July Picture Book Opportunities

Summer’s a great time to hone your skills as a writer, illustrator, or both!

Click the links to go directly to each list.

Challenges, Contests, Mentorships, Awards, and Events
Webinars & Conferences
Multi-Week Courses




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


Challenges, Contests, Mentorships, & Awards

#kidlit Comps Summer Reading Club (free)
Join the #kidlit Comps Summer Reading Club on Facebook and read all summer long. Build a list of comps (published children’s books like yours) to use in your query when you send out your #kidlit manuscript. June 1-Aug 31, 2022. Led by author and developmental editor Anastasia Suen.

Picture Book Junction Giveaways (free)
Follow @PicBookJunction on Twitter for chances to win critiques, Zoom calls, and picture books in the month of July! Hosted by Picture Book Junction, a group of kidlit authors & illustrators with books launching in 2023. July, 2022.

AAAS/Subaru Prize for Excellence in Science Books
The AAAS/Subaru Book Prize aims to encourage the reading, writing, and publishing of quality science books for children. Four categories. Books published between July 1, 2021 and July 31, 2022 eligible for 2022 prize. Submit by July 8, 2022.

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. Winners receives a $2,000 cash prize and a first time publishing contract with Lee & Low Books. All submissions must be submitted between May 1, 2022, to August 1, 2022 11:59 p.m. EDT (Eastern Daylight Time).

Black Voices in Children’s Literature Writing Contest (free)
The contests’ mission is to elevate authentic, culturally relevant children’s stories written by and about Black people. Every entry is considered for publication and three cash prizes will be awarded. See link above for details. Submissions open June 19 to July 24, 2022. Sponsored by Free Spirit Publishing and Strive Publishing.

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! See link for full details.

ICL Poetry for Kids (free?)
Start working on your haikus, limericks, and sonnets! ICL’s next poetry contest opens this summer. Check back at link above for more details on the theme and submission guidelines. From ICL (Institute for Children’s Literature.)

Russell Freedman Award For Nonfiction For A Better World (free)
In honor of the late Russell Freedman, Newbery Award winner and one of the modern masters of narrative nonfiction, a prize to a traditionally published nonfiction book for children or young adults, released between January 1 and December 31, 2022. Submission deadline September 15, 2022. From the SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund.

Webinars & Conferences

Picture Book Slipper Camp ($)
Size-limited intensive picture book camp full of lessons, instructor and peer critiques, fun, and submissions! Instant access to on-demand lessons and two live events on June 25th and July 9th, 2022. From Children’s Book Academy.

Let’s Create In Procreate! ($)
Kick off Summer Springboard for Illustrators 2022 by learning to use Procreate for illustration, from Sketch to Share and a few things in between, with Olga Herrera. July 7, 2022, 10:30am – 12pm Eastern Time. From SCBWI MD/DE/WV.

Years in the Making: Embracing the Long View as Writers ($)
There’s no denying it: Publishing is s-l-o-w. In this webinar, Meera will discuss how to develop your craft, find the heart of your work, and develop a writing community over the long haul. July 9, 2022, 1pm Eastern. From SCBWI MD/DE/WV.

2022 Nonfiction Kidlit Confab ($)
Two days of digging deep into nonfiction kidlit, with distinguished faculty including authors, illustrators, agents, and editors. July 9 – 10, 2022, 9 – 5pm Central. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Perfect Your Pitch ($)
In her 75-minute presentation, agent Joyce Sweeney will teach you how to perfect your pitch with advice, examples and live feedback given on a handful of participants’ pre-selected pitches. July 10, 2022, 1:30-3:30 Pacific Time. Registration closes July 7.

Picture Book Structure, Focus, & Word Choice ($)
Everyone loves picture books! But writing stories that sell means going beyond a fun idea. Join award-winning picture book author Darcy Pattison and author/illustrator Leslie Helakoski for this two-night mini course. 7pm – 8:15pm Eastern, July 12 and 14, 2022. From The Highlights Foundation.

Picture Book Palooza! (free)
Join us for our second annual SLJ Picture Book Palooza, an all-day, free virtual celebration of authors and artists dedicated to the visual dance and extraordinary craft of picture books! July 14, 2022, 10am – 5pm Eastern. Hosted by School Library Journal (SLJ).

Path to Story for Illustrators ($)
A conversation with author/illustrator Shirley Ng-Benitez who shares how working from the heart, and continual learning & exploration help keep her on her path to storytelling. Thursday, July 14, 2022, 6:30 – 8pm Eastern Time. From SCBWI Louisiana/Mississippi.

