Acadia Retreat 2024

Oct 24, 2024 - Oct 28, 2024

Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, Maine


SCBWI New England is thrilled to announce a brand new retreat for PAL members! Open to traditionally published authors and illustrators, the Acadia Retreat will be held October 24-28, 2024 at the Schoodic Institute in Acadia National Park in Maine. Our stellar faculty for this inaugural retreat are: Eileen Robinson (Editorial Director/Executive Editor, Charlesbridge Moves), Kevin Hawkes (Author/Illustrator), and Alison Johnson (Director of School Programs for Island Readers & Writers). In addition to faculty presentations, working time, optional school visit consultations, and play time, the afternoon of October 27th will be a children’s book festival so we can celebrate our books and each other out in the community!

What is the Acadia Retreat?

The Acadia Retreat is open to traditionally published authors and illustrators, whether you are celebrating your debut or your 100th book! The goal of the retreat is to play, flex creative muscles, restore, connect with ourselves, each other, and the natural world around us. There will be campfire. There will be lobster. There will be hikes, deep salty-ocean-breeze breaths, creative time, and a brand new festival celebrating you and your books! You'll come away refreshed and inspired!

Where is the Acadia Retreat?

The Acadia Retreat will be held at the Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park in Winter Harbor, Maine.

Learn more about the Schoodic Institute

Meet the Faculty:

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Eileen Robinson, Charlesbridge Moves

Eileen Robinson has worked in children’s publishing close to 30 years and is still in love with creating children’s books, and helping authors gain confidence in telling their stories. She published in-house for Scholastic and Harcourt, and in 2019 helped build and launch Reycraft Books children’s imprint under Benchmark Education. As an entrepreneur and independent publisher, her company Move Books strove to get reluctant middle-graders (especially boys) back into reading. This mission was embraced by Charlesbridge Publishing in October 2022 when they acquired Move Books as a new imprint (now Charlesbridge Moves) and she came on as Editorial Director. She also teaches for Highlights and mentors young writers and future publishers in underserved communities.


Alison Johnson, Island Readers & Writers

Alison oversees all aspects of Island Readers & Writers school programs, including planning author/illustrator visits, recruiting new authors/illustrators and collaborating with school partners to determine which of programs best suit their students and classrooms. She began her nonprofit work as director of the summer arts festival for Schoodic Arts for All and has served on several area nonprofit boards including the Schoodic Community Fund, the Dorcas Library board, and served two terms on the RSU 24 school board. Alison has completed the Visual Thinking Strategies advanced practicum, and the Voluntary Public Librarian Certification Program. She and her family reside in Birch Harbor, where she farmed while homeschooling her three daughters. As the daughter and granddaughter of librarians, books are in her blood.

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Kevin Hawkes, Author/Illustrator

Kevin Hawkes is an author/illustrator of over 50 acclaimed picture and chapter books including the New York Times bestseller Library Lion, Chicken Cheeks, The Librarian Who Measured the Earth, and Weslandia. Kevin's newest book, Luigi, the Spider Who Wanted to be a Kitten, was launched in March 2024 to very positive reviews from booksellers and librarians alike. Kevin’s awards include the Katahdin Lifetime Achievement Award, multiple Lupine Awards, Kate Greenaway Medal, Boston Globe Horn Book Award and the Mazza Medallon for Excellence for Artistic Diversity. His publishers include Random House, Candlewick Press, Simon and Schuster, Farrar, Straus and many others. Kevin has a fascination with trees, rocks, and water and he likes to explore these themes in his landscapes and murals. In addition to painting and drawing, Kevin is a well known speaker at schools and libraries across the country. He has a degree in illustration from Utah State University in Logan, UT. Following graduation, he started his career in Boston. He now lives in Southern Maine where he enjoys vegetable gardening, hiking in the White Mountains, camping, and cycling.

Schedule of Events:

*Times subject to change

Thursday, 10/24

  • 3:00pm: Registration and check-in
  • 4:15pm: Welcome and Meet the Faculty Panel
  • 5:30-7:00pm: Dinner
  • 7:30pm: Moonlight mingle

Friday, 10/25

  • 6:00am: Optional sunrise walk
  • 7:00-8:30am: Breakfast
  • 9:00-10:00am: Tide Talk: Faculty Presentation
  • 10:30am-11:30am: Optional Wave Works/School Visit Consultations/Creative Time
  • 12:00-1:30pm: Lunch
  • 2:00pm-3:30pm: Optional Wave Works/School Visit Consultations/Creative Time
  • 4:00pm: Tide Talk: Faculty Presentation
  • 5:30-7:00pm: Dinner
  • 7:30pm: Starlight Stories (a Moth-style storytelling event!)

