Picture Book Support

Do you write or illustrate picture books? Find support for your writing and illustrating through these online kidlit communities, challenges, courses, contests, and events.

Fee or free? Here’s a key:
(free)
– no fee to enter or to participate
($) – fee to enter or to participate; fees vary
(*See note) – look for *explanation within the blurb

Year-round resources are listed first, followed by events and opportunities available each month. Click the name of a month to go directly to that month’s listings. NOTE: See monthly blog posts for special events scheduled during COVID-19 social distancing.

January                February               March                  April                       May                       June                      July                        August                  September         October               November          December

Know a good resource or event that isn’t on this list? Is it intended for picture book writers or illustrators? Is it available online (not an in-person conference or event)? Please tell us in the comments, or send a message through the Contact Form on the About Us page. Thanks.

Available all year:

Children’s Book Academy ($)
On-demand self-paced courses from industry professionals on a variety of topics. CBA also offers scheduled courses with faculty support; see monthly listings. Hosted by Mira Reisburg.

Children’s Book Insider ($)
Monthly newsletter, online resources & courses, Twice-Monthly KidLit Social, Writers’ Secret Sauce coaching, and more. Sign up for newsletters here, and get a free ebook: The Ultimate Children’s Writing Cheat Sheet.” Hosted by John Bard and Laura Backes.

Color Collective (free)
Weekly Twitter challenge for illustrators where you make work based on a single color.

The Complete Picture Book Submissions System ($)
Takes you through each and every step of the submission process. No more fear. No more guesswork. Online course created by children’s authors Emma Walton Hamilton and Julie Hedlund.

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.

Highlights Foundation ($)
Offers in-person, online, and online on-demand workshops throughout the year for children’s writers and illustrators of all experience levels.

Institute of Children’s Literature ($)
Offers multipart course Writing for Children and Teens, with one-on-one mentorship by an industry professional; The Writers’ Block, an online community with many benefits including monthly critiques; and free weekly podcasts with Katie Davis. 

KidLit 411 (free)
Comprehensive online resource for children’s writers and illustrators, with associated Facebook group. KidLit411 has their own list of Writing Challenges here and Challenges for Illustrators here. Founded and maintained by Elaine Kiely Kearns and Silvia Liu.

#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).

The Loft ($)
Minnesota-based writing community for writers of all genres, including children’s. All events and courses offered online instead of in-person, through September, 2021. Scholarships available.

Lyrical Language Lab / Peek & Critique (free)
YouTube channel available all year long, providing free critiques and lessons to kidlit writers every Monday. Hosted by children’s poet and author Renee LaTulippe.

Lyrical Language Lab Courses (*See note)
This online course teaches children’s writers the poetic techniques. Subscribe to mailing list for next availability. *Link lands on a page with links to five free lyrical language lessons, plus info about 10-week paid course. Hosted by children’s poet and author Renee LaTulippe.

Make Your Marks & Splashes! ($)
Self-paced online course on how to be a children’s book illustrator, hosted by children’s author/illustrator Mark Mitchell.

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.

Master Course on Picture Book Writing and Editing  ($)
An intensive self-guided workshop on the eight Core Principles of picture book writing and editing. Taught and hosted by children’s author Karla Arenas Valenti.

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.

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.

#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.

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.

Picture Book University (free)
Series of lessons by picture book author Pam Calvert, on her blog.

Rate Your Story ($)
Year-round program with registration in November, December, and January. Manuscript critiques from professionals in the field, among other benefits. Nonmembers may submit for free critiques on open submission days, purchase a Speed Pass for a single critique, and participate in the fee-based annual contest.

SCBWI ($)
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. International organization with a strong online presence, including challenges, webinars hosted by regional chapters but open to all, and active discussion boards on all topics of interest to children’s writers and illustrators.

SCBWI Regional Webinars ($)
Low-cost webinars hosted by SCBWI regional chapters, available everywhere. List continually updated, with upcoming webinars at top.

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.

SCBWI: YouTube Channel, The Vault (free)
SCBWI has over forty years of video archives featuring speakers at their annual conference–authors, illustrators, editors, agents, and publishers, now available on the YouTube channel, The Vault.

