Mentorship Program

About Our Mentorship Program


SCBWI-MI has offered a mentorship program for its members since 2000. Only one mentorship is offered per year and the eligible genre (illustration, novels, picture books…) varies, in an effort to fairly serve our membership. Strong participation in a program—or lack of entrants—may affect the frequency of that genre's appearance in the future. Program details, including eligibility requirements and genre of competition, are announced in late summer and the entry deadline is early September; the winner is announced at our Fall Conference, and the year-long mentorship runs from January to December of the following year.
 

You must be a member with primary residence in Michigan to be eligible. Other requirements are listed within the details of the current year's program.If you'd like to see a mentorship program offered in your genre, speak up. Chat with our Advisory Committee, or become an active volunteer in our chapter and offer to help mold a new program.

 

We are proud to announce our 2014 Mentorship in Picture Book Writing is with acclaimed Michigan writer Boni Ashburn, author of Hush, Little Dragon, Over at the Castle, I Had a Favorite Dress, Builder Goose: It's Construction Rhyme Time, and the forthcoming The Fort That Jack Built. The winner of the mentorship will be announced at the Fall Retreat on October 27, 2013.

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Mentorship Program History:  

The 2013-2014 SCBWI-MI Picture Book Mentorship Competition winner is Ashley Potts with her submission, Charlotte’s Sleeping at her Desk. Second place was awarded to Diane Tomczak, followed closely by Patti Richards in third. Ashley began her one year mentorship with Boni Ashburn in January.

At our SHINE 2 conference in June 2012, several talented illustrators competed, "Illustrator Idol" style, for our 2013 mentorship with published illustrator Wendy Anderson Halperin. Our judges had difficulty deciding among all the wonderful work, but the recipient of the mentorship was Bradley Cooper, from Howell, Michigan.

The judges also awarded two runner-up prizes; the winners received phone consultations with this year's mentor, Wendy Anderson Halperin, and previous mentor Cyd Moore. These talented winners were Amy Hofacker of Grand Rapids and Hannah Gregus of Charlotte. Congrats to these winners and our admiration to everyone who entered the competition!

Our 2012 Novel Mentorship was with author Kristin Wolden Nitz. Twenty-five writers applied, and the winner of the year-long mentorship was Melissa Shanker. First runner-up was Jennifer Whistler and second  runner-up was Susannah Nichols. Congrats to the winners and thanks to mentor Kristin Nitz and coordinator Catherine Bieberich!

In 2011, our  Picture Book Mentorship was with author Crystal Bowman. The winner of a one-year mentorship was Rachel Anderson. First runner-up was Wendy BooydeGraaff (one hour consultation) and second runner-up was Micki Huysken. Congrats to the winners and thanks to mentor Crystal Bowman and coordinator Ryan Hipp!

Our 2009-10 Mentorship Competition was for Illustrators, to be completed under the guidance of Cyd Moore, widely acclaimed illustrator of over 40 books, including I Love You, Stinky Face, Granny's Dragon, and Willow. Our grand prize winner was Kenneth Kraegel; first runner-up was Steffane McClary and second runner-up was Amy Nielander. Thanks to mentorship coordinator Rachel Anderson and of course our mentor Cyd Moore.

For 2008-2009, the Mentorship program was offered to SCBWI-MI novelists; winners were announced at the Fall 2008 conference on September 27. First Place Winner Tracy Bilen won a year-long mentorship with professional novelist and picture book author Shutta Crum. Runner-up Rachel Anderson received a full scholarship to the SCBWI-MI Fall 2009 Conference. The five top winners also received three free submissions on CreativeByline for their winning manuscript. The competition was open to unpublished writers (those who have published/contracted for a book as author or illustrator were ineligible; magazine and anthology work okay). All entries received feedback from judges. Thanks to our Mentorship Coordinator, Gail Flynn.

