Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators



 2022 Mentorship Program for Writers

Eligibility   |   Costs   |   Application   |   Mentors

Southern Breeze offers an annual mentorship program for those SCBWI writers who are unpublished in the genre for which they are applying. The ideal applicant is right on the cusp of publication, having dedicated themselves to writing and learning for an extended period of time. Mentorship is not a promise of publication; it is our aim to help writers move closer to their goals.

The scope of the program will depend on the needs of members and availability of mentors in the Southern Breeze region, but we hope to grow mentorship in the region and beyond and watch our SCBWI writers soar! Please read all about the program, and if you have any questions, contact our Mentorship Coordinator, Jo Kittinger, at



This program is open to all members of SCBWI. Any level of SCBWI membership will be accepted as long as you are not already published in that genre. Your mentor cannot guarantee publication for you, but will work with you to improve your manuscript.

Mentors this year may be available for the following categories:

  • *Picture Book (fiction or nonfiction)
  • *Easy Readers (fiction or nonfiction)
  • *Middle Grade (fiction or nonfiction)
  • *Young Adult (fiction or nonfiction)
  • *Magazine Writing (fiction and/or nonfiction)
  • *Grant Writing


Submit the manuscript, properly formatted, of the work you want critiqued to


To be considered for mentorship, an application must be turned in, as well as the manuscript and fee.


Applications are now closed for 2022


Applications are open from February 15 – March 20, 2022. If accepted, you will begin work with your mentor in April and continue through October 31st, 2022.



The fee for mentoring is based upon category, so once accepted, you cannot change categories. An application fee of $50.00 is required. If accepted for the mentorship program, the fee will be applied toward the total program cost. If not accepted, the applicant will receive a critique based on the SCBWI Gold Form. (Note: critique of novel applications will cover the first 20 pages). Click here to Register for Mentorship and pay initial fees to apply.



Submit up to 50 pages of your novel, a one page synopsis, and a *chapter by chapter narrative outline (1-3 sentences per chapter). *The outline is optional.

The fee for a novel-length work (up to 65,000 words*) is $550.00.  The mentor will provide the following:

  • *Notes and a phone call discussing the submitted pages with editorial direction which should be used for you to revise your entire manuscript.
  • *A review of an additional 20 pages in the middle of the mentorship. These can be a resubmission of the opening, or a subsequent chapter not yet seen by the mentor, to be decided as needed.
  • *A reading of the entire manuscript and notes in the manuscript (editorial notes, not a line by line critique of the entire manuscript.
  • *Review of revised synopsis and query letter.
  • *Support by answering questions that arise during the revision process.

*Manuscripts over 65,000 words may be accepted if an elevated fee proposed by a mentor is agreed upon by both mentor and writer.


Picture Book, Early Chapter Book, and Magazine:

The fee for a work that is picture book, chapter book, or magazine article/story length is $275.00. The mentor will provide the following:

  • *An evaluation of an early chapter book (up to 12,000 words) or up to three PB or magazine manuscripts in the form of editorial letters for the purpose of revision.
  • *A review of the revisions with notes in the manuscripts.
  • *A final review of the second revisions with focus on areas that had been previously flagged as “trouble” area.
  • *Review of a query letter.
  • *Support by answering questions that arise during the revision process.


Grant Writing

The fee for a grant writing mentorship is $275.00 and is open to writers or illustrators.

  • *The Mentee will fill out a worksheet for review/discussion by the mentor.
  • *The Mentor will review the work three times (during the application draft, after necessary changes, after acceptance or rejection by funding source) and make concrete suggestions for strengthening every time.
  • The Mentor will offer support by answering questions that arise during the revision process.

Because every grant source has different requirements, the length and format of applications will vary.

*Note that the grant writing mentorship is geared to improve your grant writing skills. It does not guarantee that you will win a grant.


