Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Area Classes, Retreats, and Workshops

Winter 2018 Classes, Retreats & Workshops

Classes, conferences and workshops provide opportunities for professional contacts, manuscript critiques, networking and fellowship.  Many an unpublished manuscript has been refocused, redefined, rewritten and  published after its author attended a class or workshop.  The information below was compiled by Oak Park author, June Sengpiehl.   June lives in Oak Park, with her husband, Paul.  She writes poetry, articles, picture  books and chapter books. Her special interests are mysteries and fairy tales. Her email is




School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Department of Continuing Studies

Instructor: Laura Montenegro

37 W. Wabash, Suite 711,

Chicago, Illinois 60603

To register: Phone: 312-629-6170. office M-F

8:30 am to 4:30 pm


Children’s Book Illustration (Laboratory)

Monday/Wednesday July 9 to August 8, 2018

6:00 to 9:00 PM

Sharp Building, Room 310

Instructor: Laura Nyman Montenegro, Author/Illustrator

This course is designed to introduce students to the illustration process,

from ideation and freehand sketching to the development of a finished

product.  Students are encouraged to experiment with a variety of materials

and styles, from traditional to digital and including their hybrid.  Classes are

supplemented with a series of presentations on contemporary illustrators

and discussion of their methods.  Prerequisite(s): Introduction to Drawing or

equivalent experience.





1700 Crain Street. Evanston, IL

Instructor: Laura Montenegro,Author/Illustrator

Workshop dates to be announced.

She will be leading pop-up workshops which will be a laboratory for playful experimentation and growth.They will address many of the challenges that we as picture book makers encounter in our work.  In these workshops, you will explore the world of visual storytelling.  Focusing on the relationship between word, image, pacing, format and design, you will create a hand bound picture book dummy based on a concept of your choosing.  A variety of styles, materials, and techniques used in book illustration will be covered, as well as the children’s book publishing process.  Laura will share her experience and techniques through discussion, demonstrations, exercises and individualized feedback as you develop your ideas and put them on paper. Beginners a well as as the very experienced are invited to attend

For more information, please contact:

Laura Montenegro at:,



“Turning Life Into Fiction Writing Workshop

Saturday, May 5, 2018, 10 am to noon

Deerfield Public Library

920 Waukegan Road

Deerfield, IL 847( 945-3311)

Registration required. Online  registration at:



“The Pleasure  and Perils of Writing Historical Fiction Presentation

Thursday, May 10, 2018, 7 to  8:30 pm

Fountaindale Public Library

300 W. Briarcliff Road

Bolingbrook, IL (630) 759-2102

Registration required.  Online registration at:



“Coping With Your Inner Critic Workshop

Saturday, May 12, 2018,10 am to  noon

Ela Area  Public Library

275 Mohawk Trail

Lake Zurich,IL: (847) 438-3433

Registration required.  Online registration at: publishing


“Coping With Your Inner Critic Workshop

Thursday, May 31, 2018, 7 to 9 pm

Schaumburg Public Library

130 S. Roselle Road

Schuamburg, IL (847) 985-4000

Registration required.  Online registration at:




The Newberry Library

60 W. Walton Street, Chicago, IL  312  255-3700


Wednesday evenings,May 23,30,June 6,13,20,27,  5:45 -7:45 pm

Instructor: Author/ Writing Coach Esther Hershenhorn 

Eager to revise your picture book manuscript to ready it for submission? This instructor-

led workshopping opportunity in which writers share their manuscripts helps writer continue

to learn and hone their craft.  Constructive ongoing feedback on multiple manuscript drafts

focuses on the  elements of story, the needs of both the picture book format and its audience

of young readers.  Writers will return to their stories, able to re-vision them with refreshed eyes.

Note; students must have attended at least one previous Picture Book Writing Workshop.

