Donate to SCBWI’s Books for Readers Book Drive!


You might have heard about the Books For Readers Book Drive through the SCBWI grapevine. And you probably have a few questions about what it is, when it is, and who can participate. So, check out the Q&A below, straight from Headquarters, and consider taking part in this wonderful outreach to readers!


A: SCBWI BOOKS FOR READERS is our worldwide book drive. Its mission is 3-fold:

  • To help increase book access for readers in desperate need of books by collecting and donating books that SCBWI members create
  • To help promote our authors, illustrators, and their books
  • To advance our mission as an organization of book creators and literacy advocates

The selection committee, comprised of SCBWI staff and members of the SCBWI Board of Advisors, will choose 2 organizations to receive the books.

Q: When can I start sending books for the book drive? How will it work? 

A. SCBWI BOOKS FOR READERS will accept books from June 1-July 9, 2018. You may donate PAL/traditionally published books you wrote or illustrated, or those of other members who did so. Members can send them to:

4727 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 301
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Attn:  SCBWI Books for Readers

Be sure to put the “Attn: SCBWI Books for Readers” line with the address. We receive many deliveries and we want to ensure yours gets included in the proper place. SCBWI HQ will accept, collect, store, curate, and distribute the books to the regional recipients prior to the celebration events to be held in October.

Depending upon the size and need of our recipients, SCBWI HQ will curate the number and type of books to be distributed and donate any surplus books to other nominated causes at its discretion.

Q: What types of books will be collected?

A: We will collect new fiction and non-fiction hard cover and paperback titles for children and teens (ages 0-17) including board books, early readers, picture books, chapter books, middle grade, YA, and graphic novels. Members may donate from 2-6 copies of any one title. The books must be new meaning published in the last 1-2 years.

Q: Can I donate self-published books to the book drive? 

A: Only books written or illustrated by PAL authors and illustrators can be donated.

For more Q & A about the Books for Readers Campaign, click on over to SCBWI’s main web site:


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Tour Kevin McCloskey’s Studio on July 5, 2018! by Nadine Poper


Many, many years ago when I began my college career in Elementary Education in Kutztown PA, I had no idea how much I would fall in love with children’s literature.  I certainly didn’t know that many, many years later I would be organizing a home studio tour of one of the best children’s authors and illustrators that lives right there in Kutztown.  Just a few miles down the road from my home is the home of Kevin McCloskey, and he has opened his doors to SCBWI members.  During my children’s literature class at Kuztown University, I learned of a delightful story about a grandmotherly woman living alone in an apartment and her love of plastic pink flamingoes.  A touching story with a soft ending that makes you want to just hug her!  Now, I knew who the author/illustrator was at that time.   However, it wasn’t until many, many years later, as I began my journey into writing children’s books of my own, did it pigeonpoohit me that Kevin penned that light- hearted tale.  It takes on a whole new meaning for me now.  His latest books have won a place on the shelves of the Amanda Stout Elementary library, where I serve as the librarian.  I had the pleasure of hosting Kevin this school year as a visiting author.  The students loved his pigeon hat, the worm races, and his fish facts.

On Thursday, July 5th, SCBWI members and friends are invited to meet children’s book creator Kevin McCloskey in his home art studio in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. Kevin is excited to meet fellow authors and illustrators and talk to the group about his creative process and publishing journey. Following his presentation, he will answer questions and sign books.

wormsKevin is a Professor of Illustration at Kutztown University and the author-illustrator of four books in the Giggle and Learn series published by TOON Books. The books blend science, art and humor and have been praised by The New York Times as “a winning combination of facts and gross-out fun.” The first book in the series We Dig Worms was voted a Top 10 Graphic Novel and Best Children’s Book of 2015 by School Library Journal. Other titles in the series have been selected by the Junior Library Guild and honored by Bank Street College of Education.

kutztownWhile in Kutztown, please visit the Kutztown Folk Festival just a mile up the road on the grounds of the Fairgrounds, across from Kutztown University. Come out to meet and support a talented local author/illustrator using the link below.

Kevin McCloskey Studio Tour

When: Thursday, July 5th from 2 to 4 PM

Where: Kutztown, Pennsylvania in Berks County

No refunds after June 21st.

Questions: Please contact Nadine Poper at


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Unusual Viewpoints, by Anthony D. Fredericks

Navigating  clip_image002[2] (1)   Nonfiction

 A monthly column by Anthony D. Fredericks

Unusual Viewpoints

JuneNN1Just like the facts you want to sprinkle across your manuscript, consider taking a different viewpoint or creative stance in presenting your information.  The viewpoint you take can spark interest in a topic that often, on the surface, looks dull and boring.  One of the best proponents of this creative approach is children’s author Lois Ehlert, who is known for taking common items and transforming them into dynamic new objects.  Her books are some of the most creative available for young readers – opening their eyes to the world around them and stimulating their curiosity about how familiar items can be transformed into something new.

