January Picture Book Opportunities

A New Year of Opportunities!

And a new organization for the monthly post!

The three main categories are still the same and are still linked below: January Events / Register in January, Happening Later / Happen Every Month.

Within the first two categories are three new subcategories:

  • Online Challenges & Events: For example, Storystorm, ReVISION week, #NFFest, Twitter Pitch events.
  • Webinars & Conferences: Educational experiences lasting from an hour to a weekend.
  • Multi-Week Courses: Real-time opportunities to dig deep over several weeks or months. (On-demand courses are not listed.)

The categories aren’t perfect. For example, where does Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 go? It’s a challenge that lasts all year! Or Rate Your Story?

Even though it’s not perfect, I hope you find the new organization helpful. Let me know what you think! And now for this month’s lists.

Click the links to go directly to each list.

To see what’s available all year, and what’s coming up the rest of this year, visit the PICTURE BOOK SUPPORT resource page. (Although, it’s not yet updated for the whole year! Working on it.)

Do you, or 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.

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 


Online Challenges & Events


Storystorm (free)
Come up with 30 story ideas in the 31 days of January. Inspirational guest posts. Raffle of prizes for those who succeed. Okay to start a few days into January! Hosted by children’s author Tara Lazar.

Children’s Book Challenge Week (free)
Bring your story to life in 2022! Learn how to write, illustrate, and publish children’s books. January 10 – 15, 2022, 10:00-11:00 AM Pacific Time. Hosted by Storyteller Academy.

12×12 Picture Book Challenge ($)
Write 12 picture books in 12 months. Annual membership includes critique opportunities, monthly live webinars, special interest groups, and the support of the entire 12×12 community. Registration opens January 14, 2022 and runs into February. Hosted by children’s author Julie Hedlund. 

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. Registration for 2022 is open and will close when full; individual critiques are sometimes available to nonmembers using SpeedPass.

New England SCBWI Windows & Mirrors Scholarship (free to apply)
The NESCBWI Windows & Mirrors Scholarships were created to boost marginalized writers and illustrators from historically underrepresented groups in children’s literature. The applicants themselves must identify in one of the listed categories (see link for list). Submission deadline: January 31, 2022 at 11:59 pm Eastern.

DVCON (free)
A two-day virtual writers conference for authors & illustrators who identify with a marginalized community. January 22 – 23, 2022. Register at this link. A product of #DVPIT.

Winter Great Critique ($)
A published author or illustrator will lead each small group and critique your manuscript or art. See link for registration deadlines and pricing. January 22, 2022, 9am -12pm Pacific Time. Hosted by SCBWI Oregon.

PBParty New Draft Challenge (free)
January 20, 2022,
all day Eastern Time. Hosted by author Mindy Alyse Weiss.

#ReVISIONweek Tune-Up Day 1 (free)
Start your year out “WRITE” with this manuscript revision challenge hosted by author Lauren Kerstein. January 26, 2022.

12 Months of Books Challenge! (*see note)
A challenge to preorder a kid’s book for every month of the year! Authors/illustrators submit information about their 2022 releases through this form. Tamara posts the info monthly, readers review the list and order from their favorite book source, and books arrive when they launch. *Free for participating authors; readers pre-order books from the list. Hosted by author Tamara Girardi.

Webinars & Conferences

Events lasting from an hour to a few days.

Winter Break, Not Just For College Students Anymore ($)
The second One-Stop Info-Filled Sessions with Karen Boss, Editor at Charlesbridge Books. (Ask Me Anything & Pitch Party). January 4, 2022, 7pm Eastern. Hosted by The Writers’ Loft.

SCBWI Carolinas 30th Birthday Package ($)
A 9-month program designed to walk you through the creative process in 2022. Options for Writers and Illustrators. See link for details. First event, January 11, 2022. Hosted by SCBWI Carolinas.

Cheryl Klein presents, “Seventeen Revision Techniques” (free)
In this virtual talk, children’s editor and writer Cheryl Klein will offer 17 proven techniques for going deep into your draft, getting a fresh look at it, and completing a great revision. Tuesday January 11, 2022, 7pm – 8pm Central Time. Hosted by Chippewa Valley (Wisconsin) Writers’ Guild.