Society of Visual Storytelling ($)
Online courses for illustrators. Hosted by illustrators Will Terry, Lee White, and Jake Parker.

Storyteller Academy ($)
Online, on-demand courses taught by industry professionals. Monthly or annual fee includes access to all Signature Course Library courses, live workshops, and more. Hosted by writer/illustrator Arree Chung.

SubSix (free)
Children’s Book Creatives Support Group. Facebook group of children’s writers and illustrators working toward submission goals. 

Whale Rock Writing Workshops ($)
Whale Rock Workshops is a community of kidlit authors (aspiring and published) that facilitates writing through workshops, retreats, and online resources. Hosts online events throughout the year.

The Writing Barn (free and $)
Texas-based writing community offering low-cost webinars, free virtual book launches and literary events, one-session and 6-session online classes.

Writing Blueprints ($)
On-demand webinars and resources. Each Writing Blueprint takes a particular genre or category of book and breaks the process of writing and revising it into tiny steps. Each step then features a video with an expert instructor describing this piece of the writing puzzle and giving instructions about using the fillable PDF form for that step. From Children’s Book Insider.

The Writers’ Loft (free and $)
Massachusetts-based writing community offering online events available to anyone with an internet connection.

Writers.com ($)
Offers online courses for writers in all genres, including children’s.

Complete Month by Month Listings

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. Register in January and February for a full-year membership. Hosted by children’s author Julie Hedlund. 

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.

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.

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.

NFFest Registration for February event usually happens in January. (see February listing)

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. 

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

Storystorm (free)
Come up with 30 story ideas in 31 days. Inspirational guest posts. Raffle of prizes for those who succeed. Link goes to 2022 registration page; see this page for general information. Hosted by children’s author Tara Lazar.

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 creating picture books, from generating story ideas to finishing a first draft, picking a catchy title, to revising and submitting. Eight Mondays beginning January 3, 2022. Hosted by Writing Workshops.

THE WRITING BARN COURSES ($)

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.

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

February

12×12 ($): Register by end of month for 2022. See January listing.

Debut Review Challenge (free)
February-March challenge begins. Hosted by children’s writer Laura Renauld.

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.

Writing for Kids 101 ($)
Led by writer Tina Tocco. Four Tuesdays via Zoom starting February 1, 2022, 11am – 1pm Central Time. Hosted by Writing Workshops.

Show (Don’t Tell) Revision Workshop ($)
Learn how to bring readers deeper into the world of your children’s book story by showing (not telling) in this 4-week workshop (with Zoom recordings and a private Facebook group) for picture book to YA authors led by author and developmental editor Anastasia Suen. February 2-March 2, 2022

#PBPitch (free)
A Twitter pitch party exclusively for picture books, Thursday February 17, 2022, 8am – 8pm Eastern Time. Check website for full details, hashtags, and rules. Founded and run by Debra Kempf Shumaker, PJ McIlvaine, Mette Engell, and Mandy Yates. 

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.

Valentiny Writing Contest (free)
Write a Valentines’ story no longer than 214 words, appropriate for ages 12 and under, following prompt for the current year. Prize for the winner. Hosted by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill.

The Ann Whitford Paul—Writer’s Digest Manuscript Award (See note*)
Submissions window opens February 1. Annual monetary award given for a Most Promising Picture Book manuscript. *No application fee, but must be a dues-paying member of SCBWI.

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

March


#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! Hosted by author Vivian Kirkfield.

PBParty Contest (free)
For unagented writers and author/illustrators with finished and polished picture book manuscripts to submit to participating agents/editors to read and hopefully request. Full information here. Submissions: March 1, 2022, Midnight – 1am Eastern and 5pm-7pm Eastern. Agent/Editor Round: March 21 – 25, 2022. Hosted by author Mindy Alyse Weiss.

Chapter Book Challenge #ChaBooCha (free)
Write one completed first draft of a chapter book in one month, from March 1 – March 31. Guest posts by authors and agents, prizes at end. Hosted by author Rebecca Fyfe.

Debut Review Challenge (free)
February – March challenge continues. Hosted by children’s writer Laura Renauld.