A perfect example is one of my all-time favorite books for very young children: Leaf Man  (Ehlert, 2005).  With a body made of fallen leaves and acorns for eyes, “Leaf Man” takes JuneNN2off from a backyard and flutters away on the breeze, traveling past animals, over fields of fall vegetables, above waterways, and across prairie meadows.  From ducks to pumpkins, and from cabbages to fish, all the objects described are fashioned out of life-size leaves of various shapes, sizes, and hues.  After this visual feast, young nature lovers are sure to look with fresh eyes as they walk through the woods, around a city park, or down a country road.

Another delightful example is Mojave (Siebert, 1988), a picture book that describes the Mojave Desert in southern California.  Siebert rises above the all-too-common JuneNN3encyclopedic descriptions of deserts by taking on the role of the desert itself.  That is, this is the story of the desert as it might be told by the desert.  Listen to the magic of the language as the desert speaks: “My summer face is cracked and dry,/All blotched and flecked with alkali,/Until the coming of a storm/When thunderclouds above me form,/And bursting, send their rains to pound/Across my high, unyielding ground.” (Siebert, 1988, p. 22).  As you might imagine, teachers and librarians love Siebert’s books because they are powerful and engaging read-aloud stories.

In my book I Am the Desert ( ) I also sought to reveal that same desert ecosystem as a poetic entity – giving readers a vibrant and eye-opening vision of this oft-misunderstood environment.  My message was that both animals and geology can be portrayed with illuminating language, emotional passion, and carefully crafted scenes.  My viewpoint was first person – offering readers a unique and singular embrace of a most dynamic place.  For example:

JuneNN4.jpg  I am a land of discovery.

            For here, there is much to learn.

                        Come and look.

            I will share with you my rock-ribbed valleys,

                        my crimson cliffs,

            and my layered miles of spine-studded plants

                        and brilliant creatures.

            Come find my beauty!

                        I am the desert.

(p. 28)

Offering kids unusual viewpoints of common (or misunderstood) elements of the natural world opens their eyes in new ways.  They also get a sense that the world around them is never static, but is always available to different forms of interpretation.


clip_image012[2]Anthony D. Fredericks ( is a former professor of education at York College (now retired) and an award-winning and best-selling children’s author of  more than 50 titles.  His latest writing instruction book – Writing Children’s Books: Everything You Need to Know from Story Creation to Getting Published ( – will be released in late June.




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Me Vs. The Imposter, by Rae E.

Every. Single. Day. Is a STRUGGLE. My opponent? The imposter.

nature-2576204_1920Picture this. You’re sitting at your desk writing your favorite scene. The characters are arguing, the angst is real and completely tear worthy in its performance. Suddenly, you worry there is too much drama, even hate, and not enough what your audience may want. Where are the feels? The love? Am I doing this right? This spirals and you stop writing, overwhelmed now. The imposter waits and waits and BAM, the doubts turn into an inferno of I cants and what ifs. There are so many other writers out there all trying to get published. Why am I different? Why should I even try? You turn off the computer and leave the desk feeling nauseous.

Scenario finished. Has this happened to you?

While writing this I can’t help but sigh, knowing that the imposter has struck near fatal blows in our sparring match over the past two years. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a freelance editor. I wanted to start my own business.  I wanted to go back to school. Instead I let this and that and every other excuse I could think of stop me.

So, what changed?

After receiving critical feedback on a recent project, which I did NOT take well at all, I was ready to wipe the slate clean. No more editing, blogging, even books. I didn’t have the heart to try. Before pushing that reset button, I sent out a plea to my mentor, whom I had been hiding from for weeks as I listened to the imposter droll on and on. My mentor was straight with me and to the point. “I believe you can do it. But do YOU want to do this?” I remember sitting at the computer dumbfounded. What did I want? Mental images of past projects, future projects, Instagram photos, and upcoming releases came to mind. Books. I wanted books and to be a part of the community. I replied with a word vomit of “thank yous” and began to plan.

Over the past few weeks I have started my own business, began drafting a novel I’ve had in my head for years, and started looking up MFA programs. I made a list of realistic goals and a list of higher goals that may or may not come to fruition. Through all of it the imposter picks at my resolve and some days I weaken until I look at my notes or see the photos of inspiration and think “NO. You will NOT do this to me. I will NOT listen to you.”

If you are still reading, thank you. I’ll stop this ramble soon.

