February Picture Book Opportunities

February starts tomorrow! Whether the groundhog sees its shadow on Thursday, the next four weeks bring lots of opportunities to up your writing or editing game. Want to take things at your own pace? Check out the year-round and self-paced listings at the top of the Picture Book Support page.

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

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


12×12 Picture Book Challenge ($)
Write 12 picture books in 12 months. Critique opportunities, monthly live webinars with industry professionals, and the support of the entire amazing 12×12 community. Register at this link by February 28, 2023 for a 2023 membership. Hosted by children’s author Julie Hedlund. 

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 AmstutzStephanie BearceNancy ChurninSusie KralovanskyLinda Skeers, and Peggy Thomas.

Valentiny Writing Contest (free)
Write a Valentines story appropriate for children (ages 12 and under), maximum 214 words, on this year’s theme (to be announced this week). Post on Susanna’s blog between the dates Susanna lists on her blog for this year. Hosted by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill.

Fractured Fairy Tale Short Story Contest ($)
Ready to reimagine your favorite fairy tale in 1000 words or less? This contest is for you! Coming from Institute of Children’s Literature, Coming this month.

#PBPitch (free)
A Twitter pitch party exclusively for picture books, Tuesday February 16, 2023, 8am – 8pm Eastern Time. Check website for full details, hashtags, and rules. Founded and run by Debra Kempf ShumakerPJ McIlvaineMette Engell, and Mandy Yates. 

Rate Your Story ($)F
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 2023 is now open and will close when full; individual critiques are sometimes available to nonmembers using SpeedPass.

Webinars & Conferences

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

Journey Through Acquisitions: Editor Panel ($)
Listen in as five acquiring editors explain the acquisitions process. February 2, 2023, 7 – 8:30pm Eastern Time. Hosted by The KidLit Hive.

Back Matter for Nonfiction and Fiction Picture Books ($)
Back Matter is Where it’s At! Come to hear all about it with Laura Gehl, award-winning author of dozens of books for young readers. February 4, 2023, 10 – 11 am Pacific Time. Hosted by SCBWI Western Washington.

Diversity Panel (*See note)
Chapter Meeting with Speakers Panel, Adriana Domínguez, senior agent at Aevitas Creative Management, Jacqui Lipton, agent at The Tobias Literary Agency and Moderator RAE Patricia Buckley, author/RAE. February 4, 2023, 2pm – 4pm Pacific Time. *Free for dues-paying members of SCBWI; small fee for nonmembers. Hosted by SCBWI California: San Diego.

Get Inspired: Small Books, Big Ideas! ($)
Looking for inspiration for your first picture book? Want to explore big ideas? Not sure how to weave messages into your craft? Join author Abdullahi Janno for this beginner-level class to find answers to these questions. February 4, 2023, 9 a.m. – Noon Central Time. Hosted by The Loft.

Yakkity Yak: Animal Protagonists in PBs ($)
In this webinar, Rachel Orr from Prospect Agency will look at the wide range of animals in picture books—both anthropomorphic and in the wild, and discuss the benefits of casting an animal as your protagonist (and when it’s best to use humans), and other considerations. February 7, 2023, 7 – 8pm Eastern Time. Hosted by SCBWI Pennsylvania: East.

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

  • Revision Is Hard. Use this workshop to jumpstart revising a project you’ve been struggling with or one fresh off your pen! February 8, 2023, 6:30 – 8pm Eastern Time.
  • Back Matter Matters. Both fiction and nonfiction picture books benefit from strong back matter. How much is the right amount? February 16, 2023, 6:30 – 8pm Eastern Time.
  • Unique Ideas Stand Out. How can you make your idea stand out in a sea of submissions and in an ocean of published books on the shelf? February 21, 2023, 6:30 – 8pm Eastern Time.

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.

Marketing Your Book Online Beyond Social Media: How Amazon Works, Digital Advertising, and More ($)
In this webinar, author and freelance editor Tracy C. Gold will share what she has learned from marketing her own books and observing marketplace trends for both self and traditional publishing. February 8, 2023, 6pm Eastern Time. Hosted by SCBWI MD/DE/WV.

Make Your Story Unputdownable: Secrets of Creating Suspense in Kid Lit ($)
Struggling to build suspense in your story? Join author Bruce Hale and take a deep dive into all the tips and tricks that make it impossible for a reader to put your book down! February 11, 2023, 2-5 PM Central Time. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Hack Your Brain Into Writing ($)
sometimes we writers are challenged and get stuck starting a project, continuing a project, and/or finishing a project. Join author Rajani LaRocca to learn some “brain hacks” to help you start writing. February 17, 2023, 7pm Eastern Time. Hosted by The KidLit Hive.

We All Have a Story to Tell: Magic Happens When You Make Every Word Count (*See note)
Author Vivian Kirkfield’s words will engage, enlighten, and empower you no matter where you are on your creative journey. February 21, 2023, 7 – 8 pm Eastern Time. *Free to SCBWI members. Hosted by SBWI Mid Atlantic.

Marketing Boot Camp ($)
Writing and publishing your book is only half the job of any writer, illustrator or translator. How do you get the word out? This full-day program taught by multiple faculty can help get you started. February 25, 2023, 8am – 4pm Central Time. Recordings available to registered attendees for one month following date of event. Hosted by SCBWI Texas: Austin.

SCBWI Virtual Conference ($)
The 2023 SCBWI New York Conference is virtual as well as in person! February 25, 2023. Hosted by SCBWI-National.

Multi-Week Courses

Courses lasting more than a day or two.

Editing Children’s Picture Books ($)
Intended for professional editors, but sure to be of use to writers who self-edit and critique. Instructor Lou Piccolo is a freelance developmental editor of fiction and creative nonfiction. February 1 – March 16, 2023. Hosted by Editorial Freelancers Association.

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. February 1 – March 31, 2023. Led by Anastasia Suen, author (and ghostwriter) of 400+ books for children, teens, and adults.

Writing Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Picture Books ($)
Picture books featuring SEL concepts are in demand by editors, sought out by educators, and loved by children. Author Lisa Katzenberger will help you learn how to weave SEL concepts into your picture book manuscripts. Six Tuesdays, February 7 – March 21, 2023, 6:00 – 8:00 pm Central Time. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Getting to Know Your Character ($)
Use this course to deepen your understanding of your characters and make decisions about point of view, plot, pacing and more. February 15 – March 8, 2023, see link for details. From Highlights Foundation.

The Crash Course in Children’s Book Publishing ($)
At the end of this 10-week course, you will understand how the children’s book publishing industry works, including submitting, publishing, marketing a book for children, teens, or young adults, and beginning ideas about craft and critique. February 28, 2023 – May 2, 2023. From The Highlights Foundation.


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 Tiffany Harvey (@tiffanygharvey), Dani Duck (@daniduck) and Emily Calimlim (@limlimillus).

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.

Does 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.

Months of a Year Banner Illustrations by Blue Ring Media, Shutterstock.


  1. Amazing list!

    I know SCBWI just shuffled their contests around a little bit so that everything is open for 1 month, and it looks like Ann Whitford got moved to April. (Also looks like you have it listed on here twice – before & after Rate Your Story)

    Here’s the new SCBWI calendar – https://www.scbwi.org/awards-and-grants-calendar/

    Also, I noticed the moderators listed for the #KidLitArt chat are about 3 years out of date. (Not your fault!) It’s now moderated by (me) Tiffany Harvey @tiffanygharvey, Dani Duck @DaniDuck, & Emily Calimlim @Limlimillus .

    Liked by 1 person

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