Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Bloom! SCBWI Montana’s Virtual Spring Writing Conference

Date(s) - 04/17/2021 - 04/18/2021
9:00 am - 3:00 pm


SCBWI Montana is delighted to announce our spring virtual writing conference. Our theme for this year is “Bloom” in hopes that this event will inspire attendees and plant the seeds for many creative ideas to grow and bloom!

Event Dates: April 17 and 18, 2021, on Zoom. Recordings will be available for one month after the conference. All sessions are listed in Mountain Standard Time. Zoom links will be emailed to all registered participants on 4/16/2021.

Bloom Conference Schedule
Saturday, April 17, 2021
9am-10:15am MST Welcome and Opening Keynote Address with Constance Van Hoven on “Writing for Children and the Power of Perseverance & Community”

Constance Van Hoven worked for many years as a buyer and advertising copywriter for a group of specialty toy and book stores in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. She was also a teacher-naturalist at a local nature center and a tour guide/cook at several historic Minnesota homes. Constance left the toy business to pursue her dream of writing books for children. In 2004 she received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. She is the author of three picture books: The Twelve Days of Christmas in Minnesota (Sterling 2009), Hello! Minnesota (Sterling 2011) and Rare and Blue: Finding Nature’s Treasures (Charlesbridge 2020). Constance currently lives in Bozeman, Montana, where she enjoys birding, hiking, and exploring ghost towns with her husband, seven grandkids, and one old Lab who thinks she’s still a puppy. You can find Constance online at

11am-12:30 MST  Illustrator Session with Maria Middleton of Candlewick Press on “Digital Portfolio Building.” What draws an Art Director to an artist’s style? What qualities in an artist’s style cause an Art Director to deem that illustrator “ready” to be hired? Can illustrators have more than one style? What can an artist do to make their style more appealing?

Maria Middleton began her career at HarperCollins, spent a decade creating award-winning books at Abrams, and then went on to lead the middle-grade team at Random House Children’s Books. As Art Director of Imprints at Candlewick Press, Maria currently works across a variety of children’s book genres. She’s a fan of quirky characters, hand lettered type, serial commas, strong coffee, and the color red. Maria lives with her partner and their rescue pup, Wyla. You can find her at and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @mariatmiddleton.

1:00pm-2:30pm MST  Session: “Ten Tips to Creating an Informational Book Editors Can’t Resist” with Sarah Albee. We’ll start with the basics—what’s the difference between an “informational book” and a nonfiction book? How do writers decide on a structure, a format, and a target age group? Where do you go to find the best sources? In this session, New York Times best-selling nonfiction author Sarah Albee will also discuss whether to tie your book to curriculum standards, what to consider including for back matter, and the fundamentals of tackling image research. Whether you’re just venturing into the realm of informational writing, or already have a project nearing completion, this discussion will help guide you toward making your project into a market-ready, professionally-presented, age-appropriate submission. We’ll allow plenty of time for questions.  (For those writing picture books through YA)

Sarah Albee has published more than two dozen nonfiction books ranging from picture books to upper middle grade, and has years of experience pitching new projects to agents and editors. Learn more about Sarah at

4:00-5:30pm MST Session: “Pitch Perfect: How to Craft a Spectacular NF Book Proposal” with Sarah Albee
Do you have an idea for a nonfiction book? Time to start thinking about that proposal. Or maybe you’ve got a finished NF manuscript all ready to submit? Do you still need to submit a proposal? (Answer: Yes!)

In this session, New York Times best-selling nonfiction author Sarah Albee will guide you through the steps for putting together a proposal that will grab the attention of agents and editors. From the project description, to the marketing overview, to comp title descriptions, to sample chapters, to how to frame a great author bio, this workshop will cover all the components you need to include in your proposal.

Sarah has published more than two dozen nonfiction books ranging from picture books to upper middle grade, and has years of experience pitching new projects to agents and editors. As a bonus, she’ll share insights from agents and editors about dazzling proposals that have caught their eye. There will be plenty of time for Q and A. (For writers of upper-elementary through YA.)


Sunday, April 18, 2021
8:00am-9:15am MST  Session with Tammi Sauer  and “Writing the Rollicking Read Aloud”
In this session, Tammi explores a variety of strategies (refrains, rhyme, direct address, and more!) that will help picture book writers to create fun read-alouds that capture the attention of little listeners and actively engage them in the book-sharing experience.

