Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

SCBWI-Illinois CHAT with Sarah Aronson

Join PAL & Published Coordinator Sarah Aronson for her 3-Cs:
Care, Community and Creativity!

All SCBWI-Illinois Members Invited
Every Monday night

Online using Zoom–to join:
If you’re new to ZOOM, see TUTORIALS, at bottom.



THESE ZOOM MEETINGS ARE NOT RECORDED.  Please attend to be “in the moment” with your fellow members.  When you attend through July 27, you will be entered in a drawing for a WOW Webinar Package.  The more times you attend, the more chances you have to win!

 JULY 20
Cedric Gliane, SCBWI-IL IC will host 2020 SCBWI-IL Illustration Mentorship mentor Terri Murphy and mentee Robin Hann.  They’ll talk about this SCBWI-IL opportunity, their process and share some beautiful illustrations.

We’ll have a unique Zoom link and password for this 07/20 event:
Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 993 5432 7336
Password: Illio

Sarah Aronson interviews Martha Alderson, author of Boundless Creativity: A Spiritual Workbook for Overcoming Self-Doubt, Emotional Traps, and Other Creative Blocks.  Martha is an internationally-sought creative coach presenting to our community for free!
Please consider ordering the speaker’s book and reading it in preparation for this event: 

ORDER: Boundless Creativity: A Spiritual Workbook for Overcoming Self-Doubt, Emotional Traps, and Other Creative Blocks


Sarah Aronson and Carolyn Crimi co-host first pages.  Participation details:

UPLOAD TO DROPBOX no later than 11:59PM on July 11 per guidelines below .  Submitting your first page online is no guarantee that it will be reviewed.
— No title page nor contact information

— No introduction letter nor synopsis
—Name your WORD file using the following format: CHAT_0713.docx

Guidelines for First Pages: 1 page total 
— At top left, indicate TITLE and FORMAT/GENRE only
—12 point font (standard font, such as Times New Roman, Arial)
—1 inch margins
—Double spaced (for poetry, see below)
—POETRY: this includes rhyming picture books, novels in verse, and stand-alone poetry collections. Poetry submissions should conform to the  guidelines above; however, they may be single spaced with a double space between stanzas, per industry standards. Feel free to format your poetry to allow for a standard of approximately 250 words (e.g. putting verses into multiple columns, etc.). 

—GRAPHIC NOVEL: One standard script page (no illustrations)


Chat Co-Host: Carolyn Crimi
Carolyn Crimi enjoys snacking, pugs, Halloween, and writing, although not necessarily in that order. Over the years she has published 15 funny books for children, including Don’t Need Friends, Henry and the Buccaneer BunniesWhere’s My Mummy?, There Might Be Lobsters, and I Am The Boss of This Chair. She is very excited about her first novel for kids called Weird Little Robots which came out in 2019/PENGUIN 




Chat Co-Host: Sarah Aronson
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, and published three novels: Head Case, Beyond Lucky, and Believe, The Wish List series as well as her first picture book biography, Just Like Rube Goldberg (2020 Crystal Kite Winner). When Sarah is not writing or reading (or cooking or riding her bike), she is talking to readers about creativity, writing, and of course, sparkle power! She loves working with other writers in one of her classes at Writers on the Net ( ) or the amazing Highlights Foundation ( She’s currently working hard on the Read Local initiative for PALs in our amazing SCBWI-Illinois. She overuses exclamation points. When she’s excited, she talks with her hands. Like tips? Subscribe to her weekly newsletter on the creative process.

BREAK for holiday weekend!


Nathan Lyon hosts a book talk with attendees of must-read LGBTQ+ titles for children and young adults!  Bring YOUR favorites to share in conversation with Nathan and fellow members.  Writers and illustrators working on LGBTQ+ themes are also encouraged to share their pitch or progress on their own projects to round out the hour with support from our participants.  A reading list of titles shared during the hour will be offered on this page after the event. PLUS, Nathan and our SCBWI-IL Diversity Committee share a special announcement!

