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 2020 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.

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.

KidLit Distancing Social (free)
A free educational hangout for kidlit writers featuring guest speakers, news, every Thursday: 5pm Pacific, 6pm Mountain, 7pm Central, 8 pm Eastern Time. Replays available here. Presented by Children’s Book Insider.

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).

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.

#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.

ReFoReMo Monthly Mini Writing Challenge (free)
Themed monthly writing challenges the third Tuesdays of April through January. Hosted by our own Carrie Charley Brown and Kirsti Call, who also bring you the ReFoReMo challenge every March.

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 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.

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

Storyteller Academy Intensives ($)
Online, on-demand courses taught by industry professionals. SAI also holds scheduled courses online with faculty and classes; see listings for January, May, and August. 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. 

Writing with the Stars (free)
Tara Luebbe’s popular program, pairing aspiring picture book writers and illustrators with published authors and illustrators for three-month mentorships, is on hiatus starting in 2020. Check the link above for updates. 

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. 

Astra International Picture Book Writing Contest 2020 – 2021 (free)
The purpose of this contest is to encourage, discover and honor talented writers of texts for picture books from all over the world; to foster literary excellence in books for young children; and to promote international cooperation and understanding through picture books. Significant cash prizes in addition to option for publication for winners. Submissions open October 22, 2020 through April 30, 2021.

Children’s Book Academy course ($)
The Craft and Business of Illustrating Children’s Books will be offered again in January, 2021. Join Assistant Editor Rosie Ahmed (Penguin Random House), acquiring Editor/Art Director/former Agent Mira Reisberg, and five guest Editors and Agents for a six-week intensive journey.

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

NFFest Registration for 2021 event is January 15 – January 31 (see February listing)

2021 Virtual SCBWI Florida Annual Regional Conference ($)
This year’s theme: Finding Your Place in KidLit and Leaving Space for Others. Keynotes, Panels, Speakers, critiques. January 16 – 17, 2021.

Lyrical Language Lab ($)
Learn to make your picture books lyrical, whether or not they rhyme. Next 10-week class starts in January, 2021, taught by children’s author Renee LaTulippe. Sign up for email list to receive information about self-study courses.

Rate Your Story ($)
Manuscript critiques from professionals in the field, among other benefits. Sometimes holds open submission days with free critiques for nonmembers. Early bird registration for 2021 opened November 1st, 2020 and will close when full. 

ReVISIONweek Tune-Up Day January 22 (see September listing) 

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

Storyteller Academy ($)
Online courses taught by a variety of professionals, related to writing and illustrating for children. Term 1 courses run from January through March. Hosted by Arree Chung.

February

12×12 ($): Register by end of month for 2021. See January listing.

#50PreciousWords Writing Challenge (free)
Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words.  Hosted by author Vivian Kirkfield. 

NonFiction Fest (free) (@NFFest)
NF Fest turns February into a crash course in writing nonfiction for children. Daily blog posts from authors and industry professionals and a Facebook community. Register by January 31 to be eligible for prizes. Hosted by the NonFiction Chicks: Lisa Amstutz, Stephanie Bearce, Nancy Churnin, Susie Kralovansky, Pat Miller, Linda Skeers, and Peggy Thomas.

#PBPitch (free)
A Twitter pitch party exclusively for picture books, happening February 11, 2021. Check website for full details, hashtags, and rules. Founded and run by Debra Kempf Shumaker, PJ McIlvaine, Mette Engell, and Mandy Yates. 

#FaithPitch (@Faith_Pitch) (free)
Twitter pitch party exclusively for the Christian Book Market (CBM). Check Twitter account for full details, hashtags, and rules. Hosted by publisher Little Lamb Books.

ReFoReMo registration opens. See March listing. (free)

SCBWI Virtual Winter Conference ($)
SCBWI’s annual winter extravaganza will take place online in 2021. Theme: Inside Children’s Publishing. No travel! No hotel! Faculty, program, and a full schedule available at link above; scroll to bottom for registration. February 19 -22, 2021

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.

WriteOnCon ($)
Online conference for kidlit writers and illustrators for all levels (PB, MG, YA). Friday, February 19 to Sunday, February 21, 2021.

