna Raff. Two weeks, June 4 – 16, 2021.

Crash Course in Children’s Publishing: Everything You Need to Know ($)
With Harold Underdown and Leah Henderson. Ten weeks, June 9 – August 11, 2021.

THE WRITING BARN COURSES & EVENTS ($ unless otherwise noted)

Writing Within or Outside Your Experience in Picture Books with Meera Sriram Saturday May 1, 2021, 1pm – 4pm Central Time.

Craft Webinar: Noodling with Nonfiction Text Structures with Kirsten W. Larson. Saturday, May 8, 2021, 10am – 12 pm Central Time.


For Both Illustrators and Writers

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

#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.

For Illustrators

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

#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).

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.

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.

For Writers

#write5minutes ($)
Write your children’s book this year 5 minutes at a time in a DIY writing workshop for board books to YA taught by author and editor Anastasia Suen.

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.

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.

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.

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


Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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