The Ins and Outs of a Picture Book and Its Many Forms 2020

August 13 - 16, 2020

Join Us To:

Find out what it takes to become a successful picture book author. Study the craft of writing picture books: scene, structure, characters. Learn the business: from submission to school visits, and everything in between. Get multiple feedback perspectives on your work, including a one-to-one faculty critique. Engage in lessons with a nonfiction author, fiction author, and an author/illustrator.

What You’ll Learn:

The craft of your story:

  • Scene and structure in picture books.
  • Creating characters readers care about.
  • How to tell your story in a way that will compel and connect to your audience.
  • Revising: If you love the work, it will love you back.
  • Writing begins with visualizing: a new way to draft a story.
  • The picture book biography toolbox.
  • Free writing time to practice what you’re learning.

The business of publishing:

  • How to keep “I Think I Can” alive on the path to publication.
  • Learn to be an advocate for your stories in the marketplace and beyond.
  • SOS: crafting Stand-Out Submissions.
  • Booking school visits and speaking engagements: Oh, The Places You Will Go

Networking and Mentoring:

  • Have a faculty one-to-one critiques.
  • Make casual mentor connections at mealtimes.
  • S’mores! And more! Around the Fireplace.

Attend If:

  • You are just starting to write picture books. Beginners are welcome–there’s no need to bring a finished manuscript to this course.
  • You have finished a picture book (or two!) Bring it to be critiqued–faculty will give you tips, tools, and feedback to strengthen it for submission.
  • You’d like to learn more about the craft of writing picture books. This course will give you new ways to shape and develop a story, and you’ll have hands-on activities that demonstrate this process and spark your creativity.
  • You’re interested in writing stories about real people. This course is for both fiction and nonfiction writers and includes a session on “The Picture Book Biography Toolbox.”
  • You are an author/illustrator. Aram Kim is a successful author/illustrator, and senior designer at MacMillan Publishers.


Day 1
Arrival and check in

Appetizers and dinner
After dinner: Welcome, introductions
Creating Characters Readers Care About, Short Lecture/Writing Exercise

Day 2
From Fabulously Funny to Deeply Dark and Sensitive: Analyzing the Scene & Structure and Applying it to Our Own Work
Faculty Presentation, Aram Kim

One-to-one critiques plus writing time

Appetizers and dinner
After dinner: S’mores! And more! Around the Fireplace

Day 3
The Picture Book Biography Toolbox: What You Need to Know When You Dig Into Someone Else’s Story, Bethany Hegedus
Revising: If You Love the Work it Will Love You Back, Carmen Oliver
Generative writing time

SOS: Stand Out Submissions
Optional informal meetings & writing time

Appetizers and dinner
After dinner: I Think I Can: The Path To Publication round table

Day 4
Booking Speaking Engagements: Oh, The Places You Will Go, Carmen Oliver
Q/A with authors, goal setting, and final remarks

Lunch and farewells

A Note About Highlights Workshop Agendas


Carmen Oliver–Is This the Right Workshop for Me?
Podcast #7 Aram Kim: Doing School Visits When You’re Not an Extrovert
Meet the Faculty: Bethany Hegedus, Carmen Oliver & Salina Yoon
Faculty Interview: Carmen Oliver
Carmen Oliver: Believing After 10+ Rejections
Faculty Spotlight: Carmen Oliver: Be open to all possibilities

About Writing Picture Books
9 Picture Book Topics to Avoid
How Do You Know If You’ve Written a Picture Book?
Writing Picture Books That Soar
Short and Easy, Right? How Hard Can It Be to Write a Picture Book?
3 Tips for Writing Funny Picture Books
Pointers for Writing Powerful Picture Books
Nonfiction Picture Books: Get it Right with Research


“This was an amazing tag team of instructors who kept the information flowing. The instructors were funny but serious about the work, which made the presentations fly. They were also generous with their ‘down time’ by making themselves available to review post-critique revisions. I would take this course again (and might)!”

Scholarships Available

Scholarships are available for this workshop:
Application deadline is May 25, 2020. Scholarships will be announced June 24, 2020.
Click here to apply!
For more information about scholarships, click here.


Bethany Hegedus

Bethany Hegedus’ books include the award-winningGrandfather Gandhi and the newly released Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story, both co-written…
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Carmen Oliver

Carmen Oliver is the author of picture books A Voice for the Spirit Bears: How One Boy Inspired Millions to…
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Aram Kim

Aram Kim is a children’s book author/illustrator and a picture book designer. She was born in Ohio, raised in South…
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All-Inclusive Event Cost: $1,199.00

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.

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workshop information

Begins with dinner on Thursday, August 13; ends Sunday, August 16, with lunch.