Workshops and Resources for Writers & Illustrators

Helping Authors and Illustrators Inspire Kids Since 1985

From that first spark of an idea all the way to a finished book, it can be a long (and sometimes lonely) road to give shape to the stories within you.

That’s why at the Highlights Foundation, we start with what’s beyond your pages.

We start with the kids who will read them.

It’s an approach that’s ingrained in our DNA: our purpose lies in the young minds that will be educated, informed, and inspired by the stories you tell.

We positively impact those young minds by supporting you—the writers, the illustrators, and professionals who bring story to children, teens, and young adults.  We help you find craft and community through workshops, retreats, online courses, and resources that help you tell the best stories you can.

Because when you succeed in your mission, so do we.  And it’s kids who benefit most.

Whether you’re just starting out, or continuing to navigate the complexities of this industry—if you believe in the power of story for kids, we’re glad you’re here.

Craft & Community

For Writers and Illustrators Who Inspire Kids Through Story

critique session
A Venn Diagram that shows how A Kidlit Conference, A Community, and Writing and Studio Time overlap at a Working Retreat.

Working Retreats

Learn, network, and get time and space to create with high faculty:student ratios and all meals and lodging included.


Online Workshops and Courses

Choose mini courses, short intensives, or longer workshops with feedback opportunities built-in.

Writers and Illustrators at the Asian American Voices Retreat in Our Word Garden

In-Community Programs

Reserved and respected spaces for children’s authors and illustrators to find connected care, learning, growth, and collaboration.

The Barn at Boyds Mills

Personal and Group Retreats

Get inspiration and space to work with your own personal retreat, or bring your group and share our campus.


“The Highlights Foundation launched my writing career… I signed my first book contract shortly after [my first workshop], and within a year, I’d signed eight more contracts. The Highlights Foundation changed my life, and I’m forever thankful.

The Highlights Foundation is quite literally where the foundation of my professional writing career was laid. lt is where I learned the basics of craft, met my critique group, and got plugged into the kidlit community.”

Crystal Allen hands Kent Brown a check for $1,100

Crystal Allen attended her first workshop with the Highlights Foundation in 2005.  Now she's the author of more than seven books for kids.  Learn more about Crystal's story.

Chelsea Tornetto and her book cover, Gardens are for Growing

Chelsea Tornetto found confidence to complete and publish her picture books.  Learn more about Chelsea's story.

Book Cover: Moving & Grooving to Fillmore's Beat

Rachel Werner has pursued her passions and signed seven book deals after a career- and life-transforming experience with the Highlights Foundation.  Learn more about Rachel's story.

Claire Lordon

Claire London shares how she got from an idea to a sale to publication of her graphic novel after a workshop at the Highlights Foundation.  Learn more about Claire's story.

“I have a two-book contract, and book two is due later this year.  I am inspired by being a part of the Highlights Foundation, and find that writing is easier, more enjoyable, and the quality is better because of what I am learning in the workshops.”

I’d never really experienced such a feeling of community among writers and artists as I did at the workshops. It made me realize how many creative people share this love of storytelling, and how willing others are to share their insights.”

“How had I never known that the perfect writer’s retreat existed at the Highlights Foundation Campus? I had such a wonderful time finishing my novel.”

Upcoming Workshops


The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.

Share Your Story, Inspire a Child

Our community fulfills our mission every day, as they bring their stories to kids through words and art.

He took the book from his brother, and he read it. It was my first letter. And in the letter it said, “My father is from a small village in Senegal. And I’ve never been there, but I was there in your story.”

Author Leah Henderson

Our Retreat Center

Join us for a workshop or retreat on our campus in the foothills of the Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains.

Get Involved at the Highlights Foundation

Our Mission in Action

Share Your Story, Inspire a Child
Equity & Inclusion in Kidlit
Partners & Sponsors

The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.