Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Fall 2016 Newsletter

Utah/Southern Idaho Newsletter: Fall 2016

The spring and summer months have been full of opportunities for writers and illustrators to connect with one another and publishing industry professionals, hone their craft, and be inspired, including…

Past events:

8th Annual Conference on Youth and Children's Literature (April 15-16th) where we enjoyed keynotes by Harold Underdown and N.D. Wilson and workshops with authors from around our region including Valynne E. Maetani, Angela Ruth Strong, Amy Allgeyer, Craig Lew, and Sarah Tregay. A silent auction of YA novels was made possible by Gregory Taylor, Hillside Junior High School Librarian, and the event was co-sponsored by Boise State University's Department of Literacy, Language, and Culture. The conference coodinators, Docena Holm and Neysa Jensen, celebrated 14 years as hosts and passed the torch to the new coordinators: Sarah Tregay, Amy Allgeyer, and Maggie Chase.

3rd Annual WIFYR/SCBWI Professional Day (June 18) with guests Senior Editor at Disney-Hyperion, Rotem Moscovich, authors Claudia Mills and Carol Lynch Willams, and regional illustrator coordinator, Sherry Meidell.

Eastern Idaho YA Workshop on Nailing Your Teen (or Tween) Voice (May 24) with author Kristen Tracy was hosted by SCWBI and the Idaho Falls Barnes & Noble.

Summer Socials in Meridian, Idaho and Pleasant Grove, Utah with good food and good company.

45th Annual SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles (July 29-August 2): The three-day conference was at a new location this year. For a wonderful overview of the conference, visit

Upcoming events include:

Eastern Idaho Fall Social sponsored by SCBWI and Rexy Writers (September 15 at 7:00 p.m.): Come to at Beaver Dick Park in Rexburg to chat with fellow writers around the campfire. Please bring a snack or dessert to share.  If you'd like, please also bring a 500 word excerpt from your work in progress to share. 

Treasure Valley Mingle with YA authors Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer (Thursday, September 22nd, 5:15 pm): Join us for a drink or bite to eat at Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzera in the Zions Bank Building (Boise) and then walk over to The Rediscovered Bookshop to hear Jonah and Stephen talk about their new book, The Season, at 7 pm. We'll be chatting about books, publishing, and movies.

The Great Critique (all of October): Sign up for an in-person peer critique or paid written critiques from agents and editors beginning September 1st.

Eastern Idaho Write & Research Night (November 3rd at 7:00 p.m.): We will meet in the "Group Study" area on the 3rd floor, West Wing of BYU-I's David O. McKay library.  Come research, write, and chat with fellow writers. 
Illustrators' Conference: Save the date for February 18, 2017.

9th Annual Conference on Youth and Children's Literature: Save the date for April 21 and 22, 2017 for the conference with a keynote presentation by Wendy McClure, author, columnist, and senior editor at Albert Whitman & Company.

Ongoing Critique Groups:

Two new ongoing critique groups have formed for picture book writers in Southwestern Idaho, and the monthly drop-in critique groups in Millcreek (Salt Lake) and Orem, Utah have been helping writers polish their work each month. Rexburg, Idaho writers continue to meet to critique, research, and write on a monthly basis after a summer break. We hope that writers looking for critique groups can get together this October for the Great Critique and meet potential critique group members—and perhaps meet again.

Please watch your email for additional activities and check out our regional home page calendar for the latest events and registration information: or visit our Facebook page and/or the Blueboards for other topics of interest.

-Travis Rawlings 
RA Utah/Southern Idaho SCBWI


Coming in October: The Great Critique

This October our region will join together to help one another put a little polish on our manuscripts and illustrations… the Great Critique will be a month-long, region-wide event. SCBWI Utah/Southern Idaho members are invited to attend a free peer critique session and/or pay to send pages to a Great Critique faculty member who is an agent or editor for written feedback.

