Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Annual Spring Fever Conference

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Date(s) - 03/18/2017
8:15 am - 3:15 pm

Christ Community Methodist Church
3474 Stiles Road - Syracuse, NY 13209


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Please see schedule of events below. Scroll all the way through or you might miss something important.

Come celebrate Spring with us in lovely Baldwinsville, NY for our Annual Conference. There will be wonderful presentations, workshops, critiques, networking, bookstore, and more. As always, lunch (sandwiches, salad, and desserts from Brooklyn Pickle), coffee, tea, water, and snacks will be provided. If you are gluten-free (out of necessity only please) send me an email at after you register and a gluten-free meal will be provided. Registration will start at 8:15 a.m., Opening Comments 8:45 a.m., first speaker 9:00 a.m. Please arrive no later than 8:45 if at all possible because I need to call the sandwich order in by 9:00 a.m.

If you want to save a little cash ($3.00 from the annual conference ticket price, $5.00 from critique/conference combination), please send a check made out to SCBWI (after you register-just bypass PayPal) to: Kim Jakway, 718 Fay Road, Syracuse, NY 13219.

Please note critique definitions:  After you have registered, please send to Don't forget to name the file: Your Last Name, Your First Name, Title of piece. Please make sure to identify your 10 pages (i.e. picture book, YA, etc.) on the first page of your manuscript submission along with your name and title of piece. Also, please read what each critiquer is looking for and choose who you feel best suits your manuscript. Brent Taylor and Jonathan Roberts are giving face-to-face critiques, but there are only six slots for each. Kate Angelella, Carrie Howland, and Katie Shea Boutillier are only giving written critiques. These will be emailed back to you. Brent Taylor will also give two written critiques. 


Spring Fever Annual Conference who's who:

Tamora Pierce is the winner of the 2013 Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement in Young Adult Literature, the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award, and the 2005 Skylark Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction. She is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of more than 28 fantasy novels for teenagers, and has been Guest of Honor at numerous conventions, including Worldcon 2016. She has written comic books, radio plays, articles, and short stories, and currently devotes her minimal free time to local feline rescue. TORTALL: A SPY’S GUIDE, a collaborative effort with other experts on her Tortall universe, will be out in October of 2017, followed in Spring 2018 by the first in a three-book Tortall series, TEMPESTS AND SLAUGHTER. Tammy lives in central New York with her husband Tim Liebe and their uncountable number of cats, two parakeets, and the various freeloading wildlife that reside in their back yard.  You may find her at, on Facebook, and on Twitter.


Brent Taylor is an associate literary agent at Triada US, Inc. in Sewickley, PA. He represents upmarket fiction (novels that are well-written, robust with emotion, and appeal to a wide, commercial audience) across a broad range of categories: picture books, middle grade, young adult, graphic novels, women's fiction, crime fiction, and literary fiction. Some of his recent and forthcoming client books include YOU'RE WELCOME, UNIVERSE by Whitney Gardner (Knopf), PERFECT TEN by L. Philips (Viking), ALAN COLE IS NOT A COWARD by Eric Bell (Katherine Tegen Books), and KIRANMALA AND THE KINGDOM OF SERPENTS (Scholastic). You can find him on Twitter @btaylorbooks.  


Elizabeth Zunon: Drawing and painting have always been among the most important things to Elizabeth Zunon. She was born in Albany, NY and grew up in the Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire), West Africa. Surrounded by the bright, vibrant colors of everyday West African fabrics and tropical vegetation, Elizabeth’s love of color and pattern grew, lingered, and is a fixture today in all of her works. After returning to the United States, Elizabeth attended the Rhode Island School of Design and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration in 2006. Her illustrated picture book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Dial Books) was chosen as one of Amazon’s Best Children’s Books of 2012, among other awards. Elizabeth now lives in Albany, NY, where she explores a multicultural world through painting, beading, sewing, and collage: in fine art paintings from her own imagination and published children's books where she brings to life others' stories. Her ninth illustrated children's book, The Legendary Miss Lena Horne (Atheneum Books), will be published in January 2017. Elizabeth is currently working on her first authored and illustrated book, Grandpa Cacao; a story about chocolate! You can find Elizabeth at:


Jonathan Roberts recently interned at Donadio & Olson, a literary agency in New York City. This select internship enabled him to hone his skill in identifying new talent as the primary reader and initial screener of unsolicited manuscripts. Working directly with professional agents, he learned the business side of the publishing agency while continuing to sharpen his editorial skills. Jonathan is also the editor-in-chief for the student-run journal at Le Moyne College, where he majors in English and Creative Writing (expected in 2018). Jonathan's love of literature began at a young age and he has been active with SCBWI for three years.

