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. Watch for more-detailed posts each month.

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 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, Writers’ Secret Sauce coaching, and more. Sign up for newsletters here, and get a free ebook: The Ultimate Children’s Writing Cheat Sheet.

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.

#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.

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. 

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).

KidLitHive ($)
Helping creators develop their craft and knowledge of the publishing industry via high quality, low-cost events in the form of webinars, workshops, and multi-week courses led by established authors, illustrators, agents, editors and more. New January 2023 from Justin Colón.

LitMingles (free)
Every month (except in summer), 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.

The Loft ($)
Minnesota-based writing community for writers of all genres, including children’s. Check site for online versus in-person courses. 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.

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.

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.

Naps and Notebooks Masterclasses ($)
It’s not easy to make space for creative work when you’re raising young kids. These on-demand writing masterclasses are designed to make the moments you have with your notebook count. From children’s author and writing coach Heidi Fiedler.

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.

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, weekly mentor text talks, 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.


Month by Month Listings

 

 

Challenges, Contests, Mentorships, & Awards

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. 

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

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; see this page for general information. 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.

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.

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. 

Webinars & Conferences

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

SCBWI Regional Virtual Events (Fee and Free)
Clink link to see what’s happening this month and in months to come. Tons of fabulous, low-cost webinars available!

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.


February

 

 

Challenges, Contests, Mentorships, & Awards

12×12 ($): Register by end of month for 2023. See January listing.

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, Linda Skeers, and Peggy Thomas.

Valentiny Writing Contest (free)
Write a Valentines’ story no longer than 214 words, appropriate for ages 12 and under, including a character with a specified emotion (changes each year). Happens the second week of February. Check Susanna’s blog for this year’s announcement. 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, February, 2023.

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

#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 Shumaker, PJ McIlvaine, Mette Engell, and Mandy Yates. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

SCBWI Virtual Conference ($)
The 2023 SCBWI New York Conference is virtual as well as in person! February 25, 2023. Early Bird registration until 1/25/2023. Hosted by SCBWI-National.

SCBWI Regional Virtual Events (Fee and Free)
Clink link to see what’s happening this month and in months to come. Tons of fabulous, low-cost webinars available!

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.


March

 

 

 

Challenges, Contests, Mentorships, & Awards


#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.

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. Watch the Rate Your Story Blog for 2023 details. 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 in March, check link for details. 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.

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

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.

Webinars & Conferences

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

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.

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.

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.

WriteOnCon ($)
Online conference for kidlit writers and illustrators for all levels (PB, MG, YA). Link goes to 2022 info, check website for 2023 details.

SCBWI Regional Virtual Events (Fee and Free)
Clink link to see what’s happening this month and in months to come. Tons of fabulous, low-cost webinars available!

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.

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.


.

Challenges, Contests, Mentorships, & Awards

Spring Fling Writing Contest (free)
Challenge for writers, find a springtime-themed gif and write 150 words. Usually happens in April, check link for more info. Hosted by Ciara O’Neal and Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez. Check out Fall Writing Frenzy, too.

Annual Spring Writing Contest ($)
Rate Your Story’s Annual Spring Writing Contest! Usually happens in April, check link for more info. Hosted by Rate Your Story.

#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. Applications usually open in April, check link for info.

DVmentor (free)
For book creators from marginalized and underrepresented communities, DVMentor pairs agented and/or published creators with unagented authors and illustrators for a mentorship through revision, querying, and more. Applications usually open in April and May, check link for info.. From Diverse Voices, Inc.

DVdebut (free)
For debuting, marginalized book creators who are looking to survive their debut year. Mentors are seasoned authors who have been through it all before and are willing to guide a new author through the highs and lows of this experience with the hope of retention and expansion of our community. Applications usually open in April and May, check link for info. From Diverse Voices, Inc.

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 for published books. Check link for more information; unclear if prize will be repeated in 2023.

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

Webinars & Conferences

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

New England SCBWI Spring Virtual Conference Event ($)
Join your fellow authors and illustrators for a weekend of craft and camaraderie. Panels, workshops, online socials, keynotes, ask-a-mentor sessions. Happens in late April or early May, details to follow.

SCBWI Regional Virtual Events (Fee and Free)

Clink link to see what’s happening this month and in months to come. Tons of fabulous, low-cost webinars available!

Multi-Week Courses

Courses lasting more than a day or two.

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

May


Challenges, Contests, Mentorships, & Awards

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. Happens in May, check link for this year’s details. Hosted by illustrator Tom Bancroft.

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. Submissions were open from May through August in 2022, check link for updates.

