Please note: all times are Eastern; end times are approximate

All sessions can be viewed at the times indicated below, or for 3 months following the conference

All times and sessions are subject to change

Book discussions with each author are an opportunity for you to learn more about our speakers’ books.

Monday May 10 

  • 9:00 – 9:30 Eastern: Worship service with Kathleen Long Bostrom – learn more about Kathy here
  • 9:30 – 10:15 Eastern: Glenys Nellist presentation “Knowing Your Why; Knowing Your Way” – learn more about Glenys here
    • We’ve all experienced the tiresome talk of a toddler who continually demands, why? But asking why, whether we are writers or readers, will help us find our way. Why do I write for children? Why am I still here, despite countless rejections? Why do I read children’s books? Join Glenys Nellist as she explores how knowing your why will help you know your way.
  • 10:15 – 11:00 Eastern: Glenys Nellist Q&A and book discussion
  • 11:15 – 12:00 Eastern: Karen Neumair (literary agent) presentation “Landing a Literary Agent” – learn more about Karen here
    • Get insider information on how to open the door to traditional publishing with the right representation. Senior Literary Agent Karen Neumair will provide a brief overview of the three primary publishing paths, then unpack the basic steps to landing a contract with a traditional publisher—including the role of a literary agent and how to find one.
  • 12:00 – 12:45 Eastern: Karen Neumair (literary agent) Q&A and book discussion
  • 1:00 – 1:45 Eastern: Networking Lunch Break – an unmoderated, informal time for you to chat with other conference attendees
  • 2:00 – 3:00 Eastern: Panel 1: Celebrating diversity in children’s books
  • 3:15 – 4:00 Eastern: Linda Howard (Tyndale House) presentation: “10 things every aspiring writer needs to know” – learn more about Linda here
  • 4:00 – 4:45 Eastern: Linda Howard (Tyndale House) Q&A and book discussion
  • 5:00 – 5:30 Eastern: Progressive Christian Children’s Ministry Resources Project
    • Learn more about this new Compassionate Christianity project, the goal of which is to assemble, vet, and make conveniently accessible recommended progressive books and resources for use by children’s and youth ministry leaders, pastors, volunteers, Sunday School teachers, and parents.
  • 5:45 – 6:15 Eastern: Emerging author series: Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young – learn more about Dorina here
  • 7:15 – 8:00 PM Eastern: Cindy Wang Brandt presentation “Doing justice to children in our children’s books” – learn more about Cindy here
    • When I was writing my parenting book, Parenting Forward, my editor would tell me, “don’t be so preachy,” your reader don’t need to be told what to do, it doesn’t make for good writing. Indeed, it’s not good writing because it’s disrespectful to my adult readers, it condescends and assumes they aren’t capable of thinking for themselves. We learn to respect people’s autonomy, but sometimes we don’t afford the same to children. In this session, we’ll have a conversation about what it means to do justice to children in the ways we speak to children and write for them.
  • 8:00 – 8:45 Eastern: Cindy Wang Brandt Q&A and book discussion

