Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Non-Fiction Day!

Date(s) - 09/12/2020
12:00 am

Non-Fiction: New and Improved!

Online one-day conference September 12th, 2020.

Registration for Nonfiction: New and Improved 

Opens July 18, 2020 9:00 AM

  • Cost for SCBWI Members: $50.00
  • Cost for Nonmembers: $75.00


*Payment can be made online during registration with a major credit card or sent by check to SCBWI Iowa, 6732 Northview Drive, Urbandale, IA 50322



Lisa Cline-Ransome Headshot


Author Lesa Cline-Ransome

Lesa Cline-Ransome’s first book was the biography Satchel Paige, an ALA Notable Book and a Bank Street College “Best Children’s Book of the Year.  She later created a number of picture books including  Quilt Alphabet, Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist, Young Pele,  Words Set Me Free,  My Story, My Dance, and Germs:  Fact and Fiction, Friends and Foes.  Her verse biography of Harriet Tubman, Before She Was Harriet, was nominated for an NAACP image award, and received a Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustration.  Her newest picture biography Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams, is an ALA Notable.  Finding Langston, her debut middle grade novel is a 2018 School Library Journal Best Book, Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Novel, New York Public Library Best Book of 2018 and the 2019 winner of the Scott O’Dell award for Historical Nonfiction and a Coretta Scott King Author Honor book.  

Lesa’s books have received numerous honors and awards including NAACP Awards, Kirkus Best Books, ALA Notable, CBC Choice Awards,  two Top 10 Sports Books for Youth,  a Christopher Award, Jane Addams Award and an Orbis Pictus Recommended Book. She lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York with her husband, and frequent collaborator, illustrator James Ransome.  Visit her at


Carol Hinz


Editorial Director of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books – Carol Hinz

Carol Hinz is Editorial Director of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books, divisions of Lerner Publishing Group in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She acquires and edits picture books as well as photo-driven nonfiction, publishing about thirty titles a year. Books she’s edited include Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson; A Map into the World by Kao Kalia Yang, illustrated by Seo Kim; Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko; and Tracking Pythons: The Quest to Catch an Invasive Predator and Save an Ecosystem by Kate Messner. Find her on Twitter: @CarolCHinz.


Alyssa Mito Pusey


Executive Editor at Charlesbridge – Alyssa Mito Pusey

Alyssa Mito Pusey is an executive editor at Charlesbridge. As a nonfiction specialist, she firmly believes there is nothing as astonishing as real life. Almost any topic can hook her—as long as it’s approached from an unexpected angle. In addition to nonfiction, she edits the occasional fiction title with memorable characters and strong school-and-library hooks. In both nonfiction and fiction, she looks for diversity, innovation, clarity, and voice. Humor is a plus! Alyssa’s titles include Mario and the Hole in the Sky by Elizabeth Rusch, Samurai Rising by Pamela S. Turner, A Black Hole is NOT a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano, the Baby Loves Science series by Ruth Spiro, and the Storytelling Math series with Grace Lin.


Barb Rosenstock


Author Barb Rosenstock

Barb Rosenstock loves true stories best. She’s the author of 17 award-winning nonfiction and historical fiction picture books including the 2015 Caldecott Honor book, The Noisy Paint Box, illustrated by Mary Grandpré. In 2019, her titles The Secret Kingdom and Otis & Will Discover the Deep were both recognized by the Orbis Pictus Committee, Through the Window: Views of Marc Chagall’s Life and Art received a ALA/AJL Sydney Taylor honor, and she was awarded SCBWI’s Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction for Younger Readers.  Barb lives near Chicago with her family and is always working on new ideas to bring nonfiction to life.


Jordyn Taylor


Assistant Editor of Trade at Lerner Publishing Group – Jordyn Taylor

Jordyn Taylor is the Assistant Editor of Trade at Lerner Publishing Group in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She works with the divisions Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books, assisting in the editing and production of picture books and photo-driven nonfiction titles. Books she’s edited include Flash and Gleam: Light in Our World by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Khoa Le; Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Charles Waters and Irene Latham, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini; and Wild Style: Amazing Animal Adornments by Jenna Grodzicki. Find her tweeting about all things bookish at: @jordyn_a_taylor.


Written Critiques:

Critiques are assigned as first-come-first-served basis and are $40.00 per critique. 

    • Lesa Cline-Ransome (Author): 5 critiques
    • Carol Hinz (Editorial Director of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books, divisions of Lerner Publishing Group): 10 critiques
    • Alyssa Mito Pusey (Executive Editor at Charlesbridge): 8 critiques
    • Barb Rosenstock (Author): 10 critiques

Submit the first 10 pages and a synopsis in standard manuscript format or full picture book manuscript (double-spaced; 12 point Times New Roman or Arial font) to by 5:00 PM Friday, August 7, 5:00 PM. Late submissions will be charged, but not critiqued. Your subject line should include your first and last name and the title of your manuscript. Example: Eileen Boggess, The Best Novel Ever Written. Please use .doc, not a pdf.


Zoom Schedule (Central Time)

9:15 AM – Welcome


Barb Rosenstock, Author

Learn about the characteristics of a nonfiction narrative, finding a worthy idea, and some of the joys and pitfalls of the research process. Barb will cover a variety of ways to shape and hone a story using scenes, as well as some tips for more successful revisions, and writing for an illustrator. In this presentation, you will learn why, “So what?” is an essential question for writing children’s nonfiction.

12:00-2:00 PM – Elements of Excellent Nonfiction Workshop                                                               

Carol Hinz & Jordyn Taylor, Lerner Publishing                                                              

We’ll delve into hooks, plot, character development, point of view, and voice, looking at recently published and award-winning books that span the range from picture books to YA. After Carol and Jordyn discuss each element, they’ll give a writing prompt so that you can explore how to use these elements in your own writing to create manuscripts that readers won’t want to put down!

2:15-4:15 PM – The Stories We Tell: Listening, Learning, Writing                                             

Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author                                                                               

Exploring how to craft a narrative and develop character by blending research and personal narrative. 

4:30-5:30 PM – Keys to Nonfiction: Tips and Tricks for Unlocking the Genre 

Alyssa Mito Pusey, Executive Editor at Charlesbridge                                           

What does an editor look for in a nonfiction manuscript? What makes for good back matter? What are the current trends in nonfiction? In this presentation, Alyssa Mito Pusey, executive editor at Charlesbridge, will talk about what hooks her—what she looks for in submissions. She’ll share excellent informational books and discuss what sets them apart. She’ll also reveal some common nonfiction pitfalls—and how you can avoid them.

5:30 PM Good-byes

For problems with registration, please contact Cindy Johnson at

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