Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Professional Critiques

Date(s) - 01/17/2020 - 03/31/2020
12:00 am


No Categories

Here in the Eastern NY Region, we are offering professional critiques with industry professionals:  illustrators,  authors, editors, and art directors.

This is a chance for you to bring your work up to the next level:

  • Picture book manuscript and query letter
  • Illustrated Picture Book Dummy
  • Illustration Portfolio
  • Your novel’s first 10 pages and query letter

Each critique will cost $50. For each critique, you will receive a written page a feedback and a 15 minute phone call to clarify feedback and ask questions. We have tried to provide a critiquer for each “genre”, so pay specific attention to each faculty’s specialty.

Scroll to the bottom of the page to register for your genre-specific critique.


Kandace Coston 
Specialty: Picture Book biographies and a strong narrative thread

The Unstoppable Garrett Morgan

By Joan DiCicco
Illustrated by Ebony Glenn

Kandace Coston is the assistant editor at Lee & Low Books, an independent, multicultural children’s book publisher. She grew up in the Bronx, New York, where she spent weekends reading stories and writing her own. After graduating from Barnard College, she won an internship grant from We Need Diverse Books, a non-profit organization that advocates for diversity in the publishing industry, and joined the Lee & Low team. Kandace enjoys working with new authors and helping their manuscripts grow into published books. She’d love to see work from multicultural writers as well as Own Voices stories since that is the heart of what Lee & Low Books publishes. She can also critique picture book dummies from author/illustrators.


Diana Murray 
Specialty: Picture Book Rhyming

One Snowy Day

by Diana Murray
illustrated by Diana Toledano

Diana Murray has published over a dozen children’s picture books and early readers written in rhyming verse, including UNICORN DAY (a National Indiebound Bestseller), NED THE KNITTING PIRATE (an Amazon Book of the Month), and GOODNIGHT, VEGGIES (a Jr. Library Guild Selection). Her award-winning poems have appeared in magazines including Spider, Ladybug, Highlights, and High Five, as well as several anthologies. Diana grew up in NYC and still lives nearby with her firefighter husband, two daughters, and a smarty-pants cockatiel named Bean. You can find out more at: A critique with Diana is usually $200, but for this SCBWI event only, she is offering a limited number of critiques at this special discounted price.


Mary Knight 
Specialty: Historical Fiction MG and YA

Saving Wonder 

by Mary Knight

Mary Knight’s debut novel, Saving Wonder, has won the 2017 Green Earth Book Award for Children’s Fiction, Parents’ Choice Award Silver Honor, and Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2017. Saving Wonder was also chosen for the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Program in 2019. Mary Knight has always enjoyed the power of a good story, whether it’s been as a children’s librarian, a freelance writer or a writer-in-residence teaching kids how to write. She earned her MFA in writing at Spalding University.


KL Going
Specialty YA & MG Novels, the hero’s journey and writing with a unique voice


Fat Kid Rules the World

The Liberation of Gabriel King

by KL Going

KL Going is the award-winning author of numerous books for children and teens. Her first novel, Fat Kid Rules the World was named a Michael Printz Honor Book by the American Library Association, and was included on YALSA’s Best Books for Young Adults list and their list of Best Books for the Past Decade. It was also adapted into a feature film also titled Fat Kid Rules the World. The Liberation of Gabriel King was an IRA notable book and has won numerous state awards.

Aubrey Poole 
Specialty: Picture Books, Middle Grade Fiction, YA Fiction

Max Einstein: The Genius Experiment

by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein
Illustrated by Beverly Johnson

Aubrey Poole is a publishing professional with 9 years of experience acquiring, editing, and developing children’s and young adult projects. She worked with #1 bestselling author James Patterson and Albert Einstein’s intellectual estate to develop and publish the #1 New York Times bestselling Max Einstein: The Genius Experiment. As an Editor at JIMMY Books, her titles included the bestselling Pottymouth & Stoopid, Treasure Hunters and Crazy House series, as well as IndieNext pick and Seventeen Best YA Book of 2018 Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely and forthcoming Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy, which earned 3 starred reviews. She’s also acquired picture books like Jess Keating’s Shark Lady and Bill Cotter’s interactive Don’t Push the Button!


Illustration Portfolios or Picture Book Dummies

Sarah Hokanson 
Specialty: Picture Book Dummies and KidLit Portfolios

Sarah Hokanson is an associate art director for the trade imprints of Random House Children’s Books. She designs and art directs approximately thirty to forty picture books, board books, and chapter books a year. She attended Tyler School of Art / Temple University, where she earned a BFA in graphic design. Sarah has had the honor of working with many wonderful illustrators such as Julia Sarcone-Roach, Dan Yaccarino, Boris Kulikov, Harry Bliss, and Patrice Barton during her twenty-year career.

Jacqueline Rogers
Illustration Specialty: Middle Grade, Picture Books, and Graphic Novels

Ramona the Pest
by Beverly Cleary (Author), Jacqueline Rogers (Illustrator)

Jacqueline Rogers has been illustrating children’s books for over 35 years. She has illustrated middle grade books like the Beverly Cleary’s backlist, including the wonderful Ramona series. She also has illustrated many picture books and is now writing and illustrating graphic novels.


Choose your critiquer in the ticket section below!

Each critique will cost $50. For each critique, you will receive a written page a feedback and a 15 minute phone call to clarify feedback and ask questions. We have tried to provide a critiquer for each “genre”, so pay specific attention to each faculty’s specialty.

Please note:

You can purchase your critique slot now (they are limited and may sell out), but you don’t have to submit your files right away–if you have to write a query letter or do some revisions before you send them. BUT all critiques will be completed in the order the files are received. So if you want your critique sooner rather than later, fill out the Google Doc we send you after registration and attach your files sooner rather than later. 🙂

Also, the critiques are private and not part of a live webinar–they are not recorded in any way.