Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Fall Harvest Authors and Illustrators Day

Date(s) - 10/01/2022
8:00 am - 6:00 pm

Titan Student Union, Pavilion Room, Cal State University Fullerton
800 N State College Blvd - Fullerton, CA 92831


COVID Safety – How to submit Proof of Vaccination or PCR results

Speakers (alphabetical by last name)

Marlo Berliner

Associate Agent at Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

Marlo Berliner has been actively building her list as an Associate Agent with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency since 2018. She joined JDLA as an editorial intern after having completed a previous internship at The Bent Agency. Marlo has been involved in publishing in various capacities since 2007, first as a writer, then an award-winning young adult author, then a freelance editor, and finally a children’s lead bookseller at Barnes & Noble. She is a member of SCBWI. Prior to her career in the publishing world, Marlo was an accounting manager for a Fortune 500 company and holds B.S. degrees in Economics and Industrial Management from Carnegie Mellon University. Marlo lives in Northern New Jersey with her husband, two sons, and one rambunctious puppy named Max (who doubles as her puplicist).

Heather Buchta

Author of Beyond the Break and Chasing After Knight

Heather Buchta loves sports, the Bible, and a good glass of whiskey. After graduating from Loyola Marymount University with a B.A. in communications, Heather taught high school English for twelve years in South Central LA before becoming a full-time author. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, running, obstacle-course racing, snowboarding, rock climbing, and playing soccer. She lives in the beach cities of Los Angeles, where she dotes on her two dogs and writes stories from her indoor porch.

website / twitter / instagram


Jemiscoe Chambers-Black

Associate Agent at Andrea Brown Literary

Before Jemiscoe “Jem” Chambers-Black joined Andrea Brown Literary Agency in 2020, she was an assistant director for film and television. Her love for books prevailed, and she returned to school to study English literature and creative writing in fiction and earned her MFA. She is currently building a diverse list of illustrators and authors, and currently represents adult fiction, YA, MG, CB, and picture book authors (by referral only). Across the board, and regardless of age group or genre, she is interested in writing that contains authentic emotional resonance–whether it brings on the giggles or tears or both.

website / twitter / instagram

Kayla Cichello

Agent at Upstart Crow Literary

Kayla Cichello is an agent with Upstart Crow Literary open to picture books through YA and illustrators. She’s searching for voices that can make her laugh, and keep her turning the page, but above all else, voices that feel authentic and honest. Some of her clients include Ana Otaru, author of the upcoming picture book MASQUERADE FOR GRANDPA (Atheneum/S&S, 2023), and a follow up in 2024, and author/illustrator Kirbi Fagan, illustrator of SUMMER OF THE TREE ARMY (Sleeping Bear, 2021). You can find more about Kayla’s taste at:

website / twitter / instagram

Ernesto Cisneros

Award-winning author of Efren Divided and Falling Short

Ernesto is a 20-year veteran teacher currently serving the city of Santa Ana: the colorful but mostly dismissed section of Orange County, California.  He teaches reading and writing to local students at an inner-city intermediate school.

He holds an English degree from the University of California, Irvine; a teaching credential from California State University, Long Beach; as well as a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from National University.

website / twitter / instagram

Saho Fujii

Senior Art Director at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 

Saho Funii has designed a wide range of books, including picture books, board books, activity and novelty books, and middle grade and young adult novels. She currently oversees the LBYR’s picture book list. She has worked with many award-winning illustrators, including Sophie Blackall, Grace Lin, LeUyen Pham, Jerry Pinkney, and Javaka Steptoe.


Tootie Nienow

Author of There Goes Patti McGee:  The Story of the First Women’s National Skateboard Champion

Tootie Nienow has been a school librarian for ten years. Before that she was a teacher, photographer, mother, social worker, and soldier. She loves sharing silly, scary, and suspenseful stories with her students. Although she has ridden a skateboard around her neighborhood, she has never once attempted a handstand. Tootie lives in Southern CA with her husband and dog.

