Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Susan Johnston Taylor Book Release: Animals in Surprising Shades

Susan Johnston Taylor in conversation with Sean Petrie event promo graphic. Includes author & moderator headshots, & ANIMALS IN SURPRISING SHADES cover.

Saturday, April 8, 2023 at 3:00 PM at BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. Austin TX

Susan Johnston Taylor in conversation with Sean Petrie will celebrate the release of Animals in Surprising Shades: Poem’s About Earth’s Colorful Creatures. Petrie …

Upcoming SCBWI Author Book Events

Jacquetta Nammar Feldman will present her new book The Puttermans Are In The House

Saturday, January 28, 2023 at 4:00pm

Free event at BookPeople 603 N. Lamar Blvd Austin, TX 78703

Mariya Prytula will host a book talk and activity …

Monthly Meeting – January 2023: Author Kari Lavelle

At our January meeting, Kari Lavelle, speech pathologist and author of WE MOVE THE WORLD (HarperCollins, 2021), and BUTT OR FACE (Sourcebooks, 2023), discussed creativity and productivity. She presented motivational ideas, brain science and resources to inspire writers and illustrators …

Austin SCBWI 2022 Member News Year End Roundup

Cynthia Leitich Smith

Cynthia Leitich Smith’s upcoming YA novel, HARVEST HOUSE, will be released by Candlewick Press in April 2023 and is now available for pre-order.

Samantha M Clark

Samantha M Clark had 5 books out in 2022: The

Herb Long is the new Austin SCBWI Chapter News Volunteer

Austin SCBWI members, writers and illustrators! You can eMail your publication and writing news for Austin chapter member news articles to:

Herb will post the news on our Chapter News web page and make sure our eNewsletter editor gets …

Monthly Meeting – November 2022: Author Susan Johnston Taylor

Author Susan Johnston Taylor presented “Point of View in Picture Books” at the Austin Chapter’s November Meeting. She spoke about reasons picture book authors choose to write in first, second or third person. The pros and cons for each of …

Monthly Meeting – October 2022: Author-Illustrator LaLena Fisher

Our October Monthly Meeting featured Author-Illustrator LaLena Fisher, who spoke about blending traditional and digital illustration techniques, as she has done for her upcoming debut book Friends Beyond Measure. With a degree in Journalism, LaLena enjoys a career …

Monthly Meeting – September 2022: Panel Discussion

For the September monthly meeting, we co-sponsored a panel on book banning in conjunction with Book People and Austin Public Library’s Banned Camp.

A Conversation with Authors & School Librarians
SCBWI Austin co-hosted a candid Banned Camp discussion between Austin

Nicholas Solis’s PB My Town, Mi Pueblo recently launched

Nicholas Solis’s third picture book My Town, Mi Pueblo, illustrated by Luisa Uribe, launched 8/16/2022 from Nancy Paulsen Books:

“Two kids from opposite sides of the border visit each other’s towns. They discover amazing foods, fun celebrations, and …

Just launched: Carmen Oliver’s picture book The Twilight Library

The Twilight Library, written by Carmen Oliver and illustrated by Miren Asiain Lora, was released by NorthSouth Books on September 6, 2022. About The Twilight Library:

“There’s a special place deep in the heart of the wilderness where the …

Author Varian Johnson announces two-book PB deal

Publisher’s Weekly recently announced some exciting news for author Varian Johnson:

Varian Johnson

Varian Johnson

“Jenne Abramowitz at Scholastic will edit two picture books written by Varian Johnson (l.) in a deal originally acquired by Celia Lee for world English rights, …

Cover reveal! Susan Johnston Taylor’s debut picture book, Animals in Surprising Shades:

The Writing Barn recently shared a cover reveal of Susan Johnston Taylor‘s debut picture book, Animals in Surprising Shades: Poems About Earth’s Colorful Creatures. 

Head over to The Writing Barn to read an interview with Susan about the book!…

September 23: Launch party for Kristin Wauson’s debut picture book Mr. Thatcher’s House

We recently announced Kristin Wauson‘s debut picture book, Mr. Thatcher’s House here.

