Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators



 2019 Mentorship Program for Writers

Eligibility   |   Costs   |   Application   |   2019 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A mentorship program is now available for those SCBWI writers who are unpublished in the genre for which they are applying.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, including poetry collections)
  • *Early Chapter Book
  • *Middle Grade (fiction or nonfiction)
  • *Young Adult (fiction)
  • *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 
 2019 Mentorship Program Application!

Applications are open from February 15 – March 20, 2019. If accepted, you will begin work with your mentor in April (after the annual conference) and continue through October 31st, 2019. Email your manuscript and application to Jo Kittinger, at




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!



HeatherMontgomeryHEATHER MONTGOMERY, Nonfiction books & magazines and grant writing

BIO:   Heather L. Montgomery writes for kids who are wild about animals. An award-winning educator, Heather uses yuck appeal to engage young minds. Her recent titles include Bugs Don’t Hug, Little Monsters of the Oceans: Metamorphosis Under the Waves, and Something Rotten, A Fresh Look at Roadkill. Inquiry is her life.

Book List

Bugs Don’t Hug, 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
KINGSNAKES (Wild About Snakes), Capstone Press
Rattlesnakes (Wild About Snakes), Capstone Press
Garter Snakes (Wild About Snakes), Capstone Press
Mummies: Truths and Rumors, Capstone PressHow is Soil Made? (Everybody Digs Soil), Crabtree Publishing
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 the Snakes, Picture Window Books
How to Survive an Earthquake, Capstone Press
Cell Structure and Function, (In press) Benchmark Education
The Respiratory and Circulatory Systems, (In press) Benchmark Education
The Nervous, Endocrine and Integumentary Systems, (In press)  Benchmark Education


AveryElizabethHurtAVERY ELIZABETH HURT, Nonfiction Books and Magazines

BIO:   Avery Elizabeth Hurt is a full-time nonfiction children’s writer. She contributes regularly to several children’s magazines: National Geographic Kids, Muse, Double Helix, and Scholastic Superscience, and writes books for National Geographic Kids Books, Rosen Central and Rosen Young Adult, and Cavendish Square Publishing. Her specializations are science and social studies.  Learn more about Avery at

Avery will mentor nonfiction writers of magazine articles or books.

Book List:
Ancient Chinese Government and Geography, Rosen Central
Elephants (You Read/I Read series), National Geographic Kids Books
Weird But True 8, National Geographic Kids Books
Cross-Cultural Etiquette (Etiquette Rules! Series), Rosen Young Adult
I’m a Teen Caregiver, Now What? Rosen Young Adult
Coming soon:
Dinosaur Records, National Geographic Kids Books, (2017)
Weird But True School Planner, National Geographic Kids Books, (2017)
Weird But True 9, National Geographic Kids Books, (2017)
Weird But True Christmas, National Geographic Kids Books, (2017)
The LGBTQ+ Guide to Beating Bullying: Working with your School to Create a Safe Environment, Rosen Young Adult, (2017)
The Interwar Years: The Great Depression, Cavendish Square, (2018)
The Interwar Years: Arab Nationalism and Zionism, Cavendish Square, (2018)
The Cold War: Proxy Wars, Cavendish Square, (2018)
Ada Lovelace: History Maker, Cavendish Square, (2018)
Climate Change Science (Preserving Our Planet series), Cavendish Square, (2018)
Rosa Parks: Hero of Conscience, Rosen, (2018)
Coping with Hate and Intolerance, Rosen Young Adult, (2018)


CLAIRE DATNOW, Nonfiction Middle Grade

BIO: 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.




TraceyMCoxTRACEY M. COX, Picture Books (non-rhyming)

BIO:   Tracey M. Cox is a PAL member in the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). In SCBWI, she is active in the Southern Breeze Region where she volunteers as Local Liaison for South Georgia and is the chapter’s Webmaster. She is a founding member of the South Georgia Writer’s Guild. To help promote literacy in her local area, Tracey founded and directs the Books Love & Taters Book Festival, which is held in Ocilla, Georgia on the last Saturday in October during the Georgia Sweet Potato Festival. Learn more at Tracey will mentor non-rhyming picture books.