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.

March


#50PreciousWords Writing Challenge (free)
Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words. February 29 – March 5, 2020. Hosted by author Vivian Kirkfield.

Bedtime Picture Book Challenge ($)
Institute of Children’s Literature hosts this contest. Submit a previously unpublished picture book manuscript of 500 words or less. Submit by March 31, 2020.

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)
March-April challenge begins. Hosted by children’s writer Laura Renauld.

ReFoReMo (free)
Read a hundred picture books in one month and you’ll learn a lot about writing them! Add in educational posts each weekday of March from industry professionals, who show you how to study picture books as mentor texts, and ReFoReMo (Reading For Research Month) is like a master class in the picture book genre. Challenge began March 2, but you can still jump in. Hosted by our own Carrie Charley Brown and Kirsti Call.

ReVISIONweek Tune-Up Day March 4 (see September listing)

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!

Picture Book Party (free)
For unagented writers: Submit the query and first 50 words of your submission-ready picture book (or 100 words of chapter book) for consideration by participating editors and agents. Hosted by authors Michelle Hauck, Mindy Alyse Weiss, and Sharon Criscoe.

SCBWI The Ann Whitford Paul—Writer’s Digest Manuscript Award (See note*)
Submissions open February 1 – April 1.
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 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 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 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.

Voicing the Facts: Nonfiction Picture Books with Personality ($)
Author Cynthia Levinson helps you use voice to provide factual information in an appealing way that is authentic to your subject. Saturday, March 28, 2020, 2pm – 5pm Central Time.
Presented by autho Hosted by The Writing Barn.

April

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.

#DVPit and #DVart
Twitter pitch party for historically underrepresented voices in children’s literature. #DVPit and #DVArt for children’s and teen fiction/nonfiction, including picture books, is on April 22, 2020 from 8am ET until 8pm ET. There is a second #DVPit event later in the month for writers of adult fiction/nonfiction. Created and moderated by literary agent Beth Phelan with assistance from authors Kat Cho and Claribel Ortega and agent Peter Knapp.

Spring Fling Writing Contest (free)
Challenge for writers, find a springtime-themed gif and write 150 words. April 7 through April 9, 2020. Hosted by Ciara O’Neal and Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez. Check out Fall Writing Frenzy, too.

#WriteMentor Summer Programme (free)
Applications open April 15 – 17
for UK-based program pairing professionals in children’s literature with pre-agented writers for online summer mentorship.

The Writing Barn Courses ($)
The Heart and Humor of Amy Krouse Rosenthal Tuesdays, April 7 through May 12, 2020, with author Marcie Colleen.
Perfecting the Picture Book II Thursdays, April 16 through May 21, 2020, with author Ann Marie Stephens.
Picture Book Biographies: Style and Substance Mondays, April 6 through May 11, 2020 with  author Rob Sanders.

May

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

Eenie Meenie Miney Mini Writing Challenge (free)
Every Monday from May 11 until June 22, 2020, write a 100-word children’s story based on that week’s writing prompt, and post it in the comments. Complete all prompts for a chance to win prizes. Hosted by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill.

National Picture Book Writing Week #NaPiBoWriWee  (free)
NaPiBoWriWee, traditionally May 1 – 7 each year, has been postponed until later in 2020. When the time comes, here’s what you’ll do: Write 7 Picture Books in 7 Days! Hosted by children’s book author Paula Yoo.

New Voices Award (free)
Submission window opens in May, 2021. 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.

ReVISIONweek Tune-Up Day May 13 (see September listing)

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

Storyteller Academy ($)
Online courses taught by a variety of professionals, related to writing and illustrating for children. Term 2 courses run from May to July. Hosted by Arree Chung.

June

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

#Kidlit Zombie Week (free)
Are you ready to bring your dead manuscripts back to life?  Join 6 Ladies and a MANuscript on Twitter (@6and_MANuscript ) for a week filled with inspiration, discussions, and great prizes! Took place in June in 2020; date to come for 2021.

Mix ‘N’ Match Mini Writing Challenge (free)
Every Monday from May 11 until June 22, 2020, write a 100-word children’s story based on that week’s writing prompt, and post it in the comments. Complete all prompts for a chance to win prizes. Hosted by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill.

