Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Camp KidLit Compass

Date(s) - 07/06/2021 - 07/10/2021
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


After a long wait, the season of sunshine and s’mores has finally arrived!

SCBWI PA West wants to help you make the most of  this summer… with a five-night virtual summer camp that will get your work ready to submit AND give you exclusive opportunities to network with published creatives, agents, and editors. You can join this camp from anywhere, no sleeping bag or bug spray needed!

Camp KidLit Compass, hosted by SCBWI PA West on the evenings of July 6-10, 2021, will connect writers and illustrators in Zoom-based cabins, led by top Craft and Industry Counselors. Each casual evening session will be themed around strengthening your creative work as well as building your industry network, culminating in a Saturday night pitch party that will rival any campfire singalong. By the time you head “home” from Camp KidLit Compass, you’ll feel more ready than ever to navigate querying and submitting your work!

Camp KidLit Compass is open to writers and illustrators who have projects polished and ready to send out (picture book text or dummy, chapter book, novel, graphic novel, non-fiction book, portfolio). Enrollment will be limited to approximately 40 participants ($125 for SCBWI members and $150 for non-members).

Campers will be grouped into cabins by genre or category. Each cabin will have no more than eight campers and will also include a Craft Counselor (published author or illustrator) AND an Industry Counselor (literary agent or editor). You will stick with the same cabin and counselors all week!

Throughout the nights of Camp KidLit Compass, each camper will receive in-depth counselor feedback on their work, their query or cover letter, and their brief pitch or postcard image. Campers will also have ample opportunities to socialize, share ideas, ask questions, and network. Each night’s Zoom session will run 7:00-9:00 p.m. EDT. (Campers are not required to attend every night, but sessions will not be prorated.)

SCBWI PA West is committed to creating events that promote equity and champion diverse voices. To that end, we are glad to be able to offer a full Camp KidLit Compass scholarship to a writer or illustrator from a marginalized, systemically excluded, or historically under-represented community. Anyone wishing to pursue this opportunity should email This text will be updated as soon as the scholarship has been awarded.


Official Camp KidLit Compass Schedule (all 7-9 p.m. EDT via Zoom)

Tuesday, July 6: Fishing for Feedback

Bring your polished manuscript (first 600 words), dummy, or portfolio to share with your cabin! Each camper will be allotted ten minutes to share their project and reel in verbal feedback from their Counselors. After the Counselors head out for the night at 8:30, stay to chat with your fellow campers.

Wednesday, July 7: The High Hopes Course

This campers’ social will have you and your cabin mates relying on each other for feedback, advice, and accountability as you navigate this tricky industry together. Chat about your creative processes, what works and doesn’t work for you, and what you’re working on. Take a leap of faith! We guarantee: no rope burns.

Thursday, July 8: Capture-the-Query

Bring your polished query or cover letter (up to 300 words) and brief pitch (up to 30 words, “Twitter-style” with hashtags if you prefer, with visuals if you have them) to share with your cabin! Each camper will be allotted ten minutes to share their work and receive verbal feedback from their Counselors. After the Counselors head out for the night at 8:30, kick back with your fellow campers and enjoy your “bug juice” of choice.

Friday, July 9: Industry Archery Practice

This campers’ social is all about helping one another hit the bull’s-eye: the perfect industry match for your project! Now that you know each other’s work better, talk through your pitches, potential comp titles, and agent/editor wish lists. And once you have your pitch perfected, send it to us for…

Saturday, July 10: The Campfire Thunderdome

That’s right, Thunderdome! This all-camp pitch party will include every Industry Counselor PLUS surprise special guests from that other camp across the lake: additional agents and editors who are actively seeking KidLit projects. Every camper pitch submitted by 4:00 p.m. EDT will be included in the evening. A moderator will share each pitch anonymously and record all requests to see s’more of your work!


