Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

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Round Tables (Info and Faculty Bios)


Meet our R & R Faculty!

Each faculty member below will lead Roundtable Critique Groups. (Read on for more information about how roundtables are organized.) You’ll have plenty of other opportunities to get to know faculty at meals and socials as well. Regular conference rules apply, though! Please don’t slide them manuscripts, pitch your work in the restroom, or monopolize group conversations!


Talia Benamy

Talia Benamy is an associate editor at Philomel Books (an imprint of Penguin Young Readers), where she focuses on everything from picture books to middle grade and young adult novels. She has worked on books by Chelsea Clinton, Sonia Sotomayor, Temple Grandin, Jane Yolen, Atia Abawi, Jeffrey Kluger, Lisa Graff, Ruta Sepetys, Dev Petty, Sarah Brannen, and Terry Border. She sees books as having the amazing power to shape kids’ worldviews, and looks for manuscripts that have the potential to do just that. Follow Talia on twitter @TaliaBeamy. Talia’s roundtable critique groups will include (contemporary, historical fiction or nonfiction) illustrated picture books/dummies, as well as text only picture books, chapter books, and middle grade and young adult novels.







Ariel Richardson is an Editor in Children’s at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. She primarily edits picture books and board books, working on titles like What Color Is Night?, Like the Moon Loves the Sky, and A to Z Menagerie. She loves books with a global perspective, books about religious literacy and intersectionality, books that celebrate the power of the imagination, and books that push the boundaries of traditional bookmaking. She’s a children’s bookseller in her spare time, and has a master’s degree in Children’s Literature from Simmons College. Follow Ariel on Twitter @BookishAriel. Ariel’s roundtable critiques will include board books, picture books, and illustrations/dummies.








Jennifer March SolowayJennifer March Soloway is an associate agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She represents authors and illustrators of picture book, middle grade, and young adult stories. She enjoys all genres and categories, such as laugh-out-loud picture books and middle-grade adventures, but her sweet spot is young adult. A suspense junkie, she adores action-packed thrillers and mysteries. Throw in a dash of romance, and she’s hooked! But as much as she loves a good thriller, she finds her favorite novels are literary stories about ordinary teens focused on family, friendships, relationships, sexuality, mental illness, or addiction. Regardless of genre, she is actively seeking fresh authentic voices and perspectives underrepresented in literature. Jennifer welcomes queries at her Query Manager page: http://QueryMe.Online/JenniferMarchSoloway. To learn more about Jennifer, follow her on Twitter, @marchsoloway, and find her full wish list at Jennifer’s roundtable critique groups will include middle grade, young adult, and picture books. (No chapter books, please.)



Roundtable Critiques

General Information

Roundtable critique groups are an optional add-on at the cost of $50. Our three faculty members will lead the groups. During roundtables, your faculty member will review and provide feedback related to a small sample of each person’s work (in most cases the first page, or three illustrations, but this may vary). 

Depending on the number of people in your group (no more than 6), your turn will last 10-15 minutes. Your text sample will be read aloud to the group, but feedback will only be given by faculty. Illustrations will be viewed by the group, but again, only faculty will comment. You will have the opportunity to ask clarifying questions at the end of your feedback, but you should quietly listen and take notes as the faculty member shares their thoughts. While your critique will be brief, you will gain valuable knowledge and tips by listening to the feedback given to other members of your group.

When you register for R & R, you will have the opportunity to add a roundtable critique ($50) and to indicate your first, second, and third choice of faculty. Your preference will be considered, but can’t be guaranteed. You will be assigned to a faculty member who is critiquing your category of work. Even though some faculty might not critique your category, the system will require you to rank all three. We’ll make sure this does not cause you to be assigned to the wrong person. Please carefully read the faculty bios to assist you with selecting your preferences.


What to prepare and bring with you for your roundtable:


• 7 copies of the first full page of your manuscript (up to 275 words max)

• Text should begin at the top of the page, double-spaced, 12 pt. Font.

• Please include the title, genre, anticipated word-count of the work, and of course, your name.


• Bring a book dummy of a work-in-progress, or up to 3 illustrations from your portfolio for discussion.