Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

  • Our Spring retreat is unfortunately filled and therefore closed! However, we usually get cancellations, so it is worth adding your name to the wait list (last year we got a cancellation a week before the event so be patient and keep the weekend open on your calendar so you can take advantage if there is an opening!). To add your name to the wait list please click here 2019 Spring Writer’s Retreat Middle Grade & Young Adult Tahquitz Pines in Idyllwild April 12 - 14, 2019 As you write your novel, do you feel lost in the woods? Are you in need of a compass to guide you? Does your story need more adventure? Well strap on your boots and join us for a weekend retreat in the scenic mountains with guidance from professionals and fellow writers. Our “camp leaders” include: Pam Gruber, Senior Editor Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Erika Turner, Editor- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade Kari Sutherland, Agent at Bradford Literary Agency Jennifer Azantian, Agent at Azantian Literary Deborah Halverson, Published author, freelance editor  To spruce up our manuscripts, attendees will participate in four critique-group sessions lead by an editor or agent, hear speaker presentations on manuscripts that caught their attention, and mingle with the editor, agent, authors during meals and a happy hour. This three-day, two-night retreat includes lodging, meals, critique groups, speaker presentations, a sunrise hike, and writing time. Because we want to keep the critique groups cozy, we are restricting the number of attendees to 28. Attendees can also get a professional written critique of up to 10 pages of their manuscript before the conference. You may also sign up for a professional coaching session to discuss burning questions about your novel. Written Critiques: You may get a written critique of your work prior to the weekend so you can revise before the retreat. If you sign up for a written critique, please email 10 pages of your manuscript and one-page synopsis to by March 4, 2019. Your manuscript must be saved as Word, double-spaced, Times New Roman, one-inch margins, and must have a header with your name and page numbers. The synopsis may be single-spaced, one-page, one-inch margins. We will email the critique back to you one-week prior to the weekend retreat. Professional Coaching: Are you stuck on an aspect of your story? Need to deepen your character? Make your plot more compelling? Create a synopsis or pitch that’s irresistible? You can sign up for a 1:1 15-minute coaching session with Deborah Halverson, published author, former editor, and professional freelance editor. Bring your questions to the private consultation with her. Faculty Bios Kari Sutherland, Agent at Bradford Literary Agency Kari Sutherland joined the Bradford Literary Agency in 2017 after a decade of experience in publishing from the editorial side. Previously a Senior Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, she has worked with bestselling and critically acclaimed authors on projects such as the #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard. She graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in English and Psychology, which she considers the perfect combination for working with authors on character and plot development. With her editorial insight and experience with the entire publishing process, Kari is passionate about helping to polish each manuscript and equip her clients for success. Open to genres from picture books through adult, Kari is most interested in finding stories full of heart; ones that carry readers to faraway places or deep into a character’s mind; action-packed page-turners that surprise her; dark dramas with touches of humor; and, above all, a voice that leaps off the page. She is actively seeking diverse voices across all genres. In children’s books, Kari is interested in character-driven stories, new twists on classic tales, empowering themes, epic fantasy, fresh voices and experiences, inventive mysteries, humor, and magical realism. She’s interested in nonfiction in picture books and middle grade and graphic novels for children of all ages. In YA, which is near and dear to her heart, Kari is drawn to compelling voices, tight pacing, and clear world-building regardless of whether it’s a space drama, an underground dystopia, a small town, or a big city contemporary. She is open to any genre within YA. Kari is interested in adult fiction including general fiction; upmarket women’s fiction; intergenerational tales; magical realism; historical dramas; and light-hearted contemporary fiction. A firm believer that truth can be stranger than fiction, Kari is seeking nonfiction in the following categories: quirky topics; history and biography; pop science and psychology; humor; and parenting. Most important to her are a concrete platform, an engaging voice, and well-researched material that will broaden readers’ understanding of themselves, the past, and the world around them. Kari is not seeking: horror, romance, erotica, memoir, adult sci-fi/fantasy, thrillers, cookbooks, business, spiritual/religious, poetry, or screenplays.   Erika Turner, Editorial Project Manager at Versify, Imprint at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade Publishing   Erika Turner works on everything from picture books through young adult; she is especially interested in middle grade and YA. Her tastes include romantic comedies, sweeping fantasies, and thought-provoking science-fiction, especially with unusual or underrepresented protagonists. She has a soft spot for graphic novels. She is the editor of the forthcoming middle grade historical fantasy ANYA AND THE DRAGON by Sofiya Pasternack, out in Fall 2019 from Versify.   Pam Gruber, Senior Editor at Little Brown Books for Young Readers Pam Gruber started at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in 2008, and is a graduate of NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study where she created her own major of
  • Be careful what you say to your children. Watching Ray Harryhausen’s Jason and the Argonauts with his father, four-year-old Chuck Grieb asked how the skeletons came alive. His father’s answer (“They got skinny actors”) led the boy on a quest for the truth and a lifelong love for the fantastic and a career in the animation industry working for studios such as Disney and Nickelodeon as a story artist, animator, and teacher. The Garden Clan is Chuck’s personal project; a world populated with tiny faeries riding hummingbirds and sinister goblins building steam-powered machines. Chuck’s work has been featured in esteemed publications including Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, Imagine FX, Infected By Art, and Exposé. Chuck is represented by Tim Travaligni of Transatlantic Agency. Visit Chuck's website at

About Us

Welcome to SoCal

Our region includes Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside and Long Beach. We have sunny beaches, snow-capped mountains, and scenic deserts. We are also home to incredible writers and illustrators who mingle and hone their craft at monthly meet-ups and critique groups, an annual retreat and an annual

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SoCal SCBWI fans showing support for Steve Bramucci’s DANGER GANG #2! The signing took place at the most awesome children’s bookstore in SoCal, Whale of a Tale.     Monthly meet-up critique groups sharing resources for children’s writers!