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PB&J: Picture Books and All That Jazz 2017 | June 22 – June 25, 2017

Go beyond the basics to understand the “whys” behind current picture book bestsellers.

Everyone loves picture books! But writing stories that sell means going beyond a fun idea. In addition to structure, word choice, and plot, have you considered voice, style, rhythm, layout, rhyme, audience, tone, and sound?

This workshop with award-winning picture book authors Darcy Pattison and Leslie Helakoski digs deep into the many layers that create strong creative stories. You’ll go beyond the basics to understand the whys behind current picture book bestsellers. We’ll dissect books with that elusive read-again-and-again quality and learn how to entice readers with our own writing.

In addition to new ways to understand story, you’ll get reviews on personal manuscripts from our three faculty members. You’ll receive feedback on your work from an acquiring editor and hear her discuss why she chooses the books she chooses. Though no artistic talent is needed for this workshop, understanding the role art plays in a picture book is essential. A visiting art director will discuss how art enhances writing and inspire you to make room for the art as you write.

Take a look at a previous year’s schedule to imagine yourself attending and contributing to the fun. Our intimate, small-group format will ensure you learn as much as possible and leave with fresh ideas as well as new friends.

Faculty Blog Posts:
9 Picture Book Topics to Avoid
Are You Ready to Write a Children’s Picture Book?
Writing Picture Books That Soar

Faculty & Special Guests

"Leslie, you were actually one of the first people to really believe in this manuscript and it never would have come to be if it wasn't for you and Darcy. It had a completely different setting and style until you and Darcy challenged us to rewrite the beginning of one of our manuscripts on the first night of PB&J. I tend to cling tightly to my first ideas so it was the perfect exercise (and your critique was the perfect reminder) to not settle for the first thing that comes to mind. I have already shared with my writer groups what an amazing experience that workshop was and gave it my highest recommendation."—Becky Scharnhorst

"All three ladies were excellent--knowledgeable, focused, and generous with their time."—2016 attendee

"The PB&J workshop was delicious! Darcy and Leslie encouraged, enlightened and energized in a most personable way."—2015 attendee

"This conference was great! A perfect mix of learning and practicing our craft."—Peggy Campbell-Rush, Washington, NJ

"Darcy and Leslie were extremely accessible for advice, critique and casual conversation."—Perri Hogan, Syracuse, NY