Black Voices: An In-Community Retreat for Storytellers

In-Person | Essential Conversations, In-Community Retreats
A retreat to celebrate the power of community and various approaches to uplifting and championing Black voices in crafting stories for children and teens.

July 7 - July 10

Highlights Foundation Campus


Join Valerie Bolling and fellow storytellers for this in-community retreat for Black writers and illustrators.

About the Program

This 3-night/4-day retreat thrives within a welcoming community, designed to spark your creativity and foster connections with fellow storytellers. This retreat provides a loosely structured environment, allowing you ample time and space to engage in writing, illustrating, or simply exploring. Feel free to bring multiple projects, as we celebrate the power of community and various approaches to uplifting and championing Black voices in crafting stories for children and teens.

How It’s Structured

This is a lightly scheduled program with optional/informal, post-dinner group activities (like fireside chats and open sharing of stories) led by your host Valerie Bolling. There will be an abundance of writing, illustrating, and retreat time; please bring your stories.

Optional consultations can be scheduled with one of our faculty mentors. These opportunities are available at an additional cost, and can be added at the time of registration or during your retreat stay. No submissions will be required or accepted for these 1:1 consultation opportunities, but you will fill out a questionnaire in advance (in our virtual classroom) to prepare. Consultations will include time to discuss where you are in your stories, and ideas for moving forward with drafting, revisions, and/or submissions.

Special Guests


July 7 - July 10


Highlights Foundation Campus

362 Boyds Mills Road
Milanville, PA 18443

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 and retreats (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.

All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks. Shuttle service is available from select locations for a fee, or you can park on site. You’ll receive more information about logistics after you register.

Our Mission in Action

Share Your Story, Inspire a Child
Equity & Inclusion in Kidlit
Partners & Sponsors

The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.