A Two-Night Mini Online Course
Writing about mental health is about both the impact for our readers, and the experience of our writers. How do we translate our lived experiences while keeping our youth audience centered? Join middle grade novelist Crystal Allen and young adult author and pediatric neuropsychologist Katie Keridan to consider what it takes to develop authentic representations of mental health that hold reality and hope throughout your novel.
This program is a good fit if you’re looking for a short course of two, 75-minute sessions offering limited interaction with the community and rich information.
- Tuesday, April 2, 2024 (7pm – 8:15pm Eastern)
- Thursday, April 4, 2024 (7pm – 8:15pm Eastern)
- Webinar-style program with closed captioning available and limited interaction in the chat
- Recordings available until May 31, 2024
Why This Workshop?
Writing about write about mental health topics in youth literature can come from a place of both support and empowerment. Join middle grade novelist Crystal Allen and young adult writer Katie Keridan to consider what it takes to develop authentic representations of mental health that hold truth and hope throughout your novel.
Each night of this short course will offer personal reflections from Crystal and Katie about their experiences in crafting novels that center the emotional needs of their readers. Katie will also share professional experiences as a pediatric neuropsychologist for teens and young adults.
There will also be time for your questions, as you explore:
- Character arcs that are authentic and representative of middle grade and young adult youth.
- How the tone of your book can have levity and hope (even if your lived experience differs from these themes).
- Ways to dismantle stereotypes of physical and emotional disabilities, and mental health needs.
- The needs of our readers, and the life-saving value of books.
- And much more!
- No feedback 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’re writing middle grade or young adult novels (all levels welcome) looking to learn more about the representation of mental health and disability experiences in novels for this age group.
- Your story centers on an aspect of mental health (main character, secondary character, or globally) with the hope that your work will center an authentic experience, layered with honesty and hope.
- You are open to listening to multiple perspectives about how to approach serious (and seriously needed) topics for children, while holding your own needs at the forefront. Creating stories that bring our own lived experiences to the page can provide some healing, and can open ourselves to more pain. This is not a therapeutic session. Please attend if you feel open to the discussions and perspectives that will take place.
- You’re looking for a short course. This is not a full workshop. Instead it is two, 75-minute sessions meant to engage and grow your understanding of mental health representation in novels for middle grade and young adult readers.
At registration: You will receive a Zoom link to use each night of the course.
IF YOU CAN’T ATTEND LIVE:
If you are unable to attend either session for any reason, you’ll have access to the recordings (with closed captioning) through May 31, 2024.
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 Time. Click on the headings below to explore the agenda in more detail.
Part One: Tuesday, April 2, 2024 (7pm-8:15pm Eastern)
- Ways to dismantle stereotypes of physical and emotional disabilities, and mental health needs with Katie
- The needs of our readers, and the life-saving value of books with Crystal
- Reflection exercise: What part of the novel is you? What part of the novel belongs to the character? with Katie
Part Two: Thursday, April 4, 2024 (7pm-8:15pm Eastern)
- Character arcs that are authentic and representative of middle grade and young adult youth with Katie
- How the tone of your book can have levity and hope (even if your lived experience differs from these themes) with Crystal
- Reflection: What support systems and hope do you wish were a part of your lived experience? How can these influence your novel? with Crystal
- Q&A with Crystal and Katie
How It Impacts Kids
Novels can be healing to both the writer and the reader. This “mini” explores beginning strategies for crafting authenticity and respect through a novel for middle grade and young adult readers.
Testimonials from Our Community
“I really liked how they centered readers and our responsibility as adult writers to use our gifts in authentic ways to connect with them even when writing about hard things.”
“I knew I could not attend in person but I signed up because you offered the recording. Having that option was invaluable.”
“Keep the mini courses going for those of us that can’t attend at the Highlights Foundation Campus! It helps us stay in touch and keep our skills growing!!
- #HFGather: Writing About Trauma and Grief for Kids
- A Novel Mind, a resource for exploring children’s literature that deals with mental health and neurodiversity
- A Collection of Support from the Faculty of Writing Stories to Empower Through Trauma