Chapter by Chapter: An Online Program for Chapter Book Writers

Online | Early Readers and Chapter Books
Chapter books engage young minds like no other stories can. Readers start a journey with your character in Chapter One, and then yearn for more with each page turn until they finish your entire book! (And maybe even your entire series!) Join Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen to build your knowledge about the beloved genre of chapter books and make progress on your story in this hands-on course that covers everything from character and plot to submission packets.

November 7 - December 5

Online

$599

Overview

A 4-Week Online Course for Chapter Book Writers

Chapter books engage young minds like no other stories can.  Readers start a journey with your character in Chapter One, and then yearn for more with each page turn until they finish your entire book!  (And maybe even your entire series!)

Join Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen to build your knowledge about the beloved genre of chapter books and make progress on your story in this hands-on course that covers everything from character and plot to submission packets.  You’ll enjoy presentations, pre-recorded and written resources that help deepen your learning and prepare you for live sessions, generative peer-to-peer discussions, roundtable workshopping, and a post-course 1:1 consultation.

  • Pre-recorded and written lectures (released through an online classroom; please review as noted in the weekly schedule)
  • Live sessions via Zoom on Thursdays (November 7, 14, 21, and December 5) from 7pm – 8:30pm Eastern
  • Roundtable discussions with feedback on November 14 & December 5
  • A 1:1, 20-minute consultation with Sudipta after the course to discuss your first chapter and book outline (scheduled within 4 – 6 weeks of submission)
  • All sessions are recorded; you will have access to the materials (including recordings) until January 31, 2025
  • 25 participants max

Why This Workshop?

This is a comprehensive program with a thoughtful balance between craft learning, an exploration of the chapter book market and the submission, and mentorship.

Celebrated author Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen will help you find clarity on:

  • How to create a chapter book pitch/submission packet,
  • What defines a “chapter book” and a “chapter book series” in the children’s book market,
  • What considerations authors need to understand about chapter book readers (including format, character, readability, and length)
  • How to develop a character (and characters) that readers will care about, and
  • How you can go from a single story to a series.

Sudipta’s live sessions will take place on Thursdays, centering your needs, the market, and facilitation of roundtable feedback.  They will be recorded.  You’ll also get a 1:1 consultation with Sudipta post course.  She will review your book outline and your first chapter (up to 5 pages), with verbal feedback.

Please note: Staying up to date on pre-written lectures and recordings during the four week session will help you get the most out of this course.

Feedback Expected

  • Opportunities to share with informal discussion in the virtual classroom.
  • Roundtable workshopping during two sessions.
  • You and Sudipta will meet for a 1:1 consultation post-course. She will review your book outline and your first chapter (up to 5 pages) with verbal feedback.  This is included in the price of the course, but not required if your needs don’t align with a 1:1 consultation at this time.

Do I need to have a finished chapter book to take this class? No. Though having an idea for your chapter book (and/or series) is a good start. The roundtable discussions and 1:1 consultation are optional, but highly encouraged.

It’s a Great Fit If…

  • You’ve got an idea for a chapter book or series. You’ll get one-to-one feedback to help you strengthen your idea, and you’ll get an in-depth look at the elements needed to create one.
  • You’re a picture book or middle grade author. Curious about whether you can write a chapter book or create a series? We’ll help you find out.
  • You’d like a high level of engagement with fellow writers and faculty so that you can explore new ideas.
  • You work well in a hybrid-learning model with expectations of watching the pre-recorded lectures, and attending the LIVE sessions and discussions.

Detailed Agenda

All Times are Eastern Standard Time.

Click on the headings below to explore the agenda in more detail.

Pre-workshop

Prior to your course, you will receive a link to our virtual classroom where you can introduce yourself to fellow authors, engage in Highlights Foundation related resources (including our Community Standards), and review the first set of pre-recorded and written resources.

Pre-recorded and written materials will be released in the virtual classroom on Friday, November 1.

  • What is a Chapter Book?; And Now… (For Real) What IS a Chapter Book?
  • Samples of Chapter Books
  • Chapter Book Guidelines
  • Evaluating a Potential Chapter Book Main Character
  • Chapter Book Plot

Reviewing the pre-recorded and written resources before the live sessions will help you get the most from this course!