#FaithPitch (free)
A one-day Twitter Pitch Party hosted specifically for authors looking for representation within the Christian Retail Association (CRA) market. Usually happens in March and September.

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. 2022. Hosted by Rate Your Story.

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 20 – August 21, 2022. With Lisa Katzenberger & Nicholas Solis. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

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. Details for 2022 to come. Hosted by author Mindy Alyse Weiss.

Madness! Poetry (free)
“March Madness” tournament for writers of children’s poetry. Write up to six original poems based on prompt in three weeks. Full information here. Sign up to be notified when registration opens here (scroll to bottom). Hosted by kids’ poet Ed DeCaria of Think, Kid, Think!

SCBWI The Ann Whitford Paul—Writer’s Digest Manuscript Award (See note*)
Submissions usually open February 1 – mid April. Annual monetary award given for a Most Promising Picture Book manuscript. *No application fee, but applicant must be a member of SCBWI, which requires dues.

SCBWI Don Freeman Grants (See note*)
Submissions usually open March 1 – March 31. 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 usually open March 1 – March 31. 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 usually open March 1 – March 31. 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.

WriteOnCon ($)
Online conference for kidlit writers and illustrators for all levels (PB, MG, YA). March 18 – 20, 2022.

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

 

The Ann Whitford Paul—Writer’s Digest Manuscript Award (See note*)
Submissions window closes April 10, 2021.
Annual monetary award given for a Most Promising Picture Book manuscript. *No application fee, but must be a dues-paying member of SCBWI.

Introduction to Editing Children’s Literature ($)
Join author and editor Heidi Fielder for this five-week course. Lessons will focus on board books, picture books, and chapter books. Designed for editors who are interested in working on children’s books but aren’t sure how to get started. April 4–May 8, 2022. Hosted by the Editorial Freelancer’s Association.

#ReVISIONweek Tune-Up Day 2 (free)
Get your manuscripts in shape! Spring Tune-Up Day Revision Challenge hosted by author Lauren Kerstein. April 6, 2022.

#PBChatMentorship (free)
Mentorships with published picture book writers and illustrators for unpublished picture book writers and illustrators. In 2020, applications were open in June, but then were pulled back into April for 2021. Watch #PBChat and @JustinRColon on Twitter to stay on top of application deadlines for 2022. Hosted by children’s writer Justin Colón.

SCBWI Don Freeman Grants (See note*)
Submissions close April 15, 2021.
Annual awards given to illustrators 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 close March 31, 2021. 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 close April 1, 2021.
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.

Spring Fling Writing Contest (free)
Challenge for writers, find a springtime-themed gif and write 150 words. Hosted by Ciara O’Neal and Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez. Deadline April 3rd, 2021 at 11:59pm CST Check out Fall Writing Frenzy, too.

ReVISIONweek Tune-Up Day Wednesday, April 7, 2021. (see September listing)

#WriteMentor Summer Programme (free)
UK-based program pairing professionals in children’s literature with pre-agented writers for online summer mentorship. Open to anyone who writes in English. 2021 Applications open April 15 – 16 only.

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

May

Debut Review Challenge (free)
May-June reading challenge begins. Hosted by children’s writer Laura Renauld.

Mermay Challenge (free)
A month-long mermaid-themed illustration challenge, with a different prompt for every day of the month. Post artwork on Instagram with challenge hashtags to be eligible for prizes. Hosted by illustrator Tom Bancroft.

Mastering Graphic Novels ($)
Graphic novels are a hot market right now for all ages of readers, from adults to picture books! This informative five week course has FIVE co-teachers and includes live instruction, self-paced learning, and submission opportunities. Begins May, 2022. Hosted by The Children’s Book Academy.

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. Submission window opens May 1 2021, closes August 15, 2021.

Spring into Writing (free)
May 1 – 31 each year. Set your own writing goals for the month. Hosted by writer/illustrator Dani Duck.

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

June

Children’s Book Academy course ($)
The Craft and Business of Illustrating Children’s Books
will be offered again starting June 7, 2021. Check link for details.