Tuesday May 11 

  • 8:45 – 9:15 Eastern: Emerging authors series: Chip Bristol – learn more about Chip here
  • 9:30 – 10:15 Eastern: Matthew Paul Turner presentation – learn more about Matthew here
  • 10:15 – 11:00 Eastern: Matthew Paul Turner Q&A and book discussion
  • 11:15 – 12:00 Eastern: Jennifer Grant presentation “Take Your Picture Book Manuscript to the Next Level by Taking It Seriously”– learn more about Jennifer here
    • The biggest mistake many new picture book authors make is to think that writing them is easy. (They’re only a couple hundred words and much of their audience can’t even read—so what could be so complicated about that, right?) To write a terrific picture book, however, we need to take it (and its audience) very seriously. In this session, author and editorial consultant Jennifer Grant will share best practices for making your picture book irresistible to young readers (and their grownups) by: developing your characters’ back stories, refining your tone, structuring your story, being mindful of developmental stages, remembering your own points of pain as a child, and having fun with the language, setting, and theme of your book. Come take your story to the next level in this tip-packed session!
  • 12:00 – 12:45 Eastern: Jennifer Grant Q&A and book discussion
  • 12:45 – 1:45 Eastern: Break
  • 2:00 – 3:00 Eastern: “Summer Reading List” with Jennifer Grant
    • It’s almost summer! Whether you are looking for a great beach read or hoping to discover a picture or middle grade book that will delight and inspire you in your work…or just want a few nonfiction titles that will help you grow as an author, come to our Summer Reading List session. Jennifer Grant, a professional writer and reader, will share some of the best books she’s read this year and what’s on her summer reading list. Jennifer is an eclectic reader of poetry, board books, novels, picture books, plays, and nonfiction. Join her to be introduced to some new reads and get your summer off to a great start!
  • 3:15 – 4:00 Eastern: Jeannette Larson (Flyaway Books) presentation “Writing Narrative Nonfiction for Children” – learn more about Jeannette here
    • History is filled with stories that are more remarkable than anything we can imagine. The strength of biography and nonfiction in the picture book marketplace demonstrates the hunger readers have for these real-life stories. But how does a writer approach telling the story of a person who actually lived or an event that happened? What are the parameters for a picture book with nonfiction content? How does the writing of a nonfiction picture book differ (or not) from the fundamentals of writing any picture book? How might books like these spark spiritual curiosity? Using published examples, we’ll explore the qualities that make for a good narrative nonfiction manuscript for children.
  • 4:00 – 4:45 Eastern: Jeannette Larson (Flyaway Books) Q&A and book discussion
  • 5:00 – 5:45 Eastern: Xochitl Dixon presentation: “Writing in Rhyme” – learn more about Xochitl here
    • Learn to write in rhyme, one beat at a time. Writing a rhyming picture book requires more than ensuring the last word of one sentence rhymes with the last word of another sentence. Every syllable of every sentence in every stanza works together, drawing readers into a storyline with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Discover how repetition, sound, sentence structure, and creative word choices can create lyrical stories that young readers will ask to read again and again and again.
  • 5:45 – 6:30 Eastern: Xochitl Dixon Q&A and book discussion
  • 8:00 – 9:00 PM Eastern: Second Tuesdays Writer Discussion Group – learn more here

Wednesday May 12

  • 9:30 – 10:15 Eastern: Bunmi Ishola (Penguin Random House) presentation “Kid Lit These Days” – learn more about Bunmi here
    • A general overview of writing for kids—the age ranges/categories publishers use, the genres/styles, what works and doesn’t work.
  • 10:15 – 11:00 Eastern: Bunmi Ishola (Penguin Random House) Q&A and book discussion
  • 11:15 – 12:00 Eastern: Sharon Elliott presentation “Move to the Excellent Level: The Ten P’s to Your Writing Success” – learn more about Sharon here
    • There’s more involved with being a children’s author than getting your book published. What does it really take to be a successful children’s author? Attend this workshop and get the lowdown. Not only will you gain a wealth of knowledge about what really goes on in the business from industry insider, but you’ll leave knowing what people to surround yourself with, how to brand yourself, and how to develop your personal mission statement and tagline. In addition, you’ll start thinking through your publishing plan for the future and much more.
  • 12:00 – 12:45 Eastern: Sharon Elliott Q&A and book discussion
  • 1:00 – 1:45 Eastern: What Do You Need As A Writer? – this informal conversation is an opportunity for you to share and discuss the most important kinds of support you need as a writer
  • 2:00 – 2:45 Eastern: a conversation with Katherine Paterson – learn more about Katherine here
  • 3:00 – 4:00 Eastern: Panel 2: Editors discuss children’s book trends
  • 4:15 – 5:00 Eastern: Joyce Dinkins (Our Daily Bread Ministries) presentation – learn more about Joyce here
  • 5:00 – 5:45 Eastern: Joyce Dinkins (Our Daily Bread Ministries) Q&A and book discussion
  • 6:00 – 6:30 Eastern: Lorenzo Lebrija ( – an experimental lab of the Episcopal Church) Q&A
  • 8:00 – 8:45 Eastern: Tina Cho Q&A and book discussion – learn more about Tina here

