NJ SCBWI Calm Before the Storm 3

Dec 10, 2023

Online event

NJ SCBWI Calm Before the Storm 3

NJ Calm Before the Storm 3

Registration for Calm Before the Storm 3 Virtual Critique IS CLOSED

December 10, 2023

1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.


  • Attendees sign up for a one-on-one, 15-minute critique with the editor or agent of their choice on a first come, first served basis.
  • In conjunction with your one-on-one, you’ll also receive written feedback (post event).
  • An exclusive submission window for faculty (post event).


  • Picture book: Full manuscript as a Word document
  • Picture book dummy: Fully laid-out sketched picture book with 1-2 completed pieces of artwork as a Word or PDF document
  • Novels: 15 pages plus a 1-page synopsis (pasted at the end of your 15 pages). Chapter breaks need only be several lines of obvious separation, not starting on a new page.
  • Graphic Novels: 15 pages of panels (or the text for 15 pages of panels) and a 1-page synopsis.
  • Maximum file size is 25 MB

By signing up for an event, you are personally responsible for all technical aspects involved such as Zoom knowledge, strong wi-fi connection, video/mic capabilities, etc. and uploading your manuscript in the correct format.

Open to SCBWI members only, one critique per member. Cost: $120


Cancellation will incur a minimum fee of 15% of the event price. For instance, for a $100 event cancelled within the cancellation window, you will receive a $85 refund. After the cancellation window, typically within a week or two of registration, there is no refund for cancellations.


-- You MUST be signed in to SCBWI in order to register. --

Faculty Bios

Mabel Hsu 

Executive Editor 

HarperCollins Publishers 

(Picture Book, Portfolio)


Mabel Hsu is an executive editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books and co- chair for the children’s committee of the Brooklyn Book Festival. She publishes picture books through young adult novels, including graphic novels, and focuses on narratives that explore character drama, feature intersectional representation, and transform genre tropes. Mabel was previously a mentor through POC in Publishing and Representation Matters.


Caitlin Johnson 

Associate Editor 

Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins 

(Picture Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Nonfiction)


Caitlin Johnson (she/her) is an Assistant Editor at Balzer + Bray. She’s had the pleasure of working on titles by Stacey Abrams, Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam, Sonora Reyes, Maulik Pancholy, B.B. Alston, Jasmine Warga, and Julie Murphy, among others, and oversees the backlist publishing program for the bestselling Big Nate series. Her favorite stories are layered, voice-driven contemporary and fantasy narratives that authentically center diverse, intersectional perspectives. She is looking to acquire young adult, middle grade, and picture book fiction of all stripes, as well as selective nonfiction and graphic novels. 


Emily S. Keyes 


Keyes Agency, LLC 

(Picture Book, Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Nonfiction)


Emily S. Keyes is the founder of Keyes Agency, LLC, a boutique literary agency. She was previously an agent at Fuse Literary and L. Perkins Agency. She is a graduate of NYU's Center for Publishing. Emily is interested in all types of kidlit. She has worked on titles such as “Hide and Seeker” by Daka Hermon (Scholastic Press), “Your Mama” by NoNieqa Ramos with illustrations by Jacqueline Alcántara and “Gold Mountain” by Betty G. Yee (Carolrhoda). 



Sean McCarthy 

Literary Agent 

Sean McCarthy Literary Agency 

(Picture Book, Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Nonfiction)


Sean McCarthy founded his own full-service literary agency in 2013 after working at Overlook Press and Sheldon Fogelman Agency. His clients include Ezra Jack Keats Book Award winner Hyewon Yum, Mark Fearing, Dana Wulfekotte, Heather Ayris Burnell, Bob McMahon, Margaret Chiu Greanias, and Junghwa Park, among others. Sean graduated from Macalester College with a degree in English-Creative Writing and is grateful that he no longer has to spend his winters in Minnesota. 


Sydnee Monday 

Associate Editor 

Penguin Random House/Kokila Associate

(Picture Book, Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Nonfiction)


Editor Sydnee Monday joined Kokila in May of 2018. Their growing list features children’s lit debuts from Keah Brown, Kiera Wright Ruiz, Rinny Perkins, and more. Prior to Kokila, she worked at NPR, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, and Sankofa Bookstore in Washington, D.C. They're a graduate of Howard University.


Ramona Pina 

Literary Agent 

BookEnds Literary Agency 

(Picture Book, Young Adult)


Ramona Pina began her career in the publishing industry in 2017 with an independent press. In 2021 she became an inaugural fellow with BookEnds and later became an agent at BookEnds in 2022. She is now growing her list of incredible authors. Ramona represents adult and YA/adult crossover for speculative fiction and children’s literature. This includes fantasy, magical realism, sci-fi, the supernatural, paranormal romance, and horror.


Maggie Rosenthal 


Penguin Random House 

(Picture Book, Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Nonfiction)


Maggie Rosenthal is an Editor at Viking, which she joined in 2014 with a certificate from the Columbia Publishing Course. After graduating as a Phi Beta Kappa from Kenyon College with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in English, she moved back to her hometown of New York City. She works on books for kids of all ages, from board books through YA, as well as graphic novels, with an emphasis on middle grade and YA. While she considers herself genre agnostic, books that provide fresh angles into familiar stories, explore family relationships to cultural traditions, center LGBTQ+ romance, or are tinged with horror are her kryptonite. She’s always looking for projects by marginalized creators across all genres and for all reading levels. When she’s not editing, you can find her baking bread and listening to podcasts—or organizing her oversized collection of clogs.