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Children’s book writing i.
Children’s Book Writing I is a 10-week workshop, which includes lectures, exercises, and the critiquing of student projects. It’s for beginners or anyone who wants to brush up on the fundamentals. Farther down, you can view a syllabus for this course.
The quiet magic of Goodnight Moon grows into the zaniness of Dr. Seuss and widens into the dazzlement of Harry Potter then matures into the straight talk of Judy Blume and the gritty reality of The Hate U Give . Such is the amazing journey children take through books. These stories are a treasured part of childhood and they linger for a lifetime.
To captivate young readers, you must balance a youthful imagination with an adult professionalism. Here you will learn about the various types of children’s books and their special requirements, as well as fiction craft and how to market your work.
Whatever type of children’s book you seek to write—picture books, easy readers, chapter books, middle grade, young adult—we’ll show you how to write stories that entrance.
A great way to amp up your writing. The time I spent online in my Gotham class was the greatest “me” time I've had in years—and my writing has improved exponentially!
Our Children’s Book courses cover the full spectrum of children’s books, from picture books to YA novels. Many children’s books authors write books for various age levels. The focus is mostly on fiction, but writers are welcome to work on nonfiction children’s books.
If you want to work on a YA novel, you may do so in our Children’s Book courses, or in Fiction I or (at the advanced level) Novel II First Draft and Novel II Critique , or our genre courses: Science Fiction & Fantasy , Mystery , Romance . The difference: In a Children’s Book course, you will be learning about and reading works for various age levels; in the other courses, you will be learning about and reading works for adults. This is fine because YA novels are very close to adult novels.
- Starts Tuesday, April 11 Zoom , 7pm – 10pm ET 10-Week Workshop Caela Carter
- Starts Tuesday, May 2 Online , anytime 10-Week Workshop Margaret Meacham
- Class Full. Join wait list. Starts Tuesday, April 11 Online , anytime 10-Week Workshop Erin Entrada Kelly
Registration fee $25, paid once per term
To register for a 10-Week course, you need to pay in full to guarantee your place in class. Or you can pay a $95 deposit plus a $25 registration fee (total $120) to temporarily hold your place, but tuition must be paid in full 10 business days before your class starts or you risk losing your spot.
Anytime, week-long sessions
Tuition: $419 (returning students: $389)
Tour an Online Class
Tour a Zoom Class
Explore One-on-One Options
This course gives you a firm grounding in the basics of writing children’s books and gets you writing a book. Course components: Lectures Writing exercises Workshopping of student projects (each student presenting work two times)
New York City/Zoom classes The syllabus varies from teacher to teacher, term to term. Many topics will be similar to those covered in the Online classes.
Online classes Week 1 Introduction to Children’s Books: The different categories of children’s books. Constants and variables in children’s books. Vocabulary, darkness, humor, series, anthropomorphism. Specific requirements of picture books. Where to find inspiration and ideas. The importance of craft.
Week 2 Plot: Finding a major dramatic question. Shaping a picture book plot. Shaping a longer book plot. Pros and cons of outlining.
Week 3 Character: Where to find characters. Making characters dimensional through desire and contrasts. Creating character profiles. Showing vs. Telling. Methods for showing characters. Animal characters.
Week 4 Point of View/Voice: Point of view defined. Exploration of the various types of point of view. Voice defined. Exploration of the various types of voice. Tips for finding your voice. Week 5 Description: Using the senses. Specificity. Techniques for creativity. Finding the right words. Economy. Merging description with point of view.
Week 6 Dialogue: The importance of scene. Dialogue's illusion of reality. Quotation marks and tags. Stage directions. Summarized dialogue. Characterization through dialogue. Subtext.
Week 7 Setting/Fantasy: Creating setting through time, place, and weather. Description of setting. When setting is a major character. Fantasy logic and details. Finding a fresh fantasy world. Week 8 Nonfiction: Pros of writing a nonfiction children's book. The spectrum of nonfiction. Shaping nonfiction into a story. Choosing a topic. Nonfiction book proposals. Week 9 Theme/Revision: Theme defined. Types of theme. Weaving theme into a story. Exploration of the various stages of revision.
Week 10 The Business: Proper format for manuscripts. How to target publishing houses and agents. How to send your work out. Query letters.
Note: Content may vary among individual classes.
Caela Carter is the author of the middle-grade novels Fifty-Four Things Wrong With Gwendolyn Rogers , How to Be a Girl in the World , One Speck of Truth , Forever or a Long, Long Time , My Life with the Liars , (all Quill Tree Books/Harper Collins), and Tumbling (Viking), and the young adult novels My Best Friend, Maybe and Me, Him, Them, and It (both Bloomsbury USA Children’s). She worked as a school librarian for the Harlem Village Academy, and has taught for the Chicago Jesuit Academy and Boys Hope Girls Hope in New York City. She holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame, an MA in Education from the University of Notre Dame, and an MFA in Children’s Literature from the New School.
Erin Entrada Kelly
Erin Entrada Kelly is the author of the middle grade novels Hello Universe , winner of the Newbery Medal; We Dream of Space, a Newbery Honor book; Those Kids From Fawn Creek ; Maybe, Maybe, Marisol Rainey; Surely, Surely, Marisol Rainey ; Only, Only Marisol Rainey ; Lalani of the Distant Sea; You Go First; The Land of Forgotten Girls; and Blackbird Fly (all HarperCollins). Her short stories have appeared in the anthologies You Are Here: Connecting Flights (Allida Books/Harper Collins) and Calling the Moon (Candlewick Press), as well as in Dead Mule School of Southern Literature , Tayo Special Issue , Adroit Journal , Danse Macabre , Every Day Fiction , and Boston Literary Magazine . She is a contributor to Library Journal and has been a writer and editor for Thrive Magazine , where she won awards for excellence in feature writing from the Louisiana Press Association and the Associated Press. She has taught for Rosemont College and Wallingford Swarthmore Community Classes. She holds a BA from McNeese State University and an MFA in Fiction from Rosemont College.
