Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Webinar: Chapter Book Craft 101 with editor Amy Cloud

Date(s) - 10/20/2015
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Amy Cloud, Aladdin Books editor

Amy Cloud, Aladdin Books editor

Aladdin Books editor Amy Cloud helps us create amazing chapter books in this webinar and will offer a limited number of written critiques.

Chapter books occupy that often overlooked space between picture books and more fully developed middle grade and YA, yet some of the most beloved characters in children's literature come from chapter books. From Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and Amelia Bedelia to Clementine and Junie B. Jones, characters in the early reader space can connect and stay with children in a way no other character can.

In this workshop you'll learn how successfully plotting a chapter book differs from plotting a picture book. Amy will give you a few techniques for reaching this very particular audience. You also learn how to craft chapter-book characters with heart, dimension, and internal consistency—the kind of characters kids will relate to, love, and want to return to again and again.

We'll go through examples of what makes a character sing and the concrete steps you can take to ensure your characters are robust enough to hold the hard-to-capture attention of a 6-10 year old. We'll also discuss techniques that will help your chapter-book manuscripts stand out to prospective editors and agents.

Amy Cloud is an editor at Aladdin Books at Simon & Schuster, where she has edited everything from picture books to nonfiction, though her heart is in realistic middle-grade and tween novels and humorous chapter books. She’s on the lookout for engaging, relatable characters—especially boy protagonists; quirky voices; unique concepts; and gut-busting humor. At Aladdin she’s lucky enough to work with talent such as Bruce Coville, Debbie Dadey, Alison Cherry, and Jen Malone and Gail Nall. Prior to joining Simon & Schuster, Amy was an editor at Callaway Arts & Entertainment, where she edited books by best-selling authors such as David Kirk, Madonna, and Jill Abramson.

The Texas SCBWI webinar series are joint events by all the Texas SCBWI chapters: Austin, Houston, North Texas, Southwest Texas and Brazos Valley. Our aim is to provide the best learning opportunities for a low cost to members and non-members.

The fee for the webinar is $10 for members, $35 for non-members. (Non-members, if you would like to become a member prior to registering, go to

Members: Login to get the discounted rate.

The fee includes access to a recording of the webinar, so if you can't participate live, still register so you can view the recording. Registered attendees will be emailed a link for the webinar prior to the live event. The recording will be accessible at that same link 24 hours after the live webinar and will be available for 10 days, until Oct. 30.

You may also pay $35 for a 10-page written critique of your chapter book by Amy Cloud. Only 10 written critiques are available. After they're sold out, you may still check the option to get on the waitlist in case there's a cancellation. Read more about the webinar critiques here.

Due to overwhelming demand, we've also added critiques with fellow Aladdin editor Alyson Heller. Alyson joined S&S in 2006 and has been with Aladdin since 2008, working on picture books, chapter books, and middle-grade novels. She is the editor of the GODDESS GIRLS, HEROES-IN-TRAINING, UNICORN MAGIC and upcoming PIPER MORGAN series, along with many of the stand-alone novels in the Aladdin MIX line for tweens. Alyson also has a passion for picture books, including the successful Underpants picture book series from S&S UK, and recently released I Thought This Was a Bear Book and Bike on, Bear! She loves finding new voices that make her laugh, cry, and feel happy that her awkward tween years are behind her! Tweet her @EditorAlysonH.

Critiques with Alyson Heller also cost $35 for a 10-page written critique of your chapter book. Twelve written critiques are available. After they're sold out, you may still check the option to get on the waitlist in case there's a cancellation. Read more about the webinar critiques here.