Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Mentor Program Kudos

Look what others have said about the mentor program!

Mentee Kudos

It was incredibly transformative to be a part of the SCBWI mentor program. I both improved so much and deepened my appreciation for what I’m already good at. I received such meaningful 1-on-1 support from an intuitive, knowledgeable, creative mentor Kaz Windness. It was a massive crash course in storytelling and technique with the sweetest support around honing my style and understanding my creative path. I learned so much in such a short amount of time. Thank you for everything! — Stephanie Halligan


One of the things that I appreciate so much about how Anna-Maria mentors is that she gives advice on both the macro level as well as the sentence level. She is a natural teacher and I felt empowered by her critiques. She also provided insightful suggestions for the dreaded synopsis and query letter. I can’t say enough good things about Anna-Maria and how much my work has benefited from her time and attention. Thank you to SCBWI and the Michelle Begley Mentor Program—this process was transformative. — Christine Macdonald


Being a part of the Michelle Begley Mentorship Program has been amazing. Fleur Bradley has been incredibly supportive and helpful. She not only identified the issues in my manuscript that were holding it back, but helped restore my belief in myself as a writer. She told me, “If I had to give you any advice now, it’s to have more confidence in your own ability. Your questions sounded more unsure than anything else–trust that you know what the story should be, and trust your gut. You’re a great writer, Sarah. This is a really good manuscript. Trust thyself.” Her advice now hangs over my desk where I look at first thing every day. — Sarah Holmes


The mentorship experience has been the best use of my time and money that I’ve spent developing my craft. This kind of ongoing feedback is literally priceless and I can see (and so can others!) the improvement in my writing, both on the sentence level and on the story level. I keep recommending the mentorship (and Anna-Maria) over and over.

I’m so grateful to Anna-Maria for her mentoring and so grateful to Michelle Begley, who I wish I could have known, for bringing this wonderful program to our chapter. Coral Jenrette


My mentor and I were a team. Our partnership was collaborative and I learned so much about the craft from her; enough to tackle a complete rewrite with confidence. The Michele Begley Mentorship Program was intense, but I didn’t expect anything less. So glad I applied for the program. Sindhu Vijayasarathy (Update: winner of the 2017 SCBWI Emerging Voices Award)


I worked with my mentor on my first story, and the time I spent with her was invaluable. We went through many revisions and she just had so much knowledge and advice that helped me to get the manuscript ready to send out. And I’m happy to announce that that story, The Perfect Blindside, is being published on August 1st, 2015! I just can’t express how much this opportunity to work with a mentor helped me. I’m not sure my story ever would have gotten to the point of readiness that was needed to garner a publisher’s interest without the mentor program.Leslea Wahl


I am so grateful for Michelle Begley and her creation of the mentor program. I believe every positive step in a writer’s journey (like being accepted into the program) nourishes creativity and craft. Each “attaboy” gives us the necessary fuel to keep moving, motivated and energized. Michelle’s mentor program was a HUGE boost in my writing career. Thanks to Michelle I connected with my mentor (Lindsay) who tirelessly provided feedback so I could edit and edit and edit my story. When I thought I was done, I edited one more time… then I connected with my agent! Behind every author and book there’s a village of people who helped deliver that story to its final stage. I am so grateful that Michelle was part of my village.
Kim Tomsic (Update: Kim now has two novels published and ne picture book, with another picture book on the way!)


For me, participating in the mentor program was a huge confidence booster at a time when I wondered if my writing was worth anything. I kept the “you’ve been accepted” message from Michelle on my answering machine for months. My mentor was so kind, encouraging, and enthusiastic, and thanks to her I will forever remember to omit that and always put a header in my manuscript, along with many other invaluable lessons. As a result of my work in the program, I signed with a literary agent and I can’t wait to see where my writing will take me next.Jennifer Simms


This program was everything I had hoped it would be and so much more. My mentor was absolutely phenomenal. Not only were her critiques and suggestions incredibly helpful, but she was also so encouraging along the way. I didn’t go into the program expecting to overhaul my entire book (and quite honestly, had I known that would be the case, I probably wouldn’t have applied). But that’s exactly what happened, and I couldn’t be happier that it did! It required a lot of hard work with tight deadlines, but I’m so pleased with the end result and feel a greater sense of confidence when submitting it now for publication.
Paige Brettingen


My mentor has been tremendous. She has helped me fine tune my characters and plot. I know that my manuscript is much stronger as a result of her guidance. I’m so happy that I decided to participate in this program. It’s exactly what my manuscript needed.Cathy Rouse


I am so thankful for the mentorship program. Claudia Mills was kind, thoughtful, encouraging, and dedicated. She helped me through multiple drafts of a project, and when COVID-19 wreaked havoc in all of our lives, she was still there for me as a friend and mentor. Thanks to Claudia, I’ve started a new project that I’m so excited about, and I have a much better understanding of my strengths and opportunities as a writer. I believe I can take what I’ve learned from the mentorship and create new opportunities for writing and publishing. It’s been priceless! — Sarah Paige Ryan

Mentor Kudos

“Each time I serve as a mentor, I’m staggered anew by the wealth of writing talent in our Rocky Mountain Chapter and amazed by the how much emerging authors learn and grow in just a few short months of concerted focus on their manuscript. It’s humbling for me to be in the company of writers who work so hard and learn so much.”  — Claudia Mills


The SCBWI Mentor Program was incredibly rewarding to me as a mentor. Not only was I able to help my mentee improve her manuscript, I felt inspired to get back to writing and editing myself. The most rewarding experience I’ve had this year by far. Thank you, Rocky Mountain SCBWI! — Fleur Bradley