Garden City (Boise), Idaho on Monday, October 17th, 7 – 9 pm. Shari's Restaurant, 8121 W Chinden Blvd. (near Glenwood) with ARA Sarah Tregay

Boise, Idaho for ILLUSTRATORS critique group Thursday, October 13th, 6:30-8:30 pm. Elmers Restaurant, 1385 S Capitol Blvd. (near BSU) with ARA Sarah Tregay and volunteer Meredith Messenger. Please bring a series of up to four postcards that you'll send to publishers for this illustration critique. Picture book dummies are also welcome.

Payette, Idaho Saturday, October 15, 1-3 pm. Agape Coffee House, 20 S. 16th St. with volunteer Melaney Auxier, who can be contacted at mauxier22 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Rexburg, Idaho on Friday, October 14th, 6 – 8 pm. BYU-Idaho Campus (room number TBA), with volunteer Annie Bailey, who can be contacted at annieebailey7 (at) yahoo (dot) com. NOTE: THIS IS IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE STORYTELLERS CONFERENCE. Please register for the conference here: And for the Great Critique session here: (Please note that the SCBWI critique opportunity is limited to writers ages 18 and over.)

Salt Lake City, Utah (Millcreek) for WRITERS on Wednesday, October 26th, 7:00 – 8:45 pm. Millcreek Public Library, 2266 E. Evergreen Ave. (3435 South) with volunteer Bruce Luck, who can be contacted at bruceluck (at) ymail (dot) com

Salt Lake City, Utah (Millcreek) for ILLUSTRATORS on Wednesday, October 26th, 7:00 – 8:45 pm. Millcreek Public Library, 2266 E. Evergreen Ave. (3435 South) with illustrator volunteers. Please bring a series of up to four postcards that you'll send to publishers for this illustration critique. Picture book dummies are also welcome.

Orem, Utah on Thursday, October 27th, 7:00 – 8:45 pm. Orem Public Library, 58 N. State St., Orem, with RA Travis Rawlings.

St. George, Utah on Friday, October 21st, 6:30-8:30 pm. Location coming soon! With volunteer Shelly Pollock [shelly.pollock(at)gmail(dot) com].

Logan, Utah on Thursday, October 27th, 7:00 – 8:45 pm. The Ephraim Room at the Logan Library, 255 N Main St with volunteer Susan Haderlie sshaderlie (at) juno (dot) com.

Twin Falls, Idaho Location and date to be announced. With volunteer Chelly Wood [estersparhawk9(at)gmail(dot)com]

Idaho Falls, Idaho Location and date to be announced. With volunteer Daniel Noyes [danieltoddnoyes(at)gmail(dot)com]

Are you looking for a written critique from a children's book industry professional? We know our region is large and it can be difficult to attend a conference in another city, so we would like to offer distance critiques from editors and agents to help you polish your work. And when you are done, you can submit your piece to the agent or editor.

Our Great Critique Faculty:

Alex Ulyett, Viking/Penguin Young Readers
YA or MG novels or nonfiction. (Note you can send Alex up to 15 pages.)
7 member and 3 non-member critiques available

Andrea Welch, Beach Lane Books/Simon and Schuster
Picture books, chapter books, MG or YA. (Note that you can send a full PB or 15 pages.)
7 member and 3 non-member critiques available

Christa Heschke, Agent, McIntosh and Otis, Inc.
Picture book, MG or YA, fiction or nonfiction biography.
7 member and 3 non-member critiques available

Joanna Cardenas, Editor, Viking Children's Books/Penguin Random House
Picture books, chapter books, and middle grade; fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novels.
7 member and 3 non-member critiques available

Liz Kossnar, Assistant Editor, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Picture book, MG or YA.
15 member and 5 non-member critiques available

Orli Zuravicki, Senior Editor, Scholastic
Picture book.
4 member and 4 non-member critiques available

Rachel Orr, Agent, The Prospect Agency
Picture book or picture book dummy (either fiction or non-fiction), MG or YA Novels. Illustrators welcome.
7 member and 3 non-member critiques available

Victoria A. Selvaggio, Assoicate Agent, The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
Picture book, chapter book, MG, or YA, fiction or non-fiction.
15 member and 5 non-member critiques available

Danielle Chiotti, Agent, Upstart Crow Literary
YA or MG novel, including novels in verse.
One member critique will be available.

