The Awesome SCBWI Poconos 2014 Retreat

The faculty was stellar and I’ve included who was there below because it was a seriously rocking group. The attendees were fantastic, and a special shout out to the organizers, Donna Boock, Kim Briggs, and Alison Green Myers, who did an amaaaazing job. We even talked about that in the car on the way home.
This week’s Lunch ‘n Learn theme, which you can attend every Wednesday at noon ET at will be the Dos and Don’ts of conference attending! I hope you can make it! Bring your questions or send them in early to

Faculty Members:
 Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Author
Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Author
Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s writing career began with a short story she sold to Highlights for Children.She has since published poetry, short stories, picture books, novels, and nonfiction for young readers. Her work includes the Newbery Honor nonfiction book Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow (Scholastic 2005), an acclaimed historical novel set during the Third Reich and based on a true story, The Boy Who Dared (Scholastic 2008), the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction honor title They Called Themselves the K.K.K. (Houghton Mifflin 2010), and the award-winning picture book Naamah and the Ark at Night, illustrated by Holly Meade (Candlewick 2011). Additionally, she has won the Sibert medal,the Jane Addams Book Award, the SCBWI Golden Kite, and the Washington Post-Children’s Book Guild award for her body of nonfiction work. Her seventeenth book, Down the Rabbit Hole (Dear America/Scholastic 2013) was been named a Junior Library Guild selection. Despite writing about depressing subjects, she insists she has a good sense of humor, no doubt a defense mechanism from the eighteen years she spent teaching eighth grade.
Learn more about Susan at
Patti Gauch, Author
Patti Gauch, Author
Former vice president and editor at large of Philomel Books, Patti is now a fulltime writer and lecturer. She has authored more than 40 picture books and novels for young readers, including the highly acclaimed Thunder at GettysburgThis Time, Tempe Wick?; and Christina Katerina and the Box. Her most recent title, The Knitting of Elizabeth Amelia, was published in fall 2009. Patti holds a doctorate in English literature, has taught children’s literature on the college level, and has reviewed for the New York Times. Patti has edited three Caldecott books, including Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and John Schoenherr and So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George and David Small. She has worked with many well-known authors and artists, including Eric Carle, Patricia Polacco, Brian Jacques, Andrew Clements, T.A. Barron, and Loren Long. Read more about Patti at her website:
*Patti will not be doing Critiques*
Matt Phelan, Illustrator
Matt Phelan, Illustrator
Matt Phelan is the illustrator of many books for young readers, including Flora’s Very Windy Day by Jeanne Birdsall, Xander’s Panda Party by Linda Sue Park, and The Higher Power of Luckyby Susan Patron, winner of the 2007 Newbery Medal. He is the author/illustrator of the graphic novel The Storm in the Barn, which won the 2010 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. His second graphic novel Around the World received the 2012 Carolyn W.Field Award from the Pennsylvania Library Association and two Eisner Award nominations. His latest graphic novel, Bluffton, is about summertime, vaudeville, and the young Buster Keaton.
Visit Matt’s web site and blog
suzie townsend
Suzie Townsend, Agent
After teaching high school English for several years, Suzie Townsend started publishing at FinePrint Literary Management in January 2009 and worked her way up from intern to agent. Now an agent at New Leaf Literary & Media, she represents adult and children’s fiction. She is actively looking to build her list. In adult, she’s specifically looking for romance (historical and paranormal), and fantasy (urban fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, epic fantasy). In Childrens’ she loves YA (all subgenres) and is dying to find great Middle Grade projects (especially something akin to the recent movie SUPER 8). She’s an active member of AAR, RWA, and SCBWI.
She’s interested in strong characters and voice driven stories: she’s particularly keen on strong female protagonists, complex plot lines with underlying political, moral, or philosophical issues, and stories which break out of the typical tropes of their genre. Some of her favorite novels (that she doesn’t represent) are Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, Jellicoe Road and Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Jeaniene Frost’s Vampire Huntress series, Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series, and Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series.
She drinks too much diet orange soda, has a Starbucks problem (those soy chai lattes are addictive), and lives in New York with two dogs who know that chewing on shoes is okay but chewing on books is not.
More information on Suzie can be found on publisher’s marketplace (  She also keeps a blog at and tweets @sztownsend81.
Stephen Fraser, Literary Agent
Stephen Fraser, Literary Agent
Stephen Fraser is a literary agent with the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in New York City, a full-service agency which handles both juvenile and adult books.
Stephen has been voted top agent for both picture books and middle grade fiction. One of his clients, Margi Preus, won the Newbery Honor Medal for her novel, Heart of a Samurai (Abrams/Amulet, 2010 ); another client, Carol Lynch Williams, won the prestigious PEN International Award for her young adult novel Glimpse (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, 2010); and another client, Matthew J. Kirby, won both the Edgar award for best juvenile mystery and the PEN USA award for children’s literature for his middle grade novel, Icefall (Scholastic, 2011).
With more than twenty-five years’ editorial experience at publishers including Harper-Collins, Simon & Schuster, and Scholastic, Stephen edited such creative talents as Mary Engelbreit, Gail Gibbons, Michael Hague, Ann Rinaldi, Kathryn Lasky, Brent Hartinger, Stephen Mitchell, Dan Gutman, Gregory Maguire, and Daniel Pinkwater.
He is graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont and has a Master’s Degree in Children’s Literature from Simmons College in Boston. Stephen is a popular speaker at writer’s conferences throughout the country.
Learn more about Stephen at
KelleyC_Headshot (2)
Kelley Cunningham, Art Director 
Kelley Cunningham has been the Art Director of Highlights High Five magazine since its beginnings in 2006, and art directs the new Highlights Hello magazine as well. In her past lives she has been an advertising art director, a packaging designer, a published humor writer, an award-winning fine artist, a weekend poet and a stay-at-home mother. She has illustrated six books for children and many editorial pieces. She lives in Honesdale, PA with her family and looks forward to the day when she can get back to doing some painting.
Learn more at

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