Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2020 Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Winner

Congratulations to the winner and finalists of Austin SCBWI’s 2020 Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award!

The finalists are chosen by the critiquing faculty at our annual conference. Each faculty member may nominate one of the manuscripts they critiqued, either the one they felt was closest to publication or the one they felt was advanced enough to benefit most from a mentorship.

This year’s finalists are:

* Tanya Adelott
* Jennifer Bush
* Sarah Garcia Morgan
* C. M. Gill
* Susan Johnson Taylor
* Kristen Kiesling
* Carol Kim
* Eileen Manes
* Silver Milagro
* Kristine Munden
* Ehigbor Schultz
* Jenna Smith
* Nicholas Solis
* Jennifer Tavares
* Jennifer Watson

Our 2020 mentor is Liz Garton Scanlon, author of picture books and middle grade books, including the most recent THANK YOU, GARDEN, and ONE DARK BIRD.

And the winner is: Carol Kim!

Here’s a message from Liz Garton Scanlon about the finalists:


Carol Kim’s fascinating picture book manuscript — about the invention of the Korean alphabet — touches on the beginnings of something most of us take for granted (a written language). But more importantly, it spins around the theme of using knowledge and voice as power — a truth as profound today as it was in King Sejong’s time. As this year’s Cynthia Leitich Smith Mentor, I’m so excited to help Carol use her own knowledge and voice in beautiful and surprising and important ways.

Jennifer Tavares’ Middle Grade novel, The Resoner’s Apprentice, is both a dreamy natural world fantasy and an accessible and conversational story of cliques and communities and how to navigate both. I would’ve kept reading for sure!
Silver Milagro’s novel Across the Karman Line dances with all sorts of boundaries — between Texas and Mexico, between sky and space, between rules and rebels. It’s fun to read, and our hero Cristina is easy to love and root for.
Congratulations to all three of you — and the other very fine nominees — on translating your good ideas to the page. What fun I had immersing myself in your work. — Liz

Congratulations again to our finalists and winner! And thank you to Liz Garton Scanlon for mentoring.