website / twitter/  instagram

Lori Polydoros

Author of Quake Chasers: 15 Women Rocking Earthquake Science

Lori Polydoros has been writing for children for over twenty years and has published over 80 books, article and short stories. Her latest work is QUAKE CHASERS: 15 Women Rocking Earthquake Science published by Chicago Review Press April 2022. Her life in education has been a wild ride—first teaching elementary and then moving on to middle school. She is a high school English teacher and community college adjunct instructor in Orange County, California. A long-time SCBWI volunteer, Lori does many author visits and writing workshops. When she’s not writing, she may be hiking with her two unruly rescue pups, looking for butterflies or traveling off-the-beaten path with her amazing two kids and husband. Lori’s lifelong dream is to tell stories that carry us away, give us a reprieve from the dark reality life can bring, and empower those without a voice. To remind us of the tenacity and resilience of the human spirit.

website / twitter / instagram

Susi Schaefer

Illustrator of Zoo Zen, and Author-Illustrator of Cat Ladies

Born and raised in the Austrian Alps, Susi Schaefer trained as a glass painter in the medieval town of Rattenberg. After moving to Southern California for sun and adventure, Susi studied graphic design. She’s the illustrator of ZOO ZEN by Kristen Fischer, author-illustrator of CAT LADIES and the upcoming THE GLOW SHOW. Susi lives in North Tustin, California, with her family.

website / twitter / instagram

Jonathan Westmark

Executive Editor at Albert Whitman

I’m looking to create books that affirm and expand readers’ understanding of themselves and the many ways in which they can fit into the world. And I’m looking for authors and illustrators who represent the diversity of our population.

I’m looking for young adult and middle grade fiction, chapter books, and picture books across most genres. I love editing manuscripts that engender empathy and expand readers’ conceptions of themselves and how they fit into the world.

Cyndi Wojciechowski


Cyndi Wojciechowski is a Filipino-American illustrator and character designer. She illustrated the #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Superpower Sisterhood, written by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush. Her love for books stems from childhood. After working many years as a teacher, a stage and costume designer for children’s theatre, and creating art installations for TEDx Youth Bommer Canyon, Cyndi decided to pursue a lifelong dream, to illustrate children’s books. She lives in Southern California with her family and her furry rescue lab. She is represented by Jemiscoe Chambers-Black. 

website / instagram / twitter

Critiques, Contests, Scholarships

COVID Safety

To help everyone feel safe and healthy, and to minimize the risk of spreading Covid-19, we will follow safety procedures implemented by SCBWI and CSUF. We’ll sit at round tables in the Pavilion to allow for distance between attendees. You may choose to attend in person or attend online via Zoom.

If you choose to attend in-person, you must upload proof of vaccination OR email your plan to take the PCR COVID test with your registration. To upload a picture of your vaccination card, CLICK HERE. If you plan to take the PCR test, email Bev PlassYour proof of a negative PCR test must be taken no earlier than three days before the event and is DUE SEPT. 30. Cards and neg test results will NOT be accepted the day of the event.

If you register for in-person and do NOT provide proof of vaccination or email your promise to take PCR test by the Sept. 24 deadline, your registration will be converted to virtual only. You will not be allowed to participate in person.

You or your family members must not have been sick for 10 days prior to the retreat.

You must wear a mask when indoors.


For Writers

First Pages – NEW PROCEDURES – Deadline : September 21, 2022, 10:00 PM

During our event, we will read aloud anonymous first page submissions to the group, and a panel of experts will give feedback. This is available if you sign up for in-person OR zoom! Our faculty have requested to see the pages beforehand, so your pages are due Sept. 21. If you’d like to participate,  please sent your page to: Tim Burke at In the email SUBJECT box, write FIRST PAGES, GENRE (PB,MG, OR YA), your FIRST LAST NAME .

Formatting: Your WORD manuscript must be one page, double-spaced, Times New Roman, with one-inch margins. In the upper left hand corner, indicate if it is picture book, mid-grade or young adult. You may include your name and contact information in that upper left hand section if you choose. We won’t read that part aloud, but the faculty members will see it. If it’s YA or MG, put your title centered about 1/3 of the way down, and start your first paragraph after that. If it’s PB, you may submit a full page entry.

