Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2019 Pocono Mountain Retreat TENTATIVE Schedule

Date(s) - 04/12/2019 - 04/14/2019
1:00 pm


The following schedule is likely to change, though ALL topics will be covered.

27th Annual SCBWI Pocono Mountain Retreat

April 12 – 14, 2019

Boyds Mills, Pennsylvania


YOU bring the VOICE, we’ll provide 

awesome faculty and engaging sessions.

Friday, April 12

1:00 pm           Optional Tour of Lindsay Barrett George’s Studio (located approximately 12 miles from campus)

3 – 4:00 pm    Arrival on campus and check into lodging

4:00 pm           Campus Orientation from the Highlights Foundation and optional walking tour

4:30 pm           Overture of Roundtables (pick a seat, get to know our faculty and guests)

5:00 pm           Roundtable Session #1 (pick from seating chart)

5:20 pm           Roundtable Session #2 (pick from seating chart)

5:40 pm           Roundtable Session #3 (pick from seating chart)

6:00 pm           Appetizers

6:30 pm           Dinner

7:30 pm           Socials—PAL, Illustrators, Ice Cream, and More!


Saturday, April 13

7:00 am        YOGA (Optional) in the Loft

8:00 am        Breakfast

8:45 am        Morning Announcements

9:00 am        KEYNOTE, Melissa Iwai

9:45 am        Break

10:00am – 12pm  CRITIQUE SESSIONS (see separate schedule)

*Critiques happening at this time will overlap with Breakout Sessions.

10:00           Breakout Session I (Attendee choice. No registration required.)

  • Eileen Robinson, “Picture Book Revision Master Class” (in the Great Room)
  • Lisa Maxwell, “Setting the Stakes in YA Fiction” (in the Lodge)
  • Mallory Grigg, Presentation Title Coming Soon!  (in the Art Coop)

10:55          Break

11:05            Breakout Session II (Attendee choice. No registration required.)

  • Linda Oatman High, “Can You Hear Me Now? Finding Your Unique & Quirky Voice” (in the Lodge)
  • Julie Gonzalez, “VOICE Your Concern with Illustration Notes” (in the Great Room)
  • Melissa Iwai, “Social Media for Illustrators” (in the Library)

12:00pm      Lunch

>Lunch & Learn: Getting Started as a Volunteer with EPA SCBWI

1:00            Portfolio set up in the Living Room

1:15             Announcements and Critique Group Introductions with Heather Stigall

1:30             Breakout Session III

  • Jennifer Robin Barr & Hallee Adelman, “Making Sense of the Not-So-Intangible First Person” (in the Lodge)
  • Marie Lamba, “Pitfalls in Picture Books (& How to Fix Them)” (in the Great Room)
  • Tony Fredericks, “The Three Voices of Nonfiction” (in the Library)

2:25             Break

2:45            KEYNOTE, Lisa Maxwell

3:45 – 5:30  CRITIQUE SESSIONS (see separate schedule)

*Critiques happening at this time will overlap with Breakout Sessions.

While attending your critique, you may miss part of a workshop.

3:45             Peer-to-peer meet-up, PAL meet-up, Retreat Time

  • Peer-to-peer critique Please see Heather Stigall for details.
  • PAL (Published and Listed) Clubhouse Please see Kate Garchinsky for details.

5:30            Appetizers and portfolio showcase

6:00            Dinner (final bids for Silent Auction at end of dinner)

7:30            Portfolio showcase and book signings

8:30            Silent Auction winners announced


Sunday, April 14

7:00 am          Brook Road Nature Walk (Optional)

8:00 am          Breakfast

8:45 am          Morning Announcements and Regional Team Surprises

9:00 am         Breakout Session IV

  • Eric Taylor, “Writing Between the Lines: Character, Voice, & the Unspoken Elements of Dialogue” (in the Lodge)
  • Amanda Ramirez & Jennifer Herrera, “Ask Us Anything: Editor/Agent Q/A” (in the Great Room)

9:55 am           Break

10:00 am         Group Photo in front of the Barn

10:15 am         Breakout session V (Attendee choice. No registration required.)

  • Melissa Iwai, “Handlettering for Illustrators” (in the Library)
  • Eileen Robinson, “MG and YA Revision Masterclass” (in the Great Room)
  • Matthew Smith, “Be a Songbird, Not a Parrot” (in the Lodge)

11:10               Break

11:15               Q/A Panel and final remarks

12:00 pm         Lunch and departures



*Some workshop descriptions:


“10 Picture Book Pitfalls – And How to Fix Them!”

Marie will share some of the challenges and opportunities in the picture book market today, plus explain the 10 top mistakes agents and editors most often see picture book writers make in their manuscripts. Using clear examples, she’ll show how to spot these mistakes in your own work, and also offer methods that you can use to fix these problems and strengthen your story.


“Ask Us Anything: Editor/Agent Q/A”

Submissions. Contracts. Queries. Best-sellers. If you’ve got Q’s… We’ve got A’s! Join us for an informal dialogue about today’s children’s book market.


“Social Media for Illustrators” 
Leverage Online Platforms to Expand Your Artist’s Toolbox, Create a Daily Practice, and Build a Following.
“Handlettering for Illustrators” 
Explore Techniques for Developing a Personal Alphabet to Enhance Your Illustrator Brand.

*Roundtable Details

New this year, members will offer the introduction of our faculty. Seated with one of faculty members, participating authors and illustrators will build a vivid introduction about their faculty member. This may include basic details like; name, job title, hometown. It may grow fantastical, the way creative types tend to do things, to include wild and wacky facts. Have fun! Bring your voice to the introduction.
In addition to the introductory roundtable, members will choose 3 other table groups to attend. Topics include:

(Table 1) Finding Voice in Supporting Characters and Transitional Scenes with Jan Cheripko

(Table 2) Empowering Your Voice in a World Overrun with Gifs and Emojis with Jodi Moore

(Table 3) Who’s Writing This? Tracking the Elusive Third Person Voice in Fiction with Kristin Walker

(Table 4) Sensory, Rhythm, Music and Theatre in Writing Early Children’s Literature with Melanie Eitelman

(Table 5) Beyond The Fairytale Workshop with Gail C. Krause

(Table 6) Games as Character Builders with Katrina S. Forest

(Table 7) How to practice drawing consistent characters and developing story lines by creating a three-panel cartoon with Berrie Torgan-Randall

(Table 8) Communicating in Color, a watercolor exercise in skin tones for printing with Anni Matsick

You will have 15 minute mini-sessions at each table, with 5-minute changes.

Come with a “game-plan” for which tables you would like to visit.

Get to know some talented EPA members in the process.