SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Faculty and Workshops

NANCY BRENNAN

Nancy Brennanis the Art Director at Viking Childrens’s Books and is celebrating her 17th year with Viking. During her many years in graphic design she has worked with a diverse range of clients, including professional sports teams and Grammy-nominated recording artists. However, her real passion is for children’s books, and at Viking she oversees all facets of the process, from commissioning illustrators and art direction to cover and interior design. Nancy’s work can be seen across the entire spectrum of books for young readers including YA, non-fiction, middle grade, board books and, of course, picture books. She has developed many award-winning books with illustrators including Molly Idle, Juana Medina, Gianna Marino, Divya Srinivasan, E.B. Lewis, and Sophie Blackall. You can see a sampling of her work at nancy-brennan.squarespace.com. Nancy lives in an old house in Brooklyn, surrounded by books, curiosities, and cats.

UNRAVELING THE TWISTS AND TURNS OF COVER ILLUSTRATION

Navigating the mysterious path of book jacket illustration, from concept to commission and ultimate completion, with Nancy Brennan. This two-hour session will start with a visual presentation about how, where, and when to start thinking about cover illustration, exploring the process from manuscript to final. An interactive session reviewing participants’ submissions to the pre-conference assignment will follow.

 

GENEVIÈVE CÔTÉ

Geneviève Côtéhas illustrated a number of books for children, collaborating with favorite authors such as Jean Little, Cary Fagan, and others. She has also written several picture books in English and French, including the Piggy and Bunny series, and the Mr. King series. The latter is being produced as a TV series, on which Genevieve is serving as a consultant as well as learning the challenging art of script-writing. Her editorial art has appeared in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, l’Actualité and other publications. She won the Governor General Award for Illustration in 2007, the Marylin Baillie Award in 2012 for Without You, and she was on IBBY’s 2010 Honour List. A graduate of Concordia University, she enjoys meeting young readers and aspiring authors in schools and libraries here and abroad. She lives in Montreal, Quebec.

SHAPING LIFE

 

KAIT FELDMANN

Kait Feldmannjoined Scholastic in May of 2014 and is now an editor at Orchard Books (Scholastic), where she is building a list of picture books and graphic novels. She is excited to be working with debut authors and illustrators such as Aida Salazar, Molly Mendoza, Jon Lau, Sarah Jung, and Isabella Kung. Kait is a proud hapa (mixed-race Chinese) and founding member of People of Color in Publishing. She is a strong advocate for diverse representation on and beyond the page and is particularly passionate about editing humorous and heartfelt stories featuring kids of colour. Follow her on Twitter @kaitfeldmann and www.kaitfeldmann.com.

 

 

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOOK: CREATIVE APPROACHES TO UTILIZING THE BOOK FORM

Join me in unpacking picture books and graphic novels that use the book form in exciting and interesting ways. We’ll look at how authors show, don’t tell, and cover storytelling components like structure, pacing, and page turn. We’ll also dip into the POV of the illustrator to understand how the form of the book impacts the reading experience. HOMEWORK: If you’re able, please bring along your favorite picture book, and be prepared to gush about it!

SO YOU WROTE A BOOK . . . NOW WHAT?

You’ve gotten over the hump of finishing your manuscript and find yourself preparing to climb the next hill. How do you find the right agent/editor/publisher? What are the dos and don’ts of writing an effective query letter? This workshop will focus mainly on your actionable next steps, but we’ll also dip into what you can expect to see in a contract and pull back the curtain on what happens after your work has been acquired.

