March Picture Book Opportunities

Here in the northeastern U.S., winter weather only really got started in February, and now spring begins this month! Make the most of the remaining winter weeks with these opportunities to work on your craft–whether that’s writing or editing.

Click the links to go directly to each list.
Challenges, Contests, Awards, & Events
Webinars & Conferences
Multi-Week Courses


For Everyone
For Illustrators
For Writers

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

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, Awards, & Events


#50PreciousWords Writing Challenge (free)
Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words. Early March each year, timed to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Awesome prizes! Begins March 3, 2023. Hosted by author Vivian Kirkfield.

March On With Mentor Texts! (free)
The successor to ReFoReMo: improve your writing by completing a challenge to read mentor texts throughout the month of March. March 1 – 31, 2023. Hosted by the Rate Your Story Blog.

PBParty Annual Contest (free)
The annual PBParty contest is for unagented writers and author/illustrators with finished and polished picture book manuscripts. You submit an entry, contest coordinators pick a variety of genres and forward the entries to participating agents/editors to read and hopefully request. Submissions happen March 1, 2023, check link for details. Hosted by author Mindy Alyse Weiss.

Fractured Fairy Tale Short Story Contest ($)
Ready to reimagine your favorite fairy tale in 1000 words or less? This contest is for you! From Institute of Children’s Literature, submissions open until April 15, 2023.

SCBWI Don Freeman Grants (See note*)
Submissions open March 1 – March 31, 2023. Annual awards given to illustrators of children’s books in support of a work in progress that is not already under contract. *No application fee, but applicant must be a member of SCBWI, which requires dues.

SCBWI Karen and Philip Cushman Late Bloomer Grant (See note*)
Submissions open March 1 – March 31, 2023. Recognizes a promising manuscript by a writer over the age of 50 who has never been published. Submit in conjunction with the Work-in-Progress Awards (see below). *No application fee, but applicant must be a member of SCBWI, which requires dues.

SCBWI Work-in-Progress Awards (See note*)
Submissions open March 1 – March 31, 2023. Annual awards given to writers of children’s books in support of a work in progress that is not already under contract, including picture books. *No application fee, but applicant must be a member of SCBWI, which requires dues.

Webinars & Conferences

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

What it Takes to Get an Offer of Publication in this New Reality ($)
Susan Chang, freelance developmental editor and former Big Five acquisitions editor, talks candidly about the reasons editors reject or accept manuscripts and the calculations that go into a publishing offer. March 2, 2023, 7 – 8:30pm Mountain Time. Hosted by SCBWI Rocky Mountain.

The Evolution of LGBTQIA+ Representation in Picture Books ($)
Join representatives of the Long Island Library Pride Alliance (LILPA), a bi-county, Long Island Library Association Committee, as they explore and share past and present portrayals of the LGBTQIA+ community in picture books. March 4, 2023, 1-3pm Eastern Time. Hosted by SCBWI New York: Long Island.

The Art of Nonfiction: Writing Outside the Box ($)
Join acclaimed nonfiction author Carole Boston Weatherford to discover how the perfect premise and the elements of voice and point of view can suggest a structure that elevates nonfiction to art. March 4, 2023, 11:00am-12:30pm Central Time. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Learn How to Build Character Cultural Literacy ($)
Author Karen Krossing will engage students in a discussion of cultural elements in selected picture books and novels, and she will introduce you to tools and prompts to help you thoughtfully include secondary characters with a diversity of backgrounds and cultures. Sunday, March 5, 2023, 4:00 PM EST From Whale Rock Workshops.

Visual Thinking for Picture Book Writers ($)
Even if you’re not an illustrator, it’s important to master the art of visual thinking if you want to be a successful picture book author. With agent Maria Vicente. March 6, 2023, 7pm Eastern Time. From SCBWI Pennsylvania: East.

A Class Act – How to Shine on an Author School Visit ($)
Join experienced children’s authors and school visit aficionados, Lindsey Littleson and Justin Davies, for an illuminating and entertaining session on making the most of school visits. March 9, 2023, 7 – 8:30pm Greenwich Mean Time. Hosted by SCBWI: British Isles.

Virtual Agents Day ($)
Five acquiring agents talk about agent basics and what makes a great pitch. Registration for the presentations only is available. March 11, 2023, 9am – 4pm Pacific Time. From SCBWI California: San Francisco/South.

Picture Book Process ($)
Saho Fujii, Art Director of Picture Books will talk about the picture book process, including what they look for in illustrators at Little Brown Books for Young Readers. March 11, 2023, 2 – 4pm Pacific Time. Monthly chapter meeting of SCBWI California: San Diego.

Writing in Rhythm and Rhyme ($)
Join picture book author Tameka Fryer Brown for some practical tips on penning lyrical picture books that beg to be read aloud. March 14, 2023, 7 – 8pm Eastern Time. From SCBWI Mid-Atlantic.

Small Press Publication: A Conversation with Three Picture Book Authors ($)
If you’re curious about small presses and wondering if this path is right for your manuscript, join us! March 15, 2023, 7 – 8 pm Pacific Time. Hosted by SCBWI Inland Northwest.

Finding Your Story as an Illustrator ($)
A picture may indeed be worth a thousand words, but one illustration in an artist’s portfolio may be the start of an amazing new story. With agent Chad Beckerman. March 16, 2023, 7pm Eastern Time. From SCBWI Pennsylvania: East.

