Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Meet Our 2020 Conference Faculty: Donna Janell Bowman

Meet the faculty of the 2020 Austin SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Working Conference. We’ve asked all our faculty members to answer 4 quick questions so we can get to know them better.

Donna Janell Bowman, Author

Donna Janell Bowman is the author of award-winning and lauded books for young readers, including Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness, illustrated by Daniel Minter; Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words, illustrated by S.D. Schindler; and STEAM-infused King of the Tightrope: When The Great Blondin Ruled Niagara, illustrated by Adam Gustavson. Donna has an MFA in Writing (concentrated on children’s literature) from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She enjoys speaking, coaching, and conjuring new stories from her central Texas home.

Donna Janell Bowman
Donna Janell Bowman

What attracted you to children’s books?

I grew up in a rural and isolated environment, so books were my way of exploring the world and connecting with characters. To a child, the right book can be an escape, a lifeline, an adventure, a beacon of hope. How could I not want to be a part of that?

What’s the best part of your job?

I love the sense of accomplishment (or maybe relief) when months or years of focused work result in a completed book, and then the thrill that comes when that book connects me to young readers and educators. It is full-circle magic!

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

I think the drafting stage of writing and revising is equally as challenging as the waiting, waiting, waiting involved in publishing.

What’s the best piece of advice you were given that helped drive your career?

Read, write, read, write. And then stop writing because you want to sound smart and simply tell the story only you can tell.

Come see Donna Janell Bowman at the 2020 Austin SCBWI conference, May 2-3, 2020