Los Angeles Region

Mentor Contest

Would you like access to your very own mentor – someone who has published for your target category and/or genre? This is the contest for you!

Win a six-month mentorship with one of our region’s Published And Listed members! Click here to learn about membership levels.

Year-to-year the mentorship focus will be on either illustration or writing of a specific category (i.e. middle grade, young adult) and sometimes genre (i.e. fiction, non-fiction).

DATES: Currently accepting submissions. Deadline: March 10, 2024

RULES:  Click here for Illustrator or Author/Illustrator Mentorship Contest Rules

Previous Winners


2023: Jeff Creely

Jeff Creely is a practicing clinical psychologist and aspiring author from Pasadena, California. He is committed to creating books that entertain and help young readers put words to their inner experience. He loves growing trees, ocean kayaking, and his partner, Ben.


2022: Sarah Gottlieb

Sarah Gottlieb grew up on the coast of Maine. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania she pursued a career in digital content marketing, writing about everything under the sun. Bitten by the travel bug, she set off for a year backpacking around the globe, blogging as she went. The urge to share with children a sense of wonder at the many mysteries that still remain unknown led to writing her work-in-progress "What We Don’t Know… Yet". She currently resides in Los Angeles and has been a member of SCBWI-L.A. since 2017.


2020: Edward Underhill

Edward Underhill has been writing stories since he was a kid. He grew up in Wisconsin and now resides in Los Angeles, where he writes music for animated TV shows by day, and words for teenagers by night. Like his main character, he is also trans, and hopes to one day share his stories with queer and trans kids who don’t see themselves in books every day.


2019: Emily Asaro

Emily Asaro’s passion for picture books started at a very young age, sitting on her grandmother’s knee on her sun porch in New Jersey. She’s been doodling ever since she could hold a paintbrush. Emily currently resides in Glendale, CA as a Production Manager in Animation by day and an aspiring illustrator by night; working toward her dream job in children’s books. Apart from making art, Emily enjoys roller-skating, live music, and absolutely anything dinosaur-related.


2018: Jennifer Fitzgerald

Jennifer counts her comical ideas, economy of language and an ability to draw readers in among her strengths. “Comedy is where I started, and that’s where I will stay. Grown-ups may discount the funny side as frivolous, but children don’t. The well-placed laugh is often the best door into worlds of deeper situations and emotions, without it being too on the nose for kids. That’s what I strive for in my work, that intimacy, that community.”


2018: Monica Mancillas

A music educator and songwriter, Monica has penned over a dozen picture book manuscripts and several short stories and is currently working on her first novel. Her work was recently featured in the online Litzine "Beautiful Losers" and took first place in the Pacific Sun Flash Fiction contest.


2017: Cassandra Federman

Self-taught via YouTube tutorials, books and other resources, Cassandra Federman has a whimsical style featuring young characters and storytelling. She had her first child in 2016 and now reads children’s books for someone other than herself. Favorite illustrators include Jon Klassen, Mary Blair and Dan Santat, whose illustrator intensive at the 2015 summer conference still influences her work. After graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University with a degree in psychology, Federman worked for 10 years as an actor and now dreams of being published as an author/illustrator. Her new mentor believes “she is ready” for the next step toward that goal.


2017 Honorable Mention: Teen Namiko Liu

A skilled painter with a strong sense of graphic design, Liu is an Art Center graduate who worked as a designer and paper engineer on pop-up and novelty books at Sabuda & Reinhart, and now hopes to write and illustrate her own books.


2016: Melanie Dearman

In her mentorship application, Melanie submitted 20 pages from her young adult novel, "Clarity", which opens with Holly, a high school senior, who has just broken up with her first girlfriend. “I’m really inspired by the ever-evolving YA community and the bold new directions its writers and publishers are taking all the time,” Melanie wrote in her application for the mentorship. “Above all, though, I write because I can’t help it. Because whenever I have a question with no simple answer, I end up wrestling with it in fiction.”


2016: Cheryl Manning

Set in Hiroshima in 1945, "The Last Crane" is inspired by a true story about a boy’s resilience in the face of unthinkable devastation and loss. Twelve-year-old Kenji, a would-be warrior, witnesses the bombing of his city, which kills his brother and starts Kenji on a path toward valuing peace.


2015: Matthew Rivera

Matthew’s work is very lively, colorful and his treatment of space, light sources, and focus on the main characters got Lattimore’s attention quickly. He loves animals of all sorts, including fantasy/magical types and it’s easy to see that he loves artists such as Syd Hoff, David Kirk and more.


2015: Lori Ann Levy-Holm

Lori Ann’s work is deeply lush and realistically developed in a way that reminds Lattimore of Lisbeth Zwerger. Lori Ann’s story ideas about a particular topic – a girl with an important school-related problem – are timely.