Tammi Sauer is an award-winning children’s book author who is passionate about creating fun and engaging read-alouds. Her more than 30 books include Mary Had a Little GlamNugget & FangWordy Birdy, and the newly released Not Now, Cow. Many more books are in the works. For additional information, please visit

10:00am-11:30am MST  Panel Discussion on “Writing YA: The Joys and Challenges” with young adult authors Beth Ann Bauman, Stacie Ramey, and Steven Dos Santos

Beth Ann Bauman is the author of a short story collection Beautiful Girls (MacAdam/Cage), and the young-adult novels Rosie and Skate (Penguin Random), which was selected for the New York Times Editors’ Choice list and Booklist’s Top Ten First Novels for Youth, and Jersey Angel (Penguin Random), selected by Publishers Weekly, Boston Globe, and The Horn Book as a best summer book.  Beth has received fellowships from the Jerome Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts.  She teaches fiction writing at NYU and is on the faculty of Spalding University’s School of Creative and Professional Writing in the writing for children and young-adults program.  She lives in New York City. To learn more about Beth’s books, visit

Stacie Ramey is the author of The Sister Pact A YALSA 2016 Popular Paperback, PSLA 2015 Top Forty, The Homecoming – a Florida Book Award Winner, The Secrets We Bury, and Switching Fates (2021). Visit Stacie Ramey at

Steven Dos Santos is the author of The Torch Keepers Series (The Raising, The Sowing, and The Culling), and Dagger in the D.U.S.T. OPS Series. To learn more about Steven’s paranormal and dystopian books, visit

1:30-2:30 MST SCBWI Montana Closing Keynote Address with Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
Montana, its history, landscape, and wildlife, have inspired Dorothy as an author ever since moving here in 1972, at the start of her writing career. Her first book, “Weasels, Otters, Skunks and Their Family,” began that trend.  A Ph.D. zoologist, she decided to devote her career to writing about Nature for young readers so she could spend time with her children rather than work as a university professor. Besides her main focus on books about nature and animals wild and domesticated, she’s written about how that world has interacted with people in the west, with three books on Lewis and Clark and books about the importance of horses and bison to Native Americans.  She’s also contributed many articles to magazines such as Spider, The Horn Book, and The Writer and received numerous awards.

Dorothy was an early joiner for SCBWI and has received one Honor Book Award and one Golden Kite.  She believes in the importance of the SCBWI to everyone who wants to write for young readers. Visit her website , Twitter #dogwriterdoro. She is also on LinkedIn and (Innovative Nonfiction for Kids).



Written Critique Opportunities
There are a limited number of written critiques available to conference participants. The cost per written critique is $40/no more than ten double spaced pages of a manuscript. You will email your manuscript to the critiquer by April 30 and she will use the SCBWI Critique Form to give you professional feedback on your manuscript by June 30, 2021.

Minju Chang is an agent with BookStop Literary. She will critique PB, MG, YA, and graphic novels. She is open to both fiction and nonfiction and is a fan of magical realism, light fantasy, contemporary, historical, mysteries, thrillers, adventure. No horror, hard sci-fi, or high fantasy. Learn more about Minju at

Tammi Sauer, award-winning picture book author, will critique picture book manuscripts.


Conference Registration
SCBWI Members $45
Non SCBWI Members $55
Registration closes on April 15, 2021, at 9pm MST.

*Written Critiques are an additional $40 per critique. To sign up for a written critique, email Only 15 spots available.

** All written critiques are SOLD OUT. Thank you!

Minju Chang

Dorothy Patent

Beth Ann Bauman

Steven Dos Santos

Constance Van Hoven

Maria Middleton

Stacie Ramey

Tammi Sauer

Sarah Albee

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Ticket Information

Non SCBWI Ticket - $55.00

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The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy
To register for an SCBWI event, you are required to acknowledge our Anti-Harassment Policy.
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The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is dedicated to providing a safe and harassment-free environment for all of its members and will take any and all necessary steps to address and prevent harassment at events associated with SCBWI. Harassment under this policy may include verbal comments, written comments, displayed images, or behaviors such as intimidation, stalking, body policing, unwelcome photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention or advances, and bullying or coercion. 

The SCBWI Member Anti-Harassment Policy applies to all situations of harassment or intimidation at any SCBWI Event. An “SCBWI Event” is any event, meeting or activity that is authorized by an SCBWI Regional Manager to be sponsored by, or affiliated with, SCBWI. SCBWI events may include, if properly authorized by an SCBWI Regional Manager, the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles, the Annual Winter Conference in New York, regional conferences, meetings and meet-ups. This SCBWI Member Anti-Harassment Policy also applies to “SCBWI On-Line Interactions,” which include Zooms, Webinars, online meetings, communications and content posted on, or directed towards, SCBWI’s Social Media accounts or sent through any of the communication tools available on SCBWI’s website, SCBWI’s Social Media accounts under this policy include the official SCBWI accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn.


