Do you write children’s books? Are you an illustrator for children’s book? Do you love children’s literature? If so, then the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) may be the place for you. Assistant Regional Advisor (ARA), Sharon Pegram, describes SCBWI as “a non-profit organization that encourages and educates people who write and/or illustrate for children.” Its mission is to “support the creation and availability of quality children’s books around the world.” It is one of the largest existing organization of its kind. The organization is divided into regions, both domestic and international. In the graphic below you can see the diversity that the organization possesses.
Ms. Pegram is the ARA of the Southern Breeze region. This region includes Alabama, Georgia and the Florida panhandle. When describing her region, she expresses that, “there’s a gentility about Southern Breeze, not that we’re fussy or judgmental, but people are gracious in a way I don’t see often, even in the south.”
There are many benefits to SCBWI membership, exposure being a key benefit. SCBWI provides ways for authors and illustrators to showcase their work. For example, published authors are able to list their books on the organization’s bookstore, illustrators are able to submit work to the online gallery, and members with newly published books will be provided a book launch party publicized to the entire SCBWI community, publishers, and the public.
Membership is offered at different levels. Ms. Pegram explains that, “SCBWI has three categories of membership based on publication status within the children’s market. Associate members have not been published. Full members have been published either independently or by publishers not officially recognized by SCBWI. PAL stands for “published and listed”, and these members have been published (either a book or magazine article) by a publisher on SCBWI’s officially recognized list.” She states that, “within Southern Breeze, roughly 40% of members are either PAL or full, with an even split between full and PAL.” Membership is not limited to writers and illustrators. SCBWI is open to anyone with “a passion for children’s literature”
SCBWI offers assistance to its members and community in the form of 26 awards and grants. Ms. Pegram states, “The Golden Kite Awards…and Sid Fleischman humor award are the most prestigious…” The Golden Kite Awards are for published authors and illustrators and “are the only children’s literary award judged by a jury of peers.” Past winners have been published by Simon and Schuster, Random House, Houghton Mifflin, etc. The Sid Fleischman Humor Award is, “an is an award for authors whose work exemplifies the excellence of writing in the genre of humor.” The awards namesake is the the author of over 35 children’s books.
SCBWI is a great networking apparatus for authors, illustrators, publishers, enthusiasts, etc. It is also a community of children’s book lovers and its, “purpose is to help people create wonderful books for children.”