Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Area Classes, Retreats, and Workshops

Fall 2018 Classes, Retreats & Workshops

Classes, conferences and workshops provide opportunities for professional contacts, manuscript critiques, networking and fellowship.  Many an unpublished manuscript has been refocused, redefined, rewritten and  published after its author attended a class or workshop.  The information below was compiled by Oak Park author, June Sengpiehl.   June lives in Oak Park, with her husband, Paul.  She writes poetry, articles, picture  books and chapter books. Her special interests are mysteries and fairy tales. Her email is





 The Wildly Magical World’s Fair: A Highly Imaginative Art activity With Laura  Montenegro

Designed for children from kindergarten through third grade

Laura Montenegro, Instructor

The Newberry Library

60 West Walton Street

Chicago, IL 60610


(workshop location)


Saturday, November 10, 2018, 10  to 11:30 am

Free and open to the public.  Registration recommended.

Author Laura Nyman Montenegro will read her book, The Most Magical World’s Fair and lead children in a craft project inspired by the Fair. This program will challenge participants to celebrate the beauty of an imagined world where many characters from different cultures meet and fall in love with each other. The children will create their own magical character, invent a costume for their animal using a simple, cut-paper collage technique, an exciting art project for children of all skill levels. Every one will take their new paper animal home to enjoy after the program concludes.This workshop is in connection with the exhibition, Pictures from An Exposition: Visualizing the 1893  World’s Fair on exhibit at the Newberry from September 28 to December 31, 2018.

For more information, please see: http://www,




Picture Book Workshop

Thursday, November 8, 2018, 7 to 9 pm

Laura Montenegro, Instructor

Oak Park Public Library

834 Lake Street

Oak Park, IL 60301

708 383-8200

2nd Floor Book Discussion Room


Picture books are one of the most exciting art forms and one cannot but be fascinated by their never-ending complexity of structure and form.  In this exciting hands-on picture making workshop, we will look at and explore a highly innovative picture book structure and create our own simple picture books based on this form. All are welcome—beginners and experienced.

For questions and to RSVP, please contact




1700 Crain Street. Evanston, IL

Instructor: Laura Montenegro,Author/Illustrator

Workshop dates to be announced.

She will be leading pop-up workshops which will be a laboratory for playful experimentation and growth.They will address many of the challenges that we as picture book makers encounter in our work.  In these workshops, you will explore the world of visual storytelling.  Focusing on the relationship between word, image, pacing, format and design, you will create a hand bound picture book dummy based on a concept of your choosing.  A variety of styles, materials, and techniques used in book illustration will be covered, as well as the children’s book publishing process.  Laura will share her experience and techniques through discussion, demonstrations, exercises and individualized feedback as you develop your ideas and put them on paper.  Beginners a well as as the very experienced are invited to attend

For more information, please contact:

Laura Montenegro at:,




425 Fawell Blvd.

Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

Instructor: Carmela Martino

Six Week Hands-On Workshop: Finding Your Writer’s Voice

Tuesdays, October 2  to November 13,  2018,  7 to 9 pm (No class Oct. 30)

Course ID: HUMNT-0002-0010

Fee: $159, Lifelong Learning $119

What is voice? How do you develop yours? Author Carmela Martino helps you to explore the answers to these questions in this six-week workshop,   Through reading assignments, writing exercises, class discussions  and instructor feedback, you’ll learn the power of voice ad how to sharpen yours so that it draws readers in and keeps them turning the pages.

Required Text: Finding Your Writer’s Voice: A Guide to Creative Fiction by Thaisa Frank and Dorothy Wall.  Please bring the text to the first class meeting on Oct 2

Class size is limited to 15 students so register early!

Please register at least two weeks before the class start date.

For details see:



The Newberry Library

60 W. Walton Street, Chicago, IL  312  255-3700

PICTURE THIS: Writing Picture Books For Children

Wednesday evenings,Sept. 26 to November 7, 2018, 5:45 -7:45 pm

Instructor: Author/ Writing Coach Esther Hershenhorn 

This workshop focuses on how to create and write a successful children’s picture book that connects with both young readers and today’s ever-changing marketplace. Participants’ manuscripts will be shared and discussed to highlight the variety of picture books and structures, craft, the writing process and publishing opportunities. Writers of all levels will be offered a supportive, challenging and encouraging environment.

To register, visit:


The Writers Studio, University of Chicago,

The Graham School of Continuing Liberal and

Professional Studies

The  Gleacher Center, 450 N. City front Plaza Drive, (Between Illinois St. and North Water St.), Chicago 60611

Publishing Your Book for Children and Young Adults

Thursdays, November 29, December 6, December 13, 2018, 6 pm to 9 pm

Instructor: Author and Writing Coach Esther Hershenhorn

If you’re thinking about writing a children’s book, either fiction or nonfiction, this three-session seminar will both ground you in today’s Children’s Book World and help you move forward in readying your book for readers.  Session one will focus on publishing possibilities and opportunities—the segments, formats, genres, marketplace and reader considerations.   Session two offers each participant a closer look at a proposed book idea or the beginning pages of a work-in-progress to assess a story’s likely audience, format and marketability. Session three addresses revision and Next Steps.