To register, visit:



The Manuscript Workshop

July 15 to 20 , 2018

Landgrove Inn, VT

Instructor/Facilitator: Author/Childrens Book Writers Coach Esther Hershenhorn

This small Sunday night through Friday workshop honors Barbara Seuling’s love and knowledge of writing for children, dedication to craft and personal investment in her writers and their stories.  Set in the magic-making Green Mountains, writers of all genres are offered up  close and personal learning, writing and connoting opportunities to take their existing manuscripts to the desired Next Level.

Interested writers can visit and to learn more and/or email  Esther Hershenhorn at with any questions. For more information abut the beautiful historic Inn, visit



August 12 to August 18, 2018

The Highlights Foundation

392 Boyd Mills Road

Milanville, PA 18443

PH  877-288-3410

Faculty: Sarah  Aronson, Nancy Werlin, Jennifer Jacobson, A. M. Jenkins

Revise and polish your novel in preparation for submission.  Take your novel to the next level.  Our instructors will challenge you to look at your novel critically and to findopenings  and opportunities for  revision.  This comprehensive workshop include one-on-one sessions, lectures, group discussions, and exercises to support and facilitate your creative process.  The Whole Novel Workshop offers writers the rare opportunity to have the entire draft of a novel read and critiqued prior to the workshop, followed by a week of intense one-on-one mentoring.

Please note: application deadline is April 1,2018. Decisions will be made after the  application deadline. You will be expected to turn in your full manuscript soon thereafter. https//



Writing for the Educational Market

June 24 to 28, 2018

The Highlights Foundation

392 Boyd Mills Road

Milanville, PA 18443

Instructors: Paula Morrow and Jan Fields

Previous participants have built successful careers in this niche, some with multiple book deals.  The workshop covers both fiction and nonfiction, and each participant will go home with a submissions package.  Bonus: the week-end includes in-person visits from two acquiring book editors.  Scholarships are available

For further information, visit the Highlights Foundation web page:  http://www. or email Paula if you have questions.



The following classes are taught by  Michelle Kogan

Email Michelle with any questions at:


Evanston Art Center

1717 Central Street

Evanston, IL 60201 

For registration,  call (847) 475-5300 or visit:


Figures and Nature Drawing/Painting #0158, 0159

Starts Monday, June 11th, 2018, 6 week class, 9:30 to 12:30 pm

Starts Monday, July 23rd, 2018, 5 week  class, 9:30 to 12:30 pm (no class 7-30, 2018)

Using drawing/painting mediums we’ll begin with the figure and add nature elements to your compositions. Bring in images of nature-drawn or photos.  Each class begins with warm up sketches. Instruction will focus in creating strong compositions, anatomy, materials, color and combining figures in nature.  This class will have a life model.

All levels.  Ages 18+ Regular Rate 6 week $235/Member Rate $215; Regular rate 5 week $215/Member rate $195


Watercolors: Materials, Composition & Technique #E0160A & E0160B

Starts Tuesday, June 12th, 2018, 6 week class, 9:30 to 12;30  pm

Starts Tuesday, July 24th, 5 week class, 9:30 to 12:30 pm,  (no class 7-31-2018)

Class focuses on creating  vibrant paintings with strong compositions using watercolor tubes and watercolor pencils.  instruction includes demos on watercolor techniques-applying transparent versus opaque watercolor washes and painting wet in wet.

All levels.  Ages 16+ Regular Rate 6 week $205.Member Rate $185; Regular Rate 5 week $185/Member Rate $165


Children’s Picture Book Illustration 11 week class #0153

 Starts Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 9:30 to 12:30 pm

Choose a classic children’s picture book or bring in your own picture book story and learn about making sequential scenes and creating a picture book dummy.  The class will cover  thumbnail layouts, storyboarding and using a scanner/computer to create the book dummies.  Bring to 1st class: 9 x 12 inch sketchbook, tracing paper pad, kneaded eraser, 3 staedtler mars #3b drawing pencils, pencil sharpener and references for your picture book drawings.

All Levels. Ages 