How to Self-Publish a Picture Book ($)
A Webinar with Stefanie Hohl, creator of the award-winning ABC See, Hear, Do series. January 11, 2022, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Eastern. Presented by SCBWI Pennsylvania West.

Tackling the Perfectly Overwhelming Task of Researching Literary Agents ($)
Webinar with Author Tara Luebbe. January 12, 2022, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm Central Time. Hosted by SCBWI Kansas-Missouri.

The Anxiety Talk: Answering the Unanswerable Questions ($)
Jane Friedman, Publishing Consultant, January 14, 2022 1-2pm Eastern. Hosted by Inked Voices.

Finding Your Way to a Story ($)
Craft Webinar with Lesa Cline-Ransome. January 15, 2022, 11am-12:30pm Central Time. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Diving Into Picture Books: Format, Structure, and Practice ($)
Join author Nikki Shannon Smith for two intensive sessions to kickstart your picture book project. January 15, 2022, 3pm – 5pm Eastern Time and January 22, 2022, 12 – 2pm and 3 – 5pm Eastern. From Highlights Foundation.

Beyond the Book Release ($)
Margaret Peterson Haddix will speak about in-person and virtual school and library visits; Arree Chung will discuss book marketing and business tips for authors and illustrators. January 15, 2022, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm Eastern. Hosted by SCBWI Ohio: Central and South.

Aesop Writers (free)
A workshop for un-published fiction and non-fiction picture book creators. Participants for this event will be selected by LOTTERY. If your name is chosen, you will receive a link to attend a virtual writing workshop on MLK Day, January 17, 2022. Hosted by author Alice Faye Duncan.

Why Work with an Agent… and How? ($)
With agent Rachel Orr. Submission opportunities. Finding A Home For Your Story Series, Part 3. January 18, 2022, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Israel Time, 12noon -1pm Eastern. Hosted by SCBWI Israel.

From Query to Acquisitions with an Agent & Editor: A Two-Night Mini ($)
Join us for two evening sessions to firm up your understanding of the submission process, from querying your work through acquisitions. January 19 and 20, 2022, 7pm – 8:15pm Eastern. From Highlights Foundation.

The Role of Research in Fiction ($)
Panel Discussion with authors Christine Kendall & Lindsay Bandy. Thursday, January 20, 2022 @7:00pm Eastern. Hosted by SCBWI Pennsylvania: East.

Environmental Storytelling: Place As Narrative ($)
Webinar with author Meg Eden. January 21, 2022, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm. Hosted by Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia.

Writing in the New Year: From Isolation to Community (free)
As we begin a new year and new season of life in 2022, what changes can we anticipate in our writing lives and goals? Join Pat Dunn, Christine Kalafus, Valerie Bolling, Liz Matthews, Sherri T. Mercer, and moderator Adele Annesi for an insightful, interactive discussion. Hosted by Westport Writers’ Workshop. Saturday January 22, 2022 10-11:30am Eastern.

New Year Wisdom: Three Picture-Book Workshops with Editor Karen Boss ($)
Come to one or all three of these workshops with Charlesbridge Books Editor Karen Boss.

Picture Book Structure, January 11
Picture Book Hooks, January 18
Picture Book Story Arc, January 25, 2022

All workshops from 7 – 8:30pm Eastern. Hosted by The Writers’ Loft.

2022 Picture Book Webinar Series ($)
Early Bird pricing for the full series runs through January 4. Starting January 5, tickets for individual webinars will be offered. Hosted by SCBWI Inland Northwest.

The Start, The Art, The Heart Of Revision with Author, Beth Ferry. Tuesday, January 4 at 10:00 AM Pacific Time

More Than Fancy Writing: Finding that solid hook in your picture book with Literary Agent, Rachel Orr. Saturday, February 19 at 9:00 AM Pacific Time

Crafting a Successful Picture Book Ending with Editor, Julie Bliven. Saturday, March 19 at 10:30 AM Pacific Time.

Multi-Week Courses

Courses lasting more than a day or two.