Saturday, 10/26

  • 6:00am: Optional hike
  • 7:00-8:30am: Breakfast
  • 9:00-10:00am Tide Talk: Faculty Presentation
  • 10:30am-11:30am: Wave Works/School Visit Consultations/Creative Time
  • 12:00-1:30pm: Lunch
  • 2:00pm-4:00pm: Wave Works/School Visit Consultations/Creative Time
  • 5:30-7:00pm: Lobster Bake Dinner
  • 7:30pm: Campfire evening

Sunday, 10/27

  • 6:00am: Optional sunrise walk
  • 7:00-8:30am: Breakfast
  • 9:30-10:00am: Festival Pep Talk
  • 10:30-11:30am: Optional Wave Works/School Visit Consultations/Creative Time
  • 12:00pm: Lunch
  • 1:00pm: Leave in carpools for festival
  • 2:00-5:00pm: Foggy River Children's Book Festival
  • 5:30pm: Dinner
  • 7:30pm: Cookies and milk

Monday, 10/28

  • 6:00am: Optional sunrise walk
  • 7:00-8:30am: Breakfast
  • 9:00am: Oyster Offerings: A Closing Session
  • 10:00am: Checkout

Foggy River Children's Book Festival:

All retreat attendees will receive an exclusive invitation to participate in the brand new Foggy River Children's Book Festival! Open to the public, this will be a wonderful chance to celebrate our books and each other out in the community, and to connect with young readers and their caregivers. The inaugural festival will be held 2-5pm on Sunday afternoon at the Fogtown Brewing Company in the nearby city of Ellsworth.* The festival vendor will be the local independent bookstore Union River Book and Toy Co. We are so grateful to both organizations for their partnership!

*Please note that the festival location is about 40 minutes from the Schoodic Institute -- as you'll see, the coastline makes everything downeast a bit more complicated! We are seeking volunteers to host a carpool from the Institute to the festival. Thank you in advance for helping to make this special day possible!

Lodging Information:

Each attendee will be housed in a private bedroom in the Schoodic Shores Apartments. Each modest and comfortable 2-4 bedroom apartment is outfitted with a shared bathroom, kitchen, and common area. If you would like to share an apartment with someone(s) in particular, please email your requests to Alex Hinrichs,


Members Full Ticket: $1150, includes all meals, retreat activities, and lodging for 4 nights (single-room occupancy).

Non-members Full Ticket: $1350, includes all meals, retreat activities, and lodging for 4 nights (single-room occupancy).

Members Day ticket: $750, includes all meals and retreat activities (NO LODGING).

Non-members Day Ticket: $950, includes all meals and retreat activities (NO LODGING).

*School visit consultation: $75, Receive a 20-minute professional school visit consultation to make your school visit programs as strong as possible!

Who Can Attend?

The Acadia Retreat is open to PAL (Published and Listed) members and nonmembers. This means traditionally published authors and illustrators. If you are not sure whether your publisher is listed, you can check by taking the following steps:

  1. Log into your SCBWI profile. Please note that even if you do not pay for a premium membership, you can create a free member profile.
  2. Check the box with your profile picture. Is there a little black banner that says PAL Member (see example below)? Great! You're PAL!
  3. If there isn't a banner, that doesn't necessarily mean you're not PAL. Click on "Share My Work" then "Add a Book."
  4. Search for your publisher in the Publisher box above the dropdown menu (pictured below).
  5. If your publisher comes up, you are PAL!
  6. If your publisher does not come up, but you believe it should have, you can always email us to check. Please verify your PAL status before registering.

If you are not PAL, please know that there are other events such as the Squam Lake Retreat (happening in September!) open to all types of creators, and we would love for you to join us at those!

PAL Policy:

We encourage you to verify your PAL status (see above) before registering. Anyone who registers who does not meet PAL criteria will receive a refund (minus a $50 processing fee).

Cancellation Policy:

Given the limited spaces available for this event, no refunds can be provided for cancellations unless a replacement is secured. If the spot can be filled, the initial registrant will receive a refund (minus a $50.00 processing fee).

Meet the Retreat Coordinators:


Alexandra S. D. Hinrichs, Retreat Director

Alexandra S. D. Hinrichs is the author of fiction and nonfiction picture books, including The Lobster Lady, The Pocket Book, I Am Made of Mountains, The Traveling Camera, and Thérèse Makes a Tapestry. The Lobster Lady won Maine's 2023 Lupine Award and was a New England Book Award finalist. Her books have also won awards such as Wisconsin’s Outstanding Achievement Award, been featured on news outlets such as CBS News and the Washington Post, and on lists that include Missouri's Dogwood Outstanding Nonfiction Titles, A Mighty Girl, and CCBC Choices. Before becoming a full-time author, Alex worked in school, public, and academic libraries, as well as at American Girl as a historical researcher. She is a Co-Assistant Regional Advisor for SCBWI New England, and enjoys planning Virtual ShopTalks and other events. She lives in Bangor, Maine with her husband, three wild sons, and two tame cats. Find her on social media platforms using the handle “puddlereader.”


Casey W. Robinson, Retreat Superstar Sidekick

Casey W. Robinson grew up in Maine and used to keep a shoebox of favorite words and phrases under her bed. She now lives with her family just west of Boston, in a yellow house overflowing with books. When she’s not writing, Casey manages book events for her local indie bookseller. Her debut picture book, Iver & Ellsworth, was a finalist for the Crystal Kite Award and Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award. Her latest picture book, Small Things Mended, is a Kids’ Indie Next Pick. Casey is an active member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and served as Co-Director of the New England SCBWI Spring Regional Conference 2019/2020/2021.

Message from the Retreat Director:

Developing this retreat has been a dream of mine. I have been yearning for more time and space with fellow creators, and from what I have heard, I'm not the only one feeling this way. I can't wait to share the magic of Maine with you all, and to you have you share your magic with Maine in turn! Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions. You can reach me at

I look forward to seeing you downeast in October!

-Alex Hinrichs