Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Seminars and Panel

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8th at 4 pm CST — Picture Book Seminar with Shauna LeVoy Reynolds

Critique is a Gift: Unwrap Your Story’s Potential Through Revision

In this seminar we will focus on:
• interpreting common picture book critique notes
• how to decide which notes to take action on and why it’s okay *not* to take all suggested actions
• making yourself a “to do” list to ensure revision success
• how to salvage what seems unsalvageable
• staying true to your own voice and vision
• final revision steps for stories that are *so close* to being submission ready


Shauna LaVoy Reynolds is an author, storyteller, and word nerd who lived in five different states before settling in middle Tennessee. Her 2019 debut picture book POETREE received a starred review from School Library Journal and was a Winter 2019 SIBA Okra Pick, a Spring 2019 Kids’ Indie Next List selection, and a 2020 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award winner. POETREE is on the 2020-2021 Kentucky Bluegrass Award and 2020-2021 Delaware Diamonds Book Award master lists for grades K-2. Shauna’s greatest aspirations include seeing a narwhal in person and winning on Jeopardy! She lives and works in a house full of books with her husband, two kids, and one and a half poodles.



FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13th at 7 pm CST— Novel Seminar with Alisha Klapheke

Take It or Leave It: A Guide to Using Your Critique

When you receive suggestions and edits on a work-in-progress, USA Today Bestselling author Alisha Klapheke can help you figure out when to listen to critique and when to stick to your own voice. Oftentimes, several different edits can satisfy a critquer’s question/suggestion, and you can play with them to find what fits your muse. Join Alisha, and take your story to the next level!


Alisha Klapheke writes fantasy and loves to teach kids, teens, and adults about writing and fighting. When she’s not working at her family’s martial arts gym, she can be found in museums, brainstorming ideas for her newest fantasy world. Using her Master’s Degree in Education and her passion for the written word, Alisha has taught seminars for Music City RWA, the Williamson County Library (TN), numerous local schools, and the Midsouth Region’s Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. You can find her books and numerous interviews at




SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15th at 2 pm CSTIllustrator Seminar with Rob McClurkan

Rob McClurkan sold his first illustration in 1996. Since then his style has changed and his artwork has improved, a lot. In this seminar, Rob will offer tips and insights into strengthening your illustration, staying motivated and encouraged, and keeping your work fresh.


Rob McClurkan is an illustrator and author whose imagination is fueled by a healthy dose of Saturday morning cartoons and Sunday funnies. He lives with his family just outside Atlanta, Georgia. To see more of Rob’s work, visit







SATURDAY, DECEMBER 5th at 2 pm CST— Translating Critique: Author and Illustrator Panel

Notes we see from professionals critiquing our work can often be confusing. “Show, don’t tell!” “This is too didactic!” “This image looks mass market!” “Your pacing is off!” “Voice is too old/young!” “Character isn’t relatable!” “There’s no story in these images!”

In the closing panel of our Critique Seminar Series, award-winning authors and illustrators take common critique notes and demystify them live! With their help, we’ll learn how to translate sometimes-cryptic notes into actionable tasks that can make our work shine!



Tracy Barrett was the Midsouth Regional Advisor for ten years and is now the SCBWI Regional Advisor Coordinator for the United States. She is the author of numerous books for young readers, including the award-winning biographical novel, Anna of Byzantium. Her most recent publications are Marabel and the Book of FateFreefall Summer, and The Song of Orpheus: The Greatest Greek Myths You Never Heard. She has been awarded the SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.




Amanda Driscoll was born and raised in Louisville and currently resides in Prospect, Kentucky. Like any good Kentucky-born girl, she grew up drawing horses. Her love of art led her to Murray State University, where she earned a degree in Fine Art/ Graphic Design. She was a graphic designer for years before she had children, rediscovered her love of picture books, and found her true passion. She is the author/illustrator of three picture books: Klondike Do Not Eat Those Cupcakes! (2018), Wally Does Not Want a Haircut (2016), and Duncan the Story Dragon (2015), as well as the forthcoming Little Grump Truck (2021), all published by Knopf. For more about Amanda and her books, visit her website at:



Sheba Karim is the author of Skunk Girl, That Thing We Call a Heart, and Mariam Sharma Hits the Road. Her upcoming novel, The Marvelous Mirza Girls, is out May 2021 from HarperCollins. Mariam Sharma Hits the Road was a Best Book of 2018 by NPR and a Bank Street Best Book of the Year. That Thing We Call a Heart was named a Best Contemporary Teen Read of 2017 by Kirkus Reviews, an Amelia Bloomer Best Feminist Book for Young Readers by the American Library Association and a Bank Street Best Book of the Year. She is a Writer-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University and received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. 




Linda Lowery is an award-winning author of 60+ books for young readers. She has written and illustrated works published by Penguin Random House, Scholastic, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Peachtree and Lerner.  Linda is also a consultant to emerging writers and teaches Children’s Book Writing classes at UNC and ABTech in Asheville. Life continually takes her on new adventures in writing, illustrating, yoga, teaching, and travel. 





Gail Nall lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her family and more cats than necessary. She once drove a Zamboni, has camped in the snow in June, and almost got trampled in Paris. Gail is the author of the Aladdin/S&S middle grade novels OUT OF TUNE, BREAKING THE ICE, the YOU’RE INVITED series (co-authored with Jen Malone), and BEST.NIGHT.EVER. (co-authored). She is also the author of the young adult novel, EXIT STAGE LEFT (Epic Reads Impulse/HarperCollins). You can find her online at