May Picture Book Opportunities

Can you help? If you notice something missing from this month’s post, please let me know in the comments or through the contact form. There are so many offerings that sometimes I miss something, especially if it’s new or if its date changes. Our readers thank you!

Here’s what’s available for May. 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

Debut Review Challenge (free)
May-June reading challenge begins. Hosted by children’s writer Laura Renauld.

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

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 May 1, 2021, closes July 31, 2021.

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

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.

KidLit GN Pitch Event (free)
Biannual pitch event for unagented authors and author/illustrators of middle grade and younger graphic novels. Pitch event May 5, 2021, with corresponding web event May 4 – May 6, 2021. Hosted by KidLitGN.

Craft Webinar: Noodling with Nonfiction Text Structures ($)
With Kirsten W. Larson. Saturday, May 8, 2021, 10am – 12 pm Central Time. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Diving Into the Wreck: How to Edit Poetry ($)
A craft chat with Irene Latham. Monday May 10, 2021, 7:30 pm Eastern. Scroll down page at link for more info. Hosted by The Writers’ Loft.

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 May 18. Hosted by our own Carrie Charley Brown and Kirsti Call.

Picture Book Revision-Mini Online Course: A Two-Pack Bundle ($)
Join Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Anne Marie Pace for a webinar-style workshop on becoming your picture books’ first and most important editor. 7pm Eastern, May 18 and 19, 2021. Hosted by The Highlights Foundation.

Never a Dull Moment In Your Kidlit Writing or Artwork ($)
Join The Children’s Book Academy for an interactive webinar on how to make your kidlit lively! May 22, 2021, 4pm. Contact TCBA about time zone.

Building Characters (free)
A craft chat with middle grade fantasy author Ellen Booraem. Scroll down page at link for more info. Sunday, May 23, 2021, 2pm Eastern Time. Hosted by The Writers’ Loft.


Craft Webinar: Noodling with Nonfiction Text Structures with Kirsten W. Larson ($) May 8, 2021, 10am-12noon Central.

Book Launch with Author Kari Lavelle and Illustrator Nabi H. Ali (free) May 8, 2021, 2pm-3pm Central. Celebrating the picture book We Move the World.

Book Launch with Author Rob Sanders and Illustrator Robbie Cathro (free) May 15, 2021, 1pm Central Time. Celebrating the picture book Two Grooms on a Cake: The Story of America’s First Gay Wedding.

Creative Black Joy for the Black/African American Writer ($) with Denise Adusel, Kandace Coston, Andrea Loney, and Kekla Magoon. May 20, 2021, 6:30-8pm Central


SCBWI Digital Workshops 4.0 (see note*)
Series of special weekly one-hour webinars with renowned children’s book creators, editors, agents, and art directors. Registration opens Monday for each upcoming Thursday event; replays available for two to four weeks after the event without prior registration. *Free to dues-paying member of SCBWI.
May, 2021 digital workshops. All are Thursday at 1-2pm Pacific Time. See notes above.
May 13: Transforming a Picture Book Manuscript into a Visual Narrative
with illustrator Jacqueline Alcántara.
May 20: Celebrating Asian Voices SCBWI #Own Voices Panel discussion with Julie Abe, Samira Ahmed, Mike Jung, Emily X.R. Pan, Dow Phumiruk, Paula Yoo, moderated by Alvina Line, VP and Editor in Chief, Little Brown BRYR
May 27: Maximizing Your Social Media Presence and Effectiveness with Author Greg Pincus.