For faculty bios, please visit:

And to register for a critique during the month of September, please visit:


Get to Know Our Eastern Idaho Volunteer, Annie Bailey

Annie Bailey is a children’s writer, songwriter, wife, and mom to four boys. She loves laughing, reading, playing the piano, soccer, biking and baking.  Eagle Springs Records released Annie’s first children’s album, “There Is Joy,” in 2008. Annie enjoys serving as a volunteer for the SCBWI Utah/Southern Idaho region, Snake River Writers (an Eastern Idaho writing organization) and the 2015/16 Rhyming Picture Book Award Committee. Annie lives in rural Idaho in a renovated farmhouse complete with her very own train car. (Which, of course, has time traveling capabilities.) Annie is represented by Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

Don’t Forget Your SCBWI Member Profile

The SCBWI website is the perfect place to network with other authors and illustrators. You can share a little about yourself with a photo, bio, twitter handle, website, and/or blog links. PAL members may also list their titles along with the cover art in the Member Bookstore, and illustrations may be added to the Illustrator Gallery. If you are looking for speaking engagements at conferences, schools, or over Skype, you’ll want to fill out your Speaker Profile.


You can also use the SCBWI website to connect with members you may have met at an event. From, use the “Member Search” feature to find their profile, then reach out with Twitter, read their blog, etc.

The Stories Unbound Podcast

by Shawna J.C. Tenney

Back in the Spring of 2013, my friend Chris Oatley approached me about hosting a podcast for The Oatley Academy of Visual Storytelling. Chris is the founder of the online school, and has himself been podcasting for years. Chris felt like the Oatley Academy needed more resources specifically for the children's book creators who had always been a great support to the community. 

At first when Chris approached me, I liked the idea, but felt completely inadequate for the job. Over the next couple of years, Chris and I did a lot of talking and planning, and I got more and more excited about the idea. 
The Stories Unbound Podcast launched in December of 2015, and since then I have had the privilege of interviewing many amazing authors and illustrators. Every guest has brought so much more wisdom and insight to the show than I ever could have brought on my own. Being the host of Stories Unbound has been a lot of work, but it has been so rewarding. I have enjoyed working with a wonderful hard working team at The Oatley Academy who help the show be the best it can be. My hope is that the show can be inspiring and help many people in their creative journeys and help motivate them to write and illustrate their very own children's books. 
You can find Stories Unbound at

Go Back to School with an SCBWI Student Membership

Do you know a college student who loves illustration or creative writing? Please let them know about the SCBWI Student Membership. They must be 18 years of age or older, a full-time undergraduate or graduate student at an accredited university—domestic or international—and have a copy of current student ID to be submitted for verification.

Student Member Benefits:

  • Digital versions of member content (quarterly magazine, original membership package, FAQ for new members)
  • SCBWI member discount on conference tuition
  • Additional discount on all SCBWI conferences admission
  • Online critique groups for illustrators and writers
  • Student grants and awards
  • Online student discussion group
  • Display space in the online Illustrator Gallery
  • Book Launch Party Page

Upcoming SCBWI Awards and Grants

Art Spot for Illustrators, ongoing: Each issue of The Bulletin features a member illustrator and a piece of spot art they submit to The Bulletin. In addition to worldwide recognition, the featured illustrator will receive $100 for their winning piece.


SCBWI On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award, Applications accepted between September 15 and November 15, 2016: This grant was created to foster the emergence of diverse voices in children’s books. SCBWI reserves the right not to confer this award in any given year.


