Viewing Children’s Books Through an Intersectional Lens

June 20 - 23, 2022


Professional & Personal Development for Educators, Librarians, Storytellers, & Publishing Professionals

Build the skills you need to analyze children’s books for meaningful representation, reader engagement, visual literacy, and more.

  • This is an in-person workshop at our Retreat Center packed with lectures, interactive discussions, and guest sessions.
  • Lodging and meals are included.
  • Begins at with dinner 5:30pm Eastern on Monday, June 20
  • Ends with lunch at 1:00pm Eastern on Thursday, June 23
  • 20 participants max



  • No feedback is expected for writers or illustrators. As part of our Essential Conversation series of programming the purpose of this event is to grow through the important discourse, not receive one-to-one or peer feedback on your works-in-progress.


Reading, discussing, and analyzing children’s books makes for better children’s books.
Whether you are critically reading as an educator, writer, illustrator, editor, agent, or publisher, this important work must be done thoughtfully and with an intersectional lens.

Join children’s book educators, researchers, scholars, and storytellers: Dr. Laura M. Jiménez, Franki Sibberson, Clare Landrigan, Lynsey Burkins, and Grace Lin (who is visiting virtually) for a professional development workshop to:

  • Build skills for meaningful representation, reader engagement, visual literacy, and more
  • Learn, reflect, and share your discoveries with the group



  • You are, or want to be, an ally, co-conspirator, or abolitionist in the fight for representation in children’s books. Join us to learn more and spread the word in all children’s lit spaces.
  • You’re a classroom teacher, literacy leader, or you are teaching teachers. Reading, discussing, and analyzing children’s books is an essential skill for teachers at all levels.
  • You’re a writer or illustrator of books for children. This course is especially geared toward stories in the elementary grades, but is applicable for all storytellers.
  • You’re a librarian, or building a library. Not with hammers and wood, but with BOOKS! Whether it is a personal library, public library, classroom library, school library, Little Free Library, and/or book collection for profit, this course will guide you to a more equitable and inclusive approach to gather books for children.
  • You work in the publishing industry. Editors, agents, and publishing professionals will deepen their understanding of these essential conversations in the industry.




  • You will receive a link to our virtual classroom where you can introduce yourself to fellow attendees and engage in Highlights Foundation related resources (including our Community Standards).
  • You should complete the required reading for the workshop.  See the list at the bottom of this page.  Participants are not required to purchase all texts for readings. Instead, you are encouraged to use your local library. If you do purchase, you are also encouraged to purchase from local independent bookstores where you are able.


Retreat Schedule:

(All times Eastern Standard Time)


Monday, June 20

  • 3pm – 5pm Eastern:     Arrival and check-in
  • 5:30pm:                          Appetizers & Dinner
  • Following dinner:        Welcome & Introductions (Set up affinity groups)


Tuesday, June 21


  • Breakfast
  • Read aloud with Grace Lin (remote)
  • Centering the Story: Who is Represented, Who is Not,
    • Dr. Laura M. Jiménez and Lynsey Burkins
  • Book discussion groups facilitated by presenters
  • Participant time for personal response and reflection


  • Lunch
  • Disrupting Nostalgia in Children’s Literature for the Classroom
    • Clare Landrigan and Franki Sibberson
  • Small Group Discussions facilitated by presenters
  • Participant time for personal response and reflection


  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • After Dinner presentation with Grace Lin (remote)
  • Small Group Discussions in affinity spaces


Wednesday, June 22


  • Breakfast
  • Literature is a Liberatory Experience! & Incidental Representation: What it Means & What it Does
    • Lynsey Burkins and Frank Sibberson
  • Small discussion groups facilitated by presenters
  • Participant time for personal response and reflection


  • Lunch
  • Critical Visual Literacies: Interpreting and Analyzing Complex Texts
    • Dr. Laura M. Jiménez and Clare Landrigan
  • Small discussion groups facilitated by presenters in affinity groups
  • Participant time for personal response and reflection


  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • After Dinner: Conversation on Cultural Tourism and Cultural Appropriation with Grace Lin (remote)
  • Sharing reflections by participants


Thursday, June 23


  • Breakfast
  • Pulling it all together: Implications for the Classroom and Beyond
  • Open Q&A


  • Lunch and farewells

A note about workshop agendas and how they change and evolve.



The Highlights Foundation strives for a safe and inclusive environment. You will have access to our Community Standards prior to the workshop where we ask for your respectful engagement with fellow creatives, including our faculty and staff.

All in-person Highlights Foundation workshops (including this one) are held at our Retreat Center: The Barn at Boyds Mills.  This site was the home of the original founders of Highlights for Children Garry and Caroline Myers, and is located in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania on the traditional and contemporary lands of the Lenape Nation.

Your workshop tuition includes lodging, farm-fresh meals with snacks, and shuttle service from our local airport or bus/train stations if you need it.  For more information about attending a workshop or retreat here, visit the Barn at Boyds Mills website.



Educators, librarians, storytellers, publishing professionals: we’re all people who get books into kids’ hands.  Books impact their lives directly, and help shape their world view. As a result, we have a responsibility to ensure meaningful representation that serves all kids.

Why do we mention this? Learn about the Highlights Foundation mission.



As an in-person event at our Retreat Center, you’ll have a chance to step away from everyday life to immerse yourself in this learning. We build in breaks and independent time so you have space for your personal needs. While we encourage participation in all group events, we know that as an adult learner you can decide if you need more time to yourself. Please let someone from our staff or faculty know if you plan to step away from group activities.

Another commitment that will help you get the most from this workshop is the required reading list.  Participants are not required to purchase all texts for readings. Instead, you are encouraged to use your local library.

Read some ideas about planning for the right level of commitment.


Scholarship to read prior to workshop.

Picture books to read prior to workshop

  • Your Mama by NoNieqa Ramos and illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara
  • A Big MoonCake for Little Star by Grace Lin
  • Fearless Heart: An Illustrated Biography of Surya Bonaly by Surya Bonaly and Frank Murphy, illustrated by Anastasia Magloire Williams
  • In the Spirit of a Dream: 13 Stories of American Immigrants of Color told in poems by Aida Salazar and feature artwork by Alina Chau, Gaby D’Alessandro, Jose Ramirez, Ken Daley, and more
  • What I Am, by Divya Srinivasan


“As a writer, I am always trying to expand the way I think about, not only my writing, but the world around me. This course gave me tools to keep challenging that thinking as well as a peek into how this is being done in classrooms. I find myself referring back to the course material often.”–Heidi EY Stemple

“I learned so much from the team of experts that led this workshop. It was a life-changing experience and I’m looking forward to the next workshop in this series of Essential Conversations.”

“About the faculty: Fabulous, knowledgeable, able to have hard conversations and discuss challenging topics. So well versed in their area of expertise.”

“I was easily able to take what they were saying and not only take it onboard to make me a better human, but also I see ways to use the information and resources in my writing and teaching writing. I’m still reading–every one of their talks and readings and links sent me on to more things to learn and study. And it will take a long time–a lifetime?–to digest everything I’ve learned. But, I realize that is the intent, so I am happy for it all.”


Laura M. Jiménez

Laura M. Jiménez is the Department Chair for Language & Literacy Education at Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education &…
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Lynsey Burkins

Lynsey Burkins is a proud educator who has worked for children for the past 18 years. She works towards creating…
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Clare Landrigan

Clare Landrigan is a staff developer who is still a teacher at heart. After years serving as an educator and…
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Franki Sibberson

Franki Sibberson is a literacy consultant with 33 years of classroom experience in Dublin, Ohio. She is past-president of the…
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Grace Lin

Before Grace Lin was an award-winning and NY Times bestselling author/illustrator of picturebooks, early readers and middle grade novels, she…
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All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks.

Free shuttle service is available from the local airport, train, and bus station, or you can park on site. Get more logistics information here.

Pay in full or secure your spot with a deposit of $200 and payment plans as low as $75/month. We'll be in touch with details after you register.

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workshop information

Our all-inclusive price means we provide transportation to and from the airport, lodging, all meals, unlimited snacks, and wireless Internet access.