Book List:
Shaping Up the Year, Guardian Angel Publishing
Ribbert’s Way Home, Guardian Angel Publishing
Liddil Gets Her Light, Guardian Angel Publishing
Just the Thing to Be, Guardian Angel Publishing
Angels Do That, Guardian Angel Publishing
Arachnabet, Guardian Angel Publishing
The Children at the Playground, Xist Publishing
Clare’s Christmas Wish, Guardian Angel Publishing
100 Pecans for Tabitha, Guardian Angel Publishing
Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum in a Dish, Guardian Angel Publishing
Cam’s Asthma, 4RV Publishing
Promise of the Land, Guardian Angel Publishing
The Get Away Dance, Guardian Angel Publishing


JoSKittingerJO S. KITTINGER, Picture Books, Easy Readers (fiction or nonfiction)

BIO:   Jo S. Kittinger has authored more than 30 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. In addition, Jo has published numerous items in various books, magazines, educational materials and newspapers. Now an SCBWI Regional Advisor Emeritus, after serving 11 years as an RA, Jo enjoys helping other writers on their creative journeys. Learn more at Jo will mentor picture books and easy readers (fiction or nonfiction).

Book List:
Trade Picture Books:
The Kids in Building 160 series:
A BETTER TOMORROW, American Bar Association Publishers, under contract
A SPECIAL FRIEND, American Bar Association Publishers, under contract
THE BEAUTY OF DREAMS, American Bar Association Publishers
HELPING A HERO, American Bar Association Publishers
A BREATH OF HOPE, American Bar Association Publishers
First Readers:

LIGHT, Children’s Press
JANE GOODALL, Children’s Press
WHEN I GROW UP, Children’s Press (English & Spanish versions)
A LUNCH WITH PUNCH, Children’s Press (English & Spanish versions)
MOVING DAY, Children’s Press
GOING TO THE BEACH, Children’s Press
MAKING MR. SNOWMAN, Tuntun English, Inc., Korea
COME BACK, SNOWMAN, Tuntun English, Inc., Korea
IT IS SHOWTIME, Tuntun English, Inc., Korea
TIME FOR LUNCH, Tuntun English, Inc., Korea
WHAT ARE YOU DRAWING? Tuntun English, Inc., Korea
I JUMP UP, I COME BACK DOWN, Unibooks, Co., Ltd., Seoul, Korea
The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Unibooks, Co., Ltd., Seoul, Korea
STORIES IN STONE: ANIMAL FOSSILS, Franklin Watts Publishing, Inc.
DEAD LOG ALIVE!   Franklin Watts Publishing, Inc.
Gift Books:
THE JOY OF CATS  Meadowbrook Press, Inc.
E- Books:
Lindy Lee Loves Pink, Okenko Books
David Drew Likes Blue, Okenko Books
Other International Books
Mammals of the World – Compass Books, Korea
The 12 Labors of Hercules – Compass Books, Korea
Horses – Compass Books, Korea
Curious About Cats – Compass Books, Korea
Amazing Ants – Compass Books, Korea
Life at the Beach – Compass Books, Korea
Jobs at Sea – Compass Books, Korea
Twins – Tuntun Books, Korea
Ants – Tuntun Books, Korea


KamiKinardKAMI KINARD,  Middle Grade Novels

BIO:   Kami Kinard is the author of two middle grade novels published by Scholastic, The Boy Problem and The Boy Project, which was chosen for the 2013 Children’s Choices Reading List.  Kami’s poetry, fiction, and nonfiction pieces have appeared in many children’s magazines, including Ladybug, Babybug, Highlights, and Jack And Jill. A frequent speaker at conferences, Kami leads writing workshops on humor, dialogue, and characterization. She co-founded Kidlit Summer School, and is currently a teaching artist on the roster of SC Teaching Artists. You can find out more about Kami and her work at 

Book List:
Middle Grade Novels:
The Boy Project, Scholastic
The Boy Problem, Scholastic



JamieDodsonJAMIE DODSON,  Middle Grade novels

BIO:   Jamie Dodson’s writes the Nick Grant Adventure series historical fiction novels and non-fiction magazine articles. His first published novel was Flying Boats & Spies.  It won the Eric Hoffer Fiction Award in 2011 and it is optioned for a major Hollywood movie. His second is China Clipper published in 2010, and his third MISSION: Shanghai was published in 2012. Book IV – Black Dragons Attack, will be published in summer 2017.  Schiffer Publishing will release Hunting the Wind, a non- fiction anthology of the Pan Am flying boat era, in their November, 2017 catalog. He’s working on a non-fiction memoir about the indigenous Mong people and their tragic support of US operations during the Viet Nam war. He lives in Huntsville, Alabama with his wife, Dr. Joan Dodson and Jasper – their 110 lb. German Shepard. Learn more at Jamie will mentor middle grade novels.

