Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

27th Annual Pocono Mountain Retreat 2019

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Date(s) - 04/12/2019 - 04/14/2019
3:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Highlights Foundation at the Barn
392 Boyds Mills Road - Milanville, PA



YOU bring the VOICE, we’ll provide 

awesome faculty and engaging sessions.


April 12 – 14, 2019

Registration opens on February 5 at 8am.

→Network with peers, authors, illustrators, agents, and editors 

→Attend Workshops

→Have your work peer and professionally critiqued

→Retreat to your cabin to revise and write in this beautiful setting

Lisa Maxwell and Melissa Iwai head up this year’s impressive lineup of presenters. Along with editors Amanda Ramirez (Simon & Schuster) and Eileen Robinson (Move Books), agent Jennifer Herrera (David Black Agency), agent Marie Lamba, and art director Mallory Grigg (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group), our talented Eastern PA members will offer sessions on:
VOICE Your Concerns with Illustration Notes (Julie Gonzalez)
Be a Songbird, Not a Parrot (Matthew Smith)
The Three Voices of Nonfiction (Tony Fredericks)
Making Sense of the Not-So-Intangible First Person Voice (Hallee Adelman and Jennifer Robin Barr)
Writing Between the Lines: Character, Voice, and the Unspoken Elements of Dialogue (Eric Taylor)
Can You Hear Me Now? Finding Your Unique and Quirky Voice (Linda Oatman High)
… And MANY more!

Our theme this year is YOU HAD ME AT VOICE!

We are grateful for a region full of talented writers and illustrators with vibrant voices. 

Come learn how to make the voice of your work stand out and celebrate YOU.

Enjoy portfolio reviews, manuscript critiques, craft sessions, and the comforts of the Highlights Foundation Retreat Center.

Artists who complete the Novelty Illustration Challenge* have the opportunity to display their illustration in the Illustrator Showcase and have it critiqued by author-illustrator Melissa Iwai in a one-on-one portfolio/dummy critique.

Faculty bios HERE.

Tentative schedule HERE.

Roundtable topics HERE. (Coming Soon)


Our full conference schedule runs from Friday, April 12th, 1:00pm with an optional tour of Lindsay Barrett George’s studio (arrival at Highlights between 3:30pm and 4:30pm) through Sunday, April 14th, at 1:00pm. The cost is $270 for SCBWI members ($315 for non-members).  Sorry – no refunds after 3/21/19.

PAL REGISTRATION: $190 for SCBWI PAL Members for entire weekend. You can join our keynotes, attend our workshops, or just stay in your room and write. Hang out with your friends at meals, sell your books Saturday at our book sale, and (did we mention?) write. Sorry – no refunds after 3/21/19.

Roundtable presenters and session presenters: Please use private link to register by March 1, 2019.


(not included in registration)

LODGING: Available onsite at the Highlights Foundation or at the nearby Central House.  Rooms for two nights (Friday and Saturday) and onsite meals from Friday (dinner) through Sunday (lunch) are $295 for a single and $220 for a double, triple or quad. Price includes room and meals for the weekend. Single rooms are limited and available on a first come, first serve basis.  For reservations, please contact Jo Lloyd at the Highlights Foundation at or call 1(877) 512-8365 or (570) 251-4557. Central House is a short drive from the retreat center.

*Please inform Jo Lloyd of any dietary restrictions when making lodging/meal arrangements*

MEALS: Are included in lodging costs from the Highlights Foundation but are not included in the registration costs.  If you will not be staying onsite, please contact Jo Lloyd to make meal arrangements.  If you have any special dietary preferences or requirements, please inform the Highlights Foundation when making lodging reservations.

Please speak directly with Jo Lloyd to ensure the arrangements available will meet your needs, or call 1(877) 512-8365 or (570) 251-4557. 


ARTWORK/PORTFOLIO CRITIQUES: (at additional cost of $45) Register and add on this option. Bring your illustrator portfolio to the conference. You may also bring 1-2 originals (including your Novelty Illustration Challenge* if you dare to complete it) to share with the art director/illustrator during your critique; however, SCBWI cannot be responsible for lost, stolen or damaged art. Do not send your portfolio/work in advance. Submit your payment of $45/critique with your conference registration.

MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUES: (at additional cost of $45) submissions are due on or before March 20, 2019. Format your work in 12 point font, with one-inch margins, and double spacing.

Please include your name on every page of your work as a header or a footer, as well as identifying information on page one: first & last name, email address, title, genre.

Please SAVE YOUR FILE as Pocono19_Faculty Last Name_Your Last Name_TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT as a PDF or DOC or DOCx.

    Example: Pocono19_Herrera_Myers_The Thing About A Bird

Then send your file to Alison at The subject should read: Pocono19_Faculty Last Name_Your Last Name_TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT (same as saved file name).


For picture books:  Send one entire manuscript.

For chapter books, MG, YA:  Send up to 10 pages of your manuscript, plus a one-page synopsis. (Include synopsis in the same document; please don’t send two documents.)

Please follow standard formatting guidelines, double-spaced, 12 point font. Manuscripts must be received by March 20, 2019.


No submissions  or revisions will be accepted after this deadline.

Although a picture book may have fewer than ten pages, each manuscript counts as a separate submission.

You will receive an email confirmation of receipt of your manuscript.

If you do not receive confirmation by email, please let us know as we may not have received your submission.