Now, why am I telling you this?

I want every writer, blogger, freelancer, etc. out there to know they aren’t alone. Whatever you want to do, whatever crazy idea you have – try. My grandmother always tells me this quote, to which I never say it right, but essentially it translates to if I reach for nothing I’ll succeed rather than trying for the stars. Reach out for support if you need to, step back and take a break from what you are working on. It is okay to rest and do what’s best for you.

For myself, through networking I’ve met so many wonderful authors, agents, and more. They inspire me every day to follow my dreams and I feel the warm and fuzzies whenever I get a like or comment on something I post. I may be just another book blogger and freelance editor, but I AM ME and I will continue to fight my imposter to prove it wrong. You can too.

Take a deep breathe. Let it out. Now go for it.

Editor Photo.PNGRae E. is a library assistant by day, freelance editor by night, and fangirl at every available opportunity. She always knew books were her passion, well after her grandmother’s challenge to read a book a day, and obtained her B.A. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from Arcadia University. Currently, she drowning in her TBR list, deciding on whether or not to go for her MFA, outlining her would be novel, and expanding her freelancing options while looking for more bookish things to get involved with. She is active on Twitter and Instagram @anewlookonbooks and sometimes Facebook when she remembers. Check out her blog, too: A New Look on Books.

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A Cafe Chat with Agent and Novel Nuts & Bolts Leader Linda Camacho, by Lindsay Bandy


I’m so excited about our upcoming 3-part workshop, Novel Nuts & Bolts, with agent Linda Camacho! A few spots are still available, and you can register through May 20. Nuts & Bolts spans three months of intense work on your middle-grade or YA novel, starting Saturday June 9. Participants will meet at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Through Round Table format, writers will work on everything from preparing a pitch to polishing opening chapters. You can find more info and register here, but first stop by the Cafe with Linda to hear firsthand what she has in store for us.


Hi there, Linda, and welcome to the Eastern Penn Points Cafe! As we settle into our comfy booth, can we get you a drink? 

Yes, please! I’ll have a Coke 😉

And a little something to munch on? 

I’ve been in a doughnut mood, so I’ll go for that!

Is there a non-doughnut mood?? I think every mood deserves a good doughnut.

wangAs an agent, you work on everything from middle grade to adult. Can you tell us about a few books (client or not) that you recently enjoyed? 

That’s a tough one, since there are so many fantastic books. Right now, I’m reading Jen Wang’s fantastic The Prince and the Dressmaker (a non-client book), a graphic novel that’s been described as a prince story that meets Kinky Boots. The love story! The fashion!

correcting-1870721_1920.jpgParticipants of Novel Nuts and Bolts are looking forward to having your expert eye and feedback on our early pages, queries, and pitches this summer. We all want a submission package that leaves agents, editors, and readers asking for more – so what kinds of things tend to stop you in your tracks while reading first pages, or raise red flags in a query? 

In the query, it’s best not to slam the genre in which you’re writing, essentially saying, “All YA is bad and terrible, but mine is the best ever!” Don’t do that. Oh, and don’t address me as Mrs. GalltZacker, which has happened, lol.

Good to know, Mrs. Gal–I mean, Ms. Camacho!

feedback-2044701_1920.pngThe cool thing about this workshop is that we have not one, but three meetings. This will give us time to identify those red flags, then receive further feedback on our progress. Will writers also have the chance to receive feedback from one another during the round-tables? 

Oh, definitely. It’ll be run like an MFA workshop, where each provides feedback as well.

How would you describe your agenting style? 

I take on clients whose work I feel very invested in, so I’m very editorial and collaborative throughout the process.

What excites you most about Novel Nuts and Bolts? 

I love getting to meet with new writers and helping them along their journey to publication!

We’re excited, too! See you for our first meeting on June 9!

Just click here for the schedule, and to register!

Linda Camacho was always a fan of escaping into a good book, so the fact that she gets to make it her career is still surreal. She graduated from Cornell with a B.S. in Communication and has seen many sides of the industry. She’s held various positions at Penguin Random House, Dorchester, Simon and Schuster, and Writers House literary agency until she ventured into agenting at Prospect. She’s done everything from foreign rights to editorial to marketing to operations, so it was amazing to see how all the departments worked together to bring books to life. Somewhere in between all that (and little sleep), Linda received her MFA in creative writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Now at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency, Linda continues to work with colleagues and clients who inspire her every day in both the children’s and adult categories.
Linda is especially interested in working on middle-grade and YA novels during this workshop.


