Our 2017 Picture Book Summit Program Schedule!

All Times are Eastern. (Convert these to your local time zone using this free tool.)

Click here to see class descriptions


10:00 – 10:15 am:

Meet & Greet: Come say good morning to the Picture Book Summit Team with a Wake Up Dance Party

Tomie dePaola square

10:15 – 11:10 am:

Live Keynote Q&A with Tomie dePaola:

Tapping the Truth: Writing What You Know (and the tap shoes he still owns) 

11:10 – 11:25 pm:

Editor Interviews (part 1 of 2)

Julie Hedlund 400x400

11:35 – 12:25 pm:

Live Workshop Session: Julie Hedlund on
“Let Them Read Layered Picture Books”

Steve Swinburne crop 5

12:35 – 1:25 pm:

Live Workshop Session: Steve Swinburne on “STEAMpower: Bringing Nonfiction to Life”


1:25 – 1:40 pm:

Editor Interviews (part 2 of 2)

1:40 – 2:00 pm:

20 minute mid-Summit break

Carole Boston Weatherford square

2:00 – 2:55 pm:

Live Keynote with Carole Boston Weatherford:

Decisions, Decisions: Picturing a Book



2:55 – 3:10 pm:

Agent Interviews (part 1 of 2)

Laura Backes 400px x 400px

3:15 – 4:05 pm:

Live Workshop Session:  Laura Backes Bard on “Purpose Without Preaching”

Agent questions

4:15 – 5:05 pm:

Live Workshop Session: Brenda Bowen on “The Agent’s Perspective: Pitching and Selling Picture Books”

5:05 – 5:20 pm:

Agent Interviews (part 2 of 2)

Picture Book Summit Speaker Adam Rex square

5:30 – 6:25 pm:

Live Keynote with Adam Rex:

Dissecting the Frog: We’re Going to Try to Analyze Humor, God Help Us


6:25 – 6:30 pm:

Wrap-up Dance Party with Jon Bard!

Click here to see class descriptions

Please note: Short breaks are scheduled throughout the conference.

Opportunities for Q&A are built in throughout the day.  And remember – the entire event will be recorded so you can catch up on anything you miss on October 7.

Picture Book Summit is the dream conference for picture book writers — an unprecedented day of instruction, fun and inspiration.

The first Saturday in October, from the comfort of your own home, you’ll enjoy….

Experience A Dream Lineup Of Picture Book Stars — Without Leaving Your Home!

2017 Live Presentations From These Superstar Picture Book Authors:

Morning Q&A with Picture Book Legend

Tomie dePaola

From his Irish-Italian roots to his adventures in musical theatre, his time as a Benedictine monk and his work as a fine artist and teacher, legendary author/illustrator Tomie dePaola has always drawn from life experience. But how does a character inspired by your own grandmother become so universal? Find out in this intimate interview with one of our industry's most esteemed, beloved and prolific talents.

Tomie's Q&A topic is, ``TAPPING THE TRUTH: Tomie dePaola on Writing What You Know (and the tap shoes he still owns)``.

Mid-Conference Keynote Superstar Speaker

Carole Boston Weatherford

Books by New York Times best-selling author Carole Boston Weatherford have received three Caldecott Honor Medals, multiple Coretta Scott King awards and honors, two NAACP Image Awards, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor, Flora Steiglitz Straus Award, Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, Arnold Adoff Poetry Award and Honors, Charlotte Zolotow Award, Jefferson Cup, and Carter G. Woodson Award. Her 50-plus titles include Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom ; Freedom in Congo Square ; Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement ; Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America , and Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane . Her latest picture books The Legendary Miss Lena Horne, In Your Hands, Dorothea Lange: How the Photographer Found the Faces of the Depression; and Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library . Recipient of the North Carolina Award for literature, Carole teaches at Fayetteville State University.

Carole is presenting on ``Decisions, Decisions: Picturing a Book``.

Closing Superstar Keynote Speaker

Adam Rex

Adam Rex wrote and/or illustrated all the books you like including the New York Times bestselling Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich , the New York Times bestselling School’s First Day of School,`` and also a number of titles about which the New York Times has been strangely coy. His first novel, The True Meaning of Smekday,`` was adapted into the DreamWorks feature film Home. Having your book get turned into a movie is like that section in L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz where the woodsman systematically chops off all his body parts one by one and replaces them with tin. But in a good way? Like maybe with the heart still intact? This isn’t one of Adam Rex’s better metaphors.

