The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is a professional organization for authors and illustrators. Acting as a “consolidated voice” for YA and children’s book producers, SCBWI works to “support the creation and availability of quality children’s books in every region of the world.”

The mouse who was given a cookie! Original illustration by Felicia Bond.

On the one hand, SCBWI helps established writers and illustrators manage and bolster their careers through awards, events, and publications. On the other, it educates writers and illustrators just starting out in the industry who feel they need a little help.

Sir John Tenniel’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” illustration.

In terms of membership, SCBWI is “open to anyone with an active interest in children’s literature, from picture books to young adult novels.” It welcomes aspiring and published writers/illustrators as well as librarians, educators, artists, students, dramatists, musicians, and filmmakers. Like any position within the publishing industry, passion is its number one prerequisite.

Membership has a number of benefits including access to professional development events (like conferences and online affinity groups), marketing and promotional opportunities (the SCBWI bulletin is distributed to 22,000 people), online and print resources (books, podcasts, magazines, and masterclasses), and awards and grants.

Interested in becoming a member? You an join here. There are five chapters in New York alone: New York: Eastern UpstateNew York: Long IslandNew York: MetropolitanNew York: West/Central Upstate & New York: Westchester. Most of SCBWI’s online materials are restricted – members only! The “SCBWI INSIGHT” newsletter, however, is free and features trending topics, interviews, and contests.