Rochester Area Children's Writers & Illustrators



The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI)

SCBWI is a national professional organization for children’s writers and illustrators. There are annual dues, which entitles you to a bi-monthly bulletin, reference literature and lists at minimal cost, and discounts to SCBWI-sponsored events and conferences. For more information, check the website


Children’s Book Council (CBC)

The Children’s Book Council (CBC) is a non-profit trade organization dedicated to encouraging literacy and the use and enjoyment of children’s books, and is the official sponsor of Young People’s Poetry Week and Children’s Book Week each year. The Council’s members include U.S. publishers and packagers of trade books for children and young adults. On its website, you can find up-to-date information on which publishers are accepting manuscripts and artwork.


Children’s Writer

A monthly newsletter filled with facts and tips about publishing and marketplace news (both books and magazines). For subscriptions, call 1-800-443-6078. - a fabulous website for children’s writers and illustrators


These annual reference books available at major bookstores begin with the information needed to submit a professional manuscript and follow with detailed information on the needs, requirements, and contacts of the big publishing houses.

*Writer’s Market

*Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market

*Children’s Writer Guide to (Year)



Additional Sources

Several local institutions (such as the Memorial Art Gallery, Writers & Books, RIT) offer relevant classes, seminars, lectures, reference materials, and exhibitions. Local libraries and bookstores not only offer many wonderful books for children but books on writing and illustrating for children as well.

Some RACWI authors have websites with tips on writing. Check out:

Linda Sue Park

Vivian Vande Velde

Also check the website for the Rochester Children’s Book Festival with links to many other author websites.





 WoRDS of EncouragEMENT “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” - Albert Einstein “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” - Neil Gaiman “Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.” - C.S. Lewis “Reading forces you to be quiet in a world that no longer makes place for that.” - John Green

Written by Roxane Chadwick and Staff




Mary Jane Auch and Nancy Kraus created RACWI in 1989. Since then, Rochester Area Children’s Writers & Illustrators (RACWI) has provided professional networking, education, and support to people who are seriously pursuing a career in publishing for children.


Our members now number more than 80, range from hope-to-be published writers and illustrators to nationally known, award-winning authors and illustrators, and are interested in every genre of children’s books. To promote literacy, libraries, and its published members, RACWI presents the annual Rochester Children’s Book Festival.


RACWI Mission Statement

Rochester Area Children’s Writers & Illustrators provides coordinated monthly

meetings to share knowledge about writing and illustrating for children and information regarding the publishing process. Our goal is to help those writers and illustrators seeking publication in the field of children’s writing and illustrating and those already published to improve their craft through quality programs and workshops, critique groups, and the

RACWI Reports newsletter.



RACWI welcomes authors and illustrators who seek to improve their craft, to publish in the field of children's writing and illustrating, and those who are already published.


General Group Guidelines

As reflected by our mission statement, RACWI is here for authors and illustrators to learn about the craft of writing and illustrating for children. Sometimes we have authors, agents, or editors as our guest speakers. We are also honored to have several distinguished members of our organization who attend meetings regularly. Also, RACWI members share their know-ledge of the craft of children's writing by presenting at a meeting. The following general etiquette guidelines are adapted from Donna Bowman Bratton's piece for the 2014 SCBWI conference in Los Angeles.



• Read books by our published authors and our guest speakers.

• Familiarize yourself with books agented or edited by guest speakers. You'll gain

insight into their tastes and determine if sending a query is appropriate. Good places

to find such information:

1. Agent's or editor's websites and blogs and on-line interviews.

2. Acknowledgment sections in books.

3. AgentQuery

4. Casey McCormick's blog which spotlights different agents.

5. Publisher's Marketplace which lists editors and agents for specific titles and

newly reported sales.

6. The Children's Writers and Illustrator's Market Guides.

7. SCBWI, The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators.

• When we have guest speakers, come prepared with questions for Q&A sessions, about featured books, about process and craft, about submission possibilities. Be brave and

raise your hand.

• Be prepared to take notes and/or bring a highlighter.

• Leave your manuscript at home. Practice your elevator pitch out loud. Think one-minute summary.

• Bring business cards to share with fellow members. You never know when you might meet your next critique partner.

• After meetings, follow up: touch base with your new friends. Say thank you for any

advice or critiques.

• Harness your new found inspiration and vigor and dive right into your projects!



• Stalk fellow members or guests, or interrupt a conversation between a writer or guest and another member. Wait your turn.

• Forget that these folks are people too. Be respectful, friendly, and always remember the golden rule.



RACWI meets once a month from September-June. There are no meetings in July and August. Only existing members of RACWI are invited to the holiday party in December. If you are interested in attending a RACWI meeting or if you would like to join RACWI, please contact Roxane Chadwick at for more information. Guests may be invited (one time only please).  Our meetings typically begin with 15 minutes or so of socializing and sharing news, followed by a planned program led by RACWI members or guest speakers. Presenters receive small honoraria. Each year we try to include a similar slate of topics, including Brilliant Beginnings (sharing first pages of mss), First Art (sharing new artwork), Awards Night (discussing the previous year’s Newbery and Caldecott winners), plus writing workshops and illustrator presentations.


RACWI Reports

Our monthly newsletter, is emailed to all members each month describing the upcoming meeting and offers news about our members.


RACWI Membership Fees

Program fees cover honorariums and other minor expenses. They are due no later than the October meeting for returning members. New members may join throughout the year. Annual fees are $35.00.


Rochester Children's Book Festival (Website)

▪ To be granted table space, our authors/illustrators must be active RACWI members who contribute their time and talents to RACWI programming and/or RCBF preparations at some point throughout the year. There are many opportunities to volunteer.


Criteria: Authors/Illustrators must be published by companies on SCBWI’s PAL list ( unless otherwise specified. At this time, table space at the Rochester Children’s Book Festival is reserved for traditionally published authors and illustrators who have been a member for at least one year.


▪ Festival slots fill quickly, so it is imperative that you indicate your interest by the deadline indicated. No author/illustrator is guaranteed to be at the Festival every year.


©2019 Rochester Area Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. It is unlawful by Federal law to copy, download and distribute any of the content and photographs from this website. Site Design: Zygdesingz Studio

RACWI Board Members:


Kathleen Blasi, Co-President   |   Andrea Page, Co-President


Barbara Underhill   |  Vicki Dodd Schultz  |  Roxanne Chadwick  |  Vivian Vande Velde  |  Elizabeth Falk  |  Susannah Burhman-Deever  |  Mylisa Larsen