SCBWI Jane Yolen Mid-list author Grant, Opens November 1, 2016: Critically acclaimed children’s book author Jane Yolen created this grant to honor the contribution of mid-list authors.  The grant awards $3,000 to mid-list authors and aims to help raise awareness about their current works-in-progress.  Jane was the first SCBWI Regional Advisor and currently sits on the SCBWI Board of Advisors.


SCBWI Student Writer Scholarship, Winter Conference in New York, November 2, 2017: for full-time university students in an English or Creative Writing program.


Student Illustrator Scholarship for 2017 Winter Conference in New York: Applications due November 3 — December 5, 2016: Each year, the SCBWI sponsors four conference scholarships for full-time graduate or undergraduate students studying illustration. Many of our SIS winners have gone on to be represented by agents, get illustration work, and publish books.


SCBWI Spark Award, Opens November 15, 2016: an annual award that recognizes excellence in a children’s book published through a non-traditional publishing route.


SCBWI Members Will Speak at Book Academy 2016


Heidi Schulz, New York Times bestselling middle grade author of Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code, will be the keynote speaker at this September 27, 2016 event at Utah Valley University. Utah/Southern Idaho SCBWI members of the faculty include: Carol Lynch Williams, author of many titles including The Chosen One and Glimpse, and Elana Johnson, author of a forthcoming YA sci-fi series which includes Rift and Mend. Register for this conference for aspiring writers and illustrators of all levels at Same-day registration is available.


Save the Date for Eastern Idaho Writing Conference: October 14-15th

The second annual Rexburg Teen Writers Conference is for teens—and this year it is open to writers of all ages—interested in the art of storytelling. If you are interested in telling stories, this is the place for you. The conference will feature twelve speakers, including members from our region. The event is FREE for teens and just $20 for adults. The Utah/Southern Idaho SCBWI Great Critique in-person peer critique will be held in conjunction with the conference on Friday, October 14th, 6–8 pm.


3rd Annual SCBWI/WIFYR Pro Day a Success

On Saturday, June 18th we were able to partner again with Carol Lynch Williams and Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers to host our 3rd annual SCBWI / WIFYR Pro Day. This one day intimate event was limited to 15 participants from both Utah and Idaho. We had a great time networking and mingling with each other and our presenters during our breaks, and writing activities.

Participants were able to spend one on one time with Rotem Moscovich, Senior Editor at Disney-Hyperion and review up to 5 pages of their work.  Rotem also kicked off the event with a short presentation on, Best Pitching Practices and a Q&A at the end.

In addition, author and WIFYR founder, Carol Lynch Williams presented on YA, Claudia Mills, author of over 60 books, presented on Chapter Books, and Sherry Meidell, our regional illustrator coordinator, presenting on Picture Books, From Spark to Dummy.

 Notes from the 45th Annual SCBWI Summer Conference

by Sarah Tregay


Held in the regal (and haunted) Millennium Biltmore Hotel in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, the summer conference was an outstanding—if a little overwhelming—success. With more than sixty faculty members, the variety of keynote presentations, breakout workshops, and intensives made the three-day conference perfect for writers, poets, and illustrators of all levels. I left with a head full of ideas, an iPad filled with notes, and both a heaping spoonful of inspiration and a dose of reality.


I also got a little research done in the beautiful Central Library across the street.


A few take-aways from my conference experience include:


Jon Klassen, author/illustrator of I Want My Hat Back, and This is Not My Hat, explained how you might not be ready to write or illustrate a particular story at this moment in time, but don’t let that hold you back. Write or illustrate the story you can create.

For example, Jon has a background in animation and often drew backgrounds, such as rocks and chairs. Jon began I Want My Hat Back with a simple character design—the slightly annoyed looking bear without a hat—because he could draw the bear well. With the character in place, he struggled with making the words sound just right. But the words didn’t cooperate—and he wanted to get away from narrating the story. So he chose to write the story much like a play. This was the book he was ready to write and illustrate.

