Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

  • SCBWI stands firmly against bias, oppression, or unfair treatment of people based on their identity elements. As we feel the pain of what is happening today in America and in the treatment of our Black citizens, we renew our commitment to equity, inclusion, and equal justice for all. To read more about our stand, here is our position statement on equity and inclusion: At SCBWI, we recognize that publicly committing to equity and inclusion is crucial to our membership and the readers we serve. Words, stories, and images are powerful: They define who we are for ourselves and for others. Historically, content creation that reaches a wide audience of children and teens has been intertwined with a legacy of privilege, oppression, bias, and racism. We acknowledge that, as part of the children’s publishing industry, we share in that legacy.   We accept the challenge and responsibility of becoming agents of change by affirming the need for increased representation in every facet of the children’s and YA book industry, including but not limited to race/ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship, and religion. To fulfill our mission of supporting the creation and availability of quality books for every young reader in all regions of the world, we commit to championing equity and inclusion throughout our organization by striving to:   –identify and dismantle inequities within our policies and practices –expand inclusivity in our leadership, membership, and volunteer corps –increase the social consciousness of our members through substantive learning opportunities –continually examine and renew that commitment in our events, programming, online initiatives, publications, awards and grants, community outreach, and education efforts   As creators of books for children and teens, we have both a unique responsibility and a powerful opportunity to help young people create an equitable, inclusive world. We look forward to listening, learning, and leading.
  • If anyone understands the power of language and the impact of an image it would be writers, illustrators, and translators of children’s books. We wield our ink, pencils, paint, and keyboards with care because we understand we could impact children for generations. While we tell them important truths because we trust their capacity for growth and understanding, we don’t want one other family to have to have “the talk” with their children about how to avoid being attacked outside their homes. One has to wonder if stereotyped images, language, and portrayals in popular culture impacted those who thought it was okay to rename COVID-19 using racist slurs and misplacing blame in a way that has seen exponentially increasing violence against Asian Americans. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators stands in solidarity with the Asian members of our human family and their right to stay safe, alive, and humanized.  “Members of the Asian, Asian American, and Asian Pacific Islander community have experienced unique vulnerability as targets of racism and xenophobia as anxiety and fear over COVID-19 has spread over the past several months.” Stereotypes, tropes, and circumstance will never justify exclusion, racism, or violence towards human beings. As writers, illustrators, and translators of children’s literature, we are responsible for promoting equity and humanizing people in our work, all children and all families. We have supported the Kidlit Against Anti-AAPI Racism Fundraiser (#KAAAR) and will also be hosting an SCBWI Celebrates Asian Voices panel during AAPI History Month on May 20th. A social for Asian creators will be held immediately following the event. We invite you to suggest your favorite authors, illustrators, & translators of the Asian diaspora for this panel by using #SCBWIVoices and encourage you to support Asian children’s literature creators. Our Equity and Inclusion Resource Library is open to the public. “Silence is often mistaken as acceptance.” Having conversations with your friends, family, and loved ones about protecting others in person and online is critical at times like these.  No group is a monolith and we all need each other to survive. We hope you will join us to #StopAAPIHate. ~ by April Powers
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  • Do you have indie questions? Depending on the indie path that you are considering, you may contact one of the three advisors below that best fits your direction. Indie publishing would include hybrid publishing (combines aspects of traditional and self-publishing), vanity publishing (publishers do it all for a price), self-publishing (the author does it all), and digital. All of these various publishing methods would fall under the indie umbrella. In an effort to provide the most current and accurate information for our members we have three indie advisors: Melissa Bailey - Picture Book, David Stricklen - Middle Grade, and Melanie Hooyenga - Young Adult. You should also consider their particular path to publishing. Who may best answer your individual questions?   Meet the SCBWI-MI INDIE ADVISORS     David Stricklen – SCBWI-MI Indie Coordinator & Middle Grade Author In a former life, David was an airport police chief with 30 years experience in law enforcement. After retiring, David went all in on his creative side. He has written a series of three sought-after MG fantasy adventure books: Beneath and Beyond, Through the Eyes of the Beast and The Heart of the Swarm. His new release is a contemporary MG fiction entitled Ripley Robinson and the Worm Charmer, which is reviewer recommended by KIRKUS Review and featured in their monthly magazine. His books and school visits are filled with magic and creativity. David’s reverse perspective painting was a Grand Rapids ArtPrize (largest attended art competition in the world) 3D 2018 popular vote finalist and a post prize Colors of Community 3D & 2D popular vote first place (ArtPrize category). David is on the Michigan Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI-MI) leadership team and is also the Michigan SCBWI indie coordinator, Grand Rapids Shop Talk coordinator and the overall Michigan Shop Talk Administrator.     Melanie Hooyenga – Young Adult Author  Multi-award winning young adult author Melanie Hooyenga writes books about strong girls who learn to navigate life despite its challenges. She first started writing as a teenager and finds she still relates best to that age group. Her award-winning YA sports romance series, the Rules Series, is about girls from Colorado falling in love and learning to stand up on their own. Her YA time travel trilogy, The Flicker Effect, is about a teen who uses sunlight to travel back to yesterday. The first book, FLICKER, won first place for Middle Grade/Young Adult in the Writer’s Digest 2015 Self-Published eBook awards, and the Rules Series has won ten awards, including Finalist for MG/YA in the BookLife Prize. When not at her day job as Communications Director at a local nonprofit, you can find her wrangling her Miniature Schnauzer Owen and playing every sport imaginable with her husband Jeremy.     