MR. THATCHER’S HOUSE is a funny and heartwarming story about a rabbit, whose plans to build the perfect home are derailed by the arrival of a …

Anne Bustard’s middle grade novel Far Out! available for preorder

Children’s author Anne Bustard‘s third middle grade novel Far Out! will be published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. The book launches April 18, 2023 and is available for preorder:

“FAR OUT! is a middle grade mystery

Meredith Davis announces deal for two middle grade novels

Publisher’s weekly recently announced a new deal for Austin author Meredith Davis:

Bunmi Ishola at WaterBrook Multnomah has bought world rights to two middle grade novels by Her Own Two Feet co-author Meredith Davis. The first book, Minor

Monthly Meeting-August 2022: Editing Panel with Samantha M. Clark

The August Monthly Meeting, held both on Zoom and in person at Book People, featured a panel moderated by our chapter’s own Regional Advisor, author Samantha M. Clark.

Discussing the editing process were picture book authors Robyn McGrath and …

Monthly Meeting – July 2022: Author Sue Fliess

Our July Monthly Meeting featured Sue Fliess, author of the upcoming How to Hide a Turkey (Sky Pony Press, September, 2022) and close to 40 other rhyming books. The discussion included assets and limitations of writing in rhyme, how …

Samantha M Clark Launches Dragon Chapter Book Series

Austin SCBWI Regional Advisor Samantha M Clark has a new chapter book series, that launched on Tuesday, Aug. 2. The GEMSTONE DRAGONS series, for readers 7 and up, is illustrated by Janelle Anderson and published by Bloomsbury.

Perfect for …

Gayleen Rabakukk Wins Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award

Gayleen Rabakukk has been chosen as this year’s recipient of the Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award!

Each year, the faculty at our annual conference nominates one manuscript that they’ve critiqued at the event for our mentorship and the …

Kristin Wauson’s debut picture book Mr. Thatcher’s House launches August 15

Congratulations to author-illustrator Kristin Wauson on her upcoming picture book release from Sleeping Bear Press, Mr. Thatcher’s House. Copies of Mr. Thatcher’s House are available for preorder at Book People. Kristin also notes that a book launch party is planned …

Melissa Coffey’s debut picture book Fridge-opolis releases September 6, 2022

Congratulations to Melissa Coffey for her upcoming picture book release Fridge-opolis, illustrated by Josh Cleland. Published by Little Bee books, Fridge-opolis is also available for pre-order, with signed personalized copies available from Book People.

About Fridge-opolis: “In …

Celebrating Robyn McGrath’s two upcoming picture books

Austin picture book author Robyn McGrath recently announced two upcoming titles.

author photoDanielle Collins at S&S/Beach Lane Books has bought world rights to A Mind of Her Own: The Story of Mystery Writer Agatha Christie by Robyn McGrath (l.), illustrated by …

Evan Griffith’s MG The Strange Wonder of Roots acquired by HarperCollins/Quill Tree

Congrats to author Evan Griffith for this recent Publisher’s Weekly announcement: “Karen Chaplin at HarperCollins/Quill Tree has acquired The Strange Wonder of Roots by Evan Griffith (Manatee Summer), about a 12-year-old named Holly who is shipped off to live with …

Launching summer 2025: Anne Wynter and Jerome Pumphrey’s picture book So Many Years: A Juneteenth Story

Congrats to Austin author Anne Wynter and illustrator Jerome Pumphrey on this recent announcement from Publisher’s Marketplace: “Donna Bray at HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray has bought, in an exclusive submission, world rights to So Many Years: A Juneteenth Story by …

Alisha Gabriel and Sue Heavenrich’s NF middle grade FUNKY FUNGI launched June 21

Congrats to music teacher and author Alisha Gabriel for her recently launched MG non-fiction, Funky Fungi. Publisher Chicago Review Press gives us a peek inside:

“Fungi are everywhere! They live in the coldest corner of Antarctica and on hot, …

Breanna Carzoo’s debut picture book Lou launches 7/13/22, with an event at Book People

Congrats to author-illustrator Breanna Carzoo on her upcoming launch of her debut picture book LOU!