Deborah Halverson, author of Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies, reminded attendees that the market surveys of agents and publishers in The Book: The Essential Guide to Publishing for Children is updated regularly. The Book is available to SCBWI members at under “Resource Library.” She said many formats of books are doing well from board books and picture books to paperbacks and audiobooks, while e-book sales have flattened out; new BISAC codes for YA are helping teachers and librarians find books for students; there are nine new imprints at children’s book publishers; middle grade graphic novels are seeing growth; middle grade in general is a nice place to be with both literary and commercial titles featuring true middle grade voices; non-fiction is strong in both trade and library—thanks to authors thinking of fresh takes and angles; and YA contemporary is a bit saturated at the moment so editors are looking for novels that will stand out in the crowd.

Marie Lu, author of Legend, encouraged children’s book creators to not worry about innate talent—talent is overrated—but to focus on working hard and finishing that draft. It may not be perfect, but you can’t polish something that doesn’t exist. Pam Munoz Ryan, author of Esperanza Rising, admitted that she doesn’t have a muse. Nor does she write every day, but she does find that momentum is better than inspiration—so keep writing!


SCBWI Summer Conference Photos


A few recommendations from conference sessions include:

For picture book writers and illustrators, Picture This: How Pictures Work by Molly Bang.
For poets, songwriters, rappers, and rhyming picture book writers, Verse Perfect free software.
For writers and author/illustrators: #MSWL on Twitter

Coming Soon: SCBWI BOOK BLASTS October 10–November 18, 2016
SCBWI Book Launch Parties are back with a new name and they're better than ever. If you've had a book published in 2016, you are invited to participate in our all-new Book Blast.
The Book Blast is open to all SCBWI members with a book that comes out during this calendar year. You can customize your promotional page to tell the unique story about your book. 
Create your own world to showcase your book using your words and visuals. Last year, over 50,000 page views proved book lovers and buyers were captivated by the hundreds of pages of picture books, YA novels, middle grade, and nonfiction books.
This year we're predicting an even greater turnout. The Book Blast will run for six weeks, from October 10 to November 18, and will be supported by marketing programs including incentives to page visitors, paid advertising, social media outreach and widespread publicity.
Don't miss out on this chance to make your book shine!
Book Blast is one way SCBWI is boosting the sales and visibility of our members' work. Join in and participate in the success of our whole community.

Member Showcase: Good News from Around Our Region

Annie Bailey, our Eastern Idaho SCBWI Volunteer, is now represented by Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

Rebecca Bischoff’s debut YA novel, The French Impressionist, will be published by Amberjack Publishing in December 2016.

Kathryn Kemp Guylay, a new member of our region and licensed nutritionist, is the author of Give it a Go, Eat a Rainbow published by Healthy Solutions of Sun Valley. Her son, Alexander, is the illustrator. The title has received the Mom's Choice Award and the Family's Choice Award.

Tess Hilmo, author of With a Name Like Love and Skies Like These, has a new middle grade novel, Cinnamon Moon, coming this October from Farrar Straus Giroux/Macmillian.

Zebra on the Go, a picture book by Idaho author Jill  Nogales will be released in April 2017 by Peachtree Publishers.

Brunhilda's Backwards Day by author/illustrator Shawna J.C. Tenney was published by Sky Pony Press in August.

Judy Young's new middle grade series The Wild World of Buck Bray: The Missing Grizzly Cubs (Sleeping Bear Press) releases in September 2016. Four of Judy's Digger and Daisy  K1 Series titles were translated into both Spanish and French and became available this summer. In addition, Sleepy Snoozy Cozy Coozy is a finalist for the 2016/17 Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading Award.

Have good news to share? Please email Sarah Tregay (

Thank you to our volunteer Monelle Smith!