Written Critiques NOW CLOSED

If you register for a written critique, please follow these instructions:

Formatting: Your manuscript must be saved as a Word document, 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 and saved as page 11 of your submission. In the case of picture book submissions, if you wish to give the faculty member the option of viewing your dummy along with your manuscript, please include a dropbox link along with the text. We cannot guarantee that all faculty members will be open to viewing the dummies.

Email ten pages of your manuscript and a one-page synopsis as one attachment (doc or docx) to Bev Plass:

Subject line: Critique/Agent or Editor’s last name/Your full name; for example: Critique/Chambers-Black/Bev Plass

Deadline: August 20, 2022, midnight

1:1 Pitching Sessions – NOW CLOSED

You may sign up to pitch your projects to one of our faculty during a 10-minute 1:1 session. Available for in-person attendees only. For tips on creating a pitch for your book, read this.

Written Contest – NOW CLOSED

You’re encouraged to join our writing contest. At the event, we’ll announce winners in three categories: Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult. If you submit MG or YA,  email 5 pages. If you enter a PB, submit the entire document.

Formatting: Your manuscript must be saved as a Word document, double-spaced, Times New Roman, one-inch margins, and must have a header with book title and page numbers. DO NOT put your name on your pages. The judges need your entries to be anonymous.

Email your pages to Cynthia De La Torre at

Subject line: Genre (PB, MG or YA), Contest, Your First & Last name.

Deadline: August 20, 2022, midnight

For Illustrators

Bring your promo material (business card, postcard etc) if you’re attending in person! Bring your physical portfolio as well.

1. Portfolio OR picture book dummy Critiques 

Get a written critique by Art Director Saho Fujii!

Deadline: August 20, 2022, midnight. Now CLOSED. 

How to submit your Portfolio

All portfolio submissions  MUST be online. After registering for your spot (at the bottom of this page), fill out this form

How to submit your Picture Book Dummy

After registering for your spot (at the bottom of this page), email Shiho Pate at with

• Subject line “Dummy Critique from FIRST NAME LAST NAME”

• 1 PDF with 15 MB or less

• Picture book best practices:

2. Portfolio Showcase

View this year’s portfolio showcase here!

Sign up for the Writer’s Day and you are eligible to participate! 

Deadline: August 15, 2022, midnight. Now CLOSED.

How to submit your portfolio

Fill out this form

Bonus option for attending in person

Bring your physical portfolio on the day of the conference!

• Portfolio size can’t exceed 32″ across or 15″ high. Please email Shiho Pate at if you plan to bring your portfolio so we can plan for enough table space for all participants

3. Ask an Art Director

Talk to Art Director Saho Fujii privately for 10-minutes! Bring your questions. Bring samples of your work!

Sign up for your spot at the bottom of this page. Now CLOSED.

For Everyone Secret Code

For Everyone

1. 2023 SoCalendar 20% off with registration!

Get your first annual 2023 SoCalendar. View top 12 winners here!

Each month features artwork from talented local SCBWI members

The calendars make great holiday presents!

When you register for the conference, you get to VOTE for which illustrations to go into the calendar. Votes due Aug. 15, so register early! NOW CLOSED

The SoCalendar will be sold at the conference and online for $25. As a special deal to those who pre-order with their registration, you can buy it for only $20!

2. Book Signing

Our author and illustrator speakers will sign books. Bring your own or purchase them at the bookstore the day of the event

3. Equity and Inclusion Scholarships

Five scholarship spots to the SCBWI Fall Writers and Illustrators Day 2022 are available for writers and/or illustrators from underserved communities, including but not limited to BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and people with disabilities. To apply, please send an email to Cynthia De La Torre at with the subject line: Equity and Inclusion Scholarship.

Submission guidelines

In the body of the email include the following information:

• Your name, email, and contact phone number

• Whether you are an SCBWI member (need not be to enter)

• Statement of intent (how would winning this scholarship help you put forward an underrepresented voice?)

• A one page writing sample or illustration sample

• Winners will be notified by August 30. Scholarship awards are non-transferrable and cannot be exchanged for cash. 

Deadline: August 20, 2022, 10 p.m. Pacific Standard Time

4. Cancellation Policy

If you or immediate family member contract Covid, you may cancel or change to virtual up to Friday, September 30 for a full refund. Please contact Bev Plass at

Registration Secret Code