About LOU: “Lou has an important job… as the neighborhood toilet. Useful as he may be, he gets the feeling that deep down inside, there …

Monthly Meeting-June 2022: Author Fleur Bradley


At the June meeting, author Fleur Bradley delivered an erudite presentation titled “The 8 Sequence Novel Outline.” Throughout the presentation, this outline method of scriptwriters was applied by attendees to workshop their own outlines for use as a road map, …

Meghan P. Browne’s picture book Dorothy the Brave takes off

Meghan P Browne and illustrator Brook Smart’s DOROTHY THE BRAVE launched last month. Publisher Penguin Random House calls it:

Woman pilot with white scarf looking at the sky
“the empowering story of a real-life Rosie the Riveter who served as a Women Airforce Service Pilot. Dorothy Lucas yearned to …

Monthly Meeting-April 2022: Marketing Panel

At the monthly meeting, marketing tips were discussed by seasoned panelists: author-editor Cynthia Leitich Smith, author Donna Janell Bowman, author-illustrator Vanessa Roeder, and author Rebekah Manley.

Here are some highlights:

—To begin marketing: plan ahead; collect …

Launched! Vanessa Roeder’s picture book The Stack

Author-illustrator Vanessa Roeder‘s picture book THE STACK has launched. Publisher Penguin Random House says:

girl in jammies at night with "stack" rising beside her“From the creator of The Box Turtle comes a clever and stunningly illustrated bedtime story about doing (and building!) whatever it takes to reach for

Laekan Zea Kemp: YA book launch, Heartbreak Symphony

Laekan Zea Kemp joined Leander ISD District Library Coordinator Becky Calzada in conversation at Book People on April 8 for the launch of her YA novel, Heartbreak Symphony.

From publisher Little, Brown and Company:

twilight cover with Latinx teens sharing earphones and facing each otherClap When You Land meets 

Cover reveal! Shachi Kaushik’s Diwali in My New Home

Look at this beautiful cover for Shachi Kaushik’s DIWALI IN MY NEW HOME, illustrated by Aishwarya Tandon. DIWALI IN MY NEW HOME is Shachi’s debut picture book.

According to publisher Beaming Books, Shachi’s story helps a girl named Priya navigate …

Announcing the 2022 Scholarship Winners

We’re thrilled to celebrate our 2022 scholarship winners!

Creators of Diverse Worlds

To encourage writers and illustrators to create diverse worlds, we launched our annual Austin SCBWI Scholarship for Creators of Diverse Worlds in 2015 and have been thrilled to …

Monthly Meeting – March 2022: Illustrator Thomas Jung

Our March meeting featured Illustrator Thomas Jung presenting “A Slightly Scientific Approach to Creating Depth in Scenes.” Thomas is an Austin chapter member and a concept designer, educator and art director with over 25 years of experience in video games. …

Monthly Meeting – February 2022: Regional Advisor Samantha M. Clark and Illustrator Coordinator Laura Fisk


“How to be Critique Ready” was the topic of our February Monthly Meeting. Regional Advisor Samantha M. Clark and our new Illustrator Coordinator Laura Fisk offered advice for both authors and illustrators ahead of this year’s SCBWI Austin Annual

Monthly Meeting – January 2022: Authors Carol Kim, Evan Griffith and Gloria Amescua

An inspiring panel of writers kicked off the new year by discussing the topic of writing non-fiction at the January Monthly Meeting.

Carol Kim

Evan Griffith

Gloria Amescua


Moderator Carol Kim, author of King Sejong Invents an Alphabet (Whitman,

ALA 2022 Youth Media Award Winners: Cynthia Levinson & Gloria Amescua Among the Winners

Last week, the American Library Association announced the 2022 Youth Media Awards, and Austin SCBWI chapter members and authors Cynthia Levinson and Gloria Amescua were among those honored.

author photo of smiling woman in blue shirt

Cynthia Levinson won the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most …

Adrianna Cuevas Announces “More Tonteria” With New MG Book Deal

Austin member Adrianna Cuevas recently shared the good news, announced in Publisher’s Weekly, on twitter: “Trisha de Guzman at FSG has bought, in an exclusive submission, world rights to The Ghosts of Rancho Espanto and an untitled middle grade novel …


purple book cover with owl, teens, and supernatural motif

Congrats to Laekan Zea Kemp on this gorgeous MG cover reveal! OMEGA MORALES AND THE LEGEND OF LA LECHUZA comes out with Little, Brown Young Readers in April 2022 and is available for preorder.

