Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

  • Congratulations to our Pitch Contest finalists and winner, selected by Joanna MacKenzie.  The winner, Rhonda DeChambeau of NESCBWI (New England Chapter) will have a 1:1 in-person plus written critique!    FINALISTS: Remi Kathawa-Illinois Fernanda Valentino-Illinois Sara Sladoje-Illinois Virginia Kerr-Illinois
  • Feeling burned out? Zoomed out? Join us in beautiful, historic Elsah, just 45 minutes from St. Louis. This downstate Illinois retreat will feature in-person consults with industry professionals, quiet writing time, guided creativity exercises, sessions on how to create a media kit and author bio, good food, camaraderie and the spectacular river views. For conference comfort, attendees will choose and book their own lodging. If you are considering attending, we recommend you book a room soon. This summer tourist destination is in high demand but many bed & breakfasts and hotels are nearby. Most meals are included in the attendance fee. The event will be especially useful for people who have a complete PB manuscript or a well-developed MG or YA novel. The Becky Mabry Scholarship will cover the attendance fee for Riverside Writing Retreat and is open to applicants who have not yet published a work of fiction with a mainstream publisher. Applications due May 14. Questions? Email Deb Aronson, ARA-IL
  • Congratulations to 2022 winner, Karen Su! Watch Charlotte Wenger’s Announcement HERE on our SCBWI-IL YouTube Channel
  • Keep your goals on track with POWER HOUR! Join Illinois' Network and Regional Volunteers weekly. Work on your own project for 60 minutes silently, in community, to stay accountable and keep motivated with fellow members that share a common goal. Stay a few minutes after, if you like, to chat and share successes of the hour or ask questions of your Regional Volunteer Hosts!     May 9 with host Remi Kathawa Regional POWER HOUR  May 16 with host Lizzie Cooke Regional POWER HOUR  May 23 with host Diane O'Neill Regional POWER HOUR  Want to become a SCBWI-IL Volunteer? Click for current needs & to reach out to your Regional Team for more opportunities.
  • SCBWI-IL Networks provide free, drop-in programming monthly in a city or town near you.  Writing, illustrating and diversity netwotks arr open to both members and non-members. They focus on the craft and business of children's storytelling. Come and see what our creative community is all about!
  •   Unlocking Memories and Uncovering Stories with Beth Finke DATE: Thursday, May 12 TIME: 7-8:30 pm Author, journalist and teacher Beth Finke will lead a discussion on ways writing memoir and first-person narratives  could apply  –and benefit — the writing you do for children. Through observation exercises and writing prompts, Beth’s workshop will answer common questions about  getting started, the difference between autobiography and memoir, exposing family secrets, using pen names and  pseudonyms,   finding and working with publishers. A fun and easy-going workshop to discover ways friends, family, celebrations, milestones, moments and place can be catalysts for unlocking memories and uncovering stories.   Beth Finke likes to write, read and edit stories. Her children’s book, “Hani and Beth: Safe & Sound,”  was published in print and in Braille in 2007. Written from her Seeing Eye dog’s point of view, it won the ASPCA’s Henry Bergh  Award for Children’s Literature  that year. Beth has written a couple of books for adults, too:
  • DATE: Wednesday, May 11 TIME: 7-9 pm EVENT: Why Hire a Freelance Editor/Writing Coach? Do you ever wonder if your submissions could use a competitive advantage? Come join Esther Hershenhorn, Sarah Aronson, and Esther Reisberg as they share how they can help you whip your manuscript into shape. Each of them will share insights into how they help their clients and then the floor will be open to your questions.   The descriptive appositive TeachingAuthor describes Esther Hershenhorn perfectly. She authors award-winning picture books, middle grade fiction and nonfiction while teaching Writing for Children at Chicago’s Newberry Library and the University of Chicago’s Writer’s Studio.  Helping others tell their stories, especially to children, is truly her story.  She proudly considers the writers and students she’s been honored to teach and coach the past 25 years her “storied treasures.” A veritable SCBWI Poster Child who advocates for children’s book creators, Esther served 17 years as the Illinois Chapter’s Regional Advisor, 10 years on SCBWI’s Board of Advisors and currently as SCBWI-Illinois’ Regional Advisor Emerita. Though a Philly Girl at heart and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Esther has proudly worn Cubbie Blue since moving to Chicago many life chapters ago.  The Hope and Determination required of all die-hard Cubs fans serves her well as she seeds and feeds writers of all ages. Visit to learn more about Esther’s coaching. You can also read Esther’s blog posts at Sarah Aronson began writing for kids and teens when someone in an exercise class dared her to try. Since then, she has earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She’s published a bunch of books from picture books to novels. When Sarah is not writing or reading (or practicing yoga or riding her bike), she loves working with other writers one on one or in her classes with amazing Highlights Foundation and Writers on the Net. Warning: When she gets really excited, she makes funny faces and talks with her hands. Don’t be shocked if she talks about the power of play. Like tips? Her weekly newsletter offers thoughts on the process and writing prompts that help you find your story. She lives in Chicago, Illinois. Find out more at Esther Reisberg fell in love with reading at age three, and quickly became the go-to editor for her classmates in elementary school (and beyond). She began making books her business in 2012, when she had her first editorial internship at an independent publishing company. After a stint in magazines, she interned at Phoenix International Publications, Inc., and spent three years in editorial and production at Kidsbooks Publishing before branching out as a freelance editor. She currently works on projects for Scholastic, National Geographic Kids, Penguin Young Readers, Albert Whitman, ABRAMS, and other publishers, as well as for independent authors. A self-described professional bookworm, Esther recently joined the team at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers as a production editor. Her inner three-year-old is absolutely delighted that (slightly older) Esther gets to work in an industry that delivers the magic of books to kids of all ages. Visit for more information.   —LIVE EVENT FREE to both members and non-members. It will be recorded. —A recording will be made available on our Recordings BY REQUEST page beginning on May 12 —Questions? Email Ilana Ostrar, SCBWI-IL North Suburban Network Representative  


Are you interested in writing and/or illustrating for children?

Are you a published author/illustrator, wondering what SCBWI can do for you?

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