Code of Conduct

All participants in SCBWI Events and SCBWI On-Line Interactions, including faculty, volunteers, staff, and attendees, are required to comply with the following anti-harassment code of conduct. The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits harassment, including but not limited to the following behaviors:

  • Intimidation, stalking, or following;
  • Sustained disruption of talks or other events;
  • Unwelcome sexual attention or advances;
  • Abusive verbal comments;
  • Quid pro quo– sexual harassment that occurs when one in an authority position requests sex or a sexual relationship in exchange for professional consideration or favors;.
  • Harmful or prejudicial verbal comments, written comments, or visual images related to gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, religion, socio-economic status, disability, age, appearance, body size, or other personal characteristics;
  • Inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images
  • Unwelcome or uninvited attention or contact
  • Physical assault (including unwelcome touching or groping);
  • Real or implied threat of physical harm;
  • Real or implied threat of professional or financial damage or harm;
  • Body policing, unwelcome photography or recording;
  • Doxing
  • Harassment does not include respectful disagreement or reasonable and respectful critique made in good faith. SCBWI continues to welcome and appreciate presentation of appropriate controversial ideas, free speech, and creative artistic expression. SCBWI encourages members to hold one another accountable to the Code of Conduct as stated in this part of the Policy and to take the perspectives of others seriously when a disagreement arises.

We expect all participants at SCBWI activities, meetings, and networking events to abide by this Anti-Harassment Policy in all venues, including sanctioned events, ancillary events, unofficial events, and social gatherings.


Reporting Procedures

Any person who believes there has been a violation of the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy can report the offense in one or all of the following ways:

  • Certain SCBWI Events, including the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles and the Annual Winter Conference in New York, will designate one or more Safety Team Members who will be available during the conference to provide a safe space for members to report an incident. The Safety Team Member will report directly to the conference director or regional advisor in charge.
  • A complainant may submit a complaint under this policy to the Director of Community Marketing and Engagement, the Director of Illustration and Artist Programs and/or your Regional Manager.
  • SCBWI has a dedicated email address for reporting any potential incident of harassment under this policy. Anyone who chooses to report an incident can find the Anti-Harassment Report Form on the SCBWI website (About > Anti-Harassment) or use the following link: Reports should include the substance of the complaint, date, and whenever possible, a list of witnesses or a reference to the relevant URLs, if the offense occurred through an SCWBI On-Line Interaction.

SCBWI will investigate all complaints subject to the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy. If the policy applies, SCBWI will investigate the matter and take whatever action is necessary and appropriate to prevent a recurrence and protect the environment at SCWBI Events. If a complaint is made anonymously, please note that SCBWI will not be able to follow up on an anonymous report with the complainant directly, as SCBWI will not have contact information for the anonymous complainant. Moreover, anonymous complaints may hinder SCBWI’s ability to investigate the complaint.  SCBWI will take steps to protect the confidentiality of the complaint, to the extent possible.  However, complete confidentiality may not be possible in all circumstances.  SCBWI will make every attempt to respond to a named complainant in a timely fashion.

If appropriate, SCBWI may report the incident to local authorities.



The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits retaliation against a member of the SCBWI community for reporting harassment, intimidation or discrimination, or for participating in an investigation relating to any complaint made under this policy. The sanctions for retaliation are the same sanctions available to address any other violation of the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy.



SCBWI takes all allegations of harassment seriously. Complaints will be investigated by SCWBI if they fall within the scope of SCWBI’s Anti-Harassment Policy. Depending on the results of the investigation, SCWBI will determine whether a sanction is appropriate.

Sanctions for faculty, speakers, volunteers, staff or board members may include any of the following:

  • warning the party involved that the particular behavior is inappropriate and must be ceased;
  • immediate removal from a particular event;
  • denial of access to SCBWI spaces and venues on a temporary or permanent basis;
  • withholding of a contracted honorarium;
  • prohibition from future speaking engagements;
  • prohibition from future faculty appointments;
  • expulsion from SCBWI; and/or
  • removal from the Board of Advisors or Board of Directors, when appropriate.

Sanctions for attendees, members, and guests can include any of the following:

  • warning the party involved that specified behavior is inappropriate and must be ceased;
  • immediate removal from a particular event, without refund;
  • denial of access to SCBWI spaces and venues on a permanent or temporary basis;
  • termination of SCBWI membership, without refund; and/or
  • prohibition of future SCBWI membership.

If the conduct at issue involves one of SCBWI’s employees, SCBWI will utilize whatever corrective action is appropriate based on the result of the investigation and subject to SCBWI employment policies and practices.



SCBWI will make every reasonable effort to conduct all investigations into allegations of harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in a manner that will protect the confidentiality of all parties and witnesses. Notwithstanding the above, confidentiality is not absolute, and those with a legitimate business reason to know and be informed of the allegations will be so informed. Parties to the complaint should treat the matter under investigation with discretion and respect the reputation of all parties involved.


If you wish to file a complaint or an anonymous complaint, CLICK HERE to access the Anti-harassment Report Form.

If you have questions regarding this policy, you may send an email to Please include the words “anti-harassment policy” in the subject line.



I have read and accepted the SCBWI Anti-Harassment policy.