#QueerKidlit Mentorships (free)
For pre-published LGBTQ+ writers, illustrators, and writer/illustrators. Mentors will connect with selected mentees at least once per month for a three-month period to work on a specific project. Applications period was open from May to June in 2022; check link for updates.

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

DVmentor (free)
For book creators from marginalized and underrepresented communities, DVMentor pairs agented and/or published creators with unagented authors and illustrators for a mentorship through revision, querying, and more. Applications usually open in April and May, check link for info.. From Diverse Voices, Inc.

DVdebut (free)
For debuting, marginalized book creators who are looking to survive their debut year. Mentors are seasoned authors who have been through it all before and are willing to guide a new author through the highs and lows of this experience with the hope of retention and expansion of our community. Applications usually open in April and May, check link for info. From Diverse Voices, Inc.

Key Colors Competition (*see note)
Clavis Publishing, New York launches Key Colors, the two-yearly national contest for illustrators of unpublished picture books. Winner receives $8000 and the winning work will be published by Clavis Publishing. Check link for 2023 details. Open to residents of the United States and Canada only. *No entry fee listed.

Webinars & Conferences

SCBWI Regional Virtual Events (Fee and Free)
Clink link to see what’s happening this month and in months to come. Tons of fabulous, low-cost webinars available!

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

Devouring the Elephant: Breaking Down the Enormous Task of Creating a Picture Book Dummy Into Digestible Bites ($)
Thinking about creating a picture book dummy can be daunting. Author/Illustrator Brian Lies takes students through the process the way you do devour an elephant: one bite at a time. Four Wednesdays, May 3 – 24, 2023, 7 – 9pm Eastern Time. Hosted by The KidLit Hive.

Inside the kidlit studio ($)
With Ame Dykman and Jenn Harney. May 16, 2023, 7 – 8:30pm Eastern Time. Hosted by The KidLit Hive.

A Deep Dive into Picture Books ($)
Join author Phyllis Root for a deep dive into picture books. Draft six picture-book manuscripts and complete one picture book dummy. Six Tuesdays, May 16 – June 20, 2023, 7:30 – 8:30pm Eastern. Hosted by Whale Rock Workshops.

The Crash Course in Children’s Book Publishing: Illustrator’s Edition ($)
At the end of the course, you will understand how the children’s book publishing industry works for illustrators and author/illustrators, including ways to build your portfolio and engage with art-directors. May 31, 2023 – July 26, 2023. From The Highlights Foundation.

June


 

Challenges, Contests, Mentorships, & Awards

#KidLitVibes Writing Contest for Picture Book Authors (free)
Step right up to the WHEEL OF FEELS! What word did you spin? Your goal is to write a story that captures that vibe. Happened on Twitter in 2022; see website for updates. Hosted by the Frenzy Friends.

Rising Stars Picture Book Mentorship (fee or free unknown)
#PBRisingStars Mentorship pairs up-and-coming mentors with up-and-coming mentees. See website for details and requirements. Applications happened in June, 2022, check link for 2023 info. Hosted by children’s writer Kailie Pew.

#PBPitch (free)
A Twitter pitch party exclusively for picture books! Often happens in June, check link for details.

#QueerKidlit Mentorships (free)
For pre-published LGBTQ+ writers, illustrators, and writer/illustrators. Mentors will connect with selected mentees at least once per month for a three-month period to work on a specific project. Applications period was open from May to June in 2022; check link for updates.

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 for published books. Check link for more information; unclear if prize will be repeated in 2023.

Annual Spring Writing Contest ($)
Rate Your Story’s Annual Spring Writing Contest! Usually happens in April, check link for more info. Hosted by Rate Your Story.

#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. Usually happens in June, check link for updates.

Key Colors Competition (*see note)
Clavis Publishing, New York launches Key Colors, the two-yearly national contest for illustrators of unpublished picture books. Winner receives $8000 and the winning work will be published by Clavis Publishing. Check link for 2023 details. Open to residents of the United States and Canada only. *No entry fee listed.

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 were open in June and July 2022, check link for updates. Sponsored by Free Spirit Publishing and Strive Publishing.

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. In 2022, submissions were open from May through August, check link for 2023 info.

#Pitchdis (free)
A Twitter pitch event for disabled authors. See hashtags, rules & guidelines here. Check link for 2023 info. Moderated by Despina Karras.

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 during this calendar year. Check link for 2023 details. From the SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund.

Webinars & Conferences

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

Aesop Writers (free)
A FREE workshop for Un-Published Picture Book Creators. Check link for 2023 details. Hosted by author Alice Faye Duncan.

Picture Book Slipper Camp ($)
Size-limited intensive picture book camp full of lessons, instructor and peer critiques, fun, and submissions! Check link for 2023 details. From Children’s Book Academy.