Laekan Zea Kemp is a …

Goodbye Betty X Davis

Betty Davis (front center) with Meredith Davis (back center), Lindsey Lane (far right) and the 2018 Young Writers of Merit recipients (left to right) Ke’Myra Jackson, Nubia Fuente and Sydney Moise.

On January 5, 2022, A dear member of the …

Cover Reveal for Robyn McGrath’s Debut Picture Book DOLLY!

Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Robyn McGrath on the cover reveal for her upcoming debut picture book: DOLLY! THE STORY OF DOLLY PARTON AND HER BIG DREAM. DOLLY! is illustrated by Ellen Surrey and focuses on a young Dolly Parton’s …

Diann Floyd Boehm Welcomes New Picture Book — A Song of Peace

Welcome and congratulations to new Austin SCBWI chapter member Diann Floyd Boehm on the publication of her picture book, A Song of Peace! The book, illustrated by Judy Gaudet, tells the story of Tommy, who sings a special song for …

Monthly Meeting – November 2021 : Author Meredith Davis and Author-Illustrator Emma Virján



At the November Zoom meeting, author Meredith Davis

Emma Virján

Meredith Davis

and author-illustrator Emma Virján demonstrated how writers who “can’t draw,” indeed can successfully create a picture book dummy to aide the book-writing process. Emma had previously

Monthly Meeting – October 2021: Author Alda P. Dobbs

At the October monthly meeting, Alda P. Dobbs, author of BAREFOOT DREAMS OF PETRA LUNA (Sourcebooks Young Reader, 2021) shared resources and research tools for historical fiction/nonfiction writers.

For Dobbs, a story passed down by family led to her …

Susan Kralovansky named a finalist in the International Latino Book Awards

Head shot of author Susan KralovanskyCongratulations to Austin SCBWI member Susan Kralovansky, who has been honored by the prestigious International Latino Book Awards, the largest awards in the country celebrating Latinx literature!  Her picture book, The Book That Jake Borrowed / El libro

Shachi Kaushik announces debut picture-book deal

Author headshot, Shachi KaushikCongratulations to Austin SCBWI member Shachi Kaushik on signing a deal for her debut picture book, Diwali in My New Home!  The book, which will be illustrated by Aishwarya Tandon, features a young girl celebrating Diwali for the first …

Carol Kim releases debut picture book

Author headshot of Carol Kim in a pink shirt against a background of beige sidingCongratulations to Austin SCBWI member Carol Kim, whose debut picture book, King Sejong Invents an Alphabet, illustrated by Cindy Kang, released on Oct. 1st from Albert Whitman and Company!

The nonfiction picture book tells the story of 15th-century …

Varian Johnson releases new MG novel

Cover of Varian Johnson's 'Playing the Cards You're Dealt,' featuring a Black boy in a red hoodie and jeans jacket deftly handling a pack of cards while standing on the street against a blue sky. Also features a blurb by Jason Reynolds.Close-up author photo of smiling Varian JohnsonCongratulations to Austin SCBWI member Varian Johnson on the publication of his newest middle-grade novel, Playing the Cards You’re Dealt!  It launched on Oct. 5th from Scholastic.

The story features ten-year-old Ant Joplin, who is excited to prove himself …

Monthly Meeting – September 2021: Illustrator Michelle Lambing

At our monthly meeting, a fun and inspiring live demonstration of block printing techniques was given on Zoom by illustrator Michelle Lambing.
Block Printing Tips:
-Check out Michelle’s influences: block printer Gustav Baumann and the more recent work of …

Welcome New Illustrator Coordinator Laura Fisk

Austin SCBWI says a big WELCOME to a new Illustrator Coordinator this month. Laura Fisk will be taking over for Rivkah LaFille, after Rivkah’s move out of state.

