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Pocono à la Mode 2024: Moving Through the Middle

Apr 19, 2024 - Apr 21, 2024

The Highlights Foundation Retreat Center

I scream. You scream. We all scream for our annual Eastern PA SCBWI retreat at the Highlights Foundation–complete with an ice cream sundae social and all the publishing professional interaction we could pack into one weekend. Whether you're just getting started or you're Published and Listed (PAL), we'll explore the proverbial middles of the journey and search out our sweet spots so we can move through it all in style.

Quick Facts

Retreat Dates: April 19-21, 2024

Location: The Highlights Foundation in Boyds Mills, PA

Retreat Itinerary

Registration Opens: Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Registration Closes: Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Cancellation policy: A $100 programing cancellation fee will be applied from Eastern PA SCBWI for cancellations after April 4, 2024. Additional cancellation fees may be applied on housing cancellations by the Highlights Foundation or off-campus sites.

Scholarships available Please note, our scholarship application window is now closed.

Tuition prices:

Full-weekend Retreat Ticket:

  • premium members: $410
  • registered users: $475

One-day Ticket (Saturday only):

  • premium members: $205
  • registered users: $245
  • Meal ticket (covers breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday at the Highlights Foundation): $95


Housing Prices:

Once again, both ON and OFF campus housing will be available. IMPORTANT: Housing will need to be booked separately from the retreat tuition. Housing will be first come first served. Please, read housing information and select tickets carefully. We recommend booking your housing on the same day that you register for the retreat to ensure your housing choice. All meals for all participants will be held at The Highlights Foundation.

  • ON-campus housing: SINGLE OCCUPANCY (2-night stay; all meals included): $452
  • ON-campus housing: DOUBLE OCCUPANCY (2-night stay; all meals included): $336/per person
  • OFF-campus housing at the Central House: SINGLE OCCUPANCY (2-night stay; meals NOT included): $198
  • OFF-campus housing at the Central House: DOUBLE OCCUPANCY (2-night stay; meals NOT included): $119/per person
  • Meal ticket (for those staying in the Central House only; covers Friday dinner, three meals on Saturday, and Sunday breakfast and lunch at the Highlights Foundation): $190

Other Opportunities:

Meet the Faculty

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About Deeba

Deeba Zargarpur joined Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and Salaam Reads in March of 2020 after previous roles with Disney Publishing Worldwide and a book packager. She has the privilege of working with talented authors and illustrators such as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, New York Times bestselling author A.F. Steadman, Linda Sarsour, Brittney Morris, Hanna Alkaf, Dana Mele, Kat Zhang, and Charlene Chua. Her aim is to acquire commercial books that empower young people from diverse backgrounds. As a self-taught polyglot, Deeba’s love of literature across various languages stemmed from the tales spun throughout her childhood. She is always on the hunt for stories that inspire a sense of magic and wonder, plot lines that challenge traditional assumptions about morality, and strong character arcs that redefine what it means to be the hero of your own story.

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About Vashti

Vashti Harrison is an acclaimed writer, illustrator, and filmmaker. She is the #1 New York Times bestselling creator of Little Leaders, Little Dreamers, and Little Legends, an award-winning children’s collection of biographies about trailblazing women and exceptional men in black history. Her picture book, BIG, became an instant New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist with its emotional and universal messages about the power of words and one child’s journey to self-love. Harrison’s artistic talent shines through in the numerous and notable collaborations she has illustrated, including Andrea Beaty’s I Love You Like Yellow, Matthew Cherry’s Hair Love, and Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic’s Hello, Star. Harrison’s dedication and talent have been recognized with prestigious accolades, including a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor for Lupita Nyong’o’s Sulwe, as well as two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Literary Work for Children. She is frequently profiled by national media outlets and is a popular speaker at schools, libraries, conferences, museums, and book festivals as well as educator and parent organizations.

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About Jennifer

Jennifer Laughran is a Senior Agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, where she's been happily repping all kinds of children's and YA books since 2007. Jenn loves quirky, warm illustration, and projects for all ages that have illustrated elements. Always on the lookout for sparkling YA and middle grade fiction with unusual and unforgettable characters and vivid settings, she is drawn to nearly all kinds of books, whether realistic comedies, richly imagined magical adventures, or books that teach her something new about the world. However, the common thread in her favorite stories is an offbeat world-view. Jennifer loves funny books, thrilling books, romantic books, books that make her cry, and all-around un-put-downable books ... and her true favorites are all of the above.

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About Brian

Brian LaRossa (he/him) is an executive art director in the hardcover picture book group at Scholastic Inc., the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books. After hours he teaches a course on critical writing for The City College of New York and is a mentor in the We Need Diverse Books mentorship program. He has written many essays for publications such as Design Observer and AIGA’s Eye on Design. He also manages his own display font foundry, which developed a typeface for Google Fonts. In his spare time he writes fiction. His work has won awards from the Type Directors Club, Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, Print Magazine, and his conceptual poetry is included in the permanent collection of the MoMA Library. He lives and works in New York City.