October Picture Book Opportunities

Happy Fall! Or Spring for those who are south of the equator.

Click the links to go directly to each list.

Some excellent organizations operate on a membership model or have on-demand courses, and don’t appear here. Check out  “Available All Year” on the PICTURE BOOK SUPPORT resource page.

Do you write for older readers? Check out October Middle Grade & Young Adult Opportunities.



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 


#DebutReviewChallenge (free)
October-November reading challenge begins October 1. Hosted by children’s writer Laura Renauld.

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

Fall Writing Frenzy (free)
Write 200 words inspired by one of the contest photos, and submit it between October 1 – October 3, 2021 11:59 PM Eastern Time. Prizes! Hosted by Lydia Lukidis and Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez.

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, 2021 for 2022.

SCBWI Narrative Art Award (*See note)
Each year, a rotating panel of judges challenges illustrators to tell a story in three sequential images. Winner receives free tuition to the SCBWI Winter Conference. This year’s theme: Be careful what you wish forDeadline is midnight, Pacific Time, October 21, 2021. *Free for dues-paying members of SCBWI.

Critiquing In The Modern World ($)
Keynote by Matthew Salesses and Round Table critiques. October 1 – 2, 2021, see link for times. Hosted by Illinois SCBWI.

Pricing Your Illustration (free)
Setting a fair and ethical price for artwork in self publishing with illustrator Lizzie Savanella. October 1, 2021, 8 – 9pm Eastern. Hosted by New York: Westchester SCBWI.

Picture Book Summit ($)
Full-day writing conference live-streamed to your computer.  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. Saturday October 2, 2021.

Revisions: How Much Revision is Too Much? (*See note)
Panel with Rebecca Balcárcel, Christina Soontornvat, and Ann Marie Stephens. Saturday, October 2, 2021, 4 – 5:30pm Eastern. Hosted by Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia SCBWI. *Free to SCBWI members, $25 others

How to Use Physical Action Like a Playwright ($)
With Ginny Myers Sain. October 2, 2021 11am – 12:15pm Central. Hosted by Oklahoma SCBWI.

Meaning & Music – Writing Picture Books that Sing ($)
Join author Dianne White for a craft webinar on how to make your picture book SING! Saturday October 2, 2021, 11am – 12:30pm Central Time. From The Writing Barn.

The Nuts and Bolts of Illustration Half-Day Intensive ($)
Being a Children’s Book Illustrator. October 2, 2021, 8:00 am – 2:45 pm Central Time. Hosted by SCBWI SouthWest Texas.

Picture Book Plotting A-Z ($)
Are you ready to do a deep, deep dive into picture book structure? This 5-week intensive with Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen features assignments for each letter of the “Picture Book Alphabet” as well as weekly online gatherings. October 3 – November 11, 2021. Hosted by The Highlights Foundation.

What’s Your Online Story? ($)
With Sarah Maynard, Digital Presence Coach. October 7, 2021 7 -8:30pm Eastern. Hosted by Pennsylvania: West SCBWI

Roundtable Portfolio Consultations ($)
With illustrator Eric Rohmann. Friday October 8, 2021, 10:30am – 12:00pm Pacific. Hosted by Western Washington SCBWI.

Phenomenal Picture Books (free)
Peruse upcoming picture-book releases from Greystone Kids, Minedition, Owlkids, Quarto Kids, Second Story Press, and Tundra Books. October 8, 2021, 1pm Central. From American Library Association (ALA).

EPA SCBWI presents Illustrator Day 2021 ($)
Focus on Nonfiction & Biography. Saturday, October 9, 2021, 9am – 5pm Eastern. Hosted by Eastern Pennsylvania SCBWI.

Nonfiction for Kids: Where Are We Now? (free)
With Candace Fleming. October 9, 2021, 10–11am Pacific. Hosted by Western Washington SCBWI.

Busting Out of the Picture Book Box ($)
Nonfiction Series Workshop With Candace Fleming & Eric Rohmann.
October 9, 2021, 12–2:30pm Pacific. Hosted by Western Washington SCBWI.

Viewing Children’s Books Through an Intersectional Lens ($)
A Professional Development for Educators, Storytellers, & Publishing Professionals. October 11 – November 2, 2021, see link for days and times. From The Highlights Foundation.

Using Libraries to Find Your Readers (free)
October 13, 2021 7-8:30pm Central. Hosted by Illinois SCBWI

Picture Books with Heart ($)
Craft Webinar with Anika Denise and Christopher Denise. Saturday October 16, 2021, 11am – 12:30 pm Central. From The Writing Barn.