Rivkah said of the changeover: “Serving as Illustrator Coordinator for our …

Numerous Austin SCBWI members honored by Bank Street Children’s Book Committee

Every year, the highly regarded Bank Street College of Education’s Children’s Book Committee announces its picks for the best children’s books of the year.  They grant a few of these books specific named awards and also highlight some with an

Austin SCBWI members honored by the Writers’ League of Texas

On August 20, 2021, the Writers’ League of Texas announced the winners and finalists of the 2020 Writers’ League of Texas Book Awards, celebrating the best books by Texan writers published during the year 2020—and many children’s books by …

Monthly Meeting – August 2021: Author Adrianna Cuevas

Adrianna Cuevas, author of THE TOTAL ECLIPSE OF NESTOR LOPEZ and CUBA IN MY POCKET, Cover of "Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez" features a boy shining a flashlight running into the arched trees of a forest at night, followed by a deer and a fox; a silver Pura Belpre Honor sticker adorns the bottom left cornerspoke at August’s meeting about making the switch to writing middle grade books from picture books and young adult books.

Why Write Middle Grade?

Meghan P. Browne releases debut picture book

Meghan P. Browne headshotCover of 'Indelible Ann' features illustrated profile of Ann Richards with white hair and white earring against a sky-blue background speckled with bluebonnet flowers.Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Meghan P. Browne, whose debut picture book, Indelible Ann: The Larger-Than-Life Story of Governor Ann Richards, was released on June 22nd from Random House Studio!  The picture-book biography, illustrated by Texan illustrator Carlynn …

Gloria Amescua releases debut picture book

Author photo, Gloria Amescua, against grassy backgroundCover of 'Child of the Flower-Song People' features illsutrates of a woman with two hair-braids, white shirt, and dark blue skirt carrying a bowl of fruit above her head against a backdrop of purple flowers, brown mountains, and blue sky. Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Gloria Amescua, whose debut picture book, Child of the Flower-Song People: Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua, releases from Abrams Books for Young Readers on August 17th! The picture-book biography, illustrated by the …

Anne S. Bustard announces new middle-grade novel

Anne Bustard author photoCongratulations to Austin SCBWI member Anne S. Bustard, who just signed a deal for her third middle-grade novel, FAR OUT!  The story features Magnolia Jean Crook, a “would-be detective and UFO-phile,” according to the Publishers Weekly announcement.  Magnolia …

Kristin Wauson announces debut picture book

Kristin Wauson headshotCongratulations to Austin SCBWI member and author-illustrator Kristin Wauson, who recently announced her debut picture book, Mr. Thatcher’s House! The story features Mr. Thatcher, a solitary rabbit who is building the house of his dreams. But no matter …

Cynthia Levinson announces newest picture book

Congratulations to SCBWI member Cynthia Levinson, who just sold her latest picture book, FREE TO LEARN! The book, which will be illustrated by Mirelle Ortega, is based on the life of one boy whose family was part of the

Don Tate releases new picture book

Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Don Tate on the release of his newest picture-book biography, Pigskins to Paintbrushes: The Story of Football-Playing Artist Ernie Barnes! Don Tate author headshot

Cover of 'Pigskins to Paintbrushes' features a smiling football player in a blue jersey with number 61 on it, holding three paintbrushes and a palette, against a bakdrop of a football field and stadium where some players are passing the ball.Don’s journey to writing this story began with an unexpected personal connection to the …

Lindsay Leslie releases new picture book

Black-and-white author headshot of Lindsay Leslie smiling and looking to the right against a wood-panel/siding backgroundCongratulations to Lindsay Leslie, Assistant Regional Advisor of the Austin SCBWI chapter, on the upcoming release of her fourth picture book, So You Want to Build a Library!  The story turns readers into architects as they imaginatively design …

Monthly Meeting – July 2021: Authors Christine Van Zandt and Moni Ritchie Hadley

  • July’s meeting on Zoom featured two picture book authors discussing their paths to traditional publishing while being unagented.

