Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

SCBWI Japan Kidlit Create Day 2020

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Date(s) - 02/16/2020
8:45 am - 5:00 pm

Yokohama International School
258 Yamate-cho, Naka-ku - Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0862


SCBWI Japan Kidlit Create Day 2020

Observation and Spontaneity: Growing Our Stories

with Agent and Editor Distance Critiques

and Agent and Editor Skype Talks

and Author/Illustrator Workshop with Narisa Togo

and More!  


Time:   Sunday, February 16, 8:45 a.m.–5:15 p.m. Doors open at 8:30 a.m.

Place:  Yokohama International School, Pauli Building Loft 258 Yamate-cho, Naka-ku Yokohama, 231-0862

               (for access info and maps visit


               Event only: 1,500 yen SCBWI members; 2,500 yen nonmembers (at the door)

               Each critique: 4,000 yen SCBWI members; 5,000 yen nonmembers (advance payment required)

Reservations: Reservations are required by January 30 for critiques (see details below), by February 14 for event only. Email japan (at) to reserve.

What to bring to the event: pencils, pens, colored pencils, etc. for illustration workshop

This event will be in English.



8:30-9:00 Registration with Coffee and Tea, Opening Remarks

9:00-9:50 Editor Alyza Liu–How to Craft a Satisfying Plot Twist (remote). From the Red Wedding to the Sixth Sense, audiences have always been delighted by plots that have the ability to surprise us and take us to unexpected places. But what differentiates an effective twist from one that feels like a gimmick? And how can you use familiar tropes and archetypes to plot a twist that feels fresh?

10-10:50 Agent Penny Moore–How to Write a Great First Page In this talk Penny will discuss what makes a great first page of a YA or MG novel and give tips on how to write one while critiquing anonymous first pages.

11:00-11:50 Group Sessions

  • Distance Critiques Response Group Participants who paid in advance for distance critiques will meet to receive and process critiques then plan next steps.
  • Creativity Groups Participants who did not pay in advance for distance critiques may 1. write/sketch to a set of prompts; 2. share work in a mini creative exchange feedback session; or 3. complete a picture book exercise with picture books from the YIS library.

12:00-12:50 Lunch. Available for pre-order (details to be sent) or bring a bento.

1:00-2:20 Author/Illustrator Narisa Togo—Finding Stories and Images through Observation and Experiment. Narisa Togo will share how she discovers fact-based stories and sets about illustrating them, showing examples of Kyō wa tabibiyori (A perfect day for traveling) and Sakura ga sakuto (When the sakura bloom) both published by Fukuinkan Shoten. She’ll lead participants on a discovery walk to observe and sketch (dress for the weather! This portion of the workshop will be held outdoors except in case of rain or snow). Finally, after moving indoors again, participants will begin to plan, plot and sketch a fact-based story.


2:30-3:20 Agent Christy Tugeau Ewers, The Art of Spontaneity: Carrying the Life of the Sketch into the Final Illustration (remote). Many children’s illustrators struggle with the fact that their sketches seem to have movement and spontaneity that gets lost when they take the sketch to final illustration. With the help of the illustrators represented by The CAT Agency, plus a few industry professionals, Christy has compiled some “tricks of the trade” for maintaining the life of a sketch, no matter which medium you use, or what your signature style.

3:30-4:15 Editor Trisha de Guzman–Acquiring and Publishing Picture Books 101: Why Editors Acquire What They Do (remote). In this overview of the picture book market, we’ll learn how editors decide what picture books to acquire, and how the acquisitions and publishing process works.

4:15-5:00 Agent Charlotte Wenger, Every Word Counts: Crafting Successful Twitter Pitches (remote)Twitter pitch events are day-long, hashtag-based events that give writers (and illustrators) opportunities to pitch their work to agents and editors. Charlotte will provide information about specific events, guidelines, and hashtag tips; go over important story elements that can be helpful to include in a Twitter pitch; and give you the opportunity to practice writing and sharing your own pitch tweets.

5:00-5:15  Closing Remarks, Handout for submissions to agents and editors

Note: Reservations for critiques must be made by January 30. Materials for critiques must be received by Feb. 1. See Distance Critique details below.


Narisa Togo is an author, illustrator and birdwatcher originally from Chiba who began birdwatching in her first year of junior high school. She received her bachelor’s degree in ecology from Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology and spent four years participating in field research on wildlife and plants. She later completed a Masters course in Children’s Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art in the UK, and her illustrations were selected for the 2019 Bologna Illustrators Exhibition. She is an active member of the Japan Wildlife Art Society. Her books include, Magnificent Birds (Walker Studio/Candlewick), Weihnachtsspuren im Winterwald (German: Atlantis Verlag), Joya no kane (Ring the bell on New Year’s Eve: Fukuinkan Shoten), Kyō wa tabibiyori (A Perfect Day for Traveling: Fukuinkan Shoten), and Sakura ga sakuto (When the sakura bloom: Fukuinkan Shoten). Visit Narisa Togo’s blog here



Distance Critiques

The following children’s market professionals have agreed to offer written distance critiques of picture book text (follow standard PB word-count ranges for fiction/nonfiction), 32-page picture book dummies, illustration portfolios, or MG/YA novel openings (up to 3,000 words), and translations.

