Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

SCBWI Hawaii Annual Conference

Date(s) - 03/01/2014
8:30 am - 4:00 pm

William S. Richardson School of Law
2515 Dole Street - Honolulu, Hawaii 96822


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2014 SCBWI-Hawaii Annual Conference

With Matt de la Peña and Marietta Zacker

Saturday, March 1, 2014

8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

William S. Richardson Law School, University of Hawaii

Registration Limited to 120


Hear what's trending in the world of children's books, polish your writing and/or illustration skills, meet other writers and illustrators, and take advantage of the option of having your work critiqued by a professional. Both days will be chock full of insider information that is sure to inspire both beginners and experienced writers and illustrators—and just might put you on the road to your first or next publication. Attend one or both days! 

In addition, Matt de la Peña will lead an optional, limited-attendance workshop to be held the day before the conference, on February 28, at Paki Hale.

Our extraordinary featured speakers

Matt de la PeñaMatt de la Peña is the author of four critically-acclaimed young adult novels: Ball Don’t LieMexican WhiteBoyWe Were Here and I Will Save You. He’s also the author of the award-winning picture book A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis (illustrated by Kadir Nelson). In 2013, his fifth YA novel, The Living, will be released, along with his first middle grade novel, Curse of the Ancients. He teaches creative writing at NYU and Vermont College and visits high schools and colleges throughout the country.


Marietta ZackerMarietta Zacker is an agent with the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. Marietta has experienced children’s books from every angle–teaching, marketing, publishing & bookselling. She thrives on working with authors who make readers feel their character’s emotions & illustrators who add a different dimension to the story. She is also Book Curator at an independent toy store & bookstore.





February 28, 2014 Workshop Program: Matt de la Peña

9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Paki Hale
Registration Limited to 30 

9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
With break for lunch
(B.Y.O.- Bring Your Own)

Everything I Know About Writing Novels for Kids and How You Can Use it to Write Your Book

Rather than concentrate on one aspect of craft, Matt will share his techniques for creating plot, mood, character, humor, description, angst, and more. You will have a chance to try out his techniques and by the end of the day you will have the seeds from which to grow your next novel.

This workshop is optional. More information, including a map to Paki Hale.

March 1, 2014 Conference Program:

8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
William S. Richardson Law School, University of Hawaii
Registration Limited to 120 

8:30-9:00 a.m.



9:00-10:00 a.m. Matt de la Peña Keynote Address: Working Class Writer: Beyond Inspiration

Writing stories that kids will love is one part inspiration and nine parts good old-fashioned hard work. Beyond the great idea are the mechanics of producing a good story, which are accessible to anyone who wants to take the time to learn them.


10:00-10:45 a.m. Marietta Zacker Keynote Address: Choices We Make Vis à Vis the Realities We Face

An inside look at the world of children's publishing from one agent's perspective.


10:45-11:00 a.m.



11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

First Page/First Look: Matt/Marietta


12:15-1:30 p.m.



1:45-3:30 p.m. Craft Breakout (choose one):

A – Matt de la Peña: There’s More to Writing Authentic Dialogue than Just Writing Authentic Dialogue

Great, authentic dialogue can really make a scene (and novel) come alive, and we’ll certainly look at some examples. But successful exchanges in fiction often benefit from subtle authorial decisions made outside of the quotation marks. We’ll take a look at examples from handouts and do a few in-class exercises that will help you zoom in on possible dialogue strategies, taking into account the tone and rhythms of the specific fictional world you're constructing.

B – Marietta Zacker: Unlocking the Mystery of Submissions

Hint: it's not a mystery. The mechanics and specifics of submitting.


3:30-4:00 p.m. Q&A/Closing


First Pages/First Look Critiques

Our guests will share their reactions to first pages and postcards/illustrations submitted anonymously by participants. No advance sign-up is needed, and there is no extra cost. Depending upon the number of submissions, we may not have time to review them all. In order to be fair, we will have a blind drawing for pages/illustrations to be reviewed. In order to be in the drawing, you must comply with the formatting instructions:

Manuscript formatting: Double-spaced, 12-pt. type, one-inch margins, title, but no name. Begin at the middle of page with Chapter 1. Follow that with not more than 1/2 page of text. This is intended to replicate an actual book and focus on not only the text but the first page-turn effect. The manuscript can be picture book, middle grade or young adult fiction, or nonfiction. NOTE: If it is picture book, you do not need to have a chapter heading or start at the half page point. HOWEVER, please limit the submission to the first 150 first words. Artwork formatting: Post cards or illustrations that fit on one page (un-crowded please). All submissions will be returned.


 Optional Book/Picture Book Critiques (See fee on registration form)

Manuscript critiques will be done by Matt de la Peña, Marietta Zacker, and Hawaii children’s writing professionals at assigned times on Conference Day (including after the conclusion of the day). Guidelines for submitting a manuscript for critique:

• Format: double-spaced, 12-pt. type, one-inch margins, author’s name/title/page number on all pages.

• Picture books: six-page maximum. Novels: ten pages plus one-page summary.

• No folders, binders, cardboard, plastic sheets.

• No artwork except for author/illustrators submitting story with dummy.


Optional Portfolio Critiques (See fee on registration form) Portfolio critiques will be done by Marietta Zacker or a Hawaii children’s illustration professional at assigned times on Conference Day; bring portfolio to conference.



January 15, 2014: Conference with manuscript critique. Registration and remittance payment must be made by this date to guarantee a manuscript critique.

February 15, 2014: Conference only with breakout selection (including portfolio critique) Registration and remittance payment must be made by this date to guarantee a meal or accommodate a portfolio critique.

HUGE INCENTIVE: If you register and remit payment for the workshop and conference before January 15, 2014, you will be eligible for a drawing for a free critique.

To register, send check payable to SCBWI-Hawaii (and manuscript for critique, if applicable) to:


4348 Waialae Ave., #493

Honolulu, HI 96816


For more information, contact us.