Thursday May 13

  • 8:45 – 9:15 Eastern: “How to Heal Our Divides” – book introduction with Brian Allain
    • If we didn’t recognize it already, 2020 put a spotlight on several serious, deep divides that have had strong negative impacts on our society. Many good books have been written describing these divides and how they came about, or encouraging us to look deeply inside ourselves to discover our own flaws. But there is a lack of illumination on role model organizations demonstrating what to do about it. “How to Heal Our Divides” is a book that lifts up and builds awareness of organizations that are taking real action to heal serious divides – particularly racial and political divides. The book is not an attempt at glossing them over or “making happy” but instead highlights tangible efforts that are actually decreasing divides in practical ways.
  • 9:30 – 10:15 Eastern: Naomi Kruger (Beaming Books) presentation “The Making of A Picture Book: A Behind the Scenes Look from Acquisitions to Publication”– learn more about Naomi here
    • Join Naomi Krueger, Acquisitions Editor at Beaming Books, for a tour through the process of making a picture book. How are books acquired? How does a publisher decide to make an offer? How is an illustrator chosen? What happens during manuscript revisions and production? How does a publisher market and publicize a book? All this and more on the details of how a publisher bring a picture book into being.
  • 10:15 – 11:00 Eastern: Naomi Kruger (Beaming Books) Q&A and book discussion
  • 11:15 – 12:00 Eastern: Kathleen Long Bostrom presentation “Nuggets from the Newbery Medalists” – learn more about Kathy here
    • When I first began writing books for children, I decided to educate myself on the Newbery medal and the medalists themselves.  Why not learn from the best? I corresponded with, met, and became friends with many of the Newbery winners, from Irene Hunt to Linda Sue Park to Jerry Spinelli, Katherine Paterson, Lois Lowry, and many others. I ended up writing my own book, Winning Authors: Profiles of the Newbery Medalists. In my presentation, I’ll share a few of my favorite nuggets from my interviews with and photographs of these amazing authors.
  • 12:00 – 12:45 Eastern: Kathleen Long Bostrom Q&A and book discussion
  • 12:45 – 1:45 Eastern: Break
  • 1:45 – 2:45 Eastern: Panel 3: Manuscript critique, consulting, and freelance editing for children’s books
  • 3:00 – 4:00 Eastern: Open mic
  • 4:15 – 5:00 Eastern: Brittany Sky presentation “Retelling Bible Stories for Kids with Integrity”– learn more about Brittany here
    • For thousands of years, the stories contained in the Old and New Testaments have inspired millions of people. This amazing library is complex, full of a variety of genres, beautiful, and gory. How do we share these stories in an age-appropriate way with children without simplifying and sanitizing and scaring kids? Join Brittany Sky as she unpacks the method she created while writing the Deep Blue Kids Bible Storybook.
  • 5:00 – 5:45 Eastern: Brittany Sky Q&A and book discussion
  • 6:00 – 6:30 Eastern: Sharon Elliott and Brenda Seefeldt Amodea discuss the book they are helping Latif Torres-Robinson create – learn more about Brenda and Latif here and Sharon here

Friday May 14

  • 9:30 – 10:15 Eastern: Traci Smith presentation “Writing for Families: Tips, Ideas, and Where to Start” – learn more about Traci here
    • There’s a huge market for well written and useful resources for families, but it can be tricky to navigate as many publishers seem to be publishing either for children or for grownups. In this workshop we’ll explore when and why you might want to write for families and how to navigate some of the challenges involved in doing this.  We will help you identify exactly who your readers are and how to reach them most effectively and explore how to straddle that line between writing only for children or only for adults.
  • 10:15 – 11:00 Eastern: Traci Smith Q&A and book discussion
  • 11:15 – 12:00 Eastern: Keely Boeving (literary agent) presentation “What Is An Agent and Why Do I Need One?” – learn more about Keely here
  • 12:00 – 12:45 Eastern: Keely Boeving (literary agent) Q&A and book discussion
  • 1:00 – 1:45 Eastern: Networking Lunch Break – an unmoderated, informal time for you to chat with other conference attendees
  • 2:00 – 2:45 Eastern: Caryn Rivadeneira presentation “Writing Like an Animal” – learn more about Caryn here
    • Stories about animals are all sorts of fun — to read and to write. Certainly, they continue to be popular. However, creating animal characters and “voices” can be fraught with peril. In this session, we’ll explore the reasons to use animals as characters and the reason to choose not to. We’ll look at the history of animal characters and ways they have been used for good — and for ill. Then we’ll look at the best ways to effectively capture a voice and character in a way that allows readers to suspend disbelief without suspending a sense of integrity.
  • 3:45 – 5:00 Eastern: Elevator pitch practice session
  • 5:00 – 5:45 Eastern: Caryn Rivadeneira Q&A and book discussion

All times and sessions are subject to change

return to main conference page