Jonathan is accepting YA, fantasy, and science fiction for his critique sessions.


Our written critique contributors:

Kate Angelella is a full time freelance editor specializing in MG and YA novels. She began her career as an editor for Simon & Schuster Children’s Books in NYC. There, Kate edited several bi-monthly series, including Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. She also acquired 30+ original novels, including THE ROCK AND THE RIVER by Kekla Magoon, winner of the Coretta Scott King/ John Steptoe Award for New Talent and NAACP Image Award nominee. Additionally, Kate edited novels by Nova Ren Suma, Cecilia Galante, Amanda Marrone, and more. Kate currently lives in Baltimore, where she teaches writing workshops at the Sounding Sea Writers' Workshop. She believes that everyone has something important to say—everyone has a story to tell. Her favorite part of her job is helping authors to develop their skills, hone their craft, and find their own unique voice.


Carrie Howland joined Empire Literary after eleven years as an agent at Donadio & Olson, Inc. She represents young adult, middle grade, and select picture books. Carrie’s background is in poetry, so beautiful language is one of the first things she looks for in any project. Also important are a strong voice and great story, which she’s looking for across genres. Her list of remarkably talented clients includes Melissa Gorzelanczyk (Arrows), Isabel Bandeira (Bookishly Ever After), and Sarah Prager (Queer, There, and Everywhere). Carrie is a member of the AAR and writes for its newsletter, as well as SCBWI. She holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Albion College. In her spare time, Carrie volunteers as a foster for a local dog rescue and with deployed military men and women through an organization called Soldiers’ Angels. She is an active volunteer and member of the New York Junior League, through which she teaches a third grade art class once a week, as well as a member of the executive board of the New York City Alumnae Chapter of Delta Gamma. You can follow Carrie on twitter at @ecarriehowland or visit for more information, including conference appearances. carrie@empireliterary.comSchedule


Katie Shea Boutillier joined the Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2011. She is the Rights Director handling the agency’s translation and audio rights, and selected film/TV and electronic rights. In addition, Katie is looking for commercial women’s fiction, realistic/contemporary YA, big sweeping love stories, and narrative non-fiction. She looks for projects with the perfect balance of plot and emotion. She loves novels with big voices, imperfect characters and storylines that relate to modern issues.  She is a cum laude graduate of Marist College.


Schedule of events:

8:15-8:45  Registration, hot beverages and snacks, Bookstore open

8:45-8:55 Welcome and housekeeping: Kim Jakway, RA and Kate Day, ARA

8:55-9:50 Brent Taylor “Crafting An Enticing Query and Logline”

9:50-10:00 Break

10:00-10:55 Elizabeth Zunon

11:00-11:55 Tamora Pierce

12:00-12:45 Lunch, Bookstore open and autographing

12:45-1:15 Panel Discussion with Brent Taylor, Elizabeth Zunon, Tamora Pierce, Jonathan Roberts

1:30-3:00 Breakout sessions – see below. 

3:00-3:30 Door prizes, goodbyes – Must be present to win!

Breakout sessions – Choose one:

Room A – Chapel: “First Pages” Brent Taylor will moderate this group critique session, discussing which qualities make a good first page. Have two copies of your first page (double spaced, full page, font size no smaller than 11). A volunteer will read the pages.

Room B: “Illustrator Roundtable” Portfolio reviews and discussion with Elizabeth Zunon. Bring two to three of your best illustrations to share with the group. 

Room C: “Professional Roundtable” This roundtable is meant for those published or under contract. Bring your experiences and questions to share with the group.