To register, visit



Parkland College

2400 W. Bradley Avenue

Champaign, IL 61821

Business Training and Community

Education Center, Mattis Ave., Room J-124

Instructor: Patricia Hruby Powell

Mondays, Sept. 24 to Oct. 22, 2018, 6:00 to 8:30 pm

Writing For Children and Teen Readers

Explore character, point of view, plot, setting; using your manuscript or starting a new one; practice show-don’t-tell techniques; scene building using the senses; prose or verse; practice getting and giving constructive criticism in a safe environment; get advice on getting published.  We’ll address your questions and concerns and have fun. For writers of all genres and levels.

Cost: $139

Patricia Hruby Powell




The ABC’s of Writing Children’s Poetry

Two Workshop options:

Wednesdays, August 1,8.15 and 22, 2018 or

Saturdays, September 1,8,15 and 22, 2018, 9:30 to 11 am in Orland Park

Instructor: Heidi Bee Roemer, Author, Poet and Poetry-Writing Mentor

Students (limit of 8) will learn a variety of poetry forms and hone their poetrywriting skills. In addition, they’ll discover how to research, submit and hopefully sell their carefully crafted kid-friendly poems to magazines and anthologies.

Cost is $200, which includes a 65 page ABC’s Poetry Writing Workbook,Poetry

Place and Heidi’s personal instruction and detailed feedback.


For an additional $50, students who complete the course are invited to a special “poetry critique party.”  Here they can share other works-in-progress (stories in rhyme or poetry collections) or revised homework poems in a friendly forum that will be comfortable, fun and beneficial.

For more information, contact Heidi at


The following classes are taught by  Michelle Kogan

Email Michelle with any questions at:


Evanston Art Center

1717 Central Street

Evanston, IL 60201 

For registration,  call (847) 475-5300 or visit:


Figures and Nature Drawing/Painting #0158, 0159

Starts Monday, Sept 10th,, 2018, 6 week class, 9:30 to 12:30 pm

Starts Monday, Oct. 22nd, 2018,6 week  class, 9:30 to 12:30 pm 

Using drawing/painting mediums we’ll begin with the figure and add nature elements to your compositions. Bring in images of nature-drawn or photos.  Each class begins with warm up sketches. Instruction will focus on creating strong compositions, anatomy, materials, color and combining figures in nature.  This class will have a life model.

All levels.  Ages 18+ Regular Rate 6 week $250/Member Rate $230 


Watercolors: Materials, Composition & Technique #E0160A & E0160B

Starts Tuesday, Sept. 11th, 2018, 6 week class, 9:30 to 12;30  pm

Starts Tuesday, Oct. 23rd,2018 6 week class, 9:30 to 12:30 pm,  

Class focuses on creating vibrant paintings with strong compositions using watercolor tubes and watercolor pencils. Instruction includes demos on watercolor techniques-applying transparent versus opaque watercolor, washes and painting wet in wet.

All levels.  Ages 16+ Regular Rate 6 week $215.Member Rate $195



Children’s Picture Book Illustration- 12 week class #0153

Starts Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, 9:30 to 12:30 pm

Choose a classic children’s  picture book or bring in your own picture book story and learn about making sequential scenes and creating a picture book dummy.  The class will cover  thumbnail layouts, storyboarding and using a scanner/computer to create the book dummies.  Bring to 1st class: 9 x 12 inch sketchbook, tracing paper pad, kneaded eraser, 3 staedtler mars #3b drawing pencils, pencil sharpener and references for your picture book drawings.

All Levels. Ages 18+, Regular Rate $410 /Non-member $390


Pen & Ink Watercolor-6 week Class #0163 &0187

Starts Friday, Sept. 14th, 2018, 9:30-12:30 pm

Starts Friday, Oct. 26th, 2018,9:30 to 12:30 pm

Using still life and reference material students will create drawings and paintings using a variety of pens-dip pens, micron pens, brush pens, watercolors, Dr. Martin Watercolors, and brushes on various papers.  See posted list for materials.

Ages 16+  Regular Rate $215/Member Rate $195


Pens & Ink &   Dr. Martin Watercolor Workshop #9026

Saturday, October 6th, 9:30 am to 4:00 pm

Create studies and one finished piece using the pens, micron pens,brush pens and Dr. Martin watercolors.  The instructor will provide a still life or you can bring in still life material.  See posted list for materials.