Crash Course in Children’s Publishing: Everything You Need to Know ($)
With Harold Underdown and Leah Henderson. Ten weeks, June 9 – August 11, 2021. From Highlights Foundation.

Debut Review Challenge (free)
May-June reading challenge continues. Hosted by children’s writer Laura Renauld.

#KidLitZombieWeek (free)
Bring your dead manuscripts back to life! Join “6 Ladies and a MANuscript” Critique Group for KidLitZombieWeek. Blog posts, twitter discussions, and prizes! At website (above) and on Twitter @6and_Manuscript June 14 – 18, 2021.

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. Submission window opens May 1 2021, closes August 15, 2021.

#PBPitch (free)
A Twitter pitch party exclusively for picture books! Thursday, June 17, 2021 from 8am to 8 pm EST

Picture Book Summit Early Bird Registration opens. See October listing.

#PitMad (free)
Twitter pitch party for unagented authors and illustrators in all genres. June 2021 date to come.  Happens on Twitter, but see website for detailed instructions including the #hashtags that will help picture book agents find your pitch. Hosted by Brenda Drake and the PitchWars committee.

Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers (WIFYR) ($)
Utah-based hybrid conference with both in-person and online classes. June 14 – 18, 2021.

#Pitchdis (free)
A Twitter pitch event for disabled authors. See hashtags, rules & guidelines here. Date of next event TBD, summer 2022. Moderated by Despina Karras.

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

July

SLJ Picture Book Palooza (free)
An all-day, free virtual celebration of authors and artists dedicated to the visual dance and extraordinary craft of picture books! Come for a day packed with keynotes, author panels, and illustrator spotlights. Thursday, July 15, 2021, 10am – 5pm Eastern. Hosted by School Library Journal.

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. Submission window opens May 1, 2021, closes August 15, 2021.

#SunWriteFun21
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! Start submitting July 14, 2021. See link for full details.

Picture Book Summit Early Bird Registration open. See October listing.

SCBWI Annual Summer Conference – The BIG Five-Oh!  ($)
Traditionally held in late July and early August in downtown Los Angeles, the 2021 event, like the 2020 event, will be held online. July 29, 30, 31, and August 1, 2, 2021, with optional intensive workshops for writers on July 29, and for illustrators on August 2. Replays may be watched by registered participants through August 31, 2021.

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

August

#AuGHOST2021 (free)
#AuGHOST
is an all-skills, all-inclusive, all-for-fun daily art event. For each day on August, draw or create something “ghosty” that’s inspired by that day’s prompt word and post it online with #AuGHOST2021 It’s fun and friendly! Created by @Sommerjam and @DavePietrandrea.

Children’s Book Conference (free)
Jumpstart your creativity and learn the craft of storytelling from the award-winning instructors of Storyteller Academy in this 2-part conference event. Two Saturdays: August 7 and August 14, 2021, 9am – 5pm; ask organizers for time zone info. All sessions will be recorded. Hosted by Storyteller Academy.

Writing a Picture Book Biography That Kids Can’t Wait to Read ($)
In this webinar, author Laurie Wallmark will help you find a focus and approach for your picture book biography. Thursday August 12, 2021 at 7pm Eastern. Hosted by The Writers’ Loft.

Perfecting The Picture Book II with Carmen Oliver ($)
Six Wednesdays, August 11–September 22, 2021, 7–9pm Central. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Layering in Layers in Picture Books with Wendi Silvano ($) Saturday, August 14, 2021 at 12 PM Eastern – A picture book with more than one layer will have more than one reason to be read and re-read. Wendi will discuss (and show examples of) many different types of layers you can consider adding to help give your picture book manuscript that extra depth and delight.

Prepare to Publish – Self-Publishing a Picture Book with Mark Tuchman ($)
A walk-through of the design and art production process involved in preparing a picture book for upload to a self-publishing site. August 18, 2021, 6:00-7:00pm Eastern

Taking Risks in Children’s Nonfiction Writing ($)
Craft Webinar with author Meeg Pincus. Saturday August 21, 2021, 11am – 12noon Central. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

How to Open and Close Picture Books ($)
Craft Webinar with Liz Garton Scanlon. Saturday, August 28, 11am – 12:30pm Central. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Writing Picture Books: From Creation to Publication ($)
Led by Award-winning children’s author Rosie J. Pova. 8 weeks starting August 30, 2021. Hosted by Writing Workshops.