Camp KidLit Compass Counselors (listed alphabetically)

Laura Lee Anderson, Author


Cori Doerrfeld, Author & Illustrator

Cori Doerrfeld is an award-winning author who has helped create numerous books for children. Her titles include New York Times Bestseller The Rabbit Listened, Good Dog, and The Welcome Wagon. When she isn’t busy drawing, Cori loves eating nachos, going on long walks, and hanging out with her family. She currently lives in Minneapolis, MN with her husband, two children and rescue dog, Jinx.


Brian Geffen, Editor (Henry Holt Children’s)

Brian Geffen is a Senior Editor at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers/Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. He has worked with wonderful authors such as Julie C. Dao, Gregory Zuckerman, John Flanagan, Heather Kassner, Remy Lai, Katy Rose Pool, Rocky Callen, Christian McKay Heidicker, Oliver Jeffers, Loren Long, Lorna Scobie, and Andrew Maraniss, among others. Brian acquires a wide variety of young adult and middle-grade fiction, particularly fantasy, realistic contemporary, and action/adventure, as well as graphic novels and humorous picture books. Born and raised in Queens, NY, Brian is a fan of traveling, eating, rap, and learning foreign languages.


Stephanie Guerdan, Editor (Harper Teen)

Stephanie Guerdan came to HarperCollins in 2017 following jobs at a literary agency and as a bookseller.  They’re also a podcaster, a union organizer, and a cosplayer. She likes queer fiction, weird science, and horror podcasts. Some of the titles they have worked on at HarperCollins are the acclaimed debut We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia, and several NYT bestsellers including the Serpent & Dove series by Shelby Mahurin.


Rebecca Hirsch, Author

Rebecca E. Hirsch, PhD, is a science writer, educator, and award-winning author of more than 80 informational books for children. Rebecca’s first picture book, PLANTS CAN’T SIT STILL, won multiple awards, including NCTE Notable Book in the Language Arts. THE MONARCHS ARE MISSING: A BUTTERFLY MYSTERY was a Bank Street Best Children’s Book, and WHERE HAVE ALL THE BEES GONE? POLLINATORS IN CRISIS was named to Booklist’s Top 10 Books on the Environment & Sustainability for Youth. Rebecca’s forthcoming books include NIGHT CREATURES: ANIMALS THAT SWOOP, CRAWL, AND CREEP WHILE YOU SLEEP (2021) and SENSATIONAL SENSES: AMAZING WAYS ANIMALS PERCEIVE THE WORLD (2022). She lives with her family, two cats, one dog, and a flock of backyard chickens in State College, PA. Learn more at


Kerry G. Johnson, Illustrator & Art Director

Kerry G. Johnson is a multi-skilled illustrator and art director whose artwork has appeared in newspapers, magazines, books, TV, and social media. Additionally, he has illustrated children’s books along with a diverse line of multicultural greeting cards.

He has worked with traditional publishers and independent authors. He also publishes titles under his brand Kerryville Publishing. In addition, Kerry has worked as graphics director for newspapers and organizations throughout the U.S., including stints with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Kerry also illustrates digital caricatures and on-site caricatures at schools, corporate conferences, and other community presentations.

He’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), National Cartoonists Society (NCS), the Association Media & Publishing (AM&P), and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.


Camille Kellogg, Editor (Bloomsbury)

Camille Kellogg is an associate editor at Bloomsbury Children’s Books, acquiring young adult, middle grade, and select picture books. Camille previously worked at Macmillan’s Imprint and at HarperCollins Children’s Books. She is particularly passionate about publishing books for reluctant readers and underrepresented readers—especially when she can combine the two! Some of the titles she has worked on include XOXO by Axie Oh, Dream to Me by Megan Paasch, Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo, The Confidence Code for Girls series by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, the Wild Rescuers series, and Into the Game! by FGTeeV. She is a graduate of Middlebury College and the Columbia Publishing Course.