All levels.  Ages 18+ Regular Rate $130/Member Rate $110


Poetry and Art #0321 & 0322

Starts Thursday, Sept. 13th, 2018,9:30 to 12:30 pm

Starts Thursday, Oct. 25th, 2018, 9:30 to 12:30 pm

The link between poetry and art is ripe for exploration in this class and we will  write ekphrastic poetry-poems written and  inspired by works of art, which may include skinny,haiku,tanka, cherita, limerick, list, golden shovel and concrete. Looking at current EAC exhibitions and images of works of art you share, we will create both poems inspired by art and sketches inspired by poetry.  Bring to class: writing journal/ sketchbook, pencils and erasers.

All Levels ages 18+ Regular Rate $215, Member Rate $195


 Michelle Kogan also works independently with students; email her to arrange



Creating Stories for Children (LAN-800-RV)

This community based creative writing course offers adults an overview of writing for children. Each workshop will include a lecture, writing exercise, and critique of peer writing. Children’s formats covered will include poetry, picture books, early readers, chapter books, middle grade novels, and young adult novels. Other topics may include: genre fiction, graphic novels, epistolary techniques, and nonfiction.

Taught by J. Loescher

Cost to register: $85.00

9/12/18 – 11/21/18

Wed 6:00pm-8:00pm Click on Language, Literature and Writing from this link for my course to appear in a pop up box.


The following institutions also offer classes and workshops for writers and illustrators.  Specific class information was not available at time of publication.


Lake Forest, IL

Phone (847) 234-1063 or visit www.ragdale




Elgin, IL

Regular writing workshop plus weekend special-topic workshops

Phone (847) 697-1000, Ext 7578



Prairie Writer and Illustratora Day

October 27, 2018

Wojcik Conference Center, Harper College

1200 Alqonquin Road

Palatine, IL 60067



SCBWI Michigan and Indiana Writer’s Retreat

October 5,  7pm  to October 7, 4:00 pm, 2018

Potawatomi State Park

6 Ln 150 Lake James

Angola, IN


Illustrator’s Critique Group Meeting

September 26, 2018, 7  to 9 pm

Barnes & Noble Cafe

8675 River Crossing

Indianpolis, IN



Change The World With Words

October 6, 2018, 8:15 am to 4:45 pm


318 5th Street

West Des Moines, IA



Ann Arbor Shop Talk             

Sept. 20,Sept. 29, Oct. 10,Nov. 10,2018 10 am to 12 pm

AADL Downtown

343 S. 5th Avenue

Ann Arbor, MI



SCBWI Michigan & Indiana  Writer & Illustrator Retreat

October 5 to October 7, 2018

Potawatomi Inn

Pokagon State Park

Angola, IN



2018 Regional Conference

September 14 to September 15, 2018

Lorain Community College

Spitzer Conference Center

1005 N. Abba Road

Elyria, OH




Tips and Tools For Promoting Your Book:

Before and After Publication

October 13, 2018, 10 am to 12 pm

Sun Prairie Public Library

1350 Linnerud Drive

Sun Prairie, Wisconsin


SCBWI 2018 Fall Retreat and Conference

September 21 to September 23, 2018

Green Lake Conference Center

W2411 WI-23

Green Lake, WI



Annual Winter Conference

February 8 to 10, 2019

New York, New York

Visit for faculty, registration and information.





Honesdale, PA

Conferences include seminars, small-group workshops, and one-on-one sessions with some of the most accomplished, prominent and supportive authors, illustrators, editors, critics and publishers of the world of children’s literature, all determined to help authors and illustrators meet their goals

To register: 


The Journey: A Crash Course in How to Writer Books for Children

September 9 to September 12, 2018

Get serious about writing your children’s book-and explore your path to publication.  Just how do you write a children’s book where. . .




Taking your Writing & Art to New Places:Published Authors and Illustrators at Work

September 24 to September 28, 2018

You’ve launched your career-now what? Discuss, dissect, collaborate and grow.  We’re pleased to announce a workshop especially for published. . .



DIY Repair Kit For Writers: Get YourFixer-Upper Ready to Sell

September 30 to October 3, 2018

For published and pre-published authors who have a novel that needs to be renovated for sale.  Have a fixer-upper manuscript?. .



Beginner’s Class in World Building and World Conjuring

October 4 to October 7, 2018

Writers of speculative science fiction magical realism or fantasy novels: this workshop will teach you the techniques of world building, the. . .

https.// beginners-class-in-world-building-





Picture Book Illustration: From Conception to Birth

October 5 to October 7, 2018

A down-to-earth,hands on workshop for the illustrator who’s looking for the inside track. packed with valuable points and solid advice. . .



Writing For All Young Readers: Board Books Through MG Series

October 7 to October 9, 2018

This workshop is for someone looking for ways to break in or expand upon a career in writing for children.