Adam is presenting on ``Dissecting the Frog: Analyzing Humor, God Help Us``.

ALL NEW 2017 Workshops From Top Picture Book Writing Experts:

Picture Book Summit Co-Founder

Julie Hedlund

Julie is an award-winning picture book author, 21st century publishing expert and founder of the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge. Since 2012, 12 x 12 has encouraged thousands of picture book writers to get their stories out of their heads and onto the page. Julie is a frequent speaker at writing retreats and conferences. Her picture book credits include My Love For You is the Sun and A Troop is a Group of Monkeys.

For more information about this workshop, click here.

Nonfiction Author

Steve Swinburne

Steve is the author of over 30 children’s books. His extensive travels to faraway lands such as Africa, Borneo and Bangladesh and treks through Yellowstone and swimming with manatees have all influenced his book projects. Steve’s book, Sea Turtle Scientist (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) was published in 2014 and his most recent title is Safe in a Storm (Scholastic), about animals finding cozy places to stay safe and warm. Steve visits nearly a hundred schools a year across the United States as well as many international schools. His books have been recognized by award committees at the National Council of Teachers of English and the Society of School Librarians International.

For more information about this workshop, click here.

Picture Book Summit Co-Founder

Laura Backes Bard

Laura is publisher of Children’s Book Insider, The Children’s Writing Monthly, and co-owner of (along with husband Jon Bard). Laura has edited and critiqued thousands of picture book manuscripts. Her credits include Best Books for Kids Who (Think They) Hate to Read (Random House); articles for Writer’s Digest, The Writer and Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market; and technical editor of Writing Children’s Books for Dummies.

For more information about this workshop, click here.

Agent at Greenburger Associates

Brenda Bowen

Brenda represents authors and illustrators who are national and international bestsellers, as well as winners of Newbery and Caldecott awards. Before becoming a literary agent in the summer of 2009, Brenda held a variety of positions during her 25-plus years in children’s publishing. She has been editorial director of Henry Holt & Books for Young Readers, Scholastic Press, Disney/Hyperion, and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

For more information about this workshop, click here.

2017 Editor and Agent Interviews

Executive Editor, Holiday House

Grace Maccarone

Grace Maccarone is Executive Editor at Holiday House, where she works on picture books and I Like to Read® Books for new readers. She has worked with many award-winning authors and illustrators such as Betsy Lewin, Ted Lewin, Emily Arnold McCully, Tedd Arnold, Ruby Bridges, Eric Velasquez, R. Gregory Christie, Walter Wick, and Marc Simont, as well as on best-selling series such as I Spy, Fly Guy, and Clifford the Big Red Dog. She has also written more than sixty picture books and books for beginning readers.

Editorial Director, Candlewick Press

Mary Lee Donovan

Mary Lee Donovan is Editorial Director at Candlewick Press where she is celebrating her 25th anniversary. Mary Lee is the editor of the 2008 Newbery Medal winner, Good Masters, Sweet Ladies: Voices from a Medieval Village and the 2013 Newbery Honoree, Splendors and Glooms, both by Laura Amy Schlitz; the 2014 Caldecott Honor picture book, Journey by Aaron Becker; the Judy Moody and Stink series by Megan McDonald; The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton, as well as books by Doreen Rappaport, Rosemary Wells, Scott Nash, Carol Diggory Shields, George O’Connor, Annette Simon, Catharine O’Neill, and many others.

Senior Editor, Chronicle Books

Melissa Manlove

Melissa Manlove is a Senior Editor at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. She has been with Chronicle for 12 years. Her acquisitions tend to be all ages in nonfiction; ages 0-8 for fiction. When acquiring, she looks for fresh takes on familiar topics as well as the new and unusual. An effective approach and strong, graceful writing are important to her. She has 17 years of children’s book selling experience.