Stephanie Kim, Agent (New Leaf Literary)

Stephanie Kim is a literary agent with more than a decade of experience in publicity and marketing across the publishing, tech, and media industries. She began her career as an assistant publicist at William Morrow/HarperCollins where she cut her teeth on high-profile campaigns for Neil Gaiman, Laura Lippman, Wiley Cash, and many others. At Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Stephanie led publicity for three consecutive #1 New York Times bestsellers: What If? and Thing Explainer by xkcd creator Randall Munroe, and Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. Some additional highlights include working on Gabourey Sidibe’s memoir This Is Just My Face, Chinelo Okparanta’s Lambda Literary award-winning debut novel Under the Udala Trees, and comic artist Ariel Shrag’s quirky, irreverent coming-of-age love story, Adam.

As an agent, Stephanie is focused on representing authors from diverse backgrounds with compelling stories to tell. She’s interested in narrative non-fiction (memoir, pop culture, self-help) as well as select voice-driven fiction. Some of her favorite books include Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado, The Color of Water by James McBride, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Exhalation by Ted Chiang, and anything by John Green.

Stephanie is based in the Los Angeles area. In her free time, she co-hosts rePEAK — a podcast exploring remakes, reboots, and revivals — where she rants about celebrity gossip, book-to-film adaptations, and all things pop culture.


Kate Meltzer, Editor (Roaring Brook)

Kate Meltzer is an editor at Roaring Brook Press, a division of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. She has worked with bestselling and award-winning authors such as Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Melissa de la Cruz, and Matt de la Peña, among others. Kate acquires projects across genres for younger readers of all ages, ranging from original board books to picture books, middle-grade, and YA. She is particularly interested in coming-of-age stories, speculative fiction, immersive fantasy, rom-coms, and ugly-cry love stories. According to IMDb, she’s an actress known for The Last Five Years (though she thinks her cameo as “Handelman Twin #1” barely counts). When she’s not reading or editing, she can be found searching the streets of New York for the perfect croissant.


Shelly Romero, Editor (Scholastic)

pic credit: Julia Byers

Shelly Romero (she/her) is an assistant editor at Scholastic. She graduated from Stephens College with a bachelor’s degree in English and attended the 2017 NYU Summer Publishing Institute. A proud first-gen Honduran American, she is a member of Latinx in Publishing, People of Color in Publishing, and is a junior Representation Matters Mentor. She was selected as a 2020 Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree. When not on her phone scrolling through her apps, she’s on her couch watching her favorite horror movies. Twitter: @_smromero


Dee Romito, Author

Dee Romito is an author of fiction and nonfiction books for young readers from picture books to middle grade. Her middle grade books include The BFF Bucket List, No Place Like Home, Postcards from Venice, and co-authored Best.Night.Ever (Aladdin/S&S). Her debut picture book, Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott (Little Bee Books) received a starred review from Booklist and a Crystal Kite Award. Her newest release is a chapter book series titled Fort Builders, Inc. (Aladdin/S&S). Dee blogs about writing at and is a co-founder of Buffalo-Niagara Children’s Writers and Illustrators. While she does her best to be a grown-up most of the time, giggling with her BFFs is still one of her all-time favorite things. You can visit her website at​


Isabel Roxas, Author & Illustrator

Isabel Roxas is the author and illustrator of the graphic novel: The Adventures of Team Pom: Squid Happens. 

She was born in Manila, Philippines, was raised on luscious mangoes, old wives’ tales, and monsoon moons. Isabel has illustrated several books for young readers, including Our Skin: A First Conversation about Race  by Megan Madison and Jessica Ralli, Let Me Finish! by Minh Lê  (named an NPR Best Book of 2016) and Day at the Market by May Tobias-Papa (2010 winner of the Philippine National Book Award).

She also publishes artist books and zines for children under the imprint Little Big Time Press.

Remember, registration for this special summer event is limited, so don’t delay! Register today!