Please share our link and password, below, with friends and colleagues working on LGBTQ+ works-in-progress who may be interested in, but unfamiliar with, our SCBWI-IL community.  ALL ARE WELCOME! Please click here for the SCBWI Statement of Intent on Equity and Inclusion.

SCBWI is compiling a list of LQBTQ+ PAL members who would like to be highlighted in future SCBWI reading lists!  Send your titles to with subject line, LGBTQ+ Reading List.

Nathan Lyon is a middle grade author who is passionate about including characters from the LGBTQ+ community in his writing. Queer kids need to see themselves in the books they read, and all kids benefit from learning about other perspectives. When he is not writing, he can be found teaching 4th grade, reading inclusive middle grade and YA books or biking around Chicago. 



COVID-19 and Children’s Book Collections: What Do Current and Future Changes in Libraries Mean for Authors and Illustrators?

Since the onset of the Coronavirus, librarians have changed their book collection strategies.  In addition, library services are evolving from a browsing environment to one of patron requests matched with a librarian’s expertise. Join Jenny Wagh in conversation with member, librarian Natalie Ziarnik as they discuss:

—How will practical concerns, such as filling requests quickly, change what librarians order?
—How do copyright laws influence which books are read in virtual story time?
—What role do eBooks play in this new environment?
—What types of books will children most want during this time of uncertainty and two years from now, when titles written today will be published?

 Natalie Ziarnik works as the head of the Children’s Department at the Ela Area Public Library in Lake Zurich—a NW suburb of Chicago.  She is also the author of School and Public Libraries:  Developing the Natural Alliance, Madeleine’s Light, and A Lullaby of Summer Things.  

Crafting Teacher Guides with Deb Gonzalez  Find out more about Guides by Deb.

CLICK for June 15 Chat Resources


Celebrate our 2020 Diversity Initiative prize winners: Jacqueline Alc
ántara interviews Alina Celeste Hevia & Erica Thomas
PAL author-illustrator and Diversity Committee Member, Jacqueline Alcántara, introduces Diverse New Member Pathway winner, Erica Thomas to our community with an interview about her work and her process.  Jackie will also talk with Alina Celeste Hevia about her Many Voices Prize-winning, Coquinas, her path to the prize and her creative direction for her wip. Find out more about our SCBWI-IL diversity initiatives, committee and community here. Come to celebrate our 2020 Diversity Initiative prize winners, discover resources to amplify diverse voices and support your fellow members and emerging kidlit creators!


AfriWare Books

Semicolon Books

The Underground Bookstore


SCBWI: Organizations & Resources Supporting Black Lives

SCBWI-IL Diversity Initiatives, Committee and Community


The Brown Bookshelf: Kidlit Rally for Black Lives: Anti-Racist Resources for Children, Families & Educators

Burst Into Books—Find out more about volunteering as guest storytellers and tutors. Donations appreciated.

We Need Diverse Books

POC in publishing



Latinxs in Publishing

Lit Agents of Color


From Twitter:
Molly Cusick (Sourcebooks) “Starting today I will be accepting unagented Black writers in the picture book, middle grade, and YA fiction categories. This is an open-ended offer.”

Talia Benamy (Philomel Books) Publishing is notoriously white, and it’s on those of us with our feet in the door to open that door wider for everyone else. So for the month of June, I’m opening myself up to queries from Black children’s book writers and artists. Please DM them my way. #BlackLivesMatter”



Horn Book Article: Our Modern Ministrelsy by Kekela Magoon 

New York Times: 1619 Project



Books: anti-racist literature

Stamped from the Beginning, Ibram X Kendi

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

 Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates


NEW! Join Kathleen Reitmann as she discusses working in the educational market. Kathleen  
Find out more about Kathleen here!





New to ZOOM?  Please review the following online tutorials:
If you have never used Zoom, please watch these two videos to help you Zoom up to speed!


How to Download and Run Zoom:


How to set up your audio and video on Zoom.