Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

SCBW(I) New England Regional Conference

Jane Yolen was the force behind the New England Region’s annual children’s literature conference from 1973 to 1981. The event included a keynote speaker, panels of authors, and a presentation by an illustrator. At lunch, each table was presided over by a published author, illustrator, or editor, so that every attendee could have a personal conversation with an established member of the publishing industry. Today, SCBWI groups all around the globe have adopted this practice, which Jane first instituted.

In 1982, with input from Jane Yolen, Masha Rudman of UMASS, Amherst’s School of Education planned the first Perspectives in Children’s Literature Conference, which was geared toward educators. The UMASS Perspectives in Children’s Literature conference continued until Masha’s retirement in 2007.

In 1987, Margaret Ribaroff and other SCBW volunteers organized an all-day conference at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. The SCBW(I) New England Conference has continued to be offered annually ever since.

By 2005, the conference had developed into a weekend-long event and organizing it was a huge task. To preserve procedural models and ensure continuity from one year to the next, the regional leaders devised a team system in which coordinators were asked to make a two-year commitment. During their first year, a co-coordinator would act as an apprentice, and during the second year, he or she would take the lead role in planning the event.

In 2011, Regional Coordinator Marilyn Salerno began serving as a third conference co-coordinator for every conference, taking on the role of advisor and comptroller. She continued in that role when she shifted into the role of Regional Co-Advisor in 2013. When Marilyn stepped down from her position in 2018, Kris Asselin, the new Regional Co-Advisor for Central New England, took over Marilyn’s conference-related responsibilities.

By 2014, the conference co-coordinators had established a range of key volunteer positions and decided that a Volunteer Coordinator was necessary. Currently, the Volunteer Coordinator is expected to move into the junior co-coordinator position the following year. As a result, by the time someone becomes the lead co-coordinator, he or she has an intimate understanding of how to plan the conference.

When the region was reorganized in 2018, the Regional Team made the difficult decision to scale back the annual conference, so that it’s more manageable to plan and organize. Despite these changes, the SCBWI-NE Regional Conference continues to serve approximately 650 attendees each year, making it the largest SCBWI conference run by volunteers.


Year Coordinator Theme/Program Location
1987 Margaret Ribaroff Getting Your Children’s Book Published Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT
1988 Susan Aller Children’s Books: The Creative Process Hartford College for Women, Hartford, CT
1989 Ellen C. Kenney Fact, Fantasy, Fiction Springfield College, Springfield, MA
1990 Betsy Hanscom The Working Life Lewiston-Auburn College, Lewisaton, ME
1991 Eileen Pettingil Listening to a Different Drummer New Hampshire Technical Center, Concord, NH
1992 Mary Brigid Barrett Drawing from the Child Within Dean Junior College, Franklin, MA
1993 Don Gallo Changing Voices: Influences & Inspirations Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT
1994 Jessie Haas Are We There Yet? The Creative Journey Brattleboro Union High School, Brattleboro, VT
1995 Kathi Benner Duble Put It in Writing Masconomet Regional High School, Topsfield, MA
1996 Laurie Smith Murphy Listen to the Children Coventry High School, Coventry, RI
1997 Jennifer A. Ericsson Balancing Our Many Roles The Center of New Hampshire, Manchester, NH
1998 Marilyn Salerno Celebrating Our Common Wealth Sheraton Tara, Framingham, MA
1999 Pegi Dietz Shea Nuts & Bolts; Books Everlasting Quality Inn Conference Center, Vernon, CT
2000 Toni Buzzeo The Artist’s Life Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks, South Portland, ME
2001 J. L. Bell Nuts & Bolts; To Market, To Market Sturbridge Host Hotel, Sturbridge, MA
2002 Linda Crotta Brennan Tilting at Windmills: The Quest for Excellence Sturbridge Host Hotel, Sturbridge, MA
2003 Jenn Costas Nuts & Bolts; Drawing for Childhood
Crowne Plaza, Nashua, NH
2004 J. L. Bell Vision and Revision; Novel Revision Retreat


Crowne Plaza, Nashua, NH
2005 Sally Riley, Melissa Stewart Nuts & Bolts; Home Is Where You Start From: Writing and Illustrating from your Core; A New Way of Seeing: A Picture Book Retreat Crowne Plaza, Nashua, NH
2006 Melissa Stewart, Sally Riley, Janet Arden A Work in Progress: Honing Your Craft; Finding True North: A Retreat
Crowne Plaza, Nashua, NH
2007 Marilyn Salerno, Francine Puckly Magic of Words and Pictures


Crowne Plaza, Nashua, NH
2008 Francine Puckly, Anna Boll, Janet Arden Stretch Your Wings Crowne Plaza, Nashua, NH
2009 Anna Boll, Anindita Basu Sempere Many Voices Crowne Plaza, Nashua, NH
2010 Anindita Basu Sempere, Greg Fishbone Moments of Change Courtyard Marriott, Fitchburg, MA
2011 Greg Fishbone, Marilyn Salerno, Kathryn Hulick Celebrating Milestones Courtyard Marriott, Fitchburg, MA
2012 Kathryn Hulick, Joyce Shor Johnson, Marilyn Salerno Keeping It Real Sheraton Monarch Place, Springfield, MA
2013 Joyce Shor Johnson, Kris Asselin, Marilyn Salerno Word by Word: The Art of Craft Sheraton Monarch Place, Springfield, MA
2014 Kris Asselin, Natasha Sass, Marilyn Salerno Create Bravely: Make Your Mark Sheraton Monarch Place, Springfield, MA
2015 Natasha Sass, Heather Kelly, Marilyn Salerno Think Outside the Crayon Box Sheraton Monarch Place, Springfield, MA
2016 Heather Kelly, Josh Funk, Marilyn Salerno The POWER of (RE)INVENTION Sheraton Monarch Place, Springfield, MA
2017 Josh Funk, Sera Rivers, Marilyn Salerno Expand & Diversify Your Portfolio Sheraton Monarch Place, Springfield, MA
2018 Sera Rivers, Loretta Kapinos, Marilyn Salerno Dream. Explore. Create. Sheraton Monarch Place, Springfield, MA
2019 Loretta Kapinos, Casey Robinson, Kris Asselin The Golden Brick Road Sheraton Monarch Place, Springfield, MA
2020 Casey Robinson, Juliana Spink Mills, Kris Asselin Finding the Joy in the Journey Sheraton Monarch Place, Springfield, MA