Christine Van Zandt

Moni Ritchie Hadley

Christine Van Zandt’s Path: A BRIEF HISTORY OF UNDERPANTS, (April 2021, becker&mayer! kids)
—Book fair …

Monthly Meeting – June 2021: Jason June, Leslea Newman, Emma Virjan, and Rivkah LaFille

The June meeting, via Zoom, featured LGBTQ+ topics relating to kidlit. A panel of speakers discussed their experiences writing and illustrating, including Jason June, Leslea Newman, Emma Virjan, and Rivkah LaFille, who also moderated. Originally also …

Liz Garton Scanlon releases newest picture book

Liz Garton Scanlon author photo against green trees background

Liz Garton Scanlon

Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Liz Garton Scanlon on the publication of her fifteenth picture book, I Want a Boat! It launched on June 22nd from Neal Porter Books by way of a BookPeople Zoom event with …

Samantha Clark releases two MG novels

headshot against green leafy backgroundCongratulations to Samantha Clark, Regional Advisor of the Austin SCBWI chapter, on the launch this month of two new middle-grade novels! In Arrow, releasing on June 22nd from Paula Wiseman Books, a boy who has grown up as …

Christina Soontornvat announces deal for MG graphic memoir and new MG

ConAuthor photo of Christina Soontornvat, leaning against a white wallgratulations to Austin SCBWI member and two-time Newbery Honoree Christina Soontornvat, who just signed a deal for her middle-grade graphic-novel memoir, THE TRYOUT, as well as its sequel, THE SQUAD! The books will be illustrated by Joanna Cacao. …

Jason June releases debut YA novel

CongAuthor photo of Jason June, standing against a bright pink backgroundratulations to Austin SCBWI member Jason June on the publication of his debut YA novel, Jay’s Gay Agenda! It launched on June 1st from HarperTeen, just in time for Pride Month.

The YA rom-com tells the story of …

Lindsay Leslie wins Crystal Kite Award

Congratulations to Lindsay Leslie, Assistant Regional Advisor of the Austin SCBWI chapter, for winning a Crystal Kite Award for her picture book, Dusk Explorers! The book, illustrated by Ellen Rooney and released from Page Street Kids in June,

Debbie Loren Dunn wins Cook Prize Honor

Author headshot, Debbie Loren Dunn against blurred green and brown natural background

Debbie Loren Dunn

Cover of 'Perkin's Perfect Purple,' featuring a boy in a red coat in a chemical laboratory with a swathe of purple floating out from a vial and covering half the pageCongratulations to Austin SCBWI member Debbie Loren Dunn, whose picture book, Perkin’s Perfect Purple: How a Boy Created Color with Chemistry, co-written with Tami Lewis Brown and illustrated by Francesca Sanna, won a Cook Prize …

Kari Lavelle releases debut picture book

Author phot Kari Lavelle against blue, green, and pink striped backgroundCongratulations to Austin SCBWI member Kari Lavelle, whose debut picture book, We Move the World, releases on May 4th!  The book is illustrated by Nabi H. Ali and published by HarperCollins.  By pairing the small everyday accomplishments of

Laekan Zea Kemp releases YA novel

Cover of 'Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet,' featuring half the face of a teenage girl with black hair and a red headband and half the face of a teenage boy with short black hair against a pink-and-yellow background with a sun and prickly pear cactiLaekan Zea Kemp headshotCongratulations to Austin SCBWI member Laekan Zea  Kemp on the publication of her YA novel, Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet! It launched on April 6th from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Set in a tight-knit Chicanx community in …

Cynthia Levinson releases new nonfiction picture book

Author photo of Cynthia Levinson again a green grass background.Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Cynthia Levinson, who just published her second nonfiction picture book, The People’s Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought for Justice with Art!  The book, illustrated by Evan Turk, came out from Abrams Books

Liz Garton Scanlon announces new picture book

Liz Garton Scanlon author photo against green trees backgroundCongratulations to Austin SCBWI member Liz Garton Scanlon, who just announced a new picture book, THE WORLD’S BEST CLASS PLANT, sold as part of a two-book deal!  The book is co-written with Audrey Vernick and will be illustrated by …

Marit Weisenberg announces new YA novel

Author photo Marit WeisenbergCongratulations to Austin SCBWI member Marit Weisenberg, who just signed a deal for her fourth YA novel, THIS GOLDEN STATE!  The deal was brokered by Kerry Sparks at Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency.