Margaret Meacham has published many books for children, including the middle grade novels Oyster Moon, The Secret of Heron Creek (both Tidewater), A Mid-Semester Night's Dream (Scholastic) , Quiet! You're Invisible, A Fairy's Guide to Understanding Humans (both Holiday House), and The Ghosts of Laurelford (Sunbury). She is also the author of the adult mystery novel The Survival of Sarah Landing (Sunbury). Her articles and short stories have appeared in Library Journal, Country Magazine, Successful Student Magazine, Maryland Magazine, Highlights for Children, Baltimore Magazine, and the Baltimore Sun . She has taught at Goucher College and Towson University. She holds a BA from Trinity College and an MLIS from the University of Maryland.
is the author of the middle-grade novels Fifty-Four Things Wrong With Gwendolyn Rogers , How to Be a Girl in the World , One Speck of Truth , Forever or a Long, Long Time , My Life with the Liars , (all Quill Tree Books/Harper Collins), and Tumbling (Viking), and the young adult novels My Best Friend, Maybe and Me, Him, Them, and It (both Bloomsbury USA Children’s). She worked as a school librarian for the Harlem Village Academy, and has taught for the Chicago Jesuit Academy and Boys Hope Girls Hope in New York City. She holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame, an MA in Education from the University of Notre Dame, and an MFA in Children’s Literature from the New School.
is the author of the middle grade novels Hello Universe , winner of the Newbery Medal; We Dream of Space , a Newbery Honor book; Those Kids From Fawn Creek ; Maybe, Maybe, Marisol Rainey ; Surely, Surely, Marisol Rainey ; Only, Only Marisol Rainey ; Lalani of the Distant Sea ; You Go First ; The Land of Forgotten Girls ; and Blackbird Fly (all HarperCollins). Her short stories have appeared in the anthologies You Are Here: Connecting Flights (Allida Books/Harper Collins) and Calling the Moon (Candlewick Press), as well as in Dead Mule School of Southern Literature , Tayo Special Issue , Adroit Journal , Danse Macabre , Every Day Fiction , and Boston Literary Magazine . She is a contributor to Library Journal and has been a writer and editor for Thrive Magazine , where she won awards for excellence in feature writing from the Louisiana Press Association and the Associated Press. She has taught for Rosemont College and Wallingford Swarthmore Community Classes. She holds a BA from McNeese State University and an MFA in Fiction from Rosemont College.
has published many books for children, including the middle grade novels Oyster Moon , The Secret of Heron Creek (both Tidewater), A Mid-Semester Night's Dream (Scholastic) , Quiet! You're Invisible , A Fairy's Guide to Understanding Humans (both Holiday House), and The Ghosts of Laurelford (Sunbury). She is also the author of the adult mystery novel The Survival of Sarah Landing (Sunbury). Her articles and short stories have appeared in Library Journal, Country Magazine, Successful Student Magazine, Maryland Magazine, Highlights for Children, Baltimore Magazine, and the Baltimore Sun . She has taught at Goucher College and Towson University. She holds a BA from Trinity College and an MLIS from the University of Maryland.
Fiction writing i.
The fascinating craft of fiction—literary, commercial, or genre.
Middle Grade/Young Adult Books
Explore the world of middle grade and young adult novels.
Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing I
All speculative fiction welcome—science fiction, fantasy, or horror.
15 Online Courses to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books
- by domestika
Learn how to create engaging stories for children and young adults with these top courses for beginners
Books help stimulate young readers' imaginations , offering them an opportunity to explore new worlds filled with adventure, fantasy, and humor . At the same time, they help children and teens develop a better understanding of the world we live in, by sharing information about daily life in a fun and engaging way.
To create a story that appeals to future generations, you’ll need to create that magic, using both words and illustrations. It’s a skill that involves various techniques as you learn to develop plot, characters, language, and images .
Ready to get started? Read on for fifteen online expert-led courses to learn the process of creating a children’s book every step of the way—whether you’re interested in writing, illustrating, or a mix of both.
But first, let’s take a look at some of the main characteristics that define these genres.
Common characteristics in books for children and young people
To get started as a children’s book writer or illustrator, you’ll need to understand the features that are typical of these genres. Three of the main characteristics include:
1. Simple stories with a deeper meaning and takeaway message that can teach something.
2. Images often play a central role. However, the relationship between text and illustration can be either complementary or contradictory, depending on the message.
3. In children’s book illustration especially, there is often an open approach to using various techniques. Some common styles include collage, ink, watercolors, acrylics, or pop-ups .
Children’s book illustration courses
From illustrations inspired by nature to vintage-style drawings, learn how to create images that encourage young readers' imaginations.
1. Vintage Illustration for Engaging Children’s Books, a course by Ingela P Arrhenius
Children’s illustration gives us the opportunity to pique curiosity in the minds of young readers from an early age through words and images. Illustrator Ingela P Arrhenius ( @hello_ingela ) specializes in doing just that through her bold and colorful artwork, and has illustrated and published multiple children’s books.
In this course, Ingela teaches you how to design an illustrated children’s book with a vintage twist . Create a visual universe that inspires young readers by exploring i llustration techniques, playful typography, and book design .