Picture Book Summit Early Bird Registration open. See October listing.

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

September

Smart Dummies (free)
Complete a picture book dummy in 30 days. September 1 – 30 each year. Join the Facebook group for notifications. Hosted by writer/illustrator Dani Duck.

Crash Course in Children’s Publishing: Everything You Need to Know ($)
With Harold Underdown and Leah Henderson. Ten weeks, September 22 – December 11, 2021. From the Highlights Foundation.

Writing Picture Book Biographies that Shine ($)
Join award-winning picture book biography author Donna Janell Bowman for a six-week masters-level class. Optional workshop add-on. Six weeks starting September 5, 2021.

Writing for Children: Create A Picture Book! ($)
Join author Kelly Bingham for a six-week intensive including lectures, critiques, storyboards, and more, to take you from idea to query letter. Six weeks starting September 15, 2021. Hosted by Writers.com.

Picture Book Palooza 2021 ($)
Panels include: Writing Kids Books With Heart and Soul, Non-Fiction Meets Informational Fiction, What Agents Do & How to Get One, Jewish, Muslim and Christian Kidlit, The Magical World of Graphic Novels, Meet Fabulous Indie Publishers. Live & recorded September 18 & 19, 2021. Hosted by The Children’s Book Academy.

Manuscript Workshop: Writing for Children ($)
Instructor Sarah Aronson welcomes all writers who are actively working on manuscripts for kids and teens, picture books through young adult. This advanced course will focus entirely on the participants’ own work in progress. Ten weeks starting September 22, 2021. Hosted by Writers.com.

#FaithPitch (free)
A one-day Twitter Pitch Party hosted specifically for authors looking for representation within the Christian Retail Association (CRA) market. Usually happens in March and September.

Picture Book Summit Registration open through September 7, 2021. See October listing.

#PitMad (free)
Twitter pitch party for unagented authors and illustrators in all genres. September 2, 2021, 8am – 8pm Eastern. Happens on Twitter, but see website for detailed instructions including the #hashtags that will help picture book agents find your pitch. Hosted by Brenda Drake and the PitchWars committee.

#ReVISIONweek (free)
A week of resources, support, and inspiration to get those rough drafts to the “finished” line. September 14 – 21, 2022. Hosted by children’s authors Lauren H. Kerstein, Joana Pastro, Katie Frawley, Lynne Marie, Shannon Stocker, and Michal BaBay.

Smart Dummies (free)
Complete a picture book dummy in 30 days. September 1 – 30 each year. Registration dates to come for 2021. Hosted by writer/illustrator Dani Duck.

Children’s Literature Mentorship Workshop ($)
Noted children’s authors, editors, and master instructors Phyllis Root, Gary Schmidt, Kathryn Erskine, and Shelley Tanaka team up for this unique online mentorship program designed for picture book, middle grade, and young adult authors. September – December, 2021. From Whale Rock Writing Workshops.

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

 October

Debut Review Challenge (free)
October-November reading challenge begins. Hosted by children’s writer Laura Renauld.

#DVPit and #DVart  (free)
Twitter pitch party for historically underrepresented voices in children’s literature. October 25, 2021 will be for Children’s & YA Fiction/Nonfiction (#DVpit). October 26, 2021 will be for Artists & Illustrators (#DVart). See website for more details. Created and moderated by literary agent Beth Phelan with assistance from authors Kat Cho and Claribel Ortega and agent Peter Knapp.

Submission-Ready with Heart: A Hands-On Workshop for Author/Illustrators ($)
3 week online course with live Zoom lectures on Tuesday evenings, 1:1 sessions scheduled at your convenience, Focused studio time on Thursday evenings. October 19 – November 11, 2021. From the Highlights Foundation.

Fall Writing Frenzy (free)
Write 200 words inspired by one of the contest photos, and submit it between October 1 – October 3, 2021 11:59 PM Eastern Time. Prizes! Hosted by Lydia Lukidis and Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez.