Week One

LIVE Zoom Session: Thursday, November 7 (7pm – 8:30pm Eastern)

  • 7 – 7:10pm   Welcome from the Highlights Foundation
  • 7:10pm – 8:10pm   Presentation: What makes a Chapter Book a Chapter Book? (Specific examples and formats)
  • 8:10pm – 8:25pm   Small Group Introductions: Favorite chapter books and your ideas! ( plus an overview of how the small group discussion will work next week)
  • 8:25pm – 8:30pm   Virtual Classroom Overview (and the importance of reviewing course materials and recordings)

In the virtual classroom:

  • Homework: Week One & Writing Exercises
  • Ask questions and share reflections
Week Two
Pre-recorded and written materials released in the virtual classroom on the Friday before the next live session:

  • World Building in Chapter Books
  • Chapter Book Structure
  • Outlining Your Chapter Book
  • Chapter One Checklist
  • Revising Your Chapter Book

LIVE Zoom Session: Thursday, November 14 (7pm – 8:30pm Eastern)

  • 7 – 7:15pm   Questions about Week One Assignments
  • 7:10pm – 8:10pm  Presentation: Revision 101++
  • 8:10pm – 8:25pm  Roundtable Discussions (First Pages, up to 250 words; this is optional but encouraged.)

In the virtual classroom:

  • Homework: Week Two & Writing Exercises
  • Ask questions and share reflections
Week Three
Pre-recorded and written materials released in the virtual classroom on the Friday before the next live session:

  • The Market
  • Submissions
  • Pitches

LIVE Zoom Session: Thursday, November 21 (7pm – 8:30pm Eastern)

  • 7 – 7:15pm   Questions about Week Two Assignments
  • 7:15pm – 8:15pm   Presentation: Creating Your Chapter Book Pitch and Submission Packet
  • 8:15pm – 8:30pm   Q & A

In the virtual classroom:

  • Homework: Week Three & Writing Exercises
  • Ask questions and share reflections
  • Submission details for final roundtable & post-course consultation
Week Four
*Please note that there’s no LIVE session on November 28. Our final live session will take place on December 5.

Pre-recorded and written materials released in the virtual classroom on the Friday before the next live session:

  • Final thoughts from Sudipta on Chapter Books and Chapter Book Series

LIVE Zoom Session: December 5 (7pm – 8:30pm Eastern)

  • 7 – 7:15pm   Questions about Week Three Assignments
  • 7:15 – 8:30pm  Roundtable Discussions (Outlines; this is optional but encouraged.)

In the virtual classroom:

  • Submit your outline for peer review by December 3, 2024
  • Ask questions and share reflections
  • Submission link for 1:1 consultation with Sudipta (post course)
Post-Course 1:1 Consultation
1:1 Consultation (Scheduled 4 – 6 weeks following your submission)

  • Your submission is your outline and the first chapter of your chapter book.  (Details will be provided in the virtual classroom.)
  • You and Sudipta will meet post course to discuss prepared materials and next steps.
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Commitment Required for the Best Experience

This course is best if you attend or watch all lectures. We recommend setting aside time to review the resources and try the homework so that you can participate in discussions. (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 with closed captioning. They’re posted the day after the session, and they’ll be available until January 31, 2025.)

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.

How It Impacts Kids

Early readers and chapter books are an important part of a child’s reading development, allowing children time to develop the necessary skills, confidence, and love of reading that will put them on the path of becoming successful lifelong readers. Chapter books engage kids with relatable characters, engaging plots, and age-appropriate stories.

Testimonials from Our Community

“Sudipta was so candid and honest with us. [The chapter book course] really had a small group feel.”

“I learned so many things: outlining a series, don’t start with dialogue, selecting language levels, and how to add humor!”

“I took away so many tips. I am already working on my chapter book series.”

Books by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

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Meet the Faculty

DETAILS

November 7 - December 5

$599

Online

Access

When you register for this course, you’ll receive information via email to confirm.

For mini courses (one or two nights only), you’ll receive webinar links immediately to use on the evening of the course.

For longer courses, you’ll receive an invitation to your virtual classroom as the workshop approaches.

Learn more about the technology that we use for our online workshops.

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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.