2. Animal Characters in Watercolor for Children’s Books, a course by Julie Mellan
Watercolor allows you to paint atmospheres and bring a personal approach to any scene. Illustrator Julie Mellan ( @julie_mellan ) uses it to create captivating illustrations for children’s books. She explores color, light, and shadow to paint images full of personality that have been published by the likes of Penguin Random House, Clavis, and Fleurus.
In her course, you will learn to create animal characters in watercolor for children’s books . Create dynamic and expressive animal protagonists as Julie guides you through all the stages—from your initial ideas and sketches to deciding color schemes, and more.
3. Character Creation for Illustrated Stories, a course by Valentina Toro
Learn the tools to write and illustrate characters, both inside and out, by understanding their essence and their world with illustrator and writer Valentina Toro ( @valentinatorog ).
In her course on character creation for illustrated stories , Valentina teaches you how to create a character using a text to understand their essence , while sharing all the tools you need to write and illustrate a scene inhabited by your story's protagonists.
If you'd like to delve even deeper, take a look at her other course, Illustrating and Writing a Children's book .
4. Illustrated Children's Books: Create a Unique Story, a course by Weberson Santiago
An illustrator defines their style in their strokes, lines, and colors that evoke certain feelings or sentiments in their viewers. Building on that principle, in this course, you will develop a story idea graphically , by learning how to create illustrated children's books with a unique visual narrative .
Teacher, author, and illustrator Weberson Santiago ( @webersonsantiago ) will guide you through each step with a series of exercises, showing you how to create characters and build the environment using a variety of composition techniques.
5. Wildlife Illustration for Children's Books, a course by Dieter Braun
The natural world offers endless inspiration for people of all ages. Get inspired by wildlife to create a nature-inspired storybook that reminds children of the world we live in with help from illustrator and author Dieter Braun ( @dieter_2 ).
In his course, Wildlife Illustration for Children's Books , dive into the world of illustration and learn how to turn your sketches into digital drawings full of texture and color. Then, learn his tips for bringing it all together creating a double-page spread for a children’s book .
Learn to create memorable stories that shape young minds by combing both words and pictures.
6. Visual Narrative for Picturebooks: Create a Playful World, a course by Renata Galindo
Discovering a story through both visual and verbal language has the power to spark young imaginations on multiple levels. Explore this art further by diving into the world of visual storytelling with published author and illustrator Renata Galindo ( @r_galindoprieto ).
Renata is passionate about combining visual and verbal narratives to tell compelling stories full of surprises. In her course on creating a visual narrative for picturebooks , she guides you through writing, illustrating, and designing your first story.
7. Pitch Writing for Non-fiction Picturebooks, a course by Isabel Thomas
When it comes to writing a non-fiction children’s book, the choice of topics is endless, and each of them can help young readers learn more about the world around them .
An award-winning science writer and children's book author, Isabel Thomas ( @isabelthomas ) has written over 180 non-fiction titles, published in over thirty languages. The first step in her process? Writing a pitch that captures the attention of publishers.
Sharing her expertise on how to write a pitch for non-fiction picturebooks , in this course she shows you step-by-step how to create an original idea and craft it into a polished pitch . Explore strategies for ideation, storyboarding, writing a sample text , and more.
8. Picturebook Creation, a course by Flavia Z Drago
Learn the differences between an illustrated book, a picturebook, and all the different types that exist along with their characteristics in this picturebook creation course by Flavia Zorrilla Drago ( @flavia_zdrago ).
Flavia has collaborated with publishers Combel, Petra, Delete Dog, Walker Books, and the Mexican Secretariat of Culture to author illustrated albums for children of all ages. In her course, you will learn about the basic narrative principles and find brilliant ideas for creating your own illustrated album .
9. Creation of a Children's Picturebook, a course by Claudia Rueda
If you would like to learn all the steps involved in creating an illustrated children’s book for young readers, Claudia Rueda ( @clau_2 ) is the ideal person to guide you.
An author and illustrator who has published more than thirty books, in her course Claudia takes you through the full process for creating children's picturebooks . From setting up the album book to making a final mock-up, you’ll learn how to plan and create your picturebook project from scratch combining narrative and illustration in a unique way.
Children’s book writing courses
Children’s fiction writing is a chance to take the imagination of young minds on fantastical journeys, whilst diving into an exciting literary journey of your own!
10. Introduction to Writing a Children’s Fantasy Novel, a course by Piers Torday
Embark on a writer’s journey to create a children’s novel that transports the little ones to another universe and inspires them to ask big questions in this children’s fantasy novel writing course for beginners .
With children’s book author and recipient of the Guardian Award for Children’s Fiction, Piers Torday ( @ptorday ), discover the creative process behind world-building, plot development, and character arcs that can inspire the next generation.
11. Children’s Fiction: Write Compelling Adventure Stories, a course by Ross Montgomery
Explore the process of writing a captivating quest story for children and create a one-page synopsis of your book ready to submit to a literary agent with Ross Montgomery ( @rossjamesmontgomery ).
A children’s author whose stories invite young readers into worlds full of oddity, mischief, and laughter, in his children’s adventure fiction writing course , he helps you explore what a children’s book is, understand your readers, develop your plot , and learn how to approach publishers with your story.
12. Creating Children's Stories, a course by Ilan Brenman
Experiences from daily life offer all kinds of avenues for exploration when it comes to creating stories that really connect with young readers . If you want to write a story that leaves an impact, learn how in Ilan Brenman’s ( @ibrenman ) course on creating children's stories .
An award-winning children's book author and international best-seller, with Ilan you’ll discover techniques to develop your own creative writing process. Study the key components of a narrative structure , learn how to turn your ideas into an outline , discover how illustrations interact with text , and lots more.
