Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

PAL Mentoring Program

Hi Everyone,

SCBWI-Carolinas is excited to announce the first-ever Carolinas Mentor Program for 2014. Our mentors will work with writers on picture books, middle grade novels, and historical fiction. The program will run from February until June, with a monthly exchange of manuscript pages and revision between the mentor and writer. The cost will be $450. You’ll find the full details about the program on our website.

We’re very grateful to the four writers who have agreed to be our mentors. Their full bios are on the website, but I want to give you a short introduction here:

Linda Ashman is the author of more than two dozen picture books.  Her books have earned numerous honors and starred reviews, and have been included on the "Best of the Year" lists of The New York Times, Parenting, Child, and Cookie magazines, Bank Street College of Education, the New York Public Library, and more.

Lisa Williams Kline is the author of eight middle-grade novels, including Eleanor Hill, winner of the North Carolina Juvenile Literature Award.  She has an MFA from Queens University and has taught workshops in writing for young people.

Kelly Starling Lyons is the author of the CCBC Choices-honored picture book, One Million Men and Me; Ellen's Broom, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book, Junior Library Guild and Bank Street Best selection, and Tea Cakes for Tosh, a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People and winner of the AAUW Award for Juvenile Literature.

Monika Schröder is the author of three historical fiction novels for young readers. Her book Saraswati’s Way won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award and was also on last year's North Carolina's Middle School Battle of the Books list. Her most recent novel, My Brother’s Shadow, is a nominee for the 2014 New York State Reading Association's Charlotte Award.


Here’s the way the program will work:

  • Writers interested in working with a mentor in the picture book genre will submit  2-3 picture book manuscripts. Middle grade and historical writers should send the first 20 pages of a rough draft of their novels, along with a short (one page) synopsis.


  • A committee will read all submissions to determine which writers will work with each mentor.


  • Work with each mentor will start at the beginning of February, on a date to be decided by each mentor and writer team. Each mentor-student team will determine the on-going schedule that fits their needs.


  • In the first packet, picture book writers will send 1-3 manuscripts to their mentor, while middle grade and historical fiction writers will send the first 20 pages of a rough draft. The picture book mentors will choose the one manuscript they want to start working on with the writer; critique and edit it; and send it back. The writer will then revise that manuscript and follow whatever other guidance the mentor gives them and send that work back to the mentor in the next packet.


  • Middle grade and historical fiction writers will send the first 20 pages in the first packet. In the next packet, they’ll send back revised pages, along 10-30 new pages in the packet the following month. By the end of the program, students will have 80-100 strong pages of their manuscript and an understanding of how to move to completion. Picture book writers will have as many revised manuscripts as they work on with their mentor.


  • The final packet in June will include any comments the mentor wants to make to help the writer move forward on the work(s) they’ve been revising during the program, with the hopes that the exchange of knowledge over four months will help the writer move to completion of a manuscript they can submit.


The aim of the program is to have the writer and mentor work together over five months to accumulate revised pages and new work. It will be an on-going educational process that will help build a writer’s basic knowledge of critical craft skills, including such elements as narrative arc, characterization, dialogue, and conflict and resolution.


We’re excited about this new program and the chance for members to share and spread the skills needed to succeed in today’s publishing world. We will present a workshop at the 2014 Fall Conference in which both mentors and writers will participate to talk about their experience and answer any questions.


If you have any questions about the program or submission, please contact me at