* * *

To be accepted in any area of the mentorship program, a applicant’s work should show a great deal of promise. If you have had strong, positive feedback on a manuscript and yet you can’t seem to “get over the hump,” a mentor may be just what you need! During the approximately six-month period of mentorship, you and your mentor will determine a schedule and how you will work (through email, mail, face-to-face, etc.) If there is an emergency that would prevent completion of the program, any refunds would be made at the discretion of the Regional Adviser.

Apply today and soar to success with a Southern Breeze mentor!





CLAIRE DATNOW, Nonfiction, Middle Grade novels

Claire Datnow was born and raised In Johannesburg, South Africa. Her family originated from Linkuva, Lithuania. Claire taught creative writing to gifted and talented students in the Birmingham Public Schools. She earned an MA in Education for Gifted and a second MA in Public History. Her books for middle schoolers include The Adventures of the Sizzling Six, an eco-mystery series, and Edwin Hubble, Discoverer of Galaxies. Her books for adults include a memoir, Behind The Walled Garden of Apartheid and The Nine Inheritors. Claire has received numerous scholarships and awards, including the Alabama Conservancy Blanche Dean Award for Outstanding Nature Educator, a Beeson Samford Writing Project Fellowship, a Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Scholarship, and Birmingham Public School Teacher of the Year. She enjoys visiting schools to inspire students to write their own eco-mystery stories, to become wise stewards of the earth, and to take action in their own communities. Claire will mentor middle grade authors.

Book List:
Edwin Hubble: Discoverer of Galaxies, Enslow Publishing
The Adventures of the Sizzling Six, Media Mint Publishing
Behind The Walled Garden of Apartheid, Media Mint Publishing
The Nine Inheritors, Media Mint Publishing



Nancy Raines Day is the author of a dozen picture books, most recently Baby’s Firsts and Pirate Jack Gets Dressed. Whether fiction or nonfiction, most are in rhyme. Her first children’s book, The Lion’s Whiskers: An Ethiopian Folktale, was a New York Times notable book of the year. When she’s not writing or reading, she enjoys swimming and walking on the beach on St. Simons Island in Georgia. Nancy was previously an instructor with the Institute of Children’s Literature and has been critiquing SCBWI members’ picture books for 15 years.

Book List:
Pirate Jack Gets Dressed, Beach Lane Books
Baby’s Firsts, Charlesbridge
Hoorade Day! Star Bright Books
What in the World? Numbers in Nature, Beach Lane Books
Way Down Below Deep, Pelican Publishing
A is for Alliguitar: Musical Alphabeasts, Pelican Publishing
On A Windy Night, Abrams
Flamingo’s First Christmas, Abrams
Double Those Wheel, Dutton
Piecing Earth and Sky Together, Shen’s Books
A Kitten’s Year, HarperCollins
The Lion’s Whiskers, Scholastic


JAMIE DODSON, Middle Grade novels, Historical Fiction

Jamie Dodson writes historical fiction, non-fiction, and magazine articles. He has published five award winning Nick Grant Adventure Novels. In 2018, Schiffer Publishing released a non-fiction anthology, Hunting the wind. Pan American World Airways’ Epic Flying Boat Era, 1929–1946. He calls Madison, Alabama home. Learn more at

Book List:
Flying Boats & Spies, A Nick Grant Adventure, OnStage Publishing
China Clipper, A Nick Grant Adventure, OnStage Publishing
Mission: Shanghai, A Nick Grant Adventure, OnStage Publishing
Black Dragons Attack, A Nick Grant Adventure, Ardent Writer Publishing
Samoan Clipper A Nick Grant Adventure, F.A.T. Media
Hunting the Wind, Schiffer Publishing


SHELLI R. JOHANNES, Fiction Picture Books

Shelli R. Johannes is coauthor of 13 children’s books (published and forthcoming.) This includes nine planned books in the CECE LOVES SCIENCE series (coauthor/Kimberly Derting), two books in the THEO THESAURUS series, and SHINE LIKE A UNICORN. Her newest book, PENNY (An Engineering Tail of the Fourth Pig/coauthor Kimberly Derting) is scheduled for Fall 2022. Shelli is also the critically-acclaimed author of five MG/teen novels under the pen name: SR Johannes and five chapter books (To be announced).