13. Writing Children's Novels from Start to Finish, a course by Olney Goin
Ready to start writing your first children’s novel? Author Olney Goin ( @olneygoin ) knows all kinds of tricks of the trade to enhance your creativity , bring characters to life, and get you started on writing your first fantasy adventure .
With Olney as your teacher, l earn how to write a children's novel, from start to finish . Transform the ordinary into the extraordinary and write your first novel for young readers—from the initial idea to the final page.
Pop-up book courses
Learn the art of paper folding and cutting to create 3D worlds that will get young readers excited to turn each page.
14. Pop-Up Book Creation, a course by Silvia Hijano Coullaut
Pop-up books are a feat of storytelling and paper engineering that rely on various stages (cutting, folding, assembling, and binding) to create a new world for the reader to dive into with every turn of the page.
An expert in this artform, founder of the Libracos studio, Silvia Hijano Coullaut ( @silvia_libracos ) will teach you the essential skills to create your own pop-up book in her course (audio available in English and Spanish).
If you want to continue improving your technique, check out her second course, Advanced Techniques for Creating Pop-Up Books .
15. Paper Cutting Techniques for Storytelling, a course by Karishma Chugani
Learn the manual techniques to craft a theater book using paper and scissors in this course by illustrator, fashion designer, and founder of L’École de Papier, Karishma Chugani ( @karishma_chugani ).
By experimenting with a few tools and your imagination, you can tell all kinds of stories. With Karishma to teach you, learn paper-cutting techniques for storytelling as you make your own theater book (a hybrid between a tunnel book and a paper theater).
Learn more top tips for creating children’s books
If you want to continue exploring the world of children's books, read on for more top resources and advice from the experts.
- Discover the key dos and don'ts of writing for young readers in this storytelling tutorial on writing children's books .
- Learn tips to make your illustrated characters stand out with this children’s illustration tutorial for character design .
- If you want to hear more industry advice and follow in the footsteps of experts, check out any of Domestika's online children's illustration courses .
super, thank You for that information.
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In the children's book academy you will....
- Change in ways that you cannot begin to imagine by developing high-level skills and greater confidence in your abilities.
- Become an empowered children's book creative with the confidence to submit and persist in submitting your children's book work to appropriate decision makers.
- Be inspired by other children's book creatives that you learn from during your journey as well as in the fabulously supportive private groups and critique groups that continue after each course ends.
- Learn how to be truly successful as a children's book creative on your own terms, with our help!
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Feb. 7-Mar. 21 (6 sessions): Writing Social Emotion Learning (SEL) Picture Books with Lisa Katzeberger Join picture book author Lisa Katzenberger for a 6-week online course this February. Social Emotional Learning is now a core component of early education, and educators and parents are looking for stories to help children tap into and express their emotions. Picture books serve as a wonderful entry point into discussions about how we feel, why we feel that way, and how to manage those feelings. Picture books featuring SEL concepts are in demand by editors, sought out by educators, and loved by children. This course will help you learn how to weave SEL concepts into your picture book manuscripts. This session includes a full written critique of an SEL picture book manuscript from the instructor.
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Pict ure books, chapter books, middle grade & ya, general writing courses, graphic novels.
How to write children’s books – 3 free courses to get you started
If you’re thinking about writing your first children’s book but are not sure where to start. What sort of story should it be? What age group should you target? How will you know if children will like your story? We found some great free online courses that will answer these questions and more.
Coursera.com Writing for Young Readers: Opening the Treasure Chest
Join over 85,000 other aspiring writers who have enrolled for this course over the last few years and take your passion for writing children’s books to the next level – action.
Through five modules, designed to take one week each, this course offers instruction with a combination of video lectures, online readings, peer reviews, and guest appearances from world-renowned children’s authors.
One of the great things about having so many students enroll is the community created. You will be able to give and receive feedback from other writers which adds to the wealth of the learning experience.
During the course, you will develop ten to twelve extracts of writing which can be the starting point for your first book projects.
- Your Writing Identity
- Genre, Form, and Audience
- Editing and Proofreading
Instructors: David Hill, Maria Gill, Alex Alexandrou
More info: Writing For Young Readers: Opening the Treasure Chest
Reedsy.com Children’s Books 101: Writing for the Right Age Group
One of the challenges for new writers of children’s books is figuring out what sort of story to write for a particular age group. This course was designed to help clear this up.
Some of the stuff you will learn:
- An introduction to the children’s book market
- What publishers are looking for in children’s books for different ages
- Industry standards for books in all categories including appropriate content, word count, and illustration requirements
- How to give yourself the best chance of landing a publisher.
Instructor: Anna Bowles More info: Children’s Books 101: Writing for the Right Age Group
Open.edu Exploring books for children: words and pictures
This course is offered via open.edu so you can take it without even signing up if you wish. Signing up lets you track your progress, earn a free statement of participation, and access all course quizzes and activities.
It was designed to help new children's book authors understand the art of using pictures to delight, inspire and educate young ones.
"You will learn how children’s books use words and pictures together in remarkably sophisticated ways to communicate both to young and older readers, drawing on examples from the classics, such as Beatrix Potter’s Tales of Peter Rabbit, and from contemporary children’s authors such as Anthony Browne, author of Gorilla."
- Words and pictures in children’s fiction through the ages
- Making sense of pictures
- Combining words and pictures
- Book design and intended readership
- Illustration as interpretation: the example of Alice
- Analyzing images: composition and symbolism
Instructors: Sharon Goodman, Philip Seargeant, and Jackie Tuck More info: Exploring books for children: words and pictures
Bonus Blog Post
How to write a children's book by Judy Blume This post includes 5 Different Types of Children’s Books,7 Things to Consider Before Writing a Children’s Book, and 4 Tips for Writing a Children’s Book.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
Author: Team VoW
Valley of Writers provides resources, tools, ideas and training for new writers. We work with a writers and contributors based around the world. Our primary focus is to equip new writers with skills to help them reach new audiences and achieve their goals.
