January Picture Book Opportunities

A New Year of Opportunities!

Click the links to go directly to each list.

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


For Everyone
For Illustrators
For Writers

To see what’s available all year, and what’s coming up the rest of this year, visit the PICTURE BOOK SUPPORT resource page.

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 


Challenges, Contests, Mentorships, Awards, and Events


12×12 Picture Book Challenge ($)
Write 12 picture books in 12 months. Annual membership includes critique opportunities, monthly live webinars, and the support of the entire 12×12 community. Registration open now through February for a full-year membership. Hosted by children’s author Julie Hedlund. 

Storystorm (free)
Come up with 30 story ideas in 31 days. Inspirational guest posts. Raffle of prizes for those who succeed. Registration begins in December. Hosted by children’s author Tara Lazar.

Kids’ Choice KidLit Writing Contest (free)
Write a story for PB, MG, or YA readers (200 words or less) and it will be judged by KIDS! Rules and info will be posted January 4, 2023, entries may be submitted 1/26 – 1/28. Hosted by author Kailei Pew.

How to Make Children’s Books – Challenge Week (free)
Bring your picture book story to life in 2023! Learn how to write, illustrate, and publish children’s books. January 9 – 13, 2023, 5 – 6pm Pacific Time. Hosted by Storyteller Academy.

Scholarship Celebration and Information Session (free)
The Highlights Foundation team will gather to celebrate and launch the 2023 Scholarship application season. Attend to learn more about available scholarships and how to apply. January 31, 2023, 8pm Eastern time.

Rate Your Story ($)
Manuscript critiques from professionals in the field, among other benefits. Sometimes holds open submission days with free critiques for nonmembers. SpeedPass critiques are available. Also watch the site for events and free critique opportunities. 

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 usually January 31, check site for more info.

Webinars & Conferences

Events lasting from an hour to a few days, in mostly chronological order.

DVCON (free)
A two-day virtual writers conference for authors & illustrators who identify with a marginalized community. 2023 dates not yet announced. 2022 info at this link. A product of #DVPIT.

Winter Writing Wonder Picture Book Writing Workshops ($)
Ditch the winter blues and dig into picture books. Come to one or to all six workshops with Charlesbridge editor Karen Boss. For both fiction and non-fiction picture book writers. Hosted by The Writers’ Loft of Hudson, MA.

  • Characters Count. Pull out your work(s)-in-progress and spend time getting to know your characters in ways you might not have thought possible. January 11, 2023, 6:30 – 8pm Eastern Time.
  • Pacing/Tension for the Win. Learn more about the importance of pacing and tension in picture books. January 19, 2023, 6:30 – 8pm Eastern Time.
  • Four Keys to Dialogue. Come learn more about how dialogue works in a picture book. January 24, 2023, 6:30 – 8pm Eastern Time.
  • See February webinar and conference listings for three more workshops.

ADD ON: Karen Boss critique! (Limited spots) You must be enrolled in at least one workshop. Karen will let you know how to submit your picture book and she will return it by APRIL 15th.

It Takes Two – Co-Authoring Kidlit ($)
Join Nancy Churnin for this craft webinar on co-writing. When is it the right time to co-author a book? What are the factors that make this the best and most satisfying choice — and what are the concerns? January 14, 2023, 10am – 11:30 am Central Time. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Mining the Heart: How to Emotionally Connect with Readers ($)
Author Kaitlyn Wells breaks Heart, that once unteachable writing skill, into digestible parts in this interactive session. January 15, 2023, 2 – 5pm Central Time. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Aesop Writers (free)
A virtual writing workshop for un-published fiction and non-fiction picture book creators. As an expression of service to others–the 3rd virtual workshop is January 16, 2023, 12 noon Central Time. Hosted by author Alice Faye Duncan.

Take Charge of Your Creative Adventure ($)
In this webinar with author Christine Carron, you will learn the important difference between taking charge of your creative adventure and trying to control it. January 17, 2023, 7pm Eastern Time. Hosted by SCBWI Eastern Pennsylvania.

These “Rules” Aren’t Rules: How to Free Your Picture Books from Formulaic Writing ($)
Come listen to an editor who’s tired of rejecting formulaic writing. Free yourself and your stories. Presenter: Frances Gilbert, VP Editor-in-Chief of Doubleday Books for Young Readers, Random House Children’s Books.  January 19, 2023 at 7:00 PM Central Time. Hosted by SCBWI Dakotas.

From Query to Published and All the Hard Steps in Between ($)
With Literary agent Ann Rose. January 19, 2023, 7pm Mountain Time. Part of The Publishing Path Webinar series hosted by SCBWI Rocky Mountain Region. See link for info about upcoming webinars and to purchase a season ticket (available through February 14, 2023)

Non-Traditional Picture Book Structure ($)
Join children’s book author Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and literary agent Rachel Orr to celebrate alternative approaches to picture book structures. A two-night mini course. January 23 & 25, 2023, 7 – 8:15pm each night. From The Highlights Foundation.

Read Like a Writer ($)
Writers fill their wells with stories: stories from the everyday happenings around them, and stories from fellow writers. Author Eric Bell asks, “Do you read like a writer?” January 26, 2023, 8:15pm Eastern Time. From Highlights Foundation.

Writing Picture Books Like A Playwright ($)
Have you ever thought of a picture book as being like a little stage play for kids? Author Meeg Pincus does! Join Meeg explains how you can use this craft approach in your own writing. January 28, 2023, 11-12:30 Central Time. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Multi-Week Courses

Courses lasting more than a day or two.

Write Your Children’s Book! ($)
In this eight-week long personalized workshop, you’ll draft (or revise, or finish up) your work-in-progress for a children’s book (PB, MG, or YA). With author/illustrator Kelly Bingham. Eight weeks starting January 4, 2023.

The Ultimate Craft and Business of Writing and Illustrating Children’s Picture Books Course ($)
Everything you need to write, illustrate, and publish wonderful children’s picture books, taught by a fantastic dream team! January 9 – February 13, 2023. See links for full details. From Children’s Book Academy.

Diving Into Picture Books: Format, Structure, and Practice ($)
Join author Nikki Shannon Smith to kickstart your picture book project with a combination of live lectures, exercises, Q&A, and critiques. January 14  21, 2023. From The Highlights Foundation.

Perfecting the Picture Book II ($)
Perfecting the picture book is not an easy task; let author Carmen Oliver be your guide in this online workshop. Six Wednesdays starting January 18, 2023, 7pm – 9pm Central. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

A Place at the Desk: Writing Fiction 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, January 24 – April 11, 2023, 6pm – 8pm Central Time. Hosted by The Loft.

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. January 1 – February 28, 2023. Led by Anastasia Suen, author (and ghostwriter) of 400+ books for children, teens, and adults. 


For Both Illustrators and Writers

LitMingles (free)
Every month, the Los Angeles Region SCBWI hosts multiple LitMingles, opportunities to discuss topics of interest to kidlit writers and illustrators. For this month’s LitMingles calendar, go to the link above and then click the “LitMingle Calendar” link at the top of the landing page. Hosted by SCBWI Los Angeles, open to everyone via Zoom.

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.

Might Could Studiomates (free)
Tired of social media, but still want a space to share your art and be inspired? Meet artist friends and grow your art practice in this free, private online community. Founded by artist Christine Nishiyama.

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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