Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Webinar: Chapter Book Craft 101 with Simon & Schuster editor, Amy Cloud

Date(s) - 10/20/2015
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Aladdin Books editor Amy Cloud helps us create amazing chapter books in this webinar and will offer a limited number of written critiques.

Amy Cloud, Aladdin Books editor

Amy Cloud, Aladdin Books editor

Chapter  books occupy that often overlooked space between picture books and more fully developed middle grade and YA, yet some of the most beloved characters in children's literature come from chapter books. From Mrs. Piggle wiggle and Amelia Bedelia to Clementine and Junie B. Jones, characters in the early reader space can connect and stay with children in a way no other character can.

In this workshop you'll learn how successfully plotting a chapter book differs from plotting a picture book. Amy will give you a few techniques for reaching this very particular audience. You will also learn how to craft chapter-book characters with heart, dimension, and internal consistency—the kind of characters kids will relate to, love, and want to return to again and again.

We'll go through examples of what makes a character sing and the concrete steps you can take to ensure your characters are robust enough to hold the hard-to-capture attention of a 6- to 10-year-old. We'll also discuss techniques that will help your chapter-book manuscripts stand out to prospective editors and agents.

Amy Cloud is an editor at Aladdin Books at Simon & Schuster, where she has edited everything from picture books to nonfiction, though her heart is in realistic middle-grade and tween novels and humorous chapter books. She’s on the lookout for engaging, relatable characters—especially boy protagonists; quirky voices; unique concepts; and gut-busting humor. At Aladdin, she’s lucky enough to work with talent such as Bruce Coville, Debbie Dadey, Alison Cherry, Jen Malone and Gail Nall. Prior to joining Simon & Schuster, Amy was an editor at Callaway Arts & Entertainment, where she edited books by best-selling authors such as David Kirk, Madonna, and Jill Abramson.

Registration for the webinar will open on August 28.


Amy's 10 critique spots and her colleague Alyson Heller's 15 additional critique spots are full. These two editors offered written chapter book manusccript critiques (up to 10 pages). Each critique costs $35 for members in addition to the webinar cost. If you are interested in a critique, you must register for the webinar on the Austin SCBWI website. If you are only taking the webinar (and not signing up for a critique), please register here on the North Texas SCBWI site. 


The Texas SCBWI webinar series is a joint effort by all the Texas SCBWI chapters: Austin, Houston, North Texas, Southwest Texas and Brazos Valley. Our aim is to provide the best learning opportunities for a low cost to members and non-members.

The fee for the webinar is $10 for members, $35 for non-members. (Non-members, if you would like to become a member prior to registering, go to Members: Login to get the discounted rate.

The fee includes access to a recording of the webinar, so if you can't participate live, still register so you can view the recording. Registered attendees will be emailed a link for the webinar prior to the live event. The recording will be accessible at that same link 24 hours after the live webinar.

Look out for more webinars coming this year.

If there are topics or speakers you'd like to see in future webinars, email Austin SCBWI Regional Advisor Samantha Clark or North Texas Regional Advisor Carol Barreyre.