Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Meet your mentors


We are currently updating Mentor pages. The full description of our Mentoring and Critiquing program will be back online soon. In the meantime, please feel free to read our Mentor Bios and to contact our Regional Advisor, Alma Fullerton directly for details on our mentorship program.

N Novels
PB Picture books
NF Nonfiction


(N/PB) AIMEE REID is a former English teacher who has written and edited for young children through to adults. Aimee’s picture book Mama’s Day with Little Gray is published by Random House Children’s Books, and her forthcoming book, All the Earth, is under contract with Nancy Paulsen at Penguin Random House.

Click here to visit Aimee’s website.


(N/PB) ALMA FULLERTON is an author/illustrator born in Ottawa Ontario. She writes contemporary fiction and has published everything from picture books to young adult novels. She’s mentored many times before (both privately and in programs) and has been in critique groups for over 15 years. Her first seven books are In the Garage (2006), Walking on Glass (2007), Libertad (2008), Burn (2010), A Good Trade (2012), Community Soup (2013), and In a Cloud of Dust (2015).

Alma has won and been nominated for dozens of awards, including the 2008 Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Literature (finalist), the 2009 and 2011 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award (finalist), the 2009 Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award (winner), the 2009 CLA Children’s Book of the Year Honor Book, the 2009 Golden Oak Award (winner), the 2009 Once Upon a World Children’s Book Award (winner), and the 2010 Silver Birch Award (honor) and the 2014 Blue Spruce Award (finalist).

Click here to visit Alma’s website.


(N) CAROLINE PIGNAT is the Governor Generalʼs Award–winning author of seven highly acclaimed young adult novels. Her books have received the 2009 and 2015 Red Maple Honour Book Award, as well as the 2015 Honour Book for the CLA Young Adult Book of the Year. Caroline’s work has been short-listed for CLA Book of the Year, the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction, and the IODE Violet Downey Book Award, among others. Her historical novels are recommended by, enjoyed by readers of all ages, and hailed by Canadian Children’s Book News as “historical fiction at its best.” From famine in Ireland and Algonquin hunt camps, to lives lost aboard the Empress of Ireland or locked in slave quarters on a Virginia plantation, the varied voices from such different times and places resonate with a common theme: hope. An author and educator, Caroline continues to teach her grade 12 writer’s craft class in the mornings, and spends her afternoons immersed in her next work-in-progress.

Click here to visit Caroline’s website.


(N/PB) CATHERINE AUSTEN writes funny, sad, award-winning fiction for all ages. Her first children’s novel, Walking Backward, was published by Orca in 2009 and was nominated for numerous awards. She has since published four more books: My Cat Isis, illustrated by Virginie Egger (Kids Can Press, 2011); All Good Children (Orca, 2011), which won the 2012 Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award; 26 Tips for Surviving Grade 6 (Lorimer, 2011), which won the 2012 QWF Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature; and 28 Tricks for a Fearless Grade 6 (Lorimer, 2014).

Catherine has years of experience critiquing manuscripts in face-to-face and online critique groups. She has mentored young writers and led writing workshops at elementary and high schools across the country. She was a presenting author at the MASC Young Authors and Illustrators Conference (2012 and 2015) and a touring author in the Gaspesie’s Bookfest (2014), the TD Children’s Book Week (2014), the Hackmatack Author Tour (2013), and the Vancouver Island Children’s Book Festival (2015).

Catherine writes corporate reports for a living, which is not as much fun as writing fiction. She studied political science at Queen’s University and environmental studies at York University and worked in the conservation movement before throwing it all away to write freelance. She now works from her home in Gatineau, Quebec, where she lives with her husband and teenage sons.

Click here to visit Catherine’s website.


(N) DEBBIE SPRING’s nine books are published worldwide. The Kayak was nominated by IBBY Canada for the Schneider Family Book Award (U.S. Award). Breathing Soccer was a finalist in the Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award. Both books are in the IBBY collection for Young People with Disabilities. The Righteous Smuggler was a recommended book from the Canadian Toy Testing Council, was short-listed for CBC’s “Young Canada Reads,” and received a special star rating in the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Our Choice magazine.

Click here to visit Debbie’s website.