#FaithPitch (free)
Twitter pitch party for the Christian Book Market (CBM), including #hashtags for specific ages and genres. Thursdays, February 27, June 25, and November 12, 2020.

New Voices Award (free)
Submission window open, closes August 31. 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.

#PBChatMentorship (free)
Applications open June 1 – June 14, 2020. Mentorships with published picture book writers and illustrators for unpublished picture book writers and illustrators. Check @JustinRColon on Twitter on June 1 for application info. Mentorships run from August 1 – November 1. Hosted by children’s writer Justin Colón.

#PBPitch (free)
A Twitter pitch party exclusively for picture books! Thursday, June 18, from 8am to 8 pm EST.

#PitMad (free)
Twitter pitch party for unagented authors and illustrators in all genres, happening Thursday, June 4, 2020 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.

SCBWI Digital Workshops: Slate 2 (see note*)
Second series of special weekly one-hour webinars with renowned children’s book creators, editors, agents, and art directors. Registration opens Monday for Thursday events; replays available without prior registration. *Free, but must be a dues-paying member of SCBWI.
June digital workshops:
June 4, 1 – 2 pm PT: The World Isn’t Flat: World Building for Realistic and Fantasy Stories presented by Tracey Baptiste, Author.
June 11, 1 – 2 pm PT: Character Building for Writers and Illustrators by Vashti Harrison, Author/Illustrator.
June 18, 1 – 2 pm PT: Writing Our Lives: From the Telling Detail to the Evocative Scene by Beth Kephart, Author. (MG/YA, not PB)
June 25, 1-2 pm PT: Telling Their Stories: Writing Nonfiction Picture Book Biographies from Beginning to End by Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author.

Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers (WIFYR) ($)
Originally in Utah, now live via Zoom from the comfort of your own home. A full week of workshops, classes, and community. June 8-12, 2020.

THE WRITING BARN COURSES ($)

Writing for Emergent Readers For writers of picture books and chapter books. With Ann Ingalls. Saturday June 6, 2 – 5 pm CDT.

Characters Drive the Story Along with lessons and exercises, the focus of this class will be on drafting a brand new out-of-the-box picture book manuscript. Six sessions, Thursdays, 7 – 9pm CDT, June 11 – July 16, 2020. With Adam Lehrhaupt.

Visual Storytelling for Picture Book Authors Join author and illustrator Carter Higgins for an exploration of visual storytelling across multiple formats beyond the picture book—from icons and logos to film titles and Instagram Stories. Saturday, June 13, 2020, 2 – 5 pm CDT.

Building a Bio that Breathes  Join award-winning picture book biography author Nancy Churnin for this six-week online course where you will learn the necessary ingredients for a winning book and how to assemble them into a biography with a beating heart. Mondays, 7 – 9 pm CDT, June 15 – July 20, 2020.

July

Children’s Book Academy course ($)
Middle Grade Mastery begins in July. 

Children’s Book Boot Camp 2020 (CBBC) ($)
5 weeks, 3 sessions, 1 goal: To get your children’s book published! Work with Melissa Manlove of Chronicle books, Martha Rago of Random House, and Marietta B. Zacker of Galit & Zacker Literary Agency. Open to 10 participants only, 200-word sample and/or 3 illustrations needed to apply. For more information and to apply, email “write2me [at] patcummings.com”. Applications due by July 6, 2020. Hosted by author Pat Cummings.

Intensive Picture Book Writing Workshop ($)
Author Anastasia Suen leads and instructs a cohort of adults in a year-long online intensive writing workshop for fiction and nonfiction picture books in poetry and prose. Enrollment will open on July 20, 2020 for five days.

New Voices Award (free)
Submission window open, closes August 31. 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.