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 Writers
Hunting the Wind, A Pan Am Flying Boat Anthology, Schiffer Publishing
Tong’s Mike Force: A Warrior’s Memoir, Schiffer Publishing
“Gabriel Chiri: A Member of the Greatest Generation Remembers,
Old Huntsville: History and Stores of the Tennessee Valley, July 2014
“Huntsville, Aerodrome to the World – an Alternative History
Valley Planet. What If, Issue 224, March 2016




BIO:   Johnna Stein loves reading, writing, kids, dogs, and especially likes writing about underdogs. She’s worn many hats through the years as high school teacher, tour director, stay-at- home mom, children’s ministry director, reading coach, and presently as foster care advocate. She’s lived a decade of her life in Holland with her Dutch husband of 26 years and right now they reside on this side of the pond. She started getting serious about her writing nine years ago and slowly has witnessed her words appear in print in various magazines. She’s been an active member of a critique group for all genres for nine years. She realized she needed input from her true tribe and began her own children’s writers critique group, the YNOTs, about four years ago. Because we thought, “Why not us?” She’s still “word-smithing” her YA novel in verse and continues to write for magazines. Johnna will mentor magazine articles and stories.

Magazine Credits:
“The Wooden Apple,” Cricket, September 2012 (won an SCBWI Letter of Merit Award)
“The Iron Cross,” Cricket, 3-part story Dec. 2016, Jan. 2017, & Feb. 2017
“Africa in My Heart,” Guide, May 2009
“Blacklisted,” Guide, July 2009
“Losing a Nickname,” Guide, March 2010
“ADD Who me?” Susie (formerly Brio), January 2010
“Taken into Slavery,” Susie (formerly Brio), June 2010
“O.M.G.! (Oh My Grape!)” Kiki, Spring 2011
“Madd About Cupcakes,” Kiki, Aug/Sept 2013
“Seriously Ridiculous,” Kiki, Nov/Dec 2013
“When Life Gives You Lemons: GO Bald or Go Home,” Kiki, March 2014
“The Explosion of Maya’s Ideas,” Kiki, September 2014
“Get Out There and Make Something,” Kiki, February 2015



LisaLewisTyreLISA LEWIS TYRE, Middle Grade novels

BIO:   Lisa Lewis Tyre is the author of LAST IN A LONG LINE OF REBELS and HOPE IN THE HOLLER, (Nancy Paulsen Books). REBELS was named A Book All Young Georgians Should Read by the Georgia Center for the Book in 2016 and was included on several state lists. HOPE IN THE HOLLER was released in 2018  and was chosen as an Amazon Best Middle Grade Book of 2018. She is a founding member of the Middle Grade Mafia, and often speaks on social media and marketing for writers. She has also served as Pitch Wars Mentor for three years. Learn more about Lisa at

Book List:
HOPE IN THE HOLLER, Nancy Paulsen Books


JodiWheeler-ToppenJODI WHEELER-TOPPEN,  Nonfiction/ magazine

BIO:   Jodi Wheeler-Toppen is a nonfiction writer with 10 books for children and teachers published through National Geographic Kids, Capstone Press, and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Press. Many of these are books of science activities. Her articles have appeared in Highlights, ASK, Spider, Cricket, and Pockets. Her goal in writing is present science as exciting, suspenseful… and understandable.  As someone who had benefited greatly from the generosity and skill of other Southern Breezers, and as a former teacher, she looks forward to the opportunity to give back as a mentor. Learn more at Jodi will mentor nonfiction books and magazine articles.

Book List:

Dog Science Unleashed: Fun Activivties To Do With Your Canine Companion, NGK
Recycled Science: Activities to do with paper tubes, Capstone Press
Edible Science: Science Experiments You Can Eat, National Geographic Kids
Orchid Mantises and Other Extreme Insect Adaptations, Capstone Press
Gross Science Projects, Capstone Press
Cool Chemistry Activities for Girls, Capstone Press
Monster Science: Ghosts and Atoms, Capstone Press
Science Experiments that Explode and Implode, Capstone Press
Science Experiments that Fizz and Bubble, Capstone Press
The Human Muscles, Capstone Press
Children’s Articles and Stories

“Sensational Pet Picnic,” ASK, January 2019
“Oddball All-Stars,” ASK. October 2013
“Life Aglow,” Spider. July, 2012
“Fizzmaker,” Highlights. August, 2011
“Where Walruses Chill Out,” Highlights. March, 2010
“Kristin Laidre: Arctic Adventurer,” ASK. April, 2009
“Troublemaker,” Spider. August, 2004
“Sister for a Summer,” Pockets. August, 2004
“Mystery on the Cahaba River,” Cricket. June, 2001
Books for Teachers
Once Upon a Life Science Book: 12 interdisciplinary lessons to create confident readers, NSTA Press.
Once Upon an Earth Science Book: 12 interdisciplinary lessons to create confident readers, NSTA Press.
Science the Write Way (editor), NSTA Press.