Summer Camp In Writing Nonfiction for Children & Teens 2020

July 15 - 19, 2020

Join Us To:

Get daily feedback from your faculty mentor on manuscripts, ideas, and revisions. Explore factual writing through a range of topics, including nonfiction voice, biography, memoir, nature writing, science writing, and narrative nonfiction. Receive guidance on how to submit nonfiction manuscripts to the publishers who want to see them. Engage in hands-on sessions daily with faculty mentors. Devote time to working on your craft.

What You’ll Learn:

Nonfiction matters! Publishers crave it. Teachers and librarians need it. Nonfiction connects our children to the world. Stories about real people, real places, and really interesting world events are more important now than ever. This course explores nonfiction from many angles: the editorial, the business, and, most importantly, the art of telling true stories. You will:

  • Learn what types of nonfiction readers–and editors–are looking for.
  • Work one-to-one with your faculty mentor.
  • Develop necessary research and interview skills.
  • Explore today’s magazine and trade-book markets.
  • Investigate visual design through illustration and photography.
  • Connect with acquiring editors.
  • Discover how to mine personal experiences to enliven your nonfiction.
  • Study the craft of writing nonfiction: voice, narrative structure, character, theme and more.

Attend If:

  • You are working on a biography for kids or teens. Our faculty is well-versed in researching and writing about people. Come find out how to make your biography the best it can be.
  • You are working on a nature or science-themed book for kids or teens. Study with our nature-loving faculty and let them help you craft an engaging book for kids.
  • You are working on an informational article for kids or teens. We will explore the magazine market, too.
  • You think you might have something to submit to the educational market. Our faculty has experience with educational packagers and can help you, too.
  • You love nonfiction and are eager to write TRUE stories. This workshop provides a comprehensive introduction to the world of nonfiction children’s books.
  • You have an in-progress or finished manuscript and would benefit from expert feedback. Daily meetings with your faculty mentor give you time to ask questions, get suggestions for revision and get support for your goals.
  • You would like to begin submitting nonfiction manuscripts. Nonfiction editors are looking for specific things, and this workshop lets you connect with acquiring editors and explore markets for nonfiction.

One month prior to Nonfiction Camp you will be invited to send a complete picture book manuscript, or completed article, or the first 10 pages of a longer piece of nonfiction, or a book proposal with a writing sample. This submission will be used for your first one-to-one with your mentor. You will have other opportunities for review of new projects or pages at your additional one-to-one meetings throughout the week.


Day 1
Arrival and check in
Campus orientation and optional walking tour

Appetizers & dinner
After dinner:
Getting to Know Your Weeklong Mentor

Day 2
Faculty keynote
One-to-one sessions with mentors

Hands-on Session 1
Hands-on Session 2

Appetizers & dinner
After dinner: Special guest presentation and Q&A

Day 3
Faculty keynote
One-to-one sessions with mentors

Hands-on Session 1
Hands-on Session 2

Appetizers & dinner
After dinner: Faculty Readings on the Patio and informal Q/A

Day 4
Faculty keynote
Hands-on Session 1

Hands-on Session 2
Final mentor meetings (small group or one-to-one)

Appetizers & dinner at Fox Hill Farm

Day 5
Faculty closing keynote
Faculty Q&A Panel and closing comments

Lunch and farewells

A Note About Highlights Workshop Agendas

Here is a sampling of past hands-on sessions:

  • Back Matter Matters
  • Voice, Viewpoint & Verbs
  • Life Sentences: Crafting Stories from Real Life
  • Finding the WHY in Research
  • Narrative Structure and Rhythm in Non-Fiction
  • Writing Inspiration: Using Mentor Texts
  • The Art of Biography, Short Form and Long
  • The Extreme Sport of Research
  • The Art and Craft of Narrative Nonfiction
  • Mining Personal Experiences to Enliven Nonfiction
  • World Building in History


12 signs that you are destined to write middle grade nonfiction
Theme in Narrative Nonfiction
STEAMing Into Nonfiction
3 Diversity Fellows Talk About Summer Camp Mentorship
Seven Ways to Make Your Nonfiction Stand Out
The hard-but-satisfying work of creative nonfiction
True Storytelling


“The faculty was outstanding in every regard. Their insight, kindness, generosity, approachability, and availability was beyond anything I’ve ever experienced at a writing conference.”

“Master Class in Nonfiction was taught by the best professionals in the field, who are committed to their craft and genuinely care about teaching and sharing their expertise. The curriculum was very well structured. The one-on-one meetings were tailored to fit individual student needs. The class size was small and intimate. Overall, I learned a lot and continue to benefit from the knowledge I gained at the workshop. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning how to write nonfiction from practicing professionals in the industry.”

“On day one of the workshop, I knew I had made the right decision. With insights from expert presenters, incredible feedback from a dedicated mentor, inspiration from other attendees, and just enough time to write and reflect, I came out of the workshop with not only new insights into how to polish my current manuscripts but also a new picture book idea and first draft.”— Read more about attendee Erica Swallow’s experience at the 2017 Master Class in Writing Nonfiction.

Scholarships Available

Three scholarships are available for this workshop from the Peter P. Jacobi fund:
Full tuition
Half tuition
Partial tuition
Application deadline is April 26, 2020. Scholarships will be announced May 26, 2020.
Click here to apply!
For more information about scholarships, click here.


Heidi E. Y. Stemple

Heidi didn’t want to be a writer when she grew up. In fact, after she graduated from college, she became…
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Lesa Cline-Ransome

Lesa Cline-Ransome’s first book was the biography Satchel Paige, an ALA Notable Book and a Bank Street College “Best Children’s…
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Don Tate

Don Tate is an award-winning author, and the illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children, including Carter Reads The Newspaper (Peachtree…
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Dana Meachen Rau

Dana Meachen Rau has written more than 350 books for children in a variety of genres—early readers, picture-books, historical fiction,…
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Rob Sanders

Rob Sanders is a writer who teaches, and a teacher who writes. A native of Springfield, Missouri, he has lived…
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Yvonne Wakim Dennis

Special Guest Yvonne Wakim Dennis is an award winning author of nonfiction books for children and adults including A Kid’s…
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Daniel Nayeri

Special Guest Daniel is the publisher of Odd Dot, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, where he oversees a…
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All-Inclusive Event Cost: $1,499.00

All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks. Free shuttle service is available from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AVP) International Airport. Airport pick-up at Newark Airport is also available for $75 round-trip.

We offer payment plans as low as $75/month. We'll be in touch with details after you register.

Do you want help finding a workshop or resources that will fit your needs?
Talk to one of our ambassadors.

workshop information

Begins with dinner on Wednesday, July 15 with dinner, and ends on Sunday July 19, with lunch.