Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2017 Mentors

Bridget Marzo / Jill Esbaum / Sarah Aronson / Janet Fox


Bridget Marzo – mentoring picture books by author/illustrators or illustration portfolios Bridget on 2016-10-01 10.06.19

Bridget Strevens Marzo is an award-winning children’s book illustrator and author of over 20 children’s books published in the UK, US and France and co-edited internationally.  She has also had a long experience of inspiring adults in their own creative ventures, as the first ever SCBWI International Illustrator Co-ordinator, mentoring at the SCBWI Summer conference in LA, and running picture book workshops across Europe.  For over a decade in addition to illustrating, she taught children’s book illustration and design at Parsons Paris.  Since her move back to London from France, she has resumed writing alongside illustrating, under her author name Bridget Marzo.


Bridget began by studying art history then fine art. Copying old master paintings and translating art books helped her develop a range of techniques around her own love of lively character drawing and bold use of colour. Her versatile, child-centred illustrations range from the mark-making of her latest picture book story, TIZ AND OTT’S BIG DRAW (Kirkus starred review) to the graphic BIG BOOK FOR LITTLE HANDS (PW starred review) and character-driven perennials like Kirsty Dempsey’s MINI RACER (SLJ starred review) and Margaret Wild’s KISS, KISS!(PW starred review and SNCF book award)  She has also exhibited in personal and group exhibitions including at the Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators, New York.


Bridget sees the content of each book or project as more important than sticking to a single brand or style.  She has learnt from her critique group, her work as a features editor for the UK Association of Illustrator’s magazine Varoom! and in mentoring others, that what matters in the children’s book world is finding  enough confidence in your own ‘voice’ to outlast stylistic trends –  to say what you want you want to say, with what you love doing most.

Publishers include: Tate UK/ Abrams US, Bayard Jeunesse France, Bloomsbury, Harper Collins, Little Hare Books, Simon & Schuster.

New events and books:

Illustration and book archive:

To learn more, read the interview with Bridget on the SCBWI Germany & Austria Blog.


Jill Esbaum, mentoring picture books, both fiction and nonfiction

IMG_2526Jill Esbaum writes picture books filled with humor and heart on her family farm in eastern Iowa, USA. Recent titles include IF A T. REX CRASHES YOUR BIRTHDAY PARTY, TEENY TINY TOAD (starred review, Kirkus; also on their Best Books of 2016 list), and ELWOOD BIGFOOT – WANTED:  BIRDIE FRIENDS (NAIBA 2015 Pick of the Lists). Her books have been nominated for state awards (TOM’S TWEET in Iowa and South Dakota; STANZA in Indiana; I AM COW, HEAR ME MOO!, in Nebraska), named to the International Reading Association’s Notable Children’s Book list (STE-E-E-E-EAMBOAT A-COMIN’!) and the International Youth Library’s White Ravens List (I AM COW, HEAR ME MOO!); and featured as a New York Times Editor’s Choice (I HATCHED!). Scholastic Book Fairs have offered both I AM COW, HEAR ME MOO! and ELWOOD BIGFOOT, as well as many of her nonfiction titles. Coming soon are FRANKENBUNNY (Sterling, Nov 2017) and HOW TO GROW A DINOSAUR (Dial, Feb 2018).


Her nonfiction books, all published by National Geographic Kids, include five titles in the PICTURE THE SEASONS series, four ANGRY BIRDS PLAYGROUND books, three titles in the BIG BOOK OF – series, many books in the EXPLORE MY WORLD series, and a picture book with renowned photographer Frans Lanting, ANIMAL GROUPS.


Jill created a group blog of fellow picture book writers and illustrators called Picture Book Builders ( She visits schools, teaches at conferences around the U.S., and co-hosts the Whispering Woods Picture Book Writing Workshop in eastern Iowa each summer. She has twice served as a mentor for SCBWI-Iowa. Find more information at her website,

To learn more, read the interview with Jill on the SCBWI Germany & Austria Blog.


Sarah Aronson, mentoring picture books as well as middle grade or young adult literature

head shot new 2Sarah Aronson began writing for kids and teens when someone in an exercise class dared her to try. Since then, she has earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and published three novels: HEAD CASE, BEYOND LUCKY, and BELIEVE. Titles forthcoming include her first nonfiction picture book, JUST LIKE RUBE GOLDBERG (Beach Lane Books, TBD) and a new chapter book series about fairy godmother training (and the worst fairy godmother ever), THE WISH LIST (Scholastic, 2017-2018).


When Sarah is not writing or reading (or cooking or riding her bike), she loves working with new writers to help them discover their stories and get them ready for submission. She teaches classes at Writers on the Net ( as well as the amazing Highlights Foundation. She is also the cofounder and organizer of the Writing Novels for Young People Retreat at VCFA, now approaching its fifteenth year. She loved serving as an SCBWI mentor in both Illinois and Michigan and enjoys speaking at many conferences. Sarah believes that we do our best work when we feel safe and supported, when we embrace the process and the power of play! Sarah will push you to see your manuscript in a new way. She is open to all genres, but particularly enjoys realistic middle grade and young adult fiction.  Learn more about her at Like tips? Don’t mind exclamation points? Sign up for her weekly newsletter on her creative process, Monday Motivation.

To learn more, read the interview with Sarah on the SCBWI Germany & Austria Blog.


Janet Fox, mentoring fiction and non-fiction for middle grade and young adult

cropJanet Fox writes award-winning fiction and non-fiction for children of all ages. Her published works include the non-fiction middle grade book GET ORGANIZED WITHOUT LOSING IT (Free Spirit, 2006), and three YA historical romances: FAITHFUL (Speak/Penguin Group, 2010), FORGIVEN (Penguin, 2011), and SIRENS (Penguin, 2012). Janet’s debut middle grade novel THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE (Viking, 2016) received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Shelf Awareness, is a Junior Library Guild selection, a 2016 Indies Next pick, and an ALA Notable Books nominee. Her next novel, the middle grade THE LAST TRUE KNIGHT (Viking, 2018) is a tale of alternative facts and gender identity set in a magical Elizabethan England. Future projects include a non-fiction picture book, a contemporary YA novel set in Montana, and a middle grade fantasy set in a future Pacific Northwest.


Janet is a 2010 graduate of the MFA/Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is a former high school teacher. She lives in Bozeman, Montana with her husband and their rambunctious yellow lab. She’s been involved with SCBWI for almost 15 years and is currently assistant Regional Advisor in the Montana region. She’s represented by Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency, and you can also find her at

To learn more, read the interview with Janet on the SCBWI Germany & Austria Blog.