Get your work one step closer to publication with a professional illustration or writing coach. Their guidance will elevate your manuscript to a new level.

Mentored Critique Group

Note: Mentored critique groups are offered at the start of every term with select instructors. Next term starts May 2022.


Get guaranteed, targeted feedback on your work-in-progress from an industry professional and other students in your group.

Every term, we offer mentored critique groups with some of our instructors. These small groups meet three times during the term to receive peer critiques and critiques from an instructor on submitted work. Students can see their work advance considerably over the course of nine weeks through guidance from their mentor and application

Our Makers Pro members get first access to all mentored critique group slots.

  • Each group is limited to 5 participants. The three 2-hour meetings ensure that you can get your work critiqued three separate times.
  • Choose to get three projects critiqued or the same project three times over a nine-week term. You may submit new or revised work before each meeting.
  • Makers Pro members get first access to buy these mentorship opportunities with instructors.

Get one-on-one feedback on your work from an instructor.

A one-on-one with an illustration or writing coach is a 25 to 30-minute critique via Zoom. 

First, review the list of instructors (below) as each specializes in specific types of work.

Next, select and pay for your critique. From the confirmation page we will link you directly to our calendar system to book your date and time.

Lastly, remember to submit your work at least a week in advance via the link provided.

  • You'll need to upload your work at least at least a week in advance to give the instructor of your choice time to give you thoughtful feedback.
  • If you choose someone who specialize in picture book critiques, please only submit ONE manuscript or dummy for critique.
  • The instructors available will fluctuate throughout the year.
  • After checking out, just wait a few minutes to schedule your one-on-one through the instructor's calendar in Calendly. You can book a date from there and add it to your calendar.
  • Make sure you upload your work for the instructor in advance and show up for your one-on-one through the Zoom link provided!
  • If you need help, please email

Our Writing Picture Book Manuscripts instructor, Jim Averbeck, is brilliant at helping students see how to revise their picture book manuscripts and dummies. You may be familiar with Jim's Hierarchy of Revision. Jim is a great mentor for any stage your story is in. You will need to upload either a dummy or a manuscript as a Word Doc or a PDF.

Alex Leon is our Drawing 1 and Drawing 2 instructor, and he will be reviewing art with students. He can critique up to 3 drawings or paintings, but you can submit up to 10. Looking at 10 pieces will give him an overall idea and impression of what you need. Students should also submit 3 – 5 pieces of artwork that they like to show him how they are influenced by other artists and illustrators.

Tim McCanna writes rhyming picture books and taught our Storytelling in Rhyme mini-class. If you have a rhyming picture book, you may submit one manuscript for Tim to critique. Tim is also happy to critique non-rhyming picture books

Isabella Kung is the instructor of our Illustration 1 and Illustration 2 courses. For a critique with Isabella, you may submit one picture book dummy OR two illustrations for detailed critique OR an illustration portfolio for an overview. 

Helen H. Wu is the associate publisher of Yeehoo Press, a San Diego-based children’s book publisher. She is the author of Tofu Takes Time, and author and illustrator of over 20 picture books.  You may submit one picture book manuscript or dummy for critique.

Laurel Symonds launched as a literary agent at The Bent Agency in Fall 2018 after nearly a decade of experience in the publishing industry. As a literary agent, she is seeking children’s fiction and nonfiction. Her profile and submission guidelines are at You may submit a PB (text only or dummies, up to 2) or MG/YA (10 pages plus 1-page query or synopsis) submissions for critique.

Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez is a mom, wife, agent with Context Literary Agency, middle school math teacher, and picture book author. She's also the proud co-creator and co-host of the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest and Kidlit Zombie Week as well as creator and co-host of the Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy Contest. For critique, you can submit one picture book manuscript or dummy.

Charlotte Wenger is a literary agent in the Boston area with Prospect Agency. Prior to joining Prospect, she was an associate editor at Page Street Kids. For critique, submit one picture book manuscript or dummy or your art portfolio. Just one of the three.

Karen Boss is an editor at Charlesbridge. She holds an MA in Children’s Literature from Simmons College and is now a mentor in their MFA program. Karen also has an MA in higher education administration and worked at colleges and in the nonprofit sector for 15 years. You may submit one picture book manuscript or dummy for critique.

Emily Feinberg is a Senior Editor at Roaring Brook Press, where she's worked for ten years. Emily enjoys stories that make her laugh and offer a different perspective from her own. She is not an editor of fantasy. For critique, submit one picture book manuscript or dummy.

Alyssa Mito Pusey is an executive editor at Charlesbridge.   In both nonfiction and fiction, she looks for diversity, innovation, clarity, and voice. Humor is a plus! For a picture book critique, submit one fiction or nonfiction picture book. For MG nonfiction, I’d like to see a synopsis and table of contents, as well as 1-3 chapters or 10 pages—whichever comes first.

Jemiscoe “Jem” Chambers-Black is an associate agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She represents illustrators, picture book authors and author-illustrators (by referral only), MG, YA, GN, and adult authors. She is all about happily-ever-afters and really connects to love stories, in whatever form they come. For critique, you may submit a graphic novel proposal or the first ten pages of middle grade, or a young adult novel.

Sarah N. Fisk is a former mechanical engineer who made the switch to publishing in 2011. They have worked in the publishing industry as an editorial assistant, author’s assistant, publicist, and art director, and now they are with The Tobias Literary Agency.

For critique, you may submit a query and the first 10 pages of an MG or YA novel or graphic novel.

Justin Krasner is a senior editor at Odd Dot, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. He is looking for new formats, new voices, and new takes on nonfiction favorites for kids 0-14. For critique, you may submit a nonfiction proposal or up to 10 pages of a nonfiction project.

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