The novel features a restless teenager …

Monthly Meeting – April 2021: Authors Samantha M. Clark and Lindsay Leslie

At the April meeting, authors Samantha M. Clark and Lindsay Leslie presented a guide for pitching your story. Your pitch is like a honed tool to keep in your back pocket, ready as needed. Here are some highlights:

Reasons to

Announcing the 2021 RA and Carmen Oliver On-the-Verge Scholarship Winners

The Austin SCBWI Chapter awards the Regional Advisor Scholarship and the Carmen Oliver On-the-Verge Scholarship to pre-published, unagented kidlit or teenlit authors to help them on their writing journey.

This year, our scholarship judges had a tough time narrowing the …

Monthly Meeting – March 2021: Illustrators Rachel Bostick, Laura Fisk and Eliza Kinkz

At the March meeting, illustrators learned about “Building a Better Portfolio.” Special thanks go to our distinguished panelists, previous Austin SCBWI Portfolio Showcase winners, Rachel Bostick, Laura Fisk and Eliza Kinkz. 

Portfolio Panel Highlights:

Best Piece:
Start portfolio with the

Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey release new picture book

Congratulations to Austin SCBWI members Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey, Cover of 'The Old Boat,' featuring a boy with a sideways cap smiling on a green and white fishing boat against a yellow sky; visible underneat in the grey water is a curving school of multicolored fish as well as plants and coral in a slope of underwater white sand.brothers and creators of the widely acclaimed picture book The Old Truck, on the publication of their second picture book, The Old Boat! It tells the story of

Lalena Fisher signs deal for debut picture book

Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Lalena Fisher, who has signed a deal for her debut picture book, Friends Beyond Measure! Lalena, who creates infographics for the New York Times, has applied her expertise in this form

Melissa Coffey signs deal for debut picture book

Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Melissa Coffey, who just signed a deal for her debut picture book, Fridge-O-Polis! According to the Publishers Weekly announcement, “in this pun-filled picture book that touches on the problem of food waste, …

Congratulations to Our Creators of Diverse Worlds Scholarship

We’re thrilled to celebrate our 2021 Creators of Diverse Worlds Scholarship winners and honor recipients!

To encourage writers and illustrators to create diverse worlds, we launched our annual Austin SCBWI Scholarship for Creators of Diverse Worlds in 2015 and have …

Austin SCBWI members honored by the Texas Institute of Letters

Congratulations to the numerous Austin SCBWI members who have been honored by the Texas Institute of Letters (TIL) this year as part of the annual TIL Literary Awards!  The TIL is “a nonprofit Honor Society founded in 1936 to celebrate …

Varian Johnson announces deals for two new books

Close-up author photo of smiling Varian Johnson

Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Varian Johnson, who just signed deals for two new books—a middle-grade novel and a biography—with Scholastic!

The middle-grade novel, Playing the Cards You’re Dealt, “explores themes of toxic masculinity as a 10-year-old card …

Christina Soontornvat and Don Tate win Golden Kite Awards for nonfiction

Don Tate author headshot

Don Tate

Huge congratulations to Don Tate and Christina Soontornvat, 2021 Golden Kite Award winners! Don won the Nonfiction Text for Younger Readers category for William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad, and …

Evan Griffith releases debut picture book

Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Evan Griffith on the publication of his Cover of 'Secrets of the Sea,' with a woman in a purple suit and tie illustrating sea creatures on a drafting desk at the beach, surrounded by floating fish, a turtle, and various shellsdebut picture book, Secrets of the Sea: The Story of Jeanne Power, Revolutionary Marine Scientist! The picture-book biography, illustrated by Joanie Stone, tells the story of Jeanne

Susan Kralovansky releases two new picture books

Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Susan Kralovansky on the publication of two new picture books, the bilingual The Book That Jake Borrowed / El libro que Jake tomo prestado and We Really, Really Want a Dog!  Susan wrote and illustrated …

Patrice Barton releases new picture book and is featured at Eric Carle Museum

Cover of "I See You See," featuring a boy in a wheelchair, a girl standing bent over next to him, and a dog on hind legs on a grassy hill looking together at a bouquet of orange flowers the boy holds that dissipate in the wind and form the shapes of goldfishCongratulations to Austin SCBWI member Patrice Barton—not only has she just released her latest picture book, but she now has some of her art featured at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts!

