Chapter One: An Introduction to Chapter Book Series

Online | Early Readers and Chapter Books
Join celebrated chapter book (and picture book) author Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen for key information to jumpstart your path to a chapter book series: beloved characters, engaging craft, and commercial potential.

September 25 - October 9

Online

$599

Overview

A 3-Week Online Course + Individual Consultation

Chapter book series engage kids with relatable characters, engaging plots, and age-appropriate stories. Join Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen to build your knowledge about the beloved genre of chapter books with presentations, pre-recorded and written resources to prepare for live sessions, generative peer-to-peer discussions, and a post-course 1:1 consultation.

  • Live Lectures on Mondays 7-8:30pm Eastern (with closed captioning; September 25, October 2, and October 9)
  • A live 1:1 Consultation post-course to discuss your outline and first chapter (scheduled within 4 – 6 weeks of your submission)
  • Generative writing activities
  • Pre-recorded and written resources to round out your learning experience
  • 25 participants max

Why This Workshop?

This workshop offers key information on chapter books, including beloved characters, engaging craft, and commercial potential.

Join celebrated chapter book (and picture book) author Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen to discuss:

  • What makes it a “chapter book” series,
  • What considerations authors need to understand about chapter book readers (format, character, readability, and length, to name a few!)
  • How to develop a character (and characters) that readers will care about,
  • How you can go from a single story to a series,
  • Commercial potential for chapter book series.

Live sessions will take place on Mondays (and will be recorded), but reviewing pre-recorded and written resources before the live sessions will help you get the most from this course.

You’ll also get a 1:1 consultation with Sudipta post course. She will review your series overview and your first chapter (up to 5 pages), offering verbal feedback.

Feedback Expected

  • Opportunities to share with informal discussion in the virtual classroom.
  • Optional workshopping of first pages (during final live session).
  • You and Sudipta will meet for a 1:1 consultation post-course. She will review your series overview and your first chapter (up to 5 pages), offering verbal feedback. (This is included in the price of the course, though not required if your needs don’t align with a 1:1 consultation.)

It’s a Great Fit If…

  • You’ve got an idea for a chapter book 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 a series.
  • You’re a picture book or middle grade author. Curious about whether you can write a chapter book series? We’ll help you find out.
  • You like the structure of an online course with small group opportunities and large group presentations. Some learning will also take place on your own, offline.

Detailed Agenda

All Times are Eastern Standard Time.

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 the first set of pre-recorded and written resources.

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

Week One: September 25 - October 1, 2023

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

  • 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

LIVE Zoom Session: Monday, September 25 (7pm – 8:30pm Eastern)

  • 7 – 7:10pm   Welcome from the Highlights Foundation
  • 7:10pm – 8:10pm   Presentation One: What makes a chapter book a Chapter Book?
  • 8:10pm – 8:25pm   Small Group Introductions: Favorite chapter books and your ideas! (+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 (Analyze Your Favorites!)
  • Writing Exercises: Character Obstacles (option 1) and Experiences (option 2)
  • Ask questions and share reflections
Week Two: October 2 - 8, 2023

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

  • Chapter Book Plot
  • World Building in Chapter Books
  • Chapter Book Structure

LIVE Zoom Session: Monday, October 2 (7pm – 8:30pm Eastern)

  • 7 – 7:15pm Small Group Discussions: Sharing Homework and/or Writing Exercises
  • 7: 15 – 8:15pm Presentation Two: Making a Memorable Chapter Book Main Character
  • 8:15pm – 8:30pm Open Q & A about writing assignments (from week one and looking at week two)

In the virtual classroom:

  • Homework: Week Two (Analyzing a Purrmaids First Draft)
  • Writing Exercises: Outline a Chapter Book (and analyze a chapter book and revision letter)
  • Ask questions and share reflections
Week Three: October 9 - 15, 2023

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

  • Market Research
  • Humor
  • Is This a Chapter Book or Picture Book (Really)?

LIVE Zoom Session: Monday, October 9, 2023 (7pm – 8:30pm Eastern)

  • 7pm – 7:45pm   Q & A: Market Research (with Special Guest)
  • 7:45 –  8:25pm  Optional Workshopping of first pages (up to 750 words); may be in small groups depending on the size of our program
  • 8:25pm – 8:30pm Closing and post-course consultation details

In the virtual classroom:

  • Homework: Week Three (Optional First Page Draft)
  • Writing Exercises: Market Research
  • Ask questions and share reflections
  • Submission details for final consultation
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 during the last live session.)
  • 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 November 30, 2023.) 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 in 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 book series 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.”

Meet the Faculty

Special Guests

Access

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

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

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

Can't Attend Some Sessions Live?

That's generally okay!  We know that you are juggling other demands with your workshop.

Recordings are made available to all registrants for most live sessions, usually the day after the session.  Check your course description for specific details about session recordings, and when they are released.

We also try to suggest in the description how using the recordings may impact your experience if you can't attend live.  But ultimately, it's up to you!  Let us know if you need help.

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

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New to the Highlights Foundation? Try these:

About Children's Publishing | The Whole Novel Workshop | Summer Camp

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