Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2021 SCBWI Midsouth Mentorship Program

Date(s) - 01/01/2021 - 09/01/2021


No Categories




Congratulations to our 2021 Mentees:


Amy Aiken

Kathryn Huber



Laura Ayo

Neena Phan – recipient of the E & I Scholarship



Elayne Crain

Linda Kartoz-Doochin

Sarena Mason



The SCBWI Midsouth Mentorship Program exists to connect unpublished writers with established professionals in their field over a nine-month period. Through the mentoring relationship, mentees will receive critique and career advice to give them a “hand up” in the world of children’s publishing.


Who is the program for?

Current members of SCBWI Midsouth who are writers of picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult novels and seek to be traditionally published. All levels of experience are welcome.


How does the program work?

Writers interested in the program will register, pay a $15 application fee, and submit a completed questionnaire and writing sample between 8 a.m. CST November 9 and midnight CST November 30, 2020.  Each mentor will choose one mentee based on the application package. Chosen mentees will be announced in December, 2020 and the mentorship period will run from January to September, 2021.

Each chosen mentee will receive four meetings with their mentor. These meetings can be in person, or by phone or Skype. Each mentor will set individual goals for the span of the mentorship based on the needs of their mentee. This will include at least fifty pages of manuscript critique for novelists, and two additional manuscripts for picture book writers. It could also include revisions and/or query letters, depending on the needs of the mentee. Mentors will also give career advice as needed, and be available for questions by email. Mentees will turn in additional pages or revisions as scheduled with their mentor throughout the nine month period of the mentorship.


What does it cost?

If chosen as a mentee, the cost of the program is $325, payable by December 20, 2020. Chosen mentees will also receive a $100 tuition discount on the 2021 SCBWI Midsouth Fall Conference. An Equity & Inclusion Scholarship is available. Details and links about the scholarship are on the mentorship questionnaire.




Meet our 2021 Mentors!


Tracy Barrett

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 mentored several aspiring writers, including Matthew Baker, whose first publication (a middle-grade novel: If you Find This; Little, Brown; 2017) won critical praise. She has been awarded the SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.





Sharon Cameron

Sharon Cameron is the #1 NYT best-selling author of The Dark Unwinding (2012), A Spark Unseen (2013), Rook (2015), The Forgetting (2016), The Knowing (2017), and The Light in Hidden Places (2020), all from Scholastic Press. Her books have been published in multiple languages and have won the Parents’ Choice Gold Award, the Westchester Fiction Award, earned starred reviews from Booklist, SLJ, and Kirkus, and have been chosen for numerous lists, including Indie Next Top Ten, YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, and Audible Best Books. When not writing, Sharon can be found shooting her longbow, thumbing through dusty tomes, or continuing her lifelong search for secret passages. She lives with her family in Nashville, TN.




Rita Lorraine Hubbard

Rita Lorraine Hubbard is a retired special education teacher of 20 years. She now writes books for children, especially books that highlight unsung African Americans who are heroes in their own right. Her picture books include THE OLDEST STUDENT: How Mary Walker Learned to Read; and HAMMERING FOR FREEDOM: The William Lewis Story. She owns and manages The Black History Channel (, a website celebrating black businesses, books and culture, and is an intermittent book reviewer for The New York Journal of Books.





Sheba Karim

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. 





Kristin O’Donnell Tubb

Kristin O’Donnell Tubb is the author of Zeus, Dog of ChaosThe Story Collector series, A Dog Like Daisy, John Lincoln Clem: Civil War Drummer Boy (written as E.F. Abbott), The 13th Sign, Selling Hope and Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different. In 2021, watch for the companion book to Daisy and Zeus, titled Luna Howls at the Moon. Kristin lives near Nashville, Tennessee with her bouncy-loud family. Just like her two dogs, she can be bribed with cheese.

Kristin can be found far too often on Facebook (, Twitter (!/ktubb), and Instagram ( .  Oh, and she has a website, too:



Jessica Young

Award-winning author and teacher Jessica Young writes picture books (Play This BookPet This BookMy Blue is HappyA Wish Is a SeedSpy Guy the Not-So-Secret Agent), early readers (the Fairylight Friends series), and chapter books (the Haggis and Tank Unleashed series, the Finley Flowers series). Her forthcoming picture book, I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams, will be published in Spring 2021. When she’s not writing, she loves sharing the creative process with kids! Find out more:






How do I apply?

1. Log in as an SCBWI member and complete the registration form below. There is a $15 application fee, payable through the registration form.

2.  Click here to download the questionnaire and fill it in. You can fill in the answers on the document using Word or Pages (or print it, write in the answers, and scan the pages). Email your completed questionnaire and your writing sample in .pdf format to between November 9 and November 30, 2020. Please put your name and the category of your work in the subject line. (Example: Jane Doe, Picture Book submission)


Writing Sample Submissions:

All submissions should be double-spaced in black, 12 pt Times New Roman font with 1″ margins. Please number pages in the header and include a cover page with title, author name, and contact information (cover page will not affect overall page count). Writing samples should be submitted as a .pdf document.

Picture Books:

Please submit one OR two completed picture book manuscripts. Manuscripts should be text only (no dummies), but may include illustrator notes.

Chapter Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult Novels:

Please submit up to the first 30 pages of your project. As part of the same .pdf file, also submit a 1-2 page synopsis of your project (synopses may be single-spaced, but should conform to all other formatting).


If you have questions, please contact the Mentor Coordinators at


The application period for the 2021 SCBWI Midsouth Mentorship Program has ended. Thank you to all who applied!