Members in the Press: Jason June, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Nicholas Solis

Congratulations to Austin SCBWI members Jason June, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Nicholas Solis, who have all been recently featured in various magazines!

Jason June (author of picture books, chapter books, and an upcoming YA novel) was interviewed …

Monthly Meeting – February 2021: Author Wendelin Van Draanen

HOPE IN THE MAIL, REFLECTIONS ON WRITING AND LIFE (Penguin Random House, 2020) is more than a book title for Wendelin Van Draanen, bestselling author of more than 30 novels. “Hope in the mail” is also a mantra Wendelin

Jason June releases picture book and launches new chapter book series

Author photo of Jason June, standing against a bright pink background

Photo Credit: Ryan Bilawsky

Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Jason June on the release of his picture book Porcupine Cupid and the launch of his new chapter book series, Mermicorn Island!
Porcupine Cupid (released Dec. 1, 2020 by Margaret …

P.J. Hoover signs deal for YA nonfiction book

P.J. Hoover

Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member P.J. Hoover, who just signed a deal for a young-adult nonfiction book about contemporary women working in STEM fields! The deal was brokered by Jacqui Lipton at Raven Quill Literary Agency.

P.J. (Tricia), a …

Eliza Kinkz signs with agent

Author photo of Eliza Kinkz, with five red plastic squid-tentacles stuck on each finger of her right hand, one of which rests against her chin.Congratulations to illustrator and Austin SCBWI member Eliza Kinkz on signing with an agent! She is now represented by Stephen Barr at Writers House. In recounting how she landed her agent, Eliza explains: “A good friend, the awesome author/illustrator …

Christina Soontornvat wins double Newbery Honor and multiple other awards

Author photo of Christina Soontornvat, leaning against a white wallGiant congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Christina Soontornvat for the outstanding success of two of her books for young readers, All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team and A Wish in the Dark, each …

Adrianna Cuevas wins Pura Belpré Honor

CongratAuthor photo of Adrianna Cuevas standing against a tree trunkulations to Austin SCBWI member Adrianna Cuevas, whose debut novel The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez just won a Pura Belpré Honor! The award recognizes outstanding children’s and young adult literature that “portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino …

January 2021 Monthly Meeting: Author P. J. Hoover

January’s meeting kicked off 2021 with: Take Control of Your Creative Life, presented by writer, teacher, and coach P.J. Hoover, author of HOMER’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE, THE HIDDEN CODE, and TUT, THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE, among many …

Austin SCBWI Welcomes New ARA

The new year marks a moment of transition for the Austin SCBWI chapter, as Gayleen Rabakukk concludes her time as Assistant Regional Advisor (ARA) and Lindsay Leslie steps in for her.
“We want to say a huge thank-you to Gayleen …

November 2020 Monthly Meeting: Illustrator Laura Fisk

At November’s Monthly Meeting, illustrator Laura Fisk took us

down a “Different Road to an Illustration Career.”  Her debut book, SLEEPING BAGS TO S’MORES, a camping guide by Heather Balogh Rochfort and William Rochfort, was recently published by Houghton …

Vanessa Roeder announces new picture book

Congratulations to author-illustrator and Austin SCBWI member Vanessa Roeder, who just Author photo of Vanessa Roeder in black and white against a white wall with a window signed a deal for her next picture book, The Stack, as well as a second untitled picture book!  According to the Publishers Weekly announcement, The Stack, “pitched as …

Carol Kim signs with agent and announces debut picture book

Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Carol Kim, who within a few weeks both signed with a literary agent and announced her debut picture-book deal!  King Sejong Invents an Alphabet, which will be illustrated by Cindy Kang, is set to …

Jennifer Coleman signs deal for new picture book

Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Jennifer Coleman, who just signed a deal for her second picture book, Come ‘N Git It!: Cookie and His Cowboy Chuckwagon’s Day on the Trail!  The book will be illustrated by Julie Dupre …

October 2020 Monthly Meeting: P.J. Hoover, Britta Jensen, Mariya Prytula

At the online October Monthly meeting, our distinguished panel discussed the nuances of self-publishing. Here are some highlights:

P.J. Hoover:
-Experiences with both traditional and self-publishing can be rewarding
Reasons to self-publish: write what you want; make some