SCBWI Regional Virtual Events (Fee and Free)
Clink link to see what’s happening this month and in months to come. Tons of fabulous, low-cost webinars available!

Multi-Week Courses

Courses lasting more than a day or two.

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

July


Challenges, Contests, Mentorships, & Awards

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. Submissions were open from May through August in 2022, check link for updates.

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 were open in June and July 2022, check link for updates. Sponsored by Free Spirit Publishing and Strive Publishing.

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 for published books. Check link for more information; unclear if prize will be repeated in 2023.

#SunWriteFun
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! Happened in August in 2022. See link for 2023 details.

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 during this calendar year. Check link for 2023 details. 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! Check link for 2023 details. From Children’s Book Academy.

Nonfiction Kidlit Confab ($)
Two days of digging deep into nonfiction kidlit, with distinguished faculty including authors, illustrators, agents, and editors. Check link for more info. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Picture Book Palooza! (free)
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! Check SLJ site for 2023 info. Hosted by School Library Journal (SLJ).

SCBWI Regional Virtual Events (Fee and Free)
Clink link to see what’s happening this month and in months to come. Tons of fabulous, low-cost webinars available!

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

Augu


t

Challenges, Contests, Mentorships, & Awards

AuGHOST (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 #AuGHOST. It’s fun and friendly! Created by @Sommerjam and @DavePietrandrea.

#SunWriteFun
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! Happened in August in 2022. See link for 2023 details.

#DVPit and #DVart  (free)
Twitter pitch parties for historically underrepresented voices in children’s literature. Children’s & YA Fiction/Nonfiction (#DVpit) Happened in August in 2022. See link for 2023 details. From Diverse Voices, Inc.

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 during this calendar year. Check link for 2023 details. From the SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund.

Webinars & Conferences

SCBWI Annual Summer Conference  ($)
Join SCBWI on Zoom for the annual Summer Conference. Keynotes, panels, breakout sessions, tracks for illustrators, self-publishing authors, traditionally published authors, and nonfiction authors, online socials, and opportunities to pitch to acquiring agents and editors. Check site for 2023 information.

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

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


September

 

 

 

Challenges, Contests, Mentorships, & Awards

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.

ReVISIONweek (free)
Revise your PB manuscripts that you wrote for challenges earlier in the year!  A week of support, inspiration, and revision magic. OH, and prizes! Always prizes! Usually happens in September, check link for 2023 details. Hosted by children’s authors Lauren H. Kerstein, Joana Pastro, Katie Frawley, Lynne Marie, Shannon Stocker, and Michal BaBay.

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 during this calendar year. Check link for 2023 details. From the SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund.

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

Webinars & Conferences

The KidLit Palooza ($)
A Kind But Kickass Kidlit Career Making Conference including information, interaction, tips, ​techniques, prizes, pitches, personal advice, handouts & re-usable worksheets. Usually happens in Fall, check link for details.  From Children’s Book Academy.

SCBWI Regional Virtual Events (Fee and Free)
Clink link to see what’s happening this month and in months to come. Tons of fabulous, low-cost webinars available!

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


 October

 

 

 

Challenges, Contests, Mentorships, & Awards

Fall Writing Frenzy (free)
Write 200 words inspired by one of the contest photos, and submit it during the window listed on the website. A badge for all participants, prizes for winners. Hosted by Lydia Lukidis and Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez.

#SeasonsOfKidLit’s First Annual Trick-or-Treat Event! (free)
A brand-new month-long fall-themed event filled with book recommendations and interviews with authors, illustrators, publishers, and literary agents, plus fun Tricks and tons of Treats for kitlit creators! Lots more information at the link above. Happened in October, 2022, see link for 2023 information. From #SeasonsOfKidLit, Heather Macht, Lynne Marie, and Rate Your Story.

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.

Picture Book Critique Fest #PBCritiqueFest (free)
A MASSIVE picture book critique giveaway, featuring top authors, illustrators, and literary agents on the kidlit scene. Happened in October, 2022, check site for 2023 details. Hosted by Brian Gehrlein, creator of Picture Book Spotlight.

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. Submissions usually open in September.  *Free for dues-paying members of SCBWI.

Webinars & Conferences

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

Puzzling Out Your Picture Book ($)
Creating a perfect picture book is like solving a puzzle. Author Pat Zietlow Miller will share tips and techniques to increase your chances of solving the puzzle of your story. October 5, 2023, 7 – 8:30pm Eastern Time. Hosted by The KidLit Hive.