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 writing a picture book. 8 weeks beginning January 3, 2022. Hosted by Writing Workshops.

Writing with Authenticity ($)
Join author/illustrator Jessixa Bagley for a deep dive into writing picture books from the heart. Six Tuesdays, January 11 – February 15, 2022, 7 – 9pm Central. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Perfecting The Picture Book II with Carmen Oliver ($)
Six Wednesdays, January 12–February 16, 2022, 7–9pm Central. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Getting to Know Your Character ($)
Use this course to deepen your understanding of your characters and unlock secrets to make decisions about point of view, plot, pacing and more. January 12 – February 2, 2022. From Highlights Foundation.

Writing PLACE-based Picture Books ($)
6-week course with author Molly Beth Griffin. Wednesdays, January 26, 2022-March 2, 2022, 6pm -8pm Central Time. Hosted by The Loft.


Upcoming Online Challenges and Events

NonFiction Fest (free) (@NFFest)
NF Fest turns February into a crash course in writing nonfiction for children. Read at least 20 of the posts and complete 20 of the suggested activities. Prizes will be awarded in a random drawing of those completing the challenge. Hosted by the NonFiction Chicks: Lisa Amstutz, Stephanie Bearce, Nancy Churnin, Susie Kralovansky, Pat Miller, Linda Skeers, and Peggy Thomas.

Upcoming Webinars & Conferences

Picture Book Writing for Novelists ($)
Craft Webinar with Leah Henderson. February 5, 2022, 10am – 11:30am Central Time. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

SCBWI Winter Conference ($)
Theme: Recipe for success in creating and selling children’s books in 2022. On Zoom, February 11 – 13, 2022, with recordings available through March 31, 2022. See link for details and registration. Hosted by SCBWI National.

Rhyming Picture Books: A Two-Night Mini ($)
To rhyme or not to rhyme… a question that fills the picture book writer’s mind! Join authors Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Anne Marie Pace for a webinar-style mini to find some answers. February 22 and 24, 2022, 7pm – 8:15pm Eastern Time, both nights. From Highlights Foundation.

Writing Leveled Readers for Education ($)
With Sonny Regelman. Leveled readers are a standard component of K–6 programs in reading and other content areas. February 26, 2022, 2pm – 5pm Central Time. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

SCBWI Regional Virtual Events (Fee and Free)
Clink link to see what’s coming up in months to come.

Upcoming Multi-Week Courses

So You Want to be an Author/Illustrator? ($)
Explore the possibilities of moving from Illustrator to Author/Illustrator or becoming an Author/Illustrator with a focus on craft and an intense level of feedback. February 3 – March 10, 2022. See link for times. From Highlights Foundation.

Crash Course in Children’s Publishing: Everything You Need to Know ($)
This ten-week online course covers all aspects of children’s book publishing, from genres and types of books to working with a publisher (and everything in between). February 9 – April 13, 2022. See link for times. From Highlights Foundation.

Emotional Impact & Your Picture Book ($)
This multi-month online course digs into the heart of a picture book—and by “heart” we mean the emotional impact that causes our hearts to swell, squeeze, and bump-bump because of a stunning story! February 19 – May 21, 2022. From Highlights Foundation.

Picture Book Biographies I: Style and Substance ($)
6-week course with picture book biography author Rob Sanders. Six Wednesdays, February 23 – March 30, 2022 7-9pm Central Time. Hosted by 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.

PBParty New Draft Challenge (free)
Usually the third Thursday of each month, unless it conflicts with a pitch party, so check web site. All day, Eastern Time. Hosted by Mindy Alyse Weiss.

PB Workshop Chat Group (free)
In the PB Workshop chat server you can discuss writing, ask for tips and opinions, share your favorite books, discuss events, etc. Hosted on the Discord App by author Chris Nantais.

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

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.

#FirstDraftFriday (free)
The first Friday of each month, 8am-8pm Eastern Time (1pm-1am UTC), write a new picture book first draft with inspiration from the day’s blog post featuring guest authors, then enter to win a free MS critique. #FirstDraftFriday. Hosted by children’s writer Hollie Wolverton.

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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