Program Details

Writing Children's Literature

Children's Books: My Recipe for Success

What are the special ingredients that make a good children's book? More than a dash of this and pinch of that; we will analyze the elements that make a story work, emphasizing structure, character and voice. There will be exercises, examples and lots of advice. We will discuss dummies and how to submit books. Students will be asked to keep a journal. Bring your imagination and a picture book text if you have one drafted. By the last day of class, you will have all the ingredients to make your own project.

Mythic Underpinnings in Children's Literature

What do The Wizard of Oz, The Chronicles of Narnia, Where the Wild Things Are and nearly every celebrated work of children's literature have in common with the world's great myths? They all closely follow the narrative pattern and character archetypes of what mythologist Joseph Campbell first termed the “Monomyth,” or "Hero's Journey.” This section will provide a foundational understanding of Campbell's theorems and how modern filmmakers such as George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and an array of contemporary children's authors, including the instructors, have successfully applied these principles to their work. You will have the opportunity to either bring your choice of a previously published work or create your own to discuss and interact with these crucial elements.

The Other End of the Pencil

In this workshop component, we will examine the sometimes troubling question of when to rewrite, when to revise, when to line edit — and the distinctions between the three. Participants will read and discuss each other’s stories in a guided format, affording you the experience of a supportive test audience while you gain critiquing tools refine your own material. We will sample contemporary and classic prose and poetry styles across genres with the goal of understanding their influences on successful children’s stories and gleaning language techniques and inspiration. In preparation, writers should bring copies of one story or an excerpt no longer than 1500 words.

Page Updated 01.29.2014