In 2007, our Mentorship Competition was for Picture Book Writing, with the winner mentored by Newbery Award-winning Author Lynne Rae Perkins. Winner of our one-year mentorship was Carrie Pearson, whose manuscript was titled LIZZIE AND THE TWISTED SISTERS. Molly Zink was the first runner-up with THE WALKING STICK, and she received a voucher to attend our 2009 fall conference. The program coordinator was Susi Walter. We had four finalists this year instead of three, as two finalists tied.

  • Alicia Comer for THE LUCKIEST TREE                                                                                                                                   
  • Nancy Frederixon for THANKSGIVING DAY JACK-O-LANTERN
  • Mary Jaroche for PEANUT: THE DOG DETECTIVE
  • Kathleen Dergis for PRINCESS GIGGLES

In 2006, the Mentorship program was offered to SCBWI-MI illustrators; winners were announced at the Spring conference, June 10, 2006. First Place Winner Heidi Woodward Sheffield won a year-long Mentorship with professional picture book illustrator Susan Kathleen Hartung. Runner-up Susan Miller received a certificate of recognition and a gift certificate to a future SCBWI-MI event. The competition was open to unpublished illustrators (those who have published/contracted for a book as author or illustrator were ineligible; magazine and anthology work okay). All entries received feedback from judges. We thank Mentorship Chairperson April Gaff for facilitating the Mentorship.

In 2005, the Mentorship program was offered to SCBWI-MI writers; the genre was novels. Winner of our one-year Mentorship was Micki Huyksen, who was mentored by Sue Stauffacher, author of Donuthead. The program coordinator was Mindy Krasner. Rachel Anderson was first Runner-up and was awarded a certificate to our 2005 Fall Conference. Other runners-up (in alphabetical order) were Kristen Bros, Laura Handy, Kristin Lenz, and Jennifer Porter. Congratulation to Micki for her winning entry–and thanks to our mentor Sue, and our program coordinator Mindy, for their work.  

In 2004, the mentorship program was offered to writers of picture book text. Our 2004 Mentor was Rhonda Gowler Greene. Congratulations went to our winner, Shanda Trent. Our Mentorship Program Coordinator for 2004 was Rachel Anderson, and thanks were extended to both Rachel and Rhonda for their commitment to this program

In 2003, the mentorship program was offered to illustrators; a competition was held in conjunction with our April event, "Celebrate Creativity Workshop." Our winner was Leslie Helakoski, who was mentored by Lori McElrath-Eslick. Thanks went to our 2003 Mentorship Chairperson, Nancy Shaw and our 2003 mentor, Lori McElrath-Eslick, for their work and dedication to this program. They were the backbone of the program in 2003.

In 2002, the mentorship was again offered to writers, the allowable genre was novels. The winner was Catherine Bieberich, for her manuscript "Dandelion Fuzz." Catherine was mentored by Audrey Couloumbis, Newbery Honor author of Getting Near to Baby. Congratulations were also extended to our runner-up, Carol Anahid Azizian, who won a scholarship to our Fall Retreat.  

In 2001, the manuscript competition for writers was held in conjunction with the June "Picture This!" event. Any unpublished SCBWI-MI member could enter; the allowable category was picture books. Our 2001 runners-up (in alphabetical order) were Deborah Briney, Pamela Eicher, Marissa Penrod, and Shanda Trent. Michele Root-Bernstein took first place; Michelle's mentor was Ann Tompert.

In June of 2000, Michigan launched its mentorship program. A handful of other SCBWI chapters had begun mentoring programs; all were enthusiastic. How wonderful for a member to receive encouragement and direction, one on one, from a nurturing professional. We wanted to offer this to our Michigan membership, but how? Michigan Adcom member Brenda Shannon Yee raised her hand. She would further investigate what other chapters were doing, what worked, what didn't, and design our Michigan program. In this, our first year, a writing mentorship was offered. Manuscripts were restricted to either picture book or novels. A panel of pre-judges were chosen and the winner selected through a manuscript competition. Member Susan Talanda was pronounced winner of the competition for her outstanding novel entry, and although there were a few bumps, the program was a wonderful success from everyone's point of view.

All programs offered by SCBWI-MI are a direct result of volunteer effort.