Picture Book Essentials: A Two-Night Mini

Online | Picture Books
Everyone loves picture books! But writing stories that sell means going beyond a fun idea. Join award-winning picture book author Darcy Pattison and author/illustrator Leslie Helakoski for this short course.

July 18 @ 7:00 pm - July 20 @ 8:15 pm




A Two-Night Mini Online Course

Everyone loves picture books! But writing stories that sell means going beyond a fun idea.  Join award-winning picture book author Darcy Pattison and author/illustrator Leslie Helakoski for this short course of two, 75-minute sessions offering limited interaction with the community, but loads of information.

  • Tuesday, July 18, 2023 (7pm – 8:15pm Eastern)
  • Thursday, July 20, 2023 (7pm – 8:15pm Eastern)
  • Webinar-style program with closed captioning available and limited interaction in the chat
  • You’ll have access to the recordings through August 31, 2023.

Why This Workshop?

Everyone loves picture books! But writing stories that sell means going beyond a fun idea.

In addition to plot, picture book creatives need to consider structure, style, rhythm, word choice, and more.

In this short course, children’s book author Darcy Pattison and author/illustrator Leslie Helakoski will cover:

  • An overview of picture book components
  • Structures & styles
  • Drafting focusing statements
  • Word choice
  • Exploring voice

Feedback Expected

  • None included in the course. There will be limited interaction in the chat feature of the webinar-style program.

It’s a Great Fit If…

  • You are starting out as a picture book author or author/illustrator, and you’re looking for beginning information about picture book structures and word choice.
  • You write chapter books or novels, and wonder if you can write a picture book, too.
  • You are considering writing a picture book for children and want to learn more about this genre.
  • You are a picture book author or author/illustrator who has already drafted picture books and want to learn more about considerations when it comes to revising and strengthening your work.
  • You’re looking for something short, sweet, and smart! This is not a full workshop.  Instead it is two, 75-minute sessions meant to engage and build your knowledge of the picture book form.

Tentative Agenda

At registration: You will receive a Zoom link to use each night of the course.


If you are unable to attend either session for any reason, you’ll have access to the recordings (with closed captioning) through August 31, 2023.

Please note that if you register for the course after the start of the first session, you will not receive recordings immediately.  You’ll receive both recordings after the close of the last session, usually within 24 hours.

All Times are Eastern Standard Time.

Part One: Tuesday, July 18, 2023 (7pm-8:15pm Eastern)
  • Picture Book components
  • Focusing statements
  • Alternative structures
  • Homework: Create your own focusing statement
Part Two: Thursday, July 20, 2023 (7pm-8:15pm Eastern)
  • Picture book Voice
  • Word play
  • Limitations
  • Homework: Cut your manuscript text

How It Impacts Kids

Picture books are beloved by children and the adults who care about them.  This two-night mini workshop can help you learn more about this amazing storytelling gift.

Testimonials from Our Community

“I was immediately inspired to incorporate ideas into a picture book I’ve been working on, and in fact completed another draft after the second session.”

“Darcy and Leslie were extremely accessible.”

“Please add me to the mailing list for anything and everything related to workshops with these authors!”


July 18 @ 7:00 pm - July 20 @ 8:15 pm




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.

Workshops for Writers & Illustrators

> Online
> In-Person
> On-Demand (Self-Paced Online)

New to the Highlights Foundation? Try these:

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


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Our campus (The Barn at Boyds Mills) is tucked away in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.  It's a few hours from both New York City and Philadelphia, but worlds away from everyday life.

Line drawing of the Barn at Boyds Mills

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