Halloweensie Contest (free)
Write a 100-word Halloween story appropriate for ages 12 and under, following prompt for the current year. Prize for the winner. Search Susanna’s blog to find this year’s info. Hosted by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill.

Inktober (free)
Challenge to draw 31 illustrations in ink, in 31 days. Hosted by illustrator Jake Parker.

#PBPitch (free)
A Twitter pitch party exclusively for picture books! Thursday, October 28, 2021, from 8am to 8pm EST.

Picture Book Critique Fest #PBCritiqueFest (free)
A MASSIVE picture book critique giveaway, featuring 36 of the top authors, illustrators, and literary agents on the kidlit scene. Hosted by Brian Gehrlein, creator of Picture Book Spotlight.

Picture Book Summit ($)
Full-day writing conference live-streamed to your computer. Registration opens June 1, 2021 for October 2, 2021 event. Founded and hosted by Katie Davis of ICL (Institute for Children’s Literature), Julie Hedlund of 12 x 12, Emma Walton Hamilton of Just Write Children’s Books, and Laura Backes of Children’s Book Insider.

We Need Diverse Books Mentorships (free)
Pairs ten writers and illustrators who belong to underrepresented groups with experienced children’s book creators for year-long mentorships. Applications are open October 1 – 31 for the following year.

SCBWI Narrative Art Award (*See note)
Each year, a rotating panel of judges challenges illustrators to tell a story in three sequential images. The winner will receive free tuition to the Virtual SCBWI Winter Conference. Deadline and theme for current year at link. *Free for dues-paying members of SCBWI.

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

November


Black Friday Bootcamp ($)
Online one-day livestream writing conference. 100% of ticket sales go to support First Book and We Need Diverse Books. Not yet announced as of press time but watch the Storyteller Academy site or Twitter account for 2021 details November 26, 2021. Hosted and organized by Storyteller Academy and author Arree Chung.

The Craft and Business of Illustrating Children’s Books ($)
The Children’s Book Academy’s signature course will be offered again starting November 8, 2021. Join agent Charlotte Wenger (Prospect Literary), acquiring Editor/Art Director Mira Reisberg (Spork), and guests for a six-week intensive journey. NOTE: November 2021 course is sold out but you can join the waiting list here.

Debut Review Challenge (free)
October-November reading challenge continues. Hosted by children’s writer Laura Renauld.

Rate Your Story ($) (see January listing)
Registration open November through mid-January or until full. Annual membership fee includes manuscript critiques from professionals in the field, among other benefits.

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

December

Holiday Writing Contest (free)
Write a holiday story between 300 – 400 words, appropriate for ages 12 and under, following prompt for the current year. Prize for the winner! Hosted by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill.

#PitMad (free)
Twitter pitch party for unagented authors and illustrators in all genres, happening Thursday, December 2, 2021 from 8am – 8pm Eastern Time. Happens on Twitter, but see website for detailed instructions including the #hashtags that will help picture book agents find your pitch. Hosted by Brenda Drake and the PitchWars committee.

Building Bridges: Increasing Balanced Representation in Children’s Books (free)
A diversity, equity, and inclusion discussion with Ernesto Cisneros, Hilda Burgos, Janet Costa Bates, Reem Faruqi, and Susan Kusel. Moderated by Federico Erebia from SCBWI New England’s E&I Team. Replay will be offered. Register at link. Friday December 10, 2021, 7-9:30pm. Hosted by New England SCBWI.

Rate Your Story ($) (see January listing)
Registration open through mid-January or until full. Annual membership fee includes manuscript critiques from professionals in the field, among other benefits.

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


Thanks to EVERYONE who contributed, including members of Writers’ Rumpus and the Facebook groups for 12×12, Children’s Book Academy, KidLit 411, and Picture Book Summitteers. Special thanks to Silvia Liu of KidLit411 and to authors Anna Maledon and Rachel Funez, whose extensive lists included several unique additions.

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

2 comments

  1. You’re welcome, Maria! A more detailed list is posted in the blog section monthly. The next one will go up the first of February. You’ll get it automatically if you subscribe to the blog. Best wishes for success & fulfillment in your writing!

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