The Craft And Heart of Writing Poetry  For Children

October 14 to October 18, 2018

If you have a passion for writing children’’s poetry, then please join us.  Beginning poets, seasoned writers, teachers, dreamers. . .



Telling It True: The Art of Storytelling in Picture Book Biography and Narrative Nonfiction

October 18 to October 21, 2018

Engage children in the lives of others through captivating events and compelling narrative threads.  Unfamiliar names may not hook your . . .



Elements of Plot With Grace Lin and Padma Venkatraman

October 21 to October 24, 2018

Find your way through your novel, from point to point and place to place.Crafting engaging characters and an interesting. . . 2018


Fundamental STEPS to Writing Historical Fiction

October 28 to  October 31, 2018

Give your historical fiction a strong start by learning the fundamentals of this popular genre.  Are you writing a novel. . .

https://www.highlights steps-to-writing-historical-fiction-2918


Unlocking Your Story: Forms and Genres.a Mashup

November 4 to November 7, 2018

Is your work-in-profess begging  to break free? Find the form that best fits the story you hope to tell.  Join. . .



Getting Your Middle Grade and Young Adult Novel Unstuck

November 4 to November 8, 2018

And ultimate workshop for middle grade and young adult fiction authors looking to explore or revise and publish a work in . . . -middle-grade-or-young-



Creating Picture Books With Humor and Heart: A Working Retreat

November 8 to November 11, 2018

A writing intensive workshop to prepare your picture book for submission.  Two award winning, best selling authors, Emily Jenkins and Elise Broach and . . .



A Master Class: Creating the Moment That Transcends-Climax, Complication and Going Far Enough

November 8 to November 11, 2018

An intense study into building scenes with emotional impacts for your readers. The novel is first a story with a. . .



Carolyn Yoder Nonfiction Picture Book Retreat

November 29 to December 3, 2018

This intensive nonfiction picture book retreat is open only to graduates of Carolyn P. Yoder’s workshops. Join Carolyn Yoder, Senior. . .




 For all workshops, phone (877) 512-8365 with questions.  To register or to request  more

information, e-mail Jo Lloyd, Program Assistant,


Off Campus Writer’s Workshops Winter 2015

Winnetka Community House

620 Lincoln


Join the writing group that will help you start your first or finish your seventh novel, memoir, non-fiction, young adult or children’s book.  OCWW meets Thursday mornings 9:30 am  to 12:00 pm and provides professional workshops from September to May each year, featuring current authors, editors, professors and publishers.  Per session fee $15. (Members $10 with yearly membership).   Yearly membership @$30 entitles members to reduced session fees, manuscript critiques by presenters, and member critique groups.  Our final meeting the first Thursday in May each year presents a panel of publishers and agents who provide vital information for all authors. For a full list of all OCWW programming, which starts in September, visit:  https://ocww

Check our website for further information,






Montpelier, VT

July, January

11-day intensive residencies in July and January on campus alternate with 5 month nonresident projects  (4 semesters, 5residencies).  Faculty includes M. T. Anderson, Kathi Appelt.Marion Dane Bauer, Sharon Darrow, Ellen Levine and Norma Fox Mazer.

Contact Melissa Fisher at (800) 336-6794, Ext. 8637 or e-mail or visit the website at





with a Concentration in Writing For Children

Semesters begin in May or October

Program is 4 semesters, 5 residencies

Contact Graduate Admissions at (800) 896-8941, Ext. 2423 or e-mail: or visit the website at




Cambridge, MA

Offering a concentration in Writing for Young People

Semesters begin in January and June

Program is 4 semesters, 5 residencies

Contact Jana M. Van der Veer

Assistant Director, Advising and Student Services

[LINK: mail to:]




1536 Hewitt Avenue

Saint Paul, MN 55104

Semesters begin in January and July

Program is 4 semesters, 5 residencies

Office phone: (651) 523-2047, Fax: (651) 523-2490

For questions, call (651) 523-2900 or e-mail






Correspondence courses and access to articles, tips, chat room discussions on writing.




“Fundamentals of Writing For Children”  (12 week beginning course)

“Focus Course in Writing For Children” (14 week intermediate course)

For details and starting dates on these workshops and other Writer’s Digest Online Courses, visit


The Writing Barn – 

September 17, through October 15, 2018. 7-9 pm CST

Instructor: Michele Weber Hurwitz, Author

Michele is teaching a 5 week online class through the Writing Barn and will be taught through the Barn’s Virtual Zoom classroom.  This class is aimed at beginning and   intermediate middle grade writers and will cover the fundamentals of setting, conflict,character,  theme,. voice, dialogue and plot.  Participants will be able to share work and receive feedback.  There will be a combination of lectures with supporting examples, discussion,Q&A and writing exercises each week.  The online format is lots of fun and allows participants to get to know writers around the country.  The cost is $340 for 5 sessions.  Sign up here: