Programs

Writing Science and Nature for Kids and Teens Online

August 9 - 23, 2021

TYPE & LENGTH:

  • Two-week, online course with 5 live Zoom sessions plus pre-recorded content hosted in our virtual classroom (If you are looking for the in-person version of this course, please click here.)
  • The virtual classroom includes: recorded lectures, printed resources, writing prompts, and a discussion board to engage with fellow writers
  • Written feedback + one 20-minute Zoom consultation with faculty
  • Optional peer-to-peer critique sessions

PARTICIPANT CAP:

20

WHY THIS WORKSHOP?

Study the foundations of writing about science and nature for kids and teens at your own pace, from home. This online course has been built to help you learn examine forms and formats of science and nature, including science-inspired fiction, narrative nonfiction, expository nonfiction, concept books, poetry, and everything in between.

This is a two-week online workshop that features pre-recorded lectures, live Zoom lectures, a single one-to-one faculty critique, hands-on exercises, and informal office hours to cover specific topics of interest, and more.

You will:

  • Hear live and pre-recorded lectures about craft and markets.
  • Examine formats and genres, including science-inspired fiction, narrative nonfiction, expository nonfiction, concept books, poetry, and everything in between.
  • Draw on your research to write cohesive, energetic, nonfiction and fiction books, articles, or other science-based works.
  • Have a one-to-one manuscript critiques with faculty mentors.
  • Explore ideas: how to generate, evaluate, and shape them to engage and attract agents and editors.

On or before July 20, you can submit work for review from faculty which includes one picture book manuscript (up to 2,000 words, including backmatter), or up to 2,000 words from a longer project. If you are an author/illustrator, please submit your dummy (mocked-up picture book) as a PDF with sketches and words. If you do not have a work-in-progress, you may instead submit a proposal or a one-page summary of ideas that you would like to discuss. Additional informal feedback is provided during open sharing times during the course.

IT’S A GREAT FIT IF:

  • You love science and our natural world and want to share your knowledge and passion with kids. This workshop will show you the dynamics of engaging fiction and nonfiction science and nature-based writing.
  • You want to write picture books, nonfiction, chapter books, or books for middle grade and young adult readers. This comprehensive review of the market for science and nature books will move you forward, no matter what age level your writing is aimed at.
  • You have several in-progress science or nature manuscripts and would appreciate multiple feedback perspectives. After your one-to-one critique with faculty, you’ll have fresh ideas for revision. And after hearing from acquiring editors about what they’re looking for, you’ll be well prepared to start submitting.
  • You are a published author or illustrator who wants to investigate the science and nature market. You’ll hear from authors and editors working in the field, and have a chance to submit to all participating editors.
  • You enjoy learning in a virtual format. This workshop provides a balance between pre-recorded content and live Zoom sessions.

COMMITMENT REQUIRED FOR THE BEST EXPERIENCE:

This course is best experienced if you can watch the recorded lessons within the week of their release, and complete the relevant assignments before the live sessions.

Please be prepared to discuss your writing during the live sessions, and come to the live sessions with questions for the faculty leaders.

Note: If your schedule does not allow you to attend the live sessions and you would still like to register, that’s OK! You’ll have access to the recordings. They’re usually posted the day after the session, and they’ll be available through September 30, 2021.

HOW THIS WORKSHOP IMPACTS KIDS:

Kids love reading about their world, and science that is out-of-this-world! This course will show you ways to make your science or nature book both engaging and informative.

TENTATIVE AGENDA:

Pre-Workshop
You will receive a link to our virtual classroom where you can introduce yourself to fellow writers and illustrators, engage in Highlights Foundation related resources, and view submission details related to this course. Please also fill out the survey information if you are interested in participating in the optional peer critique groups.

This is an online course. If you are looking for the in-person version of this course, please click here.

Monday, August 9, 2021
Throughout the day:

  • 1:1 consultations with faculty for some students (scheduled at a time that’s mutually convenient)

Tuesday, August 10, 2021
Throughout the day:

  • 1:1 consultations with faculty for some students (scheduled at a time that’s mutually convenient)

1 pm Eastern, Live Zoom Session:

  • Welcome
  • Creative exercise: Writing with Miranda Paul
  • Followed by sharing and Q&A
  • Review use of virtual classroom, community forum, and overview of pre-recorded material release schedule.

3 pm Eastern, Live Zoom Session:

  • Pre-recorded lectures released: Form, Structure, and Genres of Science and Nature Books; Angela Dominguez on Elements of Eco-Fiction; and Up Close with Picture Books (Please watch at your own pace and bring questions to our office hour on 8/16/2021.)

Thursday, August 12, 2021

  • Optional peer critique groups (6pm Eastern, Live on Zoom)

Sunday, August 15, 2021

  • Pre-recorded lectures released: Editor lecture; Research with Heather Montgomery; Revision with Miranda Paul (Please watch at your own pace and bring questions to our office hour 8/16/2021.)

Monday, August 16, 2021
7pm Eastern: Optional Office Hour via Zoom

  • Bring your questions!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021
1pm Eastern

  • Get creative with Heather Montgomery!
  • Followed by Q & A

Thursday, August 19, 2021

  • Optional peer critique groups (6pm Eastern, Live on Zoom)

Sunday, August 22, 2021

  • Pre-recorded lectures released: Submissions, Writing for the Educational Market (Please watch at your own pace and bring questions to our closing session 8/23/2021.)

Monday, August 23, 2021

    7pm Eastern: Closing Live Zoom session

  • Submission Guidelines
  • Final Thoughts
  • Q&A

FAQs About Highlights Foundation Workshops:

RELATED RESOURCES:

Science Writing…It’s Not Just for Nonfiction
Setting a Scene with a STEM Book
Making Science Fun (or Funny)
The Intersection of Science & Social Studies: Can Creative Combinations Enhance Your Writing?
STEAM-ing Into Nonfiction
3 Myths About Why Writing Science Books for Kids is Hard
Elements of Excellent Science Books

FROM OUR COMMUNITY:

“All the faculty were fantastic! They were warm, fun, and knowledgeable. They all seemed to take a personal interest in helping us further our career and were always accessible.”

“It could not have been better, no way, no how. I was amazed and mesmerized and my brain almost exploded (in a good way)! Why did I wait so long? Glad I found out about these workshops!”

“Their willingness to critique participant manuscripts is invaluable. Miranda Paul was exceptional in her ability to not only point out flaws, but to help steer a writer toward re-envisioning a better product.”

Faculty

Miranda Paul

Miranda Paul is an award-winning children’s author of more than a dozen picture books including One Plastic Bag, Water is Water, I…
Learn more

Heather L. Montgomery

Heather L. Montgomery writes for kids who are wild about animals. An award-winning author and educator, Heather uses yuck appeal…
Learn more

Angela Dominguez

Virtual Special Guest Angela Dominguez was born in Mexico City, grew up in the great state of Texas, and now…
Learn more

Kathryn Williams

Virtual Special Guest Kathryn Williams is an Associate Editor at National Geographic Kids Books.
Learn more

$499.00