We will try our best to honor your critique requests.

Submit your payment of $45/critique with your conference registration.

IMPORTANT: Critiques overlap with workshops,

as such you may miss part of a workshop during your critique.



New this year, illustrators can take the Novelty Illustration Challenge. Complete the assignment at home and display your work in the Illustrator Showcase at no extra cost. If you’d like feedback on your assignment, register for a one-on-one portfolio critique with Melissa Iwai and bring the assignment to your critique. Melissa has illustrated two novelty books My Snow Globe: A Sparkly Peek-Through Story and My Easter Egg: A Sparkly Peek-Through Story published by Scholastic, Inc. in 2016 and 2017.

Create a one spread or two spreads illustrated novelty piece.  The theme is fairy tales or folk lore.  Pick a fairy tale/folk lore, and find the right novelty to help tell the story.  This must be illustrated.  Novelty elements include (but are not limited to):

  • Pop-ups
  • Die cuts
  • Paper mechanisms (wheels, sliders, etc)
  • Lift-the-flaps
  • Pull tabs
  • Acetate windows
  • Embedded felt/fabric/tactile element

Size requirements is that the trim be no smaller than 5.5 x 5.5 inches (closed) and no larger than 10 x 10 inches (closed).



At least two full scholarships are available to SCBWI EPA members who demonstrate exceptional promise as writers or illustrators, and could not otherwise afford to attend the retreat. Scholarship(s) will cover the registration fee and full accommodations for the weekend. Recipient(s) are responsible for transportation and should assist as needed during the retreat.

To apply: First, ensure that you are an SCBWI EPA member. On or before February 23, 2019 please email (Use Subject line: Pocono Retreat 2019 Scholarship Application) with a cover letter explaining why you wish to attend and what you hope to gain from the conference, as well as one of the following:

→Illustrators: One illustration (in any standard electronic format) and a link to your illustrator’s website OR Three Illustrations

→Authors : Up to ten (10) pages of a manuscript (12 pt., double-spaced, saved as a .pdf, .doc or .docx). It may be a work in progress, but not work that is published or under contract.

→Author/Illustrators: Send a dummy OR manuscript (with above specifications) & one illustration. Dummy must be limited to 10MG. If you have difficulty with the size of your submission, please email

Winner will be notified by email by March 1, 2019.

The Selection Committee reserves the right not to award a scholarship if applicants do not meet necessary criteria. 


Illustrators, we hope you will participate in the Illustrator Showcase, an opportunity for you to display your artwork for the faculty and conference participants. To participate, please bring: your illustrator portfolio and/or one to two mounted prints, your Novelty Illustration Assignment*, promotional postcards or business cards, and any props, such as table top easels you need to display your work. Please make sure all materials are labeled with your name and contact information. Please do not display original art as SCBWI cannot be responsible for lost, stolen or damaged art.

If you have questions please email Illustrator Coordinator Virginia Law Manning at


The conference faculty will sell their books through our on-site bookseller. The conference bookstore will be open during limited times on Saturday & Sunday.

SCBWI members who are paid attendees of this event may also sell their books at the conference, but must provide copies for sale at an individual table, not through the bookseller. After registering for the event, email to arrange table space. All member sales will take place on Sunday, April 14.

The Silent Auction is always a highlight of the Pocono Retreat. Every year SCBWI members and our faculty generously donate books, critiques, art, gift certificates, and care packages for the Silent Auction. These items are auctioned via silent bids on Saturday night. It’s a lot of fun!!!
The money raised from the auction finances the EPA SCBWI Scholarship Fund, which allows SCBWI EPA members who demonstrate exceptional promise as writers or illustrators to attend the conference when other financial means are not available to them. We hope you’ll consider donating an item for the auction. 
Please contact EPA volunteer Erik Ammon at with questions or donation information.


(Free with registration)

New to 2019, Peer-to-Peer manuscript and portfolio critiques will take place Saturday after breakout sessions.


For picture books:  Send entire manuscript and one or two sentence pitch. (Include pitch in same document.)

For chapter books, MG, YA:  Send up to 10 pages of your manuscript, plus a one or two sentence pitch. (Include pitch in same document.)

Format:  12pt font, double-spaced, one-inch margins, page numbers, and use .doc or .docx format. Include your name, email, and the genre on the first page of the submission, followed by your one or two sentence pitch.

Email your submission to CAT Coordinator Heather Stigall 

title your manuscript: PocCAT19/GENRE OF YOUR MS_Last Name/TITLE

(example, PocCAT19/PB_Stigall/THREE LITTLE PIGS)

no later than March 20, 2019.

Upon sending, CAT participants will receive a confirmation (if you do not receive confirmation, contact Heather.)


Sign up for this useful peer review of your portfolio by contacting Illustrator Coordinator Virginia Law Manning by March 20, 2019.


SOLD OUT!!! As of March 11, 2019

Register online at Payments accepted via PayPal or check payable to:

Eastern PA SCBWI c/o Alison Green Myers, 814 Court Street, Honesdale, PA 18431


IMPORTANT: If you are an SCBWI member, make sure you’re logged into the website so you can see discounted member pricing. (Roundtable presenters, be sure to register at the private link provided to see your discount.)

QUESTIONS? Contact the EPA SCBWI regional team (Alison, Lindsay, Rona, and Virginia) at