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Coursera Writing for Young Readers: Opening the Treasure Chest is not free but $49.
Hi John. Thank you for your feedback. We just verified and the course is still free. See screenshot below.
Here’s the link again just to confirm: Coursera | Writing For Young Readers: Opening the Treasure Chest
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Children’s Books 101: Writing for the Right Age Group
Taught by: Anna Bowles
So you want to write for children? That’s great. But before you take another step, answer this question: who exactly are these children you’re writing for?
Four-year-olds and fourteen-year-olds like different kinds of story — that much is obvious. But when you’re growing up, what you like and even who you are can change from year to year. Many aspiring authors effectively rule themselves out of publication by creating characters that are spot-on for eight-year-olds but making their story far too long, or devising a thrilling, complicated plot only to include dialogue that’s too simple for older readers.
Age-appropriateness is the number one issue on any editor or agent’s mind when they’re assessing submissions. As a children’s author, you need to make sure your book is tailored to its market.
What you'll learn in this course
- An introduction to the children's book market
- What publishers are looking for in children's books for different ages
- Industry standards for books in all categories including appropriate content, word count, and illustration requirements
- How to give yourself the best chance of landing a publisher.
Brought to you by:
Contact her about an editorial assessment through her profile page on Reedsy .
What are people saying about this course?
"This course was VERY helpful. I am mainly interested in writing picture books but the other information was very helpful if I were ever to want to try my hat at a book for older children."
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Become a Children’s Writer
Whether you want the recognition and reward of becoming a bestselling children’s author or, the simple joy and satisfaction of delighting the children in your life – this award-winning course gives you everything you need to write captivating stories for children. WriteStorybooksForChildren.com is the trusted course of choice for over 140,000 people worldwide. This comprehensive, world-class training gives you all the guidance and in-depth help you need to write successful children’s books – from how to get started, how to structure a storyline, create a plot, write dialogue and decide on a style, to where to look for a good illustrator, how to avoid the mistakes that annoy most editors and so much more. Learn More “You’ll discover everything you need to know to write and publish compelling children’s stories – for pleasure or profit!”
“The course was set out into modules, which helped you feel like you were achieving throughout the course. The content was clearly written and provided useful tips without patronising. Having worked in on-line education and training for a number of years, I would definitely recommend the course.”
Emma Review verified by TrustPilot
“This course was better than expected. It was captivating enough to hold my attention and intriguing enough for me to complete the course. This course is packed with useful information. I would definitely recommend this course to others.”
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“I really enjoyed the course and felt every aspect of the subject was thoroughly covered. This course made me feel as if I was being shown the ropes by a good friend of mine, one more than willing to share their secrets.”
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“This is a great place to start learning about children’s story writing and the cost is highly competitive too. The course encourages accelerated learning by being modular and progressive.”
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“The confidence boost I needed. Everyone has that story they want to put down on paper but don’t have the time or confidence to commit to. This course helped me to focus on the right points and gave me the boost I needed to give writing children’s books a go.”
Jessica Review verified by TrustPilot
“I have always been interested in writing children’s books, and when I saw this course I thought why not?! I started the course and completed it in less than a week, all with a small baby at home! I would recommend this course to anyone and everyone! Thank you!”
Catherine Review verified by TrustPilot
“This was a great course and loved it. So easy to go through and took me no time to finish it. Everything was amazing and perfect I learned all the things I was missing and can’t wait to start my book now. Highly recommend this course to anyone wanting to write books for children.”
Lara Review verified by TrustPilot
“I just finished the Write Storybooks for Children course. I have learned a great deal, and now I can’t wait to apply what I’ve learned to my writing.”
Chris Review verified by TrustPilot
“Better than any college and graduate courses I have taken. I am so impressed with the quality of this course.”
Suzy Review verified by TrustPilot
“I thoroughly enjoyed this writing for children course. The lessons were packed with so much valuable information. I took the course over 6 weeks to allow the lessons to sink in. So much to be learned in a few short modules so I best get back to module one and start over!”
Jody Review verified by TrustPilot
“The course was packed with lots of information and advice and although I cannot remember it all I can go back into the course at any time to remind myself. Lesson 14 hopefully will be very relevant when I have written my first children’s book!!”
Juleen Review verified by TrustPilot
“This was a very insightful and on occasions testing course. It was delivered in a relaxed but informative style with just a hint of sarcasm and realism (a British style!). I very much enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone considering a career in writing or indeed publishing.”
Derek Review verified by TrustPilot
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Writing for Young Readers: Opening the Treasure Chest
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About this Course
This course is for curious students and aspiring authors with a passion for writing for young readers. Participate in a dynamic online community of writers as you experiment with your own writing and develop your voice. This course will guide you with a combination of video lectures, online readings, peer reviews, and guest appearances from world-renowned children’s authors. As you work through the writing exercises, you will give and receive feedback from your peers and gain tools and techniques for improving your writing.
During this course you will identify stories that matter to you, explore cultural significance and boundaries, and shape your identity as a writer; become familiar with standard elements of narrative (character, setting, plot, theme, language, dialogue, point of view); reflect on your own work and practice essential self-editing skills; see the different ways in which words and art interact, and the possibilities of longer narrative forms; come away with practical insights into publishing options; and create a plan for pursuing your enthusiasm for writing. By the end of the course, you will have ten to twelve extracts of writing that you can develop into a portfolio. Join a dynamic community of many voices from around the world. Find inspiration in your own voice, heart, and place so that you can tell the stories for young readers you’ve always wanted to tell.
