July Picture Book Opportunities

Happy Summer! As the pandemic recedes and more in-person events are available, this post will continue to list only online events. Look for notices of local, regional, and national in-person events through SCBWI, writing organizations, and on social media.

To see what’s available online 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



#write5minutes #kidlit Cohort ($)
Take small steps and #write5minutes daily using the e-book lessons with story maps and examples for all 6 children’s book genres (board books to YA) in the 2021 #kidlit Cohort August 1, 2021 – May 31, 2022 with bonus startup meeting July 13. With Author and developmental editor Anastasia Suen.

Muslim Storytellers Fellowship (free)
The fellowship will support 16 Muslim storytellers over the course of two years through online and in-person workshops, mentorship, and retreats. Informational webinar June 29, 2021 6pm Eastern. Applications accepted through July 15, 2021. Registration for the webinar, a full program description, and fellowship application materials can be accessed at this link. Funded by a grant with the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s (DDFIA) Building Bridges Program.

The OMA Award (*See note)
The new OMA “Out from the Margins Award” will go to 8 early-career creators of children’s books from underrepresented groups, to help launch a new book and enhance a creator’s career with marketing skills and resources. Submissions will open July 2021, with winners announced December 2021. See website for guidelines. *Free, but must be (or become) a member of SCBWI to apply.

Writing for Busy People (free)
In this webinar, author Alicia Gregoire will show how it’s possible to carve out time for your writing life and share some tools to keep your creativity on track. Wednesday July 7, 2021 at 7pm Eastern. Hosted by The Writers’ Loft.

Picture Book Full-Day Workshop ($)
Author and educator Shannon Anderson will share the craft of writing for children so you can polish up your story and get it submission-ready! Saturday July 10, 2021, 8am – 2pm Central.

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.

Non-fiction/Informational Picture Book Writing Contest, hosted by authors Jennifer Buchet & Karen Greenwald. Stretch your writing muscles & imagination as you craft a short story within the contest guidelines and enjoy the best summer beach party on the ‘net! Start submitting July 14, 2021. See link for full details.

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.

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 opened May 1, closes July 31, 2021.

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


Low-cost webinars and higher-cost conferences hosted by SCBWI regional chapters, available everywhere. Webinars for July, 2021, plus the big national online conference:

Camp KidLit Compass ($) July 6-10, 2021, 7:00-9:00pm Eastern – Camp KidLit Compass will connect writers and illustrators in Zoom-based cabins, led by top Craft and Industry Counselors. Each casual evening session will be themed around strengthening your creative work as well as building your industry network.

Sensitivity Reader? – Does My ‘Script Need One? ($) July 10, 2021, 11:00 am Central – Margeaux Weston is a neurodivergent writer and editor. As a sensitivity reader, she works with creators who want to write authentic characters for young and young adult readers.

PAL Presentation: Kristi Valiant Digital Illustration Has Come a Long Way! ($) July 17, 2021, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Eastern Kristi Valient creates her illustrations from sketch to finish on her computer, but some of her art directors and editors don’t realize it.

ILLUSTRATOR EVENT: From Concept to Dummy with Claire Lordon ($) July 21, 2021, 8:00pm – 9:15pm Israel Time, check your local time – Join us as we meet with author-Illustrator Claire Lordon, who will share her entire process of  creating a ready-to-submit picture book dummy.

SCBWI Annual Summer Conference – The BIG Five-Oh!  ($)
Traditionally held in late July and early August in downtown Los Angeles, the 2021 event, like the 2020 event, will be held online. July 29, 30, 31, and August 1, 2, 2021, with optional intensive workshops for writers on July 29, and for illustrators on August 2. Replays may be watched by registered participants through August 31, 2021.


Picture Book Character A-Z Online Course ($)
This 5-week online course is largely self-paced, with new content and assignments released weekly in our virtual classroom and weekly live office hours via Zoom. July 4 – August 5, 2021

Online Summer Camp in Fiction: Explore, Play, and Inspire ($)
A four day, online intensive centered on mentorship, inspiration, and community with opportunities for learning, feedback, and interaction, and ample self-paced time to make progress on a project. July 8 – 11, 2021

Online Summer Camp in Illustration ($)
A three day, online intensive centered on mentorship, inspiration, and community with opportunities for learning, feedback, and interaction and ample self-paced time to make progress on a project. July 16 – 18, 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.


Writing a Picture Book Biography That Kids Can’t Wait to Read ($)
In this webinar, author Laurie Wallmark will help you find a focus and approach for your picture book biography. Thursday August 12, 2021 at 7pm Eastern. Hosted by The Writers’ Loft.

Layering in Layers in Picture Books with Wendi Silvano ($) Saturday, August 14, 2021 at 12 PM Eastern – A picture book with more than one layer will have more than one reason to be read and re-read. Wendi will discuss (and show examples of) many different types of layers you can consider adding to help give your picture book manuscript that extra depth and delight. Hosted by SCBWI Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia.

Prepare to Publish – Self-Publishing a Picture Book with Mark Tuchman ($) August 18, 2021, 6:00-7:00pm Eastern – A walk-through of the design and art production process involved in preparing a picture book for upload to a self-publishing site. Hosted by SCBWI Pennsylvania-West.

Writing for Children: Create A Picture Book! ($)
Join author Kelly Bingham for a six-week intensive including lectures, critiques, storyboards, and more, to take you from idea to query letter. Six weeks starting September 15, 2021. Hosted by Writers.com.

Crash Course in Children’s Publishing: Everything You Need to Know ($)
With Harold Underdown and Leah Henderson. Ten weeks, September 22 – December 11, 2021. From the Highlights Foundation.

Manuscript Workshop: Writing for Children ($)
Instructor Sarah Aronson welcomes all writers who are actively working on manuscripts for kids and teens, picture books through young adult. Unlike the writing for children introductory class, this advanced course will not offer weekly exercises or lectures, but will focus entirely on the participants’ own work in progress. Ten weeks starting September 22, 2021. Hosted by Writers.com.

Children’s Literature Mentorship Workshop ($)
Noted children’s authors, editors, and master instructors Phyllis Root, Gary Schmidt, Kathryn Erskine, and Shelley Tanaka team up for this unique online mentorship program designed for picture book, middle grade, and young adult authors. September – December, 2021. Hosted by Whale Rock Writing Workshops.

Picture Book Summit ($)
Full-day writing conference live-streamed to your computer. Early Bird Registration opened June 1, 2021 for October 2, 2021 event. 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.

Submission-Ready with Heart: A Hands-On Workshop for Author/Illustrators ($)
3 week online course with live Zoom lectures on Tuesday evenings, 1:1 sessions scheduled at your convenience, Focused studio time on Thursday evenings. October 19 – November 11, 2021. From the Highlights Foundation.


Perfecting The Picture Book II with Carmen Oliver ($)
Six Wednesdays, August 11–September 22, 2021, 7–9pm Central.

Taking Risks in Children’s Nonfiction Writing ($)
Craft Webinar with author Meeg Pincus. Saturday August 21, 2021, 11am – 12noon Central.

How to Open and Close Picture Books ($)
Craft Webinar with Liz Garton Scanlon. Saturday, August 28, 11am – 12:30pm Central.


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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