Publisher, Ripple Grove Press

Rob Broder

Rob Broder is the President and founder of picture book publisher Ripple Grove Press. Graduation Day by Piotr Parda will be published in Spring 2017. RGP’s spring 2016 list includes Salad Pie written by Wendy BooydeGraaff and illustrated by Bryan Langdo, and Lizbeth Lou Got a Rock in Her Shoe, written by Troy Howell and illustrated by Kathryn Carr. Monday Is Wash Day, written by MaryAnn Sundby and illustrated by Tessa Blackham is coming this fall; Monday is Wash Day just received a star review from Kirkus.

Hen&ink Literary Studio Founder

Erzsi Deàk

Erzsi Deàk brings her nearly 30 years of experience on the international stage, connecting individuals and companies with those around the globe who can make things happen – no matter where you find yourself. She is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives.
With her growing list of prize-winning writers & illustrators, and new voices from around the world, Erzsi Deàk meets often with publishers in the US and UK and aggressively markets domestic and foreign rights, attending the Bologna, London, and Frankfurt rights fairs. Starting the French chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) in 1995, Erzsi eventually ran the international arm of the SCBWI for nearly ten years, developing and mentoring writers, illustrators and publishing programs in 28 countries. She founded and organized the SCBWI Bologna Conference and was awarded the SCBWI Member of the Year in 1999 and 2008. In 2009, she began working with La Martinière Groupe in France, acquiring approximately 40 titles a year for their Le Seuil and La Martinière Jeunesse imprints.

Andrea Brown Literary

Kelly Sonnack

Kelly Sonnack is a Senior Literary Agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She represents works for all age ranges and a wide assortment of genres. Some of the novels Kelly has represented include SCBWI Sue Alexander winner and NYT bestselling Sharon Cameron’s newest YA, The Forgetting (Scholastic), David Elliott’s novel-in-verse Bull which received seven starred reviews (HMH/Houghton), and Gordon McAlpine’s middle grade series The Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe, with illustrations by Sam Zuppardi (Penguin/Viking). Picture books she’s sold include Mustache Baby, written by Bridget Heos and illustrated by Joy Ang (HMH/Clarion), Ashlyn Anstee’s Are We There Yeti? (S&S), and Alastair Heim’s No Tooting at Tea (HMH/Clarion). Kelly teaches, and is on the Advisory Board, for UC San Diego’s certificate in Writing and Illustrating for Children and is the founder of the City Heights Young Writers Workshop.

Rubin Pfeffer Content Founder

Rubin Pfeffer

Rubin Pfeffer founded Rubin Pfeffer Content in 2014 as a natural extension of his 40-year career in the publishing industry. Starting as a designer at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich directly out of college, Rubin has traversed the seas of the children’s book-industry. In his 30 years at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Rubin served in a multitude of positions including Art Director, Editor-in-Chief, and President. In 2001, Rubin transitioned from Harcourt to become Pearson’s Chief Creative Officer. Wishing to return to trade publishing, Pfeffer transitioned to Simon & Schuster Children’s Books, working as a Vice President and Publisher in 2003. After a number of years at Simon & Schuster, sensing a changing tide in the industry, Rubin became an independent agent at East/West Literary Agency in 2009. Rubin has found his passion in working closely with authors and illustrators, in strengthening and nurturing their work, and in helping writers and illustrators demonstrate their potential to publishers.

Upstart Crow Literary

Susan Hawk

Susan Hawk has worked in children’s books for over 25 years, and her clients include Alison Oliver, illustrator of the bestselling Baby Lit board books and the forthcoming picture book Moon; Ruth Spiro, author of the Baby Loves Science board book series; Marcie Colleen, author of the Super Happy Party Bears chapter book series and the forthcoming picture books Love, Triangle and The Adventure of the Penguinaut; Lisa Tyre, whose debut middle-grade novel, Last in a Long Line of Rebels, was a BEA Buzz Book title; Sarah Lariviere, whose middle-grade novel The Bad Kid is an 2017 Edgar Award Nominee; and Rachael Allen, author of the YA novels 17 First Kisses and The Revenge Playbook. She joined Upstart Crow Literary after seven years at the Bent Agency. Before agenting, Susan worked in the children’s marketing departments of Penguin Books for Young Readers, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers and North-South Books, where she managed campaigns for many books and authors including Eric Carle, Mary E Pearson, Richard Peck and Joan Bauer.