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Navigating Nonfiction: Interesting Comparisons, by Anthony D. Fredericks

Navigating  clip_image002[2] (1)   Nonfiction

 A monthly column by Anthony D. Fredericks


Children’s books often present information that is outside the realm of their comprehension.  Often, that information is not a normal part of childrens’ background knowledge (about a particular topic).  For example, as adults, we understand the concept of a “million.”  We’ve dealt with that number many times in our lives, we know what it means when someone says that so-and-so is a millionaire, and we have seen that word or number in print in the tonymay2newspapers and magazines we read.

For young children, however, the word “million” doesn’t hold much meaning because it’s not a word that comes up frequently in their math lessons, nor is it a word that surfaces in most of the books they read.  If “million” is to be used effectively in a book, youngsters have to have something against which it can be compared.  In other words, they have to balance the new word with something with which they are already familiar.  David Schwartz did a marvelous job of this in his book How Much Is a Million? (1985).  He used a number of comparisons in order to give readers some insight into what the words million, billion, and trillion mean.  He did this by outlining how long it would count to each one by saying each number completely and going nonstop.  To count to a million would take 23 days, to a billion would take 95 years, and to count to a trillion would take more than 200,000 years.  WOW!

tonymay3When I wrote A is for Anaconda: A Rainforest Alphabet ( I wanted to give readers a sense of how large certain animals were.  Certain numbers don’t convey much information if youngsters can’t understand how those numbers relate to something with which they are more familiar – something in their background of experiences.  So, I decided to use some familiar comparisons to help readers understand the size of these creatures.

The longest recorded anaconda was 28 feet (8.5 m) long.  That’s longer than a car! (p. 1)

 The largest tarantula in the world is the goliath bird-eating spider of South America.  This rainforest spider weighs up to four ounces (113 gm) and has an 11-inch (28 cm) leg span – about the size of a dinner plate. (p. 26)

tonymay4In drafting my book Weird Walkers (1996) I wanted readers to discover some of the most unusual walkers on the planet.  These included a fish that walks out of the water, a lizard that walks on the surface of water, and even a tree that “walks” through the water.  But, in order to make these biological specimens meaningful for children, I sought to compare how these forms of locomotion were similar to, or different from, the ways in which children typically walk (or locomote).

In describing millipedes, I drew some comparisons between the legs of these critters and the legs of children.

How would you walk if you had eight legs?  How about 80 legs?  How about 200 legs?  How would you coordinate all those legs so that you would be able to move forward and not trip over a dozen or more of your own legs? (p. 8)

Comparisons gives readers a frame of reference – an opportunity to learn about something new by matching it with something familiar.  By including those comparisons in your nonfiction books you help readers process a subject in greater detail and with a heightened sense of comprehension.

clip_image012[2]Anthony D. Fredericks ( is a former professor of education at York College (now retired) and an award-winning and best-selling children’s author of more than 50 titles.  His late

st writing instruction book – Writing Children’s Books: Everything You Need to Know from Story Creation to Getting Published ( – will be released in June.




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A Special Thank You to the Highlights Foundation, by Kim Briggs

In 2014, I received a scholarship to attend the Eastern PA SCBWI Pocono Retreat. I’d been a member of SCBWI for two years, but I’d never attended a chapter event. At the time, the chapter ran two writer focused events a year, and they were pretty pricey—at least for a stay-at-home-mother of three. I couldn’t believe my luck when I landed the scholarship to attend the retreat. To add icing to a pretty delicious cupcake, it was the first year the event would be held at the Highlights Foundation–a place I was already familiar with after attending a Highlights Foundation Workshop the year prior—also on scholarship. You see, the Highlights Foundation believes in supporting writers and illustrators. They support us by providing a comfortable bed, delicious food served by the most lovely people you’ll ever met, along with creative working spaces throughout the property. I should also mention the trails, the cabins, the lodge, along with the gorgeous views, and there’s that man in overalls, who pops in to say, “Hello,” during mealtimes—the unassuming but beloved Kent Brown, the mastermind behind the Highlights Foundation workshops.

Fast forward to 2018, we’re still holding the Eastern PA SCBWI Pocono Retreat at the Highlights Foundation. Now, I’m a Co-Regional Advisor, along with Alison Green Myers. The Art Coop’s been added, along with the Granary, and the Art Wall. There’s also George Brown and Dan Drake, who have come on board. Our Highlights Foundation point person, Jo Lloyd, along with our beloved Amanda and Martha, have been with us from the beginning.

The Highlights Foundation takes care of our physical needs so we can focus on nourishing our creative souls. Thank you Amanda, Jo, Dan, George, Martha, Kent, and Alison, she’s a part of it too. You feed our bodies, so we can feed our minds.

Write on,

Kim Briggs, Co-RA of Eastern PA SCBWI



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