Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators



 2021 Mentorship Program for Writers

Eligibility   |   Costs   |   Application   |   Mentors

A mentorship program is now available for those SCBWI writers who are unpublished in the genre for which they are applying.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.


An application must be turned in, as well as the manuscript and fee.


Click to download your 2021 Mentorship Program Application!


Applications are open from February 15 – March 20, 2021. If accepted, you will begin work with your mentor in April (after the annual conference) and continue through October 31st, 2021. Email your manuscript and application to Jo Kittinger, at

Please note: The address to mail the application fee has changed. Do not send your fee to the P.O. Box listed on the application. Mail it to:

Southern Breeze SCBWI

c/o Jo Kittinger

1612 Colesbury Circle

Hoover, AL 35226




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).



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.
  • T*he 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!




KARA BIETZ, Young Adult novels

Kara Bietz grew up in New England but now resides outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, two kiddos and three dogs. She’s been dreaming up stories as long as she can remember. Sometimes she puts them on paper and sometimes they just live in her head. Kara writes contemporary YA about love and hate and bullies and bad choices and the teenagers your parents warned you about, but you fell in love with anyway. Her debut novel, Until I Break, was released in November, 2016 and was a Spirit of Texas Reading List selection for 2018. Her next novel, Sidelined, is scheduled to released from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in September 2021. She is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan at Handspun Literary.

Book List:
Until I Break, AW Teen/Albert Whitman
Sidelined, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


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, Day 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



Janice Hardy is the award-winning author of the teen fantasy trilogy The Healing Wars, including The Shifter, Blue Fire, and Darkfall from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins. The Shifter, was chosen for the 2014 list of “Ten Books All Young Georgians Should Read” from the Georgia Center for the Book. It was also shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize (2011), and The Truman Award (2011). She also writes the Grace Harper series for adults under the name, J.T. Hardy. When she’s not writing fiction, she runs the popular writing site Fiction University, and has written multiple books on writing, including Understanding Show, Don’t Tell (And Really Getting It), Plotting Your Novel: Ideas and Structure, and the Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft series.

MG Novels:
The Shifter(Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins)
Blue Fire (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins)
Darkfall (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins)
Adult Novel:
Blood Ties, Indie
Understanding Show, Don’t Tell, Indie
Understanding Conflict, Indie
Plotting Your Novel, Indie
Plotting Your Novel Workbook, Indie
The Revising Your Novel Series: Fixing Your Character and Point of View Problems, Indie
Fixing Your Plot and Structure Problems, Indie
Fixing Your Setting and Description Problems, Indie


AVERY HURT, Nonfiction magazine articles

Avery Elizabeth Hurt is a science journalist and children’s author. She’s the author of more than two dozen books for middle grade and young adult readers. Her science journalism has appeared in many national publications, including Muse, Double Helix, National Geographic Kids magazine, and Science News for Students, a free, award-winning online publication dedicated to providing age-appropriate science news to learners, parents and educators. She writes mostly about science and history, but it’s hard to find something that doesn’t interest her.

Partial Book List:
National Geographic Readers: Elephants, National Geographic
How the Printing Press Changed the World, Cavendish Square
Booker T. Washington: Civil Rights Leader and Education Advocate, Cavendish Square
Confronting LGBTQ+ Discrimination, Rosen Young Adult
What Are Artifacts?, Rosen Education
The Future of Space Exploration, Greenhaven Publishing
Regeneration: Regrowing Heads, Tails, and Legs, Enslow Publishing
Understanding Tariffs and Trade Barriers, Cavendish Square
Coping With Hate and Intolerance, Rosen Young Adult
ADA Lovelace: Computer Programmer and Mathematician, Cavendish Square
Women in Politics, Rosen Young Adult
Corporate Farming, Greenhaven Publishing



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. 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


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 16 nonfiction books include: Bugs Don’t Hug: Six-Legged Parents and Their Kids (Charlesbridge), Who 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:
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


LOLA SCHAEFER, picture books, easy readers, board books

Award-winning author Lola M. Schaefer has published more than 280 books for children. She enjoys writing both fiction and nonfiction, especially for younger audiences. Many of her picture books have been translated into other languages from Russian to Korean to French. When Lola is not writing, offering workshops to aspiring writers, or writing side-by-side with children, you might find her gardening, hiking, or reading a good book. To learn more, visit:

Partial Book List:
The Bear and The Star, Greenwillow Books
One Special Day, Hyperion
Hidden Dangers, Chronicle Books,
Because of An Acorn, Chronicle Books
Run For Your Life, Holiday House
Water for You and Me, Project Wet
One Busy Day, Hyperion/Disney
Swamp Chomp, Holiday House
Lifetime, Chronicle Books
Mittens At School, HarperCollins Children’s Books
One Special Day, Hyperion
Mittens, Where is Max? HarperCollins Children’s Books



Jennifer Swanson is the award-winning author of over 40+ nonfiction books for children, mostly about science and technology. Jennifer’s love of STEM began when she started a science club in her garage at the age of 7. While no longer working from the garage, Jennifer’s passion for science and technology resonates in all her books but especially, Brain Games (NGKids) and Super Gear: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up (Charlesbridge), Astronaut-Aquanaut, and Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner, Save the Crash-test Dummies.

Her books have received many accolades including starred reviews, Booklist Best Tech books list, Green Earth Book Honor Award, a Florida Book Award, multiple California Reading Association awards, and National Science Teaching BEST STEM awards. Her Brain Games book was even #13 on the The 50 Best Science books Ever Written.

Partial Book List:
Beastly Bionics: Rad Robots, Brilliant Biomimicry, and Incredible Inventions Inspired by Nature, National Geographic Kids
The Secret Science of Sports: The Math, Physics, and Mechanical Engineering Behind Every Grand Slam, Triple Axel, and Penalty Kick, Black Dog & Leventhal
Top Secret Ops: Sneaky Tricks and Daring Deeds of WWII, Bloomsbury
Save the Crash-Test Dummies, Peachtree Publishers
Pearl Harbor, American Girl/Scholastic
Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact, National Geographic Kids
Environmental Activist Wangari Maathai, Lerner
Building with Poop, Enslow
Super Gear: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up! Charlesbridge Publishing
Everything Robotics, National Geographic Kids



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