Melissa Bailey – Picture Book Author/Illustrator Hi! I’m Melissa, but feel free to call me Mo. I’ve been a member of SCBWI since 2013 and have been illustrating children’s books since 2009, including 2 award-winners and a feature in Kirkus Review’s 2019 Fall Preview. In 2018, I reached my goal of becoming an author-illustrator with Pug Is Happy (published by a pygmy indie publisher) and have co-authored and illustrated the upcoming picture book Imara’s Tiara (fall 2020). With the help of SCBWI, research, experiences clients have generously shared with me, and my own insatiable curiosity, I’ve worked hard to learn all I can about the ins and outs of the children’s book publishing industry (both traditional and indie) and try my best to keep current with ever-evolving trends and changes. I’m here to help make your publishing journey less confusing and more successful.   Access More Information about the SCBWI-Trailblazers HERE!
  • The mentor for picture book illustration is Dow Phumiruk The mentor for middle grade/young adult illustration is Brittany (Bea) Jackson.   Winners receive a year-long mentorship with Dow or Bea. The mentorship includes six exchanges of art and critiques.   Meet Picture Book Mentor: Dow Phumiruk Dow Phumiruk is a former pediatrician who has found her passion in creating children's books.  She is currently a co-Regional Advisor for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of SCBWI. She has written and/or illustrated several books. Clients include HarperCollins, Henry Holt/Macmillan, Hachette Book Group, Abrams, Viking, Sleeping Bear Press, and Zonderkidz. She lives in Colorado with her husband of almost three decades, three artistic daughters, and a handful of small pets. She is the recipient of numerous awards including Winner, SCBWI Inaugural Narrative Art Award, 2017, Winner, SCBWI Postcard Contest 2016, 1st place RMC SCBWI calendar image contest 2015, and Winner, SCBWI Emerging Voices Award 2013 for Mela in the Jungle (published as Mela and the Elephant)   Check the Mitten Blog for an interview with Dow on April 30, 2021.   Meet MG/YA Mentor: Brittany (Bea) Jackson. Brittany Jackson loves telling stories through her art, from dynamic and diverse character design, to delightfully fun and energetic children’s book illustrations. She attended the College for Creative Studies and is the Grand Prize Winner of the L. Ron Hubbard’s Illustrator of the Future Award of 2007. She has illustrated several books including the New York Times best seller, Parker Looks Up, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Children’s. In addition to her work as a children’s book illustrator, character and concept artist, Brittany’s work has been featured on the covers of books, comics, and in various magazines and articles.   Check the Mitten Blog for an interview with Bea on May 7, 2021.   The submission window for both mentorships opens on May 17, 2021 at 8:00 am EDT. The submission window closes on June 7, 2021at 8:00 pm EDT or when we receive 30 applications – whichever comes first. Note: applicants will have until midnight on June 7, 2021 to submit a pdf their artwork to Ann Finkelstein.   Cost is $20, nonrefundable, payable by credit or debit card. All registered applicants receive constructive comments from the judges.   The judges for the picture book illustration mentorship are: Amy Nielander Brianne Farley Heidi Sheffield The judges for the middle grade/young adult illustration mentorship are: Sara Kendall Ruth McNally Barshaw Cathy Gendron We invite you to visit their websites and enjoy their wonderful illustrations.   The competition is open to all SCBWI members who live in Michigan for at least part of the year. Previous winners of SCBWI-MI illustration mentorships may not apply.   Co-Regional Illustrator Coordinator, Deb Pilutti, will offer a free webinar on May 4, 2021 at 7:00 pm to discuss formatting your submission. The Zoom link is: The presentation will be recorded.   The winners will be announced in midsummer 2021.   A link to the registration platform will be provided here during the submission window. Download Submission Instruction for Picture Book Mentorship.   Download submission Instructions for YA-MG illustrator mentorship.   Read more about the SCBWI-MI mentorship and its past winners and mentors.   For questions, contact Ann Finkelstein, SCBWI-MI mentorship coordinator. annf1234 [at] gmail [dot] com.
  •     THE E & I TEAM CREATES COMMUNITY Welcome to SCBWI- Michigan Equity and Inclusion webpage! We commit to our role in meeting the needs of members through service and opportunities. The E & I Team is energized to create a stronger SCBWI-MI community that includes, engages, and embraces disparate voices. So glad you’re here!             MISSION We welcome and celebrate writers, illustrators, and translators who represent a broad spectrum of backgrounds and who seek to create quality literature for young people that reflect the lives of all children.   PURPOSE We understand the power of children seeing themselves represented in books. Such equitable reading experiences lead to empathy, understanding, and respect. We must implement initiatives that will address issues of inclusivity, accessibility, and belonging for our children's literature community that will, in turn, help us write books for all children. As Lin Oliver has stated,
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  • Click here to browse our members' beautiful new releases.  Click here to register for the Happy Book Birthday Program 
  • This multi-region conference is designed to give you a large SCBWI NYC or LA conference experience closer to home. Featuring over 35 faculty members sharing content for writers and illustrators that will move your Work In Progress and your career forward. Make industry connections. Get a portfolio review or critique. Have access to acquiring editors, agents, and art directors. Find your people and make lasting relationships. Start your planning now to join in! Much more information to come. Stay tuned.


The strength of SCBWI lies in its individual members. Whether you are a creator, publisher, reviewer, librarian, bookseller, educator, or simply someone with a love of literature and a desire to see the best in the hands of children, we invite you to get to know us better. SCBWI-Michigan is

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