 

NADIA HOHN


Nadia Hohnis a dynamic “story lady” who has presented to audiences in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Trinidad. At age of six, Nadia began writing stories, drawing, and making books. Her first two books, Music and Media in the Sankofa Series were published by Rubicon Publishing in 2015. Her award-winning first picture book, Malaika’s Costume (2016) and its sequel Malaika’s Winter Carnival (2017) were published by Groundwood Books. Nadia is also the author of Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter, an early reader published by Harper Collins in 2018. A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett-Coverley Found Her Voice, a picture book about the performer, playwright, author, and Jamaican cultural ambassador otherwise known as Miss Lou will be published in 2019 (Owlkids). Nadia was named one of six Black Canadian Writers to Watch in 2018, and was the first SCBWI Canada East Rising Kite Diversity Scholarship recipient in 2018. Nadia is the coordinator of the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD) Children’s Festival to be held for the first time in 2019. Also in 2019, she will be a touring Alberta as a presenter in the TD Canada Children’s Book Week, and in the summer will be the writer-in-residence at Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver, British Columbia. Nadia studied writing at the Highlights Foundation, Humber College School of Writers, George Brown College, and the Voices of our Nation (VONA). She holds an honours arts degree in psychology from the University of Waterloo, as well as Bachelor and Master of Education degrees from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto (OISE/UT). Nadia is currently working on two young adult novels, a play, the next Malaika book, and other projects. Nadia has taught early years’ music in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. She lives in Toronto, where she teaches elementary school, reads a ton, and crafts stories.

OUR FEELINGS: WHAT GOES INTO A SENSITIVITY READ

Whether you write, illustrate, or read manuscripts, you should know what a sensitivity read is. Explore what goes into one, and why you should get one.

 

 ELIZABETH LAW

Elizabeth Lawis an editor at Holiday House, who specializes in mining their backlist and acquiring middle grade fiction. She has worked in children’s and young adult publishing for 30 years, including most recently as publisher of Egmont USA and as a freelance book doctor and editor at ElawReads.
Elizabeth was previously associate publisher at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and Viking Children’s Books, and has edited and published every genre from picture book through nonfiction and YA and New Adult. Some of the many authors and artists Elizabeth has worked with are Dan Gutman, Andrew Clements, Michael Grant, Tony diTerlizzi, G. Brian Karas, Holly Black, and the estates of Ludwig Bemelmans and Don Freeman. Check out Elizabeth’s blog at Elawreads.com and follow her on Twitter @Elawreads.

 

 

SCENES FROM BEHIND THE EDITOR’S DESK: WHAT WE THINK ABOUT IN AQUIRING YOUR BOOK

 

 

THE HOOK’S THE THING: HOW TO FIND YOURS AND SELL YOUR BOOK

 

HILARY LEUNG


Hilary Leungis a Toronto-based author/illustrator. Several years ago, Hilary self-published his first picture book, The Legend of Ninja Cowboy Bear. After meeting art director Patti Ann Harris at aN SCBWI conference, Hilary sold a four-book series to Scholastic. He’s also worked on projects for Story Planet, a nonprofit organization that encourages young people to create and tell their stories.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: THE ROAD TO PUBLISHING

 

 

 

 

ERIN MURPHY


Erin Murphywas born and raised in Arizona, and founded Erin Murphy Literary Agency in Flagstaff in 1999 after launching her publishing career as an editor at a regional publishing house there. At EMLA she has focused not just on publishing books, but on building careers and creating a sense of community. In 2016, she relocated the agency headquarters to southern Maine. Erin represents writers and writer-illustrators of picture books, novels for middle-graders and young adults, and strong nonfiction for picture book readers, middle graders, and teens. Her favorite reads feel timeless, have strong voices, and express unique creative visions—especially those of underrepresented creators.

 

 

UNLOCKING YOUR PICTURE BOOK VOICE

Can the short texts of picture books have voice? Of course they can. Examine the voice of several authors’ bodies of work and explore what contributes to voice, and then take a look at your own voice and how it might affect the creation and revision of your texts.

LEANING AND LEAPING: A CAREER-BUILDING PHILOSOPHY

The most successful writing careers stem from a combination of consistency and wild originality. What are the strengths you can lean into, and what leaps might you commit to making this year and in the years to follow?