(NF: Canada) LINDSEY CARMICHAEL never outgrew that stage of childhood when nothing’s more fun than amazing your friends (and correcting your teachers!) with your stockpile of weird and wonderful facts. Her sense of wonder came in handy during her career as a scientist, and in 2006, she received the Governor General’s Medal for her Ph.D. thesis, Ecological Genetics of Northern Wolves and Arctic Foxes. Lindsey finds talking about science more fun than doing it, however, and now writes for kids, teens, and occasionally adults (a sense of wonder is essential for this, too).

Lindsey publishes under the name L. E. Carmichael, and her work has appeared in Dig, Highlights for Children, Kiki, and Canadian Tales of the Fantastic. Her published science books cover everything from animal migration to hybrid cars, and Fox Talk: How Some Very Special Animals Helped Scientists Understand Communication won a 2014 Benjamin Franklin Awards Silver Medal.

When not digging up obscure or wacky details for her next nonfiction project, Lindsey’s probably working on her young adult fantasy novel.

Click here to visit Lindsey’s website.


(PB/NF) LIZANN FLATT is the author of 20 nonfiction books and several short stories and poems for kids. Recent nonfiction picturebook titles include Shaping Up Summer, Sizing Up Winter, Sorting through Spring, Counting on Fall, and Let’s Go! The Story of Getting from There to Here. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Ladybug, Babybug, and Highlights for Children magazines. Lizann was formerly the editor of Chickadee, a Canadian children’s magazine, where she edited short fiction, nonfiction articles, puzzles, and comics.

After leaving full time employment Lizann went on to be an instructor with the Institute of Children’s Literature for 12 years, helping adults learn to write for children. She was also a Regional Advisor with SCBWI in Canada for many years. Today she lives and writes in rural Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.

Click here to visit Lizann’s website.


(N/PB/NF) RACHEL EUGSTER has more than two decades of freelance and staff experience as a writer and editor. Her critiquing talents are legendary among her colleagues. With a deep understanding of language and story structure, Rachel homes in on the unsightly sag an otherwise shapely story arc, the fatal character inconsistency, or the oversight that unhinges the plot. All this, along with grammar and style corrections, is delivered with both honesty and kindness.

Rachel was a staffer at Walking magazine, and as a freelancer has edited everything from fiction to poetry to medical journals to architectural writings. Work for children is her special delight.

Rachel is the author of the award-winning picture book The Pocket Mommy (Tundra), the five-book Ingredients of a Balanced Diet series (Franklin Watts), and the play Whose Aemilia?, which she premiered in the Ottawa Fringe Festival in June 2015 in the title role. She is also widely published in newspapers and magazines, for both adults and children. Rachel is a member of SCBWI (PAL) and TWUC, and has frequently participated as a critiquer at SCBWI Canada East conferences. Early in SCBWI’s establishment in Canada, she was teasingly (but respectfully) installed as the chapter’s Grammar Queen.

Click here to visit Rachel’s website.


(N/PB/NF) SUSAN HUGHES has nearly 30 years of experience as an editor, writer, blogger, manuscript evaluator, and writing coach. She is the author of over 25 children’s books, both fiction and nonfiction. Susan’s editorial and writing clients include Red Rocket Readers, Inhabit Media, Jouve North America, Pearson Education, Scholastic Canada, Colleges Ontario, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Owl Books/Maple Tree Press, Houghton Mifflin (U.S.), Word and Image, Nelson Thomson, Pronk and Associates, Reading Plus, Ontario Science Centre, First Folio, and the Toronto District School Board.

Click here to visit Susan’s website.


(N/PB/NF) SYLVIA MCNICOLL has written over 30 books, many published internationally. Her latest young adult novels include Crush. Candy. Corpse., Dying to Go Viral, and Best Friends through Eternity; her recent junior novels include Revenge on the Fly and the soon-to-be-released The Best Mistake Mystery. She worked as features editor of Today’s Parent Toronto for eight years and taught creative writing for nine years at Sheridan College.

Currently, she teaches teens at Mississauga Living Arts Centre. She has acted as a mentor and blue pencil editor both officially, through CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers) and CSARN (Canadian Senior Artists’ Resource Network), and privately, with experienced and emerging authors, helping launch many novels.

Click here to visit Sylvia’s website.