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 May, 2021:

Poetry Magic with Michelle Schaub: Exploring the Children’s Poetry Market ($) May 3, 6 PM CST

Poetic Techniques to Help Make Your Writing Come Alive ($) May 4, 7:30 EDT

KidLit Nonfiction Workshop: Interest + Impact: Finding a Marketable Nonfiction Topic and Where to Go From There ($) May 8, 10:00AM-11:00Am Pacific Time

Picture Book Building Blocks  Webinar with Agent Paige Terlip ($) May 10 7 PM EST

Self-publishing children’s books: An Introduction ($) May 16, at 5:00pm Paris Time

Crafting Chapter Books ($) Tue, May 18 7pm-8pm ET

Taking Your Author Website to the Next Level ($) May 18th, 7-8:30pm EST

Query Grind–Part 3: Navigating the Author/Agent Relationship with literary agent Reiko Davis ($)  May 20, 2021 @7pm EST

Celebrating Asian Voices (*)May 20: 1-2PM PT SCBWI #Own Voices Panel discussion with Julie Abe, Samira Ahmed, Mike Jung, Emily X.R. Pan, Dow Phumiruk, Paula Yoo, moderated by Alvina Line, VP and Editor in Chief, Little Brown BRYR *Free to dues-paying member of SCBWI.

Graphic Novels with Author/Illustrator Drew Brockington ($) May 21, 7 p.m. Central

Show & Tell 2021: An Online Pitch Event ($) May 22, 9:30 AM-4:45 PM Eastern

Maximizing Your Social Media Presence and Effectiveness (*) May 27 1-2PM PT with Author Greg Pincus. *Free to dues-paying member of SCBWI.

KidLit Tools Workshop: Inside-Out: Creating Believable Characters Through Emotion & Sensory Detail ($) May 29, 2021 10:00am-11:30am Pacific.


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.

Writing Children’s Books ($)
Do you have an idea for a children’s book? In this course taught by Jennifer Malia, you will actively write and revise original picture books or chapters for book-length projects and submit them for review. Six Wednesdays, June 9 – August 18, 2021, 7pm – 9pm Eastern. Hosted by The Muse Writers Center.

Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers (WIFYR) ($)
Utah-based hybrid conference with both in-person and online classes. June 14 – 18, 2021.

Research and Writing: Children’s Nonfiction for Education ($)
Schools need more nonfiction, which means educational publishers are looking for skilled writers to research, write, and work with an editor(s). Especially RESEARCH! Presented by Lisa M. Bolt Simons. Two Saturdays, July 10 and July 17, 2021, 9am-12noon Central. Hosted by The Loft.

SLJ Picture Book Palooza (free)
An all-day, free virtual celebration of authors and artists dedicated to the visual dance and extraordinary craft of picture books! Come for a day packed with keynotes, author panels, and illustrator spotlights. Thursday, July 15, 2021, 10am – 5pm Eastern. Hosted by School Library Journal.

2021 Southampton (NY) Children’s Lit Conference ($)
Workshops in Writing Picture Books, Middle Grade & YA Fiction, and Graphic Novels. From the comfort of your own home this year, due to the continuing pandemic. Apply by June 15; conference is July 14 – 18. Hosted by Stony Brook University.


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.

So You Want to be an Author/Illustrator? ($)
You’ll explore the possibilities of moving from Illustrator to Author/Illustrator, or becoming an Author/Illustrator. Eight weeks, June 24 – August 12, 2021.


Crafting a Narrative Nonfiction Picture Book ($)
Craft Webinar with Barb Rosenstock. Saturday, June 5, 2021, 11am-12:30pm Central.

Nonfiction Kidlit Confab ($)
A confab IS a NEW WAY OF GATHERING ONLINE to experience inspiration, motivation, gain craft tools and industry insight. See schedule and faculty at link above. Saturday, June 12 – Sunday, June 13, 2021, 9am – 7pm Central both days.

Perfecting The Picture Book with Lisa Katzenberger ($)
Six Mondays, 7pm – 9pm Central Time, June 14 – July 26, 2021.

Writing Leveled Readers for Education with Sonny Regelman ($)
Six Tuesdays, 7pm – 9 pm Central Time, July 6 – August 10, 2021.

Back Matter for Nonfiction (and Fiction!) Picture Books ($)
Craft Webinar with Laura Gehl. Friday July 16, 2021, 11am – 12:30pm.


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


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