Picture Book Summit ($)
Full-day writing conference live-streamed to your computer. Usually the first or second Saturday in October. Founded and hosted by Katie Davis of Writers’ Block (formerly of ICL), Julie Hedlund of 12 x 12, Emma Walton Hamilton of Just Write Children’s Books, and Founders Emeritus Jon Bard and Laura Backes of Children’s Book Insider.

Fracturing Fairy Tales (and putting them back together again) ($)
Author Josh Funk will share his process for creating the It’s Not a Fairy Tale series and discuss the ways modern creators have broken down and rebuilt familiar stories to create new books for today’s readers. October 19, 2023, 7-8:30pm Eastern Time. Hosted by The KidLit Hive.

SCBWI Regional Virtual Events (Fee and Free)
Clink link to see what’s happening this month and in months to come. Tons of fabulous, low-cost webinars available!

Multi-Week Courses

Courses lasting more than a day or two.

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. October 4, 2023 – December 6, 2023. From The Highlights Foundation.

November


 

 

 

Challenges, Contests, Mentorships, & Awards

Black Friday Bootcamp (Free)
Learn how to write, illustrate, and publish children’s books in this all-day webinar. (No artistic talent required.) Happens the Friday after U.S. Thanksgiving each year, check site for this year’s details. Hosted and organized by Storyteller Academy and author Arree Chung.

Webinars & Conferences

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

Designing Book Jackets with Hand-Drawn Lettering ($)
Author-Illustrator John Hendrix addresses how to integrate hand-drawn lettering into book jackets, illustrations, and visual imagery. November 16, 2023, 7-8:30pm Eastern Time. Hosted by The KidLit Hive.

SCBWI Regional Virtual Events (Fee and Free)
Clink link to see what’s happening this month and in months to come. Tons of fabulous, low-cost webinars available!

Multi-Week Courses

Courses and opportunities lasting more than a day or two.

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.

December


 

 

 

Challenges, Contests, Mentorships, & Awards

Holiday Writing Contest (free)
Write a holiday story between 300 – 400 words, appropriate for ages 12 and under, following prompt for the current year. The 2022 prompt is Holiday Bad Guy! Hosted by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill.

Webinars & Conferences

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

Writing Humorous Picture Books (even if you’re not funny) ($)
Join master funny kidlit writer Tara Lazar to understand what makes us laugh and how to amp up the humor in our own work. December 3, 2022, 1 – 2:30pm Eastern. Hosted by The Writers’ Loft.

MAKING WAVES 2022: An Online Illustrator Event ($)
Join us for two days of craft-oriented presentations, hands-on intensives, optional critiques, and a juried art show! December 2 – 4, 2022. Registration closes 11/29. Hosted by SCBWI MD/DE/WV.

Picture Book Revision: A Two-Night Mini ($)
You are your book’s first and most important editor. Join prolific picture book authors Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Anne Marie Pace for this short course filled with revision techniques for picture book writers. Two sessions: December 6 and 8, 2022, 7 – 8:15pm Eastern Time. From the Highlights Foundation.

Advanced Picture Book Revision Techniques: A Two-Night Mini ($)
Join prolific picture book author Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen for this short course to advance your picture book manuscript and satisfy the most discerning readers in the market! Two Sessions: December 12 and 14, 2022, 7 – 8:15pm Eastern Time. From the Highlights Foundation.

Writing the Picture Book Series ($)
Have you created an irresistible character, a unique setting, or a concept worth expanding? Join author Ann Marie Stephens for this craft webinar on turning it into a series. December 10, 2022, 10- 11:30am Central Time. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Practice Makes Pitch Perfect ($)
Join author Jocelyn Rish for this craft webinar on polishing the pitch for your project. You’ll go from dreading the pitch writing process to popping out powerful pitches that capture people’s attention. December 12, 2022, 6 – 7:30pm Central Time. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Writing From Life: How to Turn Real Events Into Fantastic Fiction ($)
Join award-winning authors Pat Zietlow Miller & e.E. Charlton-Trujillo for a craft webinar on writing picture books inspired by true events! December 16, 2022, 10 – 11:30am Central Time. Hosted by The Writing Barn.

Writing the Collective Biography ($)
Collective Biographies bring together the personal histories of many individuals under a single theme or purpose. Using his experience writing BLACK MEN IN SCIENCE as a guide, author Bryan Patrick Avery will cover the process of creating a Collective Biography. December 18, 2022, 2 – 4:30pm Central Time. 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. Tons of fabulous, low-cost webinars available!

Multi-Week Courses

Courses lasting more than a day or two.

Rate Your Story ($)
Registration open through mid-January or until full. Annual membership fee includes manuscript critiques from professionals in the field, among other benefits. Look for more info at the link.


Click here to see what’s happening in January!


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

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