To reserve critiques, email japan (at) and request the Critique Guidelines by Jan. 30. All materials for critique must be submitted to SCBWI Japan by February 1 exactly according to Critique Guidelines. Payments for critiques must be made by bank transfer by February 10. Materials will be sent electronically to the editors who will provide a written critique for each work. The written critiques will be returned to SCBWI Japan and distributed at the February 16 event during a session that will focus on processing critiques, as well as planning next steps for our creative work. You may request and register for more than one critique if there are critique slots still available. SCBWI Japan members who cannot attend the February event may register for critiques only.



Trisha de Guzman, Associate Editor, Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers 

Trisha de Guzman is an Associate Editor at Farrar, Straus, Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan. She joined FSG BYR in 2018 and has been happily building her list of picture books, middle grade, young adult, graphic novels, and nonfiction books since.Born in Manila to Filipino parents, she has lived in New York City since she was a child. She seeks books that are diverse and inclusive, reflect the assorted experiences of populations that have been traditionally underrepresented, and capture the complexities of children’s lives. She means diversity in the broadest sense: books that represent writers and stories that encompass issues of race, the LBGTQ+ community, feminism, socioeconomic status, disability, and mental health. Because she grew up immersed in the Asian American immigrant community in NYC, stories about cultural diasporas are of particular interest. See Trisha de Guzman.  Note: Manuscripts and dummies for Editor Trisha de Guzman must be sent to SCBWI Japan by January 30!

Christy T. Ewers, Agent, The CAT Agency

Christy T. Ewers is one half of the agenting team at The CAT Agency, where she represents illustrators and author/illustrators in the children’s market, along with her mother and partner, Chris Tugeau, who founded the agency in 1994. The CAT Agency is a boutique agency that believes in the hands-on approach in representing a diverse group of talent from all over the world. Christy works closely with the entire “family” of artists, spearheading promotion and deals for CAT Agency illustrators, as well as working closely with the authors in the group to help craft their stories and hone their writing for young readers. See

Alyza Liu, Assistant Editor, Simon & Schuster

Alyza Liu joined the Simon & Schuster team in August 2017. As assistant to Justin Chanda, she’s excited to be working with incredible talents like Aaron Reynolds, Jessie Sima, Morgan Matson, and many, many more. Prior to Simon & Schuster, Alyza interned at Laura Dail Literary Agency, InkWell Management, Overlook Press, Foundry Literary + Media, Roaring Brook Press, and graduated magna cum laude from New York University, where she majored in East Asian Studies and minored in English and Studio Art. She’s looking to acquire diverse, atmospheric, character-driven books with a strong voices, distinct sensibilities, and tender hearts across a wide range of genres, age ranges, and formats. She’s also a fan of translated genre fiction, postcolonial SFF, and slice-of-life graphic novels. See Simon & Schuster.

Penny Moore, Agent, Aevitas Creative Management

Penny Moore represents standout authors such as Akemi Dawn Bowman, Beth Evans, Nicki Pau Preto, Lyla Lee, and Katie Zhao. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a double degree in Linguistics and Japanese Language & Literature. While an undergraduate, she also studied comparative literature at universities in Japan and South Korea. Penny joined Aevitas in 2018, after starting in the industry as an assistant/associate agent at FinePrint Literary Management in 2014, then joining Empire Literary as an agent two years later, where she built out the children’s portion of the agency’s list. Moore mainly represents children’s literature, including picture books, middle grade, and young adult. She also has an interest in select platform nonfiction projects that speak to younger audiences. Though interested in all genres, she’s specifically seeking inventive works featuring breakout voices and compelling plot lines that will make young readers feel seen and heard for the first time. See Penny Moore at Aevitas.

Charlotte Wenger, Agent, Prospect Agency

Born and raised in Pennsylvania and Virginia, Charlotte Wenger grew up with a bookish, editorial mind but was first drawn to publishing work in college. She then worked for a publishing services company in Philadelphia until shipping up to Boston to earn her MA in Children’s Literature from Simmons. After gaining editorial, sales, and agency experience, she became an associate editor for Page Street Kids, where she loved working with debut talent and building relationships with authors and illustrators. She brings the same mindset to agenting, valuing the developmental and relational work that goes into creating successful stories and fostering long-lasting collaborations. See Charlotte Wenger at Prospect Agency.