Developing a Series in Chapter Books Online Workshop 2020

August 30 - September 2, 2020

Please note: this workshop is full. Please click here to be added to the waiting list.

Online Course Info:

This is a four-day online workshop that features evening “live” lectures, discussions, online Q&A sessions, peer roundtable groups, writing exercises and an agent interview. There will be one-to-one sessions with faculty on your series overview and first chapter.

Online Workshop Participant Cap:

16 students.

What You’ll Learn & Experience:

Discover how to craft a chapter book series that stands out and sells well. Learn how to make your series familiar and relatable. Learn what editors are looking for in a chapter book series. Find out how to submit a chapter book series to editors and agents. Get one-to-one feedback on your first chapter and on your series overview document.

  • What makes it a “chapter book” series?
  • What is the ideal word count for readers? (And other important formatting details!)
  • What are editors looking for in today’s market?
  • How do you craft characters and story arcs for growing readers?
  • How do you create a series with readability, relatable characters, and familiarity?
  • How do you submit a chapter book series to editors or agents?

Attend If:

  • You’re a picture book or middle grade author. Curious about whether you can write a chapter book series? We’ll help you find out.
  • You’ve got an idea for a chapter book series. You’ll get one-to-one feedback to help you strengthen your idea, and you’ll get an in-depth look at the elements needed to create a series.
  • You’re good at plotting, outlining, and meeting deadlines. Creating and sustaining a chapter book series takes a different kind of commitment than doing a stand-alone book.
  • You want an online experience that is more intimate than a self-paced online course. This course has LIVE sessions, faculty touchpoint opportunities and peer community built-in.

Preliminary Agenda

Please note: all sessions are on Zoom and times are Eastern Daylight Time
August 30
6 pm:
Welcome and Faculty Introductions
Class Introductions
Opening lecture from Debbi Michiko Florence: Overview of chapter book series, followed by Q & A
Followed by tech overview and scheduling

August 31
Throughout the day:
1:1 consultations with faculty

4 pm:
Market and submission discussion with agent Jennifer Laughran, followed by Q&A

6 pm:
Open Office, facilitated by the Highlights Foundation: Optional session with peers to discuss revision notes and general questions; get questions answered

7 pm:
Live Lecture from Kashmira Sheth: Plotting across series, from ideas to story development, followed by Q&A

September 1
Throughout the day:
1:1 consultations with faculty
Posting of optional writing exercises

4 pm:
Peer Roundtable (facilitated)

6 pm:
Special guest interview: Lamar Giles: writing practce, series develoment and writing across age ranges
Followed by Q&A author panel with Debbi, Kashmira & Lamar
Opening paragraphs followed by Q & A

7 pm:
Writing exercise: opening paragraphs for your chapter book followed by Q&A with Kashmira and Debbi

September 2
Throughout the day:
Students to prepare revision questions for revision session, work on revisions, watch or re-watch lectures

4 pm:
Peer roundtable

6 pm:
Revision Roundtables in small groups with Kasmira or Debbi
Optional Open Mic to share work in community
Closing & farewells


What Makes a Successful Chapter Book Series? Some Examples
Early Readers and Transitional Chapter Books: What Are They and Why Are They Important?
Picture book? Early Reader? Chapter Book? Where Does Your Story Fit?
Using Rhyme & Repetition to Build Reading Confidence
Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, given annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year.
Scholastic’s Branches, a line of early chapter books.


Debbi Michiko Florence

Debbi Michiko Florence is the author of the Jasmine Toguchi chapter book series (JLG selections, the Amelia Bloomer and CCBC Choices lists,…
Learn more

Kashmira Sheth

Kashmira Sheth writes picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, and young adult fiction. Her books have received many awards…
Learn more

K.X. Song

K. X. Song is a Highlights Foundation Diversity fellow and a HG Wells Turnill Prize honoree. Her picture book, My Elastical…
Learn more