After earning a master’s in marketing and working as an executive in Corporate America, Shelli traded out her heels and suits for flip-flops and jeans so she could follow her passion of writing. She can often be found on highways and country roads saving strays and other jaywalking critters, or volunteering with animal conservation groups. She lives in Atlanta with her own pack of animals: a British husband, two wild kids, one sassy bird, and two crazy Goldendoodles who hate vegetables.

Book List:

Loves Science series – 4 PB/ 5 I Can Reads (HarperCollins/Greenwillow)
Cece Loves Science, Cece Loves Science and Adventure, Cece Loves Science (Push and Pull)
Libby Loves Science, Libby Loves Science (Mix and Measure)
Vivi Loves Science, Vivi Loves Science (Sink or Float)
Theo TheSaurus series – 2 Books (Penguin RH)
The Thesaurus – the dinosaur who loved big words. Theo TheSaurus and the Perfect Pet (coming May 2022)
Shine Like a Unicorn – (HarperCollins Children’s)
Penny – An Engineering Tale of the Fourth Pig (Capstone, Fall 2022)
Self-published books
Untraceable (YA)
Uncontrollable (YA)
Unstoppable (YA)
ReWired (YA)
On the Bright Side (MG/Tween)



Kami Kinard is the author of the humorous middle grade novels, THE BOY PROJECT and THE BOY PROBLEM, both from Scholastic. Her poetry, stories, articles, and essays have appeared in numerous periodicals for children and adults. A former award-winning public educator, Kami remains dedicated to teaching. She co-founded Kidlit Summer School, a free online program for writers that ran from 2014 – 2017, and continues to instruct through professional critiquing, mentoring for SCBWI, and leading writing workshops at conferences and in schools. A contributing writer for Pipeline Artists, she lives, laughs, and plays way too complicated board games with her family in Beaufort SC.

Book List:

The Boy Project, Scholastic

The Boy Problem, Scholastic



JO S. KITTINGER, Picture Books, Easy Readers, fiction or nonfiction

Jo finds joy in helping other writers on their journey to publication through critique, mentoring and sharing decades of accumulated knowledge about the publishing industry. She has authored more than 35 books for children — fiction and non-fiction, picture books, easy readers, and middle grade nonfiction. Most notably her picture book The House on Dirty-Third Street (Peachtree Publishers) was honored with a Christopher Award as well as an ALA Social Justice Literature Award. Another picture book, Rosa’s Bus: The Ride to Civil Rights (Calkins Creek Books), received a Crystal Kite award from the SCBWI. Jo loves adventure and being out in nature!

Partial Book List:
The House On Dirty-Third Street, Peachtree Publishers
Rosa’s Bus: The Ride to Civil Rights, Calkins Creek Publishers
The Beauty of Dreams, American Bar Association Publishers
Helping a Hero, American Bar Association Publishers
A Breath of Hope, American Bar Association Publishers
Alabama, Children’s Press/Scholastic
South Dakota, Children’s Press/Scholastic
Light, Children’s Press/Scholastic
Going to the Beach, Children’s Press
Moving Day, Children’s Press
When I Grow Up, Children’s Press
A Look at Rocks: From Coal to Kimberlite, Franklin Watts Publishing


STEPHANIE MOODY – Magazine Writing

A freelance writer and published author, Stephanie is a long-time member of SCBWI. First and foremost an editor, her initial book for children, The Tornado, was published by HarperCollins as a part of their Comets series. Her work for children also has been published in Highlights for Children, Chickadee, Jack & Jill, and Spider among others. In addition, her work has been included in several anthologies and been reprinted by Harcourt Educational Measurement and featured on American Online.