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Commonwealth Education Trust
The Commonwealth Education Trust invests in primary and secondary education and the professional development of teachers throughout their careers. Through education it seeks to enhance the opportunities for children from all walks of life to contribute to the sustainable development of their communities.
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Syllabus - What you will learn from this course
Your writing identity.
Good children’s writing commonly has a strong sense of identity. This module will give you a chance to think about and practice putting yourself into your writing. We will start by looking at how you can establish effective writing habits and how you can use your own experiences and culture to enrich your writing. We will also discuss ways that you can add depth to your writing by drawing on myths and legends, and by experimenting with different viewpoints.
Genre, Form, and Audience
In this module we will give you an overview of genres and forms that are popular for young readers. We will then move on to a discussion of audience – who your readers are and how you can make your work appealing to your chosen audience. By the end of the module you will have a good sense of the wide range of genres and forms available to you and some techniques that you can use to make the most of the genre or form you are working in.
We’ve covered qualities of writing that make it appeal to an audience – its form, its genre, and its strong personal voice. Now we’ll move on to some structural elements that are key to holding your writing together. We’ll start by looking at character and setting, then move on to plot and theme. Finally, we will focus on language. Language can really bring your writing to life by adding a layer to your characters and setting and by giving your plot a good pace. This is the last module where we look at creating new writing. In the next two modules we’ll focus on editing your work and getting it published.
Editing and Proofreading
In this module you will learn how to transform your draft work into something that flows well, is free of errors, and is ready to be published. We’ll start by looking at structural editing, where you look at your work’s plot, structure, and themes. Then we’ll move on to the copyediting and proofreading stage, where you focus on perfecting grammar and spelling. We have provided resources and checklists that will help you to practice applying our editing tips to your own work.
In this final module you’ll learn about different ways that you can get your work published and into the hands of young readers. We have included information about a range of different publishing methods available to you, from traditional print publishing to digital publishing. You can also listen to our guest writers talking about how they publish their own work. This MOOC is just a starting point for your writing life. You will soon be ready to join a global network of writers.
- 5 stars 75.63%
- 4 stars 18.62%
- 3 stars 4.26%
- 2 stars 0.98%
- 1 star 0.49%
TOP REVIEWS FROM WRITING FOR YOUNG READERS: OPENING THE TREASURE CHEST
I am a beginner wantabee author and publisher, first steps are elementary, as I need. Self paced, life can get in the way. Instructors are wonderful, as are the guest speakers and interviewees Thanks.
Thanks you! I’ve learned a lot! Even if some of the information about the publishers is gotten old, there is a lot of truly helpful knowledge for writers who want to get startet.
An absolutely fantastic course! Good for beginners, but also good for those with experience as well. The instructors are great and all the guest speakers are delightful and interesting.
The course is taught quite well; the assignments are fun and not too daunting or difficult. I especially benefited from the editing, proofreading, and publishing lesson modules.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will I have access to the lectures and assignments?
Access to lectures and assignments depends on your type of enrollment. If you take a course in audit mode, you will be able to see most course materials for free. To access graded assignments and to earn a Certificate, you will need to purchase the Certificate experience, during or after your audit. If you don't see the audit option:
The course may not offer an audit option. You can try a Free Trial instead, or apply for Financial Aid.
The course may offer 'Full Course, No Certificate' instead. This option lets you see all course materials, submit required assessments, and get a final grade. This also means that you will not be able to purchase a Certificate experience.
What will I get if I purchase the Certificate?
When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.
Is financial aid available?
Yes. In select learning programs, you can apply for financial aid or a scholarship if you can’t afford the enrollment fee. If fin aid or scholarship is available for your learning program selection, you’ll find a link to apply on the description page.
More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center .
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Writing Children ’ s Books
Write for children with world-renowned authors.
Our children’s writing program
⭐ Awarded Best Course for Children’s Literature Worldwide by Intelligent
Why do children ’ s books dominate the worldwide bestsellers lists of all time? What ’ s involved in writing a convincing child or teen protagonist that will appeal to younger and older readers ? How do you bring a sense of wonder to your story? And how do you create a world young readers won ’ t want to leave?
If you ’ re looking for inspiration to create stories or already have an idea for a children ’ s book, and want to write with the guidance of world renowned children ’ s authors to get published, our team will help you shape and improve your book writing.
Our children ’ s book writing course is an award winning course rated best in the world by Intelligent – with five star reviews from writers too. (It ’s the course recommended by the world’s leading literary agencies.)
Our children ’ s book course is a a year-long program with an easy 3 step process: 1. The Classic Course, 2. The Ninety Day Novel, 3. The Big Edit.
What ’s more to ensure you stay on track, you’ll enjoy inspiring self paced interactive coursework, a thriving children’s writing community and one-to-one personal coaching.
You’ll write your children’s book with coaching from a bestselling children’s author, one of our team of children’s book authors writing for children of all ages, younger and older readers, who love helping aspiring writers with the creative process.
Our famous Classic Course is the perfect place to start writing in the children ’ s fiction genre and will give you a solid foundation to write books for children at all age levels, exploring books known for their place at the very top of the roster of the classic children ’ s books. You ’ ll learn world-building, character development, the hero ’ s journey, the importance of good versus evil, magic systems and much more. You ’ ll create a story young readers will love.
Our children ’ s book writing course program includes video lectures with guest appearances from famous names like Meg Rosoff, Piers Torday, Katherine Roundell and more and a treasure chest of carefully structured guidance to help you raise your word count daily, creating characters that will remain with children happily ever after.
