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Lesléa Newman

Lesléa Newman has created 86 books for readers of all ages including the young adult novel-in-verse, October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, and the young adult illustrated biographical poem, Always Matt: A Tribute to Matthew Shepard. Her picture books include Joyful Song: A Naming Story, Like Father, Like SonThe Babka Sisters, The Fairest in the Land, I Can Be…ME!, Sparkle Boy, Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale With A Tail, Gittel’s Journey: An Ellis Island Story, The Boy Who Cried Fabulous, and Heather Has Two Mommies.  She has received two National Jewish Book Awards, two American Library Association Stonewall Honors, and the Sydney Taylor Body-of-Work Award. From 2008 – 2010, she served as the poet laureate of Northampton, MA. Find out more at and

“Both Lesléa Newman and Rob Sanders and all the guests were absolutely amazing. They were highly skilled in their knowledge and professional throughout. loved their approach and their teaching skills, making me feel very comfortable each week.”

“Both Lesléa [Newman] and Rob [Sanders] were so encouraging and so positive I felt I could have written 10 books as they made me feel on top of the world. I absolutely loved this course, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

“Lesléa and Rob were both fantastic! Lesléa is always super professional and very knowledgeable about her craft. Rob was fun and interesting. His energy was contagious! They made an excellent team!”

“Rob and Lesléa are so fantastic. From the moment I sat down to the first session through the very end of the last, I felt the joy, passion, engagement, and care that Rob and Lesléa brought to this retreat. Generous does not quite cover it. They provided us with so many resources to take home, engaged with us during one-on-ones with care, positivity, and a deep sense of appreciation for the stories we each brought to the table. I felt championed, celebrated, and supported throughout this whole experience. Lesléa brought a precision and wealth of knowledge to the table and Rob brought an excitement and openness that was infectious. There was a fantastic balance of craft, questions, and play. Finally, I was so impressed by their level of kind professionalism paired with a willingness to share their personal trajectories. I walked away with a better understanding of how to be a good literary citizen, the fundamentals of my craft, tricks and tips to employ while writing and revising, industry ins and outs, and how to run a successful workshop! I feel so lucky to have been a part of this.”

“Removing rhyme, adding descriptive words, cutting word count, cutting down proposal, overhauling concepts entirely! I’ve reworked [my story] from series to one survey book and I’ve reworked the bio I worked on with Lesléa from one of her ideas too. This course was transformative!

Upcoming Workshops with Lesléa Newman

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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.