Previously, Stephanie served on the Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library Board of Trustees as its chairman as well as on the Library Foundation. A former faculty member for the Institute of Children’s Literature, Stephanie has lectured at the International Reading Association annual convention and been an instructor for the Chautauqua Writers’ Workshop sponsored by the Foundation of Highlight for Children. She earned a BA in Journalism, magna cum laude, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

A partial listing of her published work:


Super Shrimp, Basketball Anthology, Highlights for Children, Inc,
Play Ball, Base Ball Anthology, Highlights for Children, Inc.
Leaf Shapes, Rebus Anthology, Bell Books

Magazine credits include

Playing It Safe, Highlights for Children

Something To Be Thankful For, Jack And Jill

Domino Donkey, Chickadee

Just Enough, Club House

The Runaway, Highlights

Baking Ice Skates, Highlights

Riddle Rhyme, What AM I? Chickadeee

Barnyard Halloween, Spider


The Tornado, HarperCollins

Hug, Hug, Baby Bug


SUSAN MONTANARI, picture books

Susan McElroy Montanari spent the majority of her life on the beach and tidal creeks surrounding Savannah, Georgia. She obtained a Bachelors of Arts degree in English and Literature from Georgia Southern University, where she worked as a writing coach and tutor. While living in Connecticut, Susan was a finalist in two categories for the 2010 Tassy Walden Award for New Voices in Children’s Literature: one for her picture book, My Dog’s A Chicken, and the other for her middle grade novel, The Day Sasquatch Ate My Journal. Susan’s hobbies include gardening, scuba diving, natural science, legend tripping, and cryptozoology. Susan currently lives in Savannah, Georgia, with her husband, Dan, and a cat named Tybee. Erzsi Deak of Hen & Ink Literary represents Susan. Visit her at And follow her on Twitter @susanmontanari.

Book List:
My Dog’s A Chicken, Schwartz & Wade/Penguin Random House
Who’s the Grossest of Them All? Schwartz & Wade/Penguin Random House
Hip-Hop Lollipop, Schwartz & Wade/Penguin Random House
Goldilocks for Dinner? Schwartz & Wade/Penguin Random House
The Halloween Tree, Source Books


HEATHER MONTGOMERY, Nonfiction books & magazines, grant writing

Heather L. Montgomery writes for kids who are wild about animals. Her subjects range from snake lungs to snail tongues. Heather’s 17 nonfiction books include: Bugs Don’t Hug: Six-Legged Parents and Their Kids (Charlesbridge), What’s in Your PocketWho Gives a Poop? Surprising Science from One End to the Other (Bloomsbury), and Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill (Bloomsbury), which is an NCTE Orbis Pictus Recommended Book, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and a VOYA Nonfiction Honor Award Winner.

Partial Book List:


What’s In Your Pocket? Collecting Nature’s Treasures (Charlesbridge)

Who Gives a Poop? Surprising Science from One End to the Other (Bloomsbury)

Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill, Bloomsbury
Little Monsters of the Ocean: Metamorphosis Under the Waves, Millbrook

Bugs Don’t Hug: Six-Legged Parents and Their Kids, Charlesbridge
How Rude! 10 Real Bugs Who Won’t Mind Their Manners, Scholastic
Unsolved Mysteries of Nature, Capstone Press
Wild Discoveries: Wacky New Animals, Scholastic
The Case of the Missing Arctic Fox: And Other True Animal Mysteries For You to Solve, Capstone Press
Mummies: Truths and Rumors, Capstone Press
Why Do My Teeth Fall Out? And Other Questions Kids Have About the Human Body, Picture Window Books
What’s Inside a Rattlesnake’s Rattle? And Other Questions Kids Have About Snakes, Picture Window Books
How to Survive an Earthquake, Capstone Press



Lisa Lewis Tyre grew up in Tennessee surrounded by her crazy family and neighbors. She learned early on that not every child had a pet skunk, a dad that ran a bar in the front yard, or a neighbor so large his house had to be torn down to get him out. What else could she do but write? She is the author of two award-winning middle-grade novels, Last in a Long Line of Rebels, and Hope in the Holler, both from Nancy Paulsen Books/PRH and is currently working on her third.
Last in a Long Line of Rebels, Nancy Paulsen Books/PRH
Hope in the Holler, Nancy Paulsen Books/PRH