Nonfiction Picture Books 101 ($)
AuthorMeeg Pincus covers the basics to help you start writing and publishing nonfiction picture books or middle-grade books. Sunday, July 12, 2020, 2:00-5:00 PM CDT. Hosted by The Writing Barn.
Writing Picture Book Biographies from the Inside Out ($)
After spending months or years in research, collecting facts and details about their subject, how does an author transform those raw materials into a layered narrative? In this six-week online class, author Donna Janell Bowman leads an introspective and pragmatic deep-dive into writing picture book biographies from the inside out. Six Sundays: July 5, 12, 19, 26, Aug 9, 16 2020, 4pm-6pm CDT.

SCBWI Digital Workshops: Slate 2 (see note*)
Second series of special weekly one-hour webinars with renowned children’s book creators, editors, agents, and art directors. Registration opens Monday for Thursday events; replays available without prior registration. *Free, but must be a dues-paying member of SCBWI.
July digital workshops:
July 2, 1-2 pm Pacific Time: Submissions Studio: Writing Queries, Strategizing Submissions, and 10 Ways to Translate “No” to “Yes!”
by Deborah Halverson, Editor.
July 9, 1-2 pm Pacific Time:
Straight Through the Heart: How to Make Readers Fall in Love with Your Characters by Tiff Liao, Editor, Henry Holt (MG/YA, not PB)

SCBWI Summer Spectacular Annual Summer Conference ($)
In light of the ongoing health crisis, this year’s summer conference has been moved from downtown Los Angeles to the digital realm. Hosted on Zoom with recordings available through the month of August. July 31 – August 4, 2020.

THE WRITING BARN COURSES ($)
Nonfiction Picture Books 101  Author Meeg Pincus covers the basics to help you start writing and publishing nonfiction picture books or middle-grade books. Sunday, July 19, 2020, 2:00-5:00 PM Central Time.

Picture Book Bio II  Discover how to transform a real-life story into a picture book biography manuscript that stands out for all the rights reasons. With author Rob Sanders. Tuesdays, 7:00-9:00 PM CDT, July 21- August 25, 2020.

Writing STEM Picture Books Join author Melissa Stewart for a lively presentation that digs deep into the expository nonfiction writing process. Saturday, July 11, 2020, 2-3:30 PM CDT

August

New Voices Award (free)
Submission window closes August 31. 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.

Rate Your Story Writing Contest ($)
Categories for picture books and novels, prizes including access to industry professionals. Open to members and nonmembers. A portion of submission fees donated to worthy causes. Submit between August 1 and August 31, following submission guidelines. 

So You Want to Write for Children (free)
Do you have a story idea for a children’s book? Have you wondered about how to become a children’s author? Join author Rosie J. Pova via Zoom for an introduction to the craft and business of children’s writing. Monday, August 31, 2020, 7pm – 8pm Central Time. Hosted by Writing Workshops.

Storyteller Academy ($)
Online courses taught by a variety of professionals, related to writing and illustrating for children. Term 3 courses start August 22 and end October 24, 2020. Hosted by Arree Chung.

The Writing Barn Courses ($)
Courses happening or beginning in August, 2020 include Writing for Educational Publishing, Perfecting the Picture Book, and Write.Submit.Support. for Picture Book/Chapter Book Writers. See link for details.

September

Diversity Day: Writing Outside Your Lane ($)
Newbery-winning author Linda Sue Park, Lee and Low editor Kandace Coston, book expert and editor Kim Childress, and author Natalie Davis Miller will show you how, in this thoughtful and eye-opening online conference. September 12, 2020, 10am – 3pm Eastern Time. Hosted by Indiana SCBWI.

#PitMad (free)
Twitter pitch party for unagented authors and illustrators in all genres, happening Thursday, September 3, 2020 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.

ReVISIONweek (free)
Revise your PB manuscripts that you wrote for challenges earlier in the year! Daily Quick-Read Crafty Tips and a raffle for prizes at the end. Tune up days in January, March, and May. 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 open August 15 – September 7. Hosted by writer/illustrator Dani Duck.

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 weeks beginning Monday, September 14, 2020. Hosted by Writing Workshops.