SCBWI Montana Fall “Harvest” Conference ($)
October 16 – 17, 2021, 8am–7:45pm Mountain.

Filling the Writer’s Toolbox ($)
Prepare your manuscript for submission under the guidance of renowned editor Emma Dryden. October 17 – November 7, 2021. Hosted by The Highlights Foundation.

Let’s Be Honest: 33 Truths About Publishing ($)
With Stephen Fraser, senior agent for The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. Monday, October 18, 2021 7:00pm Eastern. Hosted by Eastern Pennsylvania SCBWI.

Perfecting the Picture Book I with Lisa Katzenberger ($)
Join Author Lisa Katzenberger to build the foundation of knowledge you need to write amazing picture books! Six Mondays, 7 – 9pm Central Time, October 18 – November 22, 2021. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Perfecting the Nonfiction Proposal ($)
With author and agent Jacqui Lipton. October 19, 2021, 7pm – 8:30pm Central Time. Hosted by Texas: Austin SCBWI.

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.

Writing Picture Books About Difficult Topics in History ($)
Join author Marcie Colleen & author-illustrator and educator Amanda Davis for LIGHT WITHIN THE DARKNESS, a craft webinar on writing picture books that address difficult topics in history. Wednesday October 20, 2021, 1-2:30pm Central Time. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Online Latinx Symposium 2021: An In-Community Celebration of ¡DRAMA! ($)
Online symposium centered on celebrating our Latinx community and stories. October 20 – 31, 2021. From the Highlights Foundation.

2021 SCBWI Mid Atlantic Virtual Fall Conference ($)
October 23 – 24, 2021.
See link for schedule. Hosted by Mid Atlantic SCBWI.

Becoming a Nonfiction Writer ($)
This is an online course with two parts: an intensive weekend, followed by two weeks of pre-recorded lectures, mini-lectures, Q & A sessions, and 1:1 consultations. October 23 – November 3, 2021. From The Highlights Foundation.

An Agent & Author’s Perspective on Writing for Very Young Children ($)
Senior Literary Agent Tricia Lawrence and Author Annie Bailey will share things to consider when writing and selling both board books and picture books. October 25, 2021 7pm Eastern. Hosted by Eastern Pennsylvania SCBWI.

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 general description; search Susanna’s blog for this year’s details.) Hosted by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill.

#DVPit and #DVart  (free)
Twitter pitch party for historically underrepresented voices in children’s literature. October 25, 2021 will be for Children’s & YA Fiction/Nonfiction (#DVpit). October 26, 2021 will be for Artists & Illustrators (#DVart). 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.

Your Book on the Big (Computer) Screen: How to Make Your Own Book Trailer ($)
How to Make Your Own Book Trailer. October 27, 2021 7 – 8:30pm Mountain. Hosted by New Mexico SCBWI.

#PBPitch (free)
A Twitter pitch party exclusively for picture books! Thursday, October 28, 2021, from 8am to 8pm EST!


The ABCs of Poetry – Writing in Verse for Children and Teens ($)
Craft Webinar with Lesléa Newman. November 4, 2021, 10-11:30am Central. From The Writing Barn.

Truth and Imagination in Picture Books ($)
This class on writing picture books for children will focus on story and technique in writing fiction and nonfiction. Author Uma Krishnaswami instructor. Saturday November 6, 2021, 9am – 1pm Central. From The Loft.

Creating Characters with Depth and Staying Power ($)
Craft Webinar with Donna Gephart. November 9, 2021, 7–8:30pm Central. From The Writing Barn.

How to Critique a Picture Book ($)
Includes how to set up a successful critique group. Author Trisha Speed Shaskan, instructor. Saturday November 13, 2021, 9am–Noon Central. From The Loft.

The Funny Women of Kidlit! ($)
Weekend-long Confab! November 13 – 14, 2021, 9am – 7pm Central. From The Writing Barn.


For Both Illustrators and Writers

KidLit Social (free)
A free educational hangout for kidlit writers featuring guest speakers, news, 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month: 8pm Eastern, 7pm Central, 6pm Mountain, 5pm Pacific. Replays available here. Sign up for guest notifications here, and get a free ebook: The Ultimate Children’s Writing Cheat Sheet.” 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 month 5 minutes at a time in a writing workshop for board books to YA with a 238 page e-book library and a 30-minute mentor meeting call *anytime* during the month 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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