Perfect Pitch ($)
Join agent D. Ann Williams and author & Pitch Wars mentor Cindy Baldwin as they teach you how to craft the perfect pitch for your picture book, nonfiction, or novel manuscript. July 14, 2022, 7pm Pacific Time. From SCBWI Oregon.

Creating Animal Characters ($)
Summer Springboard for Illustrators 2022 continues with a look at developing unique, memorable characters with Timothy Young. July 14, 2022, 7:30 – 9pm Eastern. From SCBWI MD/DE/WV.

nErDCAMP PA (free)
nErD Camps are FREE professional development sessions for educators and librarians who love books and want to discuss timely topics with the people who create them! See link for speakers and events. July 15, 2022, 9am – 4pm Eastern Time. Virtual on Zoom, hosted by Millersville University.

Naomi Kirsten Double Header ($)
Naomi Kirsten, Senior Editor at Chronical books, will present back to back workshops: Session 1: “All About Board Books: How to Pitch and Position Your Project” and Session 2: “Crafting the Truth: Tips for Effectively Pitching a Nonfiction Children’s Book”. July 15, 2022, 5:45pm – 8:30 pm Eastern Time. From SCBWI Louisiana/Mississippi.

So… You Want to Write a Picture Book? ($)
Have you always dreamed of writing a children’s picture book but don’t know where to start? Join author Shannon Anderson to learn the nuts and bolts of creating picture books for today’s marketplace. July 16, 2022, 9am – 1pm Central Time. Hosted by The Loft.

Steering your Picture Book in the Right Direction ($)
Do you feel like you’re drifting on the sea of picture books, but don’t know how to reach your publication destination? This session with author Nikki Shannon Smith will cover all of the picture book basics needed to write or revise your picture book. July 16, 2022, 1pm Eastern. From SCBWI MD/DE/WV.

Writing for Kids: Entering the World of Children’s Literature ($)
Learn the fundamentals of writing for children in this one day workshop with Amanda Hosch, and write the kinds of stories that kids simply can’t put down. July 19, 2022, 7:00-9:30 P.M. U.S. Eastern Time. From writers.com.

Multiple Income Streams: Piecing Together the Puzzle ($)
Summer Springboard for Illustrators 2022 continues with a look at the business side of illustration, with author, illustrator, animator, and educator Elizabeth Lilly. July 21, 2022, 7:30 – 9pm Eastern Time. From SCBWI MD/DE/WV.

Nothing Rhymes with Orange and Other Things to Consider (Whether You Write in Rhyme or Not) ($)
Craft Webinar with author Dianne White. July 23, 2022, 1011:30 am Central. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Creating Compelling Kidlit Characters With Disabilities (*See note)
During this 90-minute panel and Q&A discussion, five published kidlit authors and author/illustrators will share personal insight and experiences and discuss disability representation in picture books, middle grade, and young adult books. July 27, 2022, 7pm – 8:30pm.  *Free for SCBWI members, nominal fee for nonmembers. From SCBWI Ohio North.

Come Paint Your Public Face! ($)
Summer Springboard for Illustrators 2022 winds up with a guide to presentation skills and book event planning, with author/book launch strategist, Caroline Leech, and her guests, author/illustrators Emma Virján and Marissa Valdez. July 28, 2022, 10:30am – Noon Eastern. From From SCBWI MD/DE/WV.

Reading Like A Writer: A One-Night Mini ($)
Do you read like a writer? Join writer Eric Bell for a fun, webinar-style class on ways to improve your writing through the enjoyment of reading. Eric Bell is a middle grade writer but this is also applicable to picture book creators. 7pm – 8:15pm Eastern, July 28, 2022. From The Highlights Foundation.

Multi-Week Courses

Intensive Picture Book Workshop ($)
Work with a developmental editor in SIX 30-minute Zoom meetings as you write and revise your fiction or nonfiction picture book. July 1 – August 31, 2022. Led by Anastasia Suen, author (and ghostwriter) of 400+ books for children, teens, and adults.

A Place at the Desk: Writing for Children ($)
Writing for children is a place with a wide spectrum, from picture books to middle grade to young adult. Come to this session to explore it all with instructor and author Lisa M. Bolt Simons. Six Tuesdays, July 12 – August 16, 2022, 6 – 9pm Central Time. Hosted by The Loft.


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 hereSign 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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