You Can Write a Picture Book! ($)
Study and Workshop with Adrien Kade Sdao. Students will achieve an understanding of the purpose, structure, and craft of a picture book. Additionally, each student will 1) submit a picture book manuscript up to 1,000 words for detailed line and global notes and 2) create a storyboard and book dummy for their manuscript. Four weeks beginning September 7. Hosted by Antioch University. October

Antiracism in KidLit: Practical strategies for authors and illustrators ($)
Five authors, educators, and industry professionals will discuss strategies that authors and illustrators can use to actively make antiracism part of our craft. Moderated by author Valerie Bolling. Thursday, October 22, 2020, 7pm-8:30pm Eastern Time. Hosted by New England Region SCBWI.

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. Authors of Children’s & Teen Fiction/Nonfiction (picture books, chapter books, middle grade, young adult) use #DVpit; Artists & Illustrators use #DVart. October 26, 2020. 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.

Fall Writing Frenzy (free)
Write 200 words inspired by one of the contest photos, and submit it between October 1 – October 3, 2020 11:59 PM EST. Prizes! Hosted by Lydia Lukidis and Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez.

Filling the Writer’s Toolbox ($)
This month-long intensive online workshop will help you prepare your manuscript for submission under the guidance of renowned editor Emma Dryden. October 1 – November 2, 2020. A Highlights Foundation workshop.

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. 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 29th, 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. Theme for 2020: Finding Your Voice. 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. October 3, 2020.

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. This year’s theme: Silver Lining.  Deadline is midnight, Pacific Time, October 20, 2020. *Free for dues-paying members of SCBWI.

SCBWI DIGITAL WORKSHOPS 3.0 (*See note)
Weekly one-hour webinars with renounced children’s book creators, editors, and translators, via Zoom. Register to watch live, or watch the replay within one month without registering. Note: Some webinars may be more relevant to picture books than others. Thursdays at 4pm Pacific Time / 7pm Eastern Time. *Free for dues-paying members of SCBWI.

THE WRITING BARN COURSES ($)

The Heart and Humor of Amy Krouse Rosenthal: Using AKR’s Body of Work to Enhance Our Own Explore the work and techniques of the late Amy Krouse Rosenthal with author Marcie Colleen. Six Tuesdays, 7-9pm Central Time, October 13 – November 24, 2020.

Writing with Authenticity ($)
Have you ever tried to write a picture book but feel like you or your audience just aren’t connecting to the story? Join author/illustrator Jessixa Bagley for a deep dive into writing picture books from the heart. Six Mondays, 7pm – 9pm Central Time, October 5 – November 9, 2020.

November


Black Friday Bootcamp ($)
Online one-day livestream writing conference. 100% of ticket sales go to support First Book and We Need Diverse Books. Hosted and organized by Storyteller Academy and author Arree Chung.

#FaithPitch (free)
Twitter pitch party for the Christian Book Market (CBM), including #hashtags for specific ages and genres. See link for exact dates this year.

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

SCBWI/Smithsonian Institution Nonfiction Workshop ($)
SCBWI’s first-ever nonfiction workshop with the Smithsonian will be held online November 6-8, 2020. Registration will reopen in September with unlimited seating available. Stay tuned to scbwi.org.

THE WRITING BARN COURSES ($)

Craft Webinar: Writing a Rollicking Read-Aloud ($)
Join prolific picture book author Tammi Sauer in a craft webinar to explore ways to create a riveting read-aloud! November 8, 2020, 11am – 12:30 pm Central Time.

Exploring Paths to Publication for #ownvoices BIPOC Authors and Illustrators ($)
Award-winning picture book author Andrea J. Loney guides BIPOC kidlit creators to go deep, sharpen craft, and plan a path to publication for your #ownvoices picture book, chapter book, MG or YA novel, or graphic novel. Six Thursdays, 7pm – 9pm Central Time, November 5 through December 17, 2020.

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, 7pm-9pm Central Time, November 4 – December 9 (not 11/25), 2020.

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.

Picture Book Palooza ($)
You’ll learn from a whole bunch of amazing writers, agents, editors, receive tons of learning, book giveaways, and have gobs of fun in this fab, low-cost, two-day children’s book weekend extravaganza. Saturday – Sunday, December 5 – 6, 2020, see website for times. Hosted by The Children’s Book Academy.

#PitMad (free)
Twitter pitch party for unagented authors and illustrators in all genres, happening Thursday, December 3, 2020 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.

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


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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