Children's Picture Book Writing

Complete a first draft with the help of a published author

  • sections:
  • Discussions Tuesdays 8-9pm ET, 6 sessions full schedule

Part lecture, part workshop, this course will take you through the process of outlining, writing, editing, and submitting a children's picture book. Through weekly writing assignments, you'll master essential craft elements including plotting, outlining, and crafting a narrative arc.

In this class, you will learn how to:

  • Write in pictures
  • Use techniques for hooking readers and editors
  • Practice the science of making language sing
  • Understand why editors like to choose their own illustrators
  • Apply the nuts and bolts of marketing a manuscript

By the end of class, you will have:

A completed picture book manuscript, along with a cover letter for sending it out.

Dashka Slater is the author of the picture books Dangerously Ever After, Baby Shoes, Firefighters in the Dark, and The Sea Serpent and Me. Baby Shoes was named one of the best children's books of 2006 by both Booklist and Nick Jr. magazine, while The Sea Serpent and Me was a 2008 Junior Library Guild Selection and a 2009 Cybil Award finalist. Dangerously Ever After was a 2013 Cybil Award nominee and a finalist for the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Book of the Year. Dashka's novel The Wishing Box was named one of the best books of the year by the Los Angeles Times. She is the recipient of a 2004 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Learn more at or by reading her children's book blog.

  • "Dashka Slater took an hour class online and turned it into a living workshop. She shared her own experiences, successes and failures as part of the lesson and gave us so much to pull from with her lesson postings. She is encouraging and honest and has a real gift for teaching other writers to find their voice."

    Maureen McKeon-Phillips

  • "Dashka's class opened a creative outlet for me. The comments and feedback throughout the class helped me more than you know!"

    Heidi Boeckmann

  • "Sharing thoughts and ideas with other writers, as well with our instructor, made me really feel like part of a community."

    Tara Gannon

  • "Dashka showed support to each student and made suggestions on how to make improvements. I was amazed with her insight into our manuscripts. As though she were doing a puzzle, she would fill in the missing pieces."

    Barbara Gold

  • "Dashka is fabulous and insightful. Her lessons are very well scaffolded and her comments and feedback guide us to a remarkable finished product."

    Hamu Yaropa

  • "Dashka delivers invaluable instruction, coaching, and critique for first-time and published writers alike!"

    Lisa Bowie

  • "This class was like having your character in a video game eat a magic star that boosts you to the end of the game. Dashka got me to the end faster and knocked off major mistakes along the way."

    Nicole Lataif