You ’ ll go on to work with professionals from The Big Five publishing houses like Penguin Random House, experienced as editors working in children ’ s fiction and when your book is ready, we will introduce you to the children ’ s book market via submission to our literary agency partners.
It ’ s the combination of courses, coaching and community with dedicated expertise in writing for children, that makes this such a great course.
Join our thriving children’s fiction writing community today
Our children ’s book writing program at a glance
The Children ’ s Department
With award-winning children’s fiction authors and a dedicated children’s and young adult fiction editorial team.
The Classic Course and beyond
Suited to those starting to write a children’s book, with follow-on courses to write and complete your book.
Enjoy the company of your children’s and young adult writing group, with online readings and workshops.
A year’s access to the course and easy extension plans.
Learn from bestselling children ’ s writers
We’ll examine children ’ s novels and young adult fiction books that have become some of the most enduring works of fiction ever published. You’ll be guided how to combine their storytelling secrets with your own unique interests. Discover the secret sauce used by the great children ’ s authors J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Richmal Crompton, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Hans Christian Andersen, Mark Haddon and Philip Pullman, as well as the contemporary books for children shaking the industry. You ’ll go on to write with an award winning bestselling children’s fiction author.
Piers Torday is the award-winning and bestselling author of seven books for children dubbed ‘ the new master of children’s fiction ’ by The Times .
David is the author of middle-grade children’s novels. His children’s books have won The British Book Industry Best Children ’ s Book and The Waterstones Children ’ s Book Prize.
Polly is the author of is the bestselling, award-winning author of five Young Adult fiction novel, and six books for younger readers. Named a New York Times Book for the Teen Age, Alice’s first novel won or was short listed for numerous prizes, and she was nominated for the Carnegie Medal.
The Classic Course
Where our children’s writing program begins. The Classic Course will teach you how to create wonderment in fiction for younger readers. Learn what children expect from you as the author: part-magician, part-parent. It ’ s your job as a children’s fiction author to open the eyes of younger readers to the world and life ahead of them and to keep them safe while you go on an amazing adventure in fiction.
Get Started With the Idea
The Classic Course begins with lessons to help you create the space and time for your writing and prepare your mindset for creative thinking. We’ll share with you the key features of a bestseller, where ideas (really) come from and what makes a children ’ s book a classic.
Children’s and YA fiction can go anywhere, it’s such an expansive and exciting genre. So where to begin?
Here’s one playful exercise to get you started: begin with the world you know and imagine one thing that’s different. How could that one difference change everything else? It can be something tiny and trivial, or important and huge – follow through the impact of its absence.
Now place a young person in the middle of this changed world. What would they do?
Once Upon A Time
Move beyond the conventional three act structure to discover the great story structure that lies beneath storytelling and discover how big stories come from very small seeds of the first children ’ s stories we read and loved. We’ll guide you where to find the source of drama in fiction. Clue? It’s behind you!
You’ll combine your own ideals, hopes and fears with the big archetypal moves of storytelling to begin to create the structure for your book for children or young adults.
Starting to Plan a Story
We’ll give you the who , the why and the what in these lessons to help you find the hero, locate the story, and scope out the arc of the story. In children ’ s fiction, it all starts with our hero in challenging and unfortunate circumstances often through no fault of their own. The reader sympathises immediately.
Just think how many children ’ s stories begin with a child who is without their parents or anyone to care for them (apart from the reader!)
You ’ ll need to add a villain for the all-important conflict that tests the young person ’ s values to create drama. We ’ ll create a cunning plan in the Classic Course and your writing coach will review it with you before you put pen to paper, so you can start writing with confidence.
Creating the Story World
Remember, the big difference between adult and children ’ s fiction is that in novels for adults, the war is inside you. A novel for adults is a moral journey with the main character in conflict, choosing between the positive and negative values of the theme.
But in a children’s story, the war is outside. The hero must battle evil and triumph for good, overcoming worldly temptations and showing younger readers how to uphold the values you, the author, hold dear.
We ’ ll show you how to give your ideas and values solid form; in the setting, characters, objects, icons, tokens, motifs, and treasures you choose to surround your child hero with. Everything matters. What you leave out can be as important as what you select and you’ll want to create light and shade to trigger the imagination of the younger reader.
Heroes & Villains
The Conflict That Drives a Children ’s Story
The value system that drives storytelling for children is given dimension by the polar figures of the hero and the villain.
It’s our shared values as humankind from all corners of the world that have ensured stories entertained and enlightened readers through time. Stories connect our lives. We live and breathe stories, and so do your characters, and stories are concerned with change.
It takes a villain to drive the growth of your main character. Their conflict, and the triumph of good over evil, makes for a very satisfying read for the younger reader who often has a deeper sense of right and wrong than the older reader!
A Story Readers Will Love
Your voice as a children ’s author is all-important. You need to provide a safe place for your reader to venture into potentially dangerous and testing adventures. Sometimes this means addressing the reader directly, especially in middle grade fiction. In young adult fiction, it means having one character who stands for moral goodness.
We’ll show you how the best-loved authors befriend their readers and keep them safe in remarkably sophisticated ways while providing a credible and entertaining reading experience.
Your relationship with a younger reader is parental, and with a young adult that of a trusted best friend.
Why and How We Write
We’ll develop an understanding of what moves a bestselling children’s fiction author to write their book and how the great stories originate from the ‘wounds’ of apparently successful writers, as a way to right the wrongs and create a better world.
We’ll look at the insider secrets behind the all-time bestselling children’s books from their source of inspiration through to the drafts and redrafts of those works as the author got closer to fulfilling their vision. We’ll help you skip a draft or two by bringing you closer to your aims.
