Illustration ©Bruce Degen

If you do nothing else to further your career as a children's book writer, join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.  The only national organization for those interested in writing and illustrating children’s books, the SCBWI offers a manuscript exchange, newsletters, conferences, work-in-progress grants, and many free publications, including the Annual Book Market Survey, and a Guide to Agents.

Some state-wide SCBWI chapters are more active than others, but most state organizations offer conferences, workshops, networking, critique groups, and information (see, e.g., the SCBWI-IL Website or the SCBWI-IN Website).

For General information

There’s a world of information about the children’s book marketplace in your local library, in bookstores, and on the web.  These are some of my favorite sources—these three websites (just these three!) will link you to more information than you will probably have time to read.

  1. Books

  2. James Giblin—Writing Books for Young People

  3. Olga Litowinsky—It's a Bunny Eat Bunny World

  4. Barbara Seuling—How To Write a Children's Book and Get It Published

  5. Harold Underdown—The Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Book

  6. Jane Yolen—Writing Books for Children

  7. Websites

  8. Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators

  9. The Purple Crayon

  10. Children’s Literature Network (for info about authors) 

For a List of Conferences

At conferences you can network with those who create children’s books (authors, illustrators, editors, and agents) as well as those who help connect children with good books (teachers, librarians, reviewers).  Attending a conference is a good way to keep up with current trends in the marketplace.

  1. SCBWI website and SCBWI state organization websites list conferences throughout the year.

For a List of Professional Organizations

There are so many wonderful organizations that help promote children's books that I’ve listed just a few to get you started.  It’s useful for authors to get to know the people who help get their books to children, including teachers, librarians, publishers, and booksellers.

  1. American Library Association

  2. International Reading Association

  3. National Council of Teachers of English

  4. Children's Book Council

  5. Association of Booksellers for Children      

For a List of Publishing Houses

Make sure you check for current addresses and editors at this website:

  1. Children's Book Council

For a Manuscript Critique

I do not critique manuscripts unless I’m speaking at a writers’ workshop or conference, but there are many writers who do critique manuscript professionally.  For members, SCBWI offers a Manuscript Exchange list and a list of freelance editors and/or  “Manuscript Doctors” who offer a reputable critique service for a fee.  I’d personally recommend author/teacher Esther Hershenhorn who does a thoughtful and creative critique for every manuscript she receives. 

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