Monday, February 23, 2009

Picture Book Course

Hey guys! One of my crit partners is involved with a new workshop for picture books. Information is below:


Picture Book Workshop:
Writing Text for Children's Picture Books (8 weeks)

This class will explore the constantly evolving art form of the picture book, in which words and images each constitute a part of the whole. You will read 5 picture books from those for the very youngest readers to some for the middle grades and up, and analyze 2 in detail each week. While studying this wide range of published picture books, we will examine the variety of ways in which text interacts with image in a picture book. You'll also get comments on your own own fiction or nonfiction picture book text from classmates and from the instructor. For intermediate through advanced writers.

This class takes place through the Internet classroom. Registered students will be sent Nicenet sign-up instructions via e-mail.

Class Outline

Common text: everyone will read some of the same books as the class progresses. If you need to reserve them at a library or purchase your own
copies please do so in advance of the week in which the book is assigned. In addition to the common texts, you will be expected to read 5 picture books and analyze 2 each week. Plan to keep your local library busy. It's not possible to write a picture book without reading a number of them.

Week 1: Introduction to picture books (PBs) What does picture book text look like? The shape of the text.

Week 2: Disassembling text and image in a PB. Page breaks and line breaks--when and why? The physical form of the PB

Week 3: Ways in which text and images work together. Plot points in picture books. Writing for art that doesn't exist yet. Imagery and word choice. A balancing act, lyricism vs. precision.

Week 4: Character in a PB: age range, roles. Audience age range, and the role of the adult reader.

Week 5: Toddler books, bedtime books, concept books, mood books.

Week 6: Outlining a PB: why, and how? Basic plots-- incident, achievement, wish fulfilment, misunderstanding.

Week 7: Emotional themes in PB fiction. Highs and lows in the story arc. Resolution. Structural aspects of the final pages.

Week 8: Submitting the PB manuscript. PB publishing process. Questions. Summary and closure

Dates: April 13 to June 7.

UMA KRISHNASWAMI is the author of numerous books for children, including picture books, retold story collections, and readers. Her middle grade novel, NAMING MAYA, is on the IRA list of Notable Books for a Global Society, and a NJ Garden State Book Awards nominee. Uma is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and is on the faculty of the Vermont College MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Her picture books include REMEMBERING GRANDPA (Boyds Mills Press), MONSOON (FSG), and BRINGING ASHA HOME
(Lee & Low). For more on Uma's books and other projects visit

The class is offered by WRITERS ON THE NET and takes and takes place on Internet classroom.

The class costs $260. To sign up or to ask us questions please e-mail to, or find more information about us at our web site, Registered students will be sent, via e-mail, instructions for signing up on the nicenet site on the day class begins.

----------- WRITERS ON THE NET ---------------
Online classes, tutors and groups for writers.
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