You’ll gain the confidence needed to bring your whole self to the page to forge an honest and vital connection with your reader.
The Writing Plan
Here’s where it all comes together with a simple but dazzling plan for the children’s or young adult fiction story you can’t wait to write. We’ll be waiting to see you through the next stage of our writing courses, The Ninety Day Novel Course, where the actual writing begins.
You ’ ll be able to choose your children ’ s or young adult fiction writing coach to guide you every step of the way. You ’ ll work with a bestselling children's author working in the right age group for your chosen specialisation, with a wide range of experience writing middle grade novels, children ’ s picture books and creating stories that have appealed to children worldwide. They ’ ll oversee the structural matters of plotting and planning, drilling down into guidance on prose details, helping you write dialogue that ’ s convincing but age appropriate content too. (When you come on to the third phase of our program, The Big Edit, your children ’ s fiction editor will guide you through the different ages industry standards to ensure you find your place in today ’ s children ’ s book market. Whether you are thinking of self publishing or seeking a literary agent, they will raise your book to publishing standards.)
‘Excitement and joy’
The children ’s fiction course with rave reviews
‘A deep dive into the key ingredients of the recipe to create a children’s classic. I feel like I lucked out. I appreciate very much the balance you strike between high quality and commercial viability. MFA programs often only teach literary writing, at the expense of the crafting of plot. Other online resources are often too “pulpy’ for my taste. I think writers with the ambition to write for a large audience, but also to write to a high literary standard, would find it very rewarding, particularly if they’re writing middle-grade or YA.’
‘Thank you for reigniting my desire to write for children. The gentle journey of the course fooled me into thinking I was just ambling along when at the end I realised I had a lot more written and developed than I thought I had. It made me think more in my free time about my story. It reignited my buried desire to write for children by remembering the child I was and how some stories shaped me as I read them. And how we all can bring that hidden child out to write alongside us because they may have a story worth telling .’
‘I’ve come up with an idea that I love and have an outline for my novel as well as planning on chapters, characters and the way my magical world works. The course gave me confidence to write my novel, excitement and joy in planning and writing, a new twist on an old idea. I never thought much about writing a children ’ s fantasy book but realised it’s what I ’ ve always wanted to do. I found it really inspiring and it really opened me up. I managed to keep up with the lessons and looked forward to doing them each day.’
Write for the most important readers. Write for children.
The Novelry submitted Susie’s book to our literary agency partner Peters, Fraser and Dunlop, and Susie was offered representation. She went on to secure a two-book publishing contract with Pushkin Books.
‘I joined an amazing online writing community called The Novelry. Up until then, I’d only written full-length fiction for adults but had got to the point where I’d lost momentum and couldn’t finish anything. I wailed to Louise at The Novelry that I had no ideas and she assured me that after the first week of The Novelry’s Classic Course, I’d have something. She was right.’ —Susie Bower
Inspire the next generation with The Novelry.
Write for the most important readers. Write for children.
The Novelry submitted Susie’s book to our literary agency partner PF+D, and Susie was offered representation and went on to secure a two-book publishing contract with Pushkin Books.
‘I joined an amazing online writing community called The Novelry. Up until then, I’d only written full-length fiction for adults but had got to the point where I’d lost momentum and couldn’t finish anything. I wailed to Louise at The Novelry that I had no ideas and she assured me that after the first week of The Novelry’s Classic course, I’d have something. She was right.’ —Susie Bower
Write for children at The Novelry.
Our course reviews, frequently asked questions, will this course get me started writing for children.
We believe a great story makes for easy writing, so we want to focus on your story from the start at The Novelry. So whether you’re doing the course to enrich your reading or writing, whether you’re planning to write a bestseller or write for family or friends, we'll begin with the Classic course which will help you write a bigger story, one that your readers will love. You’ll be itching to write within days of starting the course. (Just let anyone try stopping you!)
We’re standing by to help you write your amazing novel with the next course, The Ninety Day Novel Course.
We have an onward journey all mapped out.
You’ll need notebook, a pen and an internet connection for the online lessons. That’s it. Our online learning platform is easy to use, even for the less tech-savvy among us!
What’s the learning format and access period?
Your year is structured in 3-stages to create, write and edit your book, allowing you the chance to work step-by-step through each phase and take any breaks you need between them. You will begin with The Classic Course to come up with the idea for your novel and plan your story, then you will write your first draft with The Ninety Day Novel Course. Finally, you will be guided how to raise your book to publishing standards with The Big Edit.
We offera self-paced program, with over 200 lessons served on our beautiful online platform by video and text. Enjoy the lessons on any internet-connected device. Watch the video, read the text and use the ‘speak aloud’ feature to listen. You’ll need 30 minutes for each lesson and probably some thinking time to capture your thoughts and ideas as you start writing. This might be a good opportunity to start setting aside an hour a day just for you and your writing, and you’ll come to love this special time. One hour? You deserve it.
We suggest you allow 1–2 months for The Classic Course, 3 months for The Ninety Day Novel Course, and the remainder of your year, 6 months or more, for The Big Edit. But as the course is self-paced, you can take each phase at your own pace, according to your lifestyle, holidays, vacations, and commitments.
You can book your coaching sessions at any time during your year on the program.
English as a second language? Hearing or vision difficulties?
Our courses are suitable for people with visual or auditory impairment, dyslexia and for those with English as a second language. We offer an app which translates the course into 99 languages and offers a speak-aloud option too. Learn more here .
Do you offer a money-back guarantee?
Yes, we are all for Happy Writing . You can review our terms and conditions here . If for any reason at all the course is not for you, you can get a full no-questions-asked refund within the first 7 days after purchase. Just email us and let us know.
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