Monday, February 12, 2018

Congrats to Robin Rosenthal and Juana Martinez-Neal! Plus SCBWI-NYC photos and some Mentee news

Just came back from the SCBWI Winter Conference in NYC. What a wonderful event! Thanks to the faculty and volunteers behind-the-scenes for all their hard work.

I was especially excited to see Robin Rosenthal (from the 2014 SCBWI-LA Mentee group) win the top prize in this year's SCBWI Winter Portfolio Showcase. CONGRATS, ROBIN!

From Robin:

"I am thrilled and honored to win this award. This is my ninth New York conference, and I am so thankful for the advice and feedback I've received along the way from my peers and from established illustrators, art directors, editors, and agents in the scbwi community. I've gotten some tough critiques at times, but it was often those critiques that propelled me furthest in my work."

Speaking of awards, CONGRATS to Juana Martinez-Neal (Mentee Class of 2011), who just won The Pura Belpré Award for Illustrators for LA PRINCESA AND THE PEA! Congrats to Juana and the other 2018 ALA Youth Media Award Winners.

Wonderful to see some of my Mentee friends in NYC. Like Jessica Lanan (Mentee Class of 2011) and Lisa Anchin (Mentee Class of 2012) at the Golden Kite Awards:

Jessica's first solo picture book, The Fisherman and the Whale, is coming out in spring 2019 from Simon & Schuster! See her blog post for more news.

And see this recent KidLitArtists post for an overview of our upcoming 2018 children's books! Meanwhile, a few more Mentee pics from the conference....

Here's Diandra Mae (Mentee Class of 2017) helping out at Registration:

Heidi Sheffield (Mentee Class of 2017) during the Portfolio Showcase and Illustrators' Social:

Great to catch up with Suzanne Kaufman (Mentee Class of 2014). Her upcoming book project, 100 BUGS! (written by Kate Narita, illustrated by Suzanne) comes out from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in June.

I had to miss the last day of the conference, but for a good reason. I had been invited to help celebrate Judy Blume's 80th birthday at Symphony Place that day! See this article (with photos) in Publishers Weekly last week.

Just before I went back to Toronto on the Monday, I ran into another Mentee, yay! You can find out more about Meridth McKean Gimbel (Mentee class of 2015) and her wonderful work at

If you missed the conference, you can browse other photos and some great takeaways at the SCBWI Conference Blog.


Debbie Ridpath Ohi wrote and illustrated WHERE ARE MY BOOKS? and SAM & EVA (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers).  Her illustrations also appear in books by Michael Ian Black, Judy Blume, Lauren McLaughlin and Rob Sanders. Her next book: I'M SAD, written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie, comes out from Simon & Schuster in June 2017. She blogs about reading, writing and illustrating books for young people at Twitter: @inkyelbows.


  1. Awesome pictures! So great seeing you there. Love that picture with Judy Blume!!!

    1. Great to see you, too! And I loved your portfolio. Thanks, Heidi!