DISSECTING THE FROG: Oh No, We’re Going to Try to Analyze Humor ($)
What is humor? How does it even work? Adam Rex shares how he thinks—and overthinks—about humor, and the elements that undergird a funny picture book. March 16, 2023, 7 – 8:30pm. From KidLit Hive.

Emotions In Nonfiction Picture Books ($)
Join children’s book author Heidi E.Y. Stemple and editor Eileen Robinson for this two-night mini-course to explore the many ways to infuse emotion into your nonfiction picture book. March 14 and 16, 2023, 7 – 8:15pm Eastern Time. From the Highlights Foundation.

Checking the Vitals: Getting Your PB Manuscript in Shape ($)
At this craft webinar, author Marzieh Abbas will discuss strategies to tick items off your revision checklist and give yourself the best shot at querying and ultimately publishing success. Saturday March 18, 2023, 11am – 12:30pm Central Time. From the Writing Barn.

Marketing Panel ($)
Please join us as we learn tips on marketing new and existing books from SCBWI Westchester PAL members Veera Hiranandani, Susanna Reich and Eric Rosswood. March 20, 2023, 8-9pm Eastern Time. Hosted by SCBWI Westchester.

Breaking Down the P&L Statement ($)
An editor’s interested in your book and is running a P&L? Hooray! Wait! What does that mean? Editor Alison Weiss explains this important piece of the decision whether to offer you a contract. March 23, 2023, 7pm Eastern. Hosted by The KidLit Hive.

Using Tone and Voice to Tackle Hard Topics ($)
Join author Kathryn Erskine to examine approaches to writing about grief, humor, bullying, friendship, religion, and death. March 23, 2023, 7:30pm EST. From Whale Rock Workshops.

Writing for the Education Market ($)
In this miniclass, author and educator, Shannon Anderson, will share what the education market is and how to get work-for-hire assignments. From Storyteller Academy.

Color of Children’s Literature Conference ($)
Join us online for an incredible weekend with top editors, agents, authors & illustrators in the children’s/YA publishing world. Our spring conference is an excellent opportunity for BIPOC writers & illustrators to learn, get inspired and network with others in the industry. Please note that this conference is EXCLUSIVELY for Black, Indigenous and POC writers and illustrators. March 31 – April 2, 2023. Link goes to “save the date” page, check website for more details. Hosted by Kweli Journal.

Multi-Week Courses

Courses lasting more than a day or two.

Picture Book Biographies I: Style and Substance ($)
Join acclaimed picture book biography author Rob Sanders for this six-week online class. Attendees will dig deep into the style and substance of today’s creative non-fiction picture book biographies. Six Mondays, March 6 – April 10, 2023, 7:00 – 9:00 pm Central Time. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Not Your Typical Biography: How to Write Narratively About the Natural World (Even Rocks!) ($)
How do you take your mounds of research and shape them into a story that moves readers?  This fast-paced class with acclaimed nonfiction author Candace Fleming will show you how. Three Wednesdays: March 8 – March 22, 2023, 7:00 – 9:00 pm Central Time. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Perfecting the Picture Book I ($)
Picture Book I is all about perfecting the basic craft and structural elements needed to write successful picture books ready for sale. Join Author Jyoti Gopal to learn basic format elements, how to work with illustrations, word count, picture book tips and tricks, and more. Six Thursdays, March 16 – April 20, 2023, 6:30 – 8:30 pm Central Time. From The Writing Barn.

Children’s Writing for Beginners ($)
This class will explore the exciting world of writing for children and young adults through a mix of writing activities and discussion. Instructor: author Lisa Bullard. Six Thursdays: March 16 – April 20, 2023, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Central Time. Hosted by The Loft.

Write. Submit. Support. ($)
For Picture Book/Chapter Book Writers, a 6-month course offering structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions. March 19 – August 20, 2023, 2 – 5 pm Central Time. Join author Ann Marie Stephens for this 6-month exploration of your literary life! Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Write (& Illustrate). Submit. Support. for Author/Illustrators ($)
A 6-month course offering structure and support not only to our writing and illustrating lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions. Join author and illustrator Katy Tanis for a six-month exploration of your literary and artistic life. Six monthly meetings, March 26 – August 27, 2023, 2 – 5 pm Central Time. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

The Podcasting Starter Kit ($)
Join Matthew Winner for this 6-session class designed to help podcasters and storytellers of all experience levels take a show from idea through production. Six Tuesdays, March 28 – May 2, 2023, 7 – 9pm Central Time. From The Writing Barn.

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. March 1 – April 30, 2023. Led by Anastasia Suen, author (and ghostwriter) of 400+ books for children, teens, and adults.


For Both Illustrators and Writers

12 x 12 Picture Book Chat (free)
Join 12 x 12 Challenge Founder Julie Hedlund each month as she hosts picture book creators who read their books and discuss their path to publishing. Plus, they’ll answer your questions during a live Q&A session.

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.

Storytime Sprint (free)
A monthly, short and sweet, online event where an author (usually debut) reads their new picture book. Participants then have 24 hours to SPRINT to leave an honest review or a library purchase request in order to be entered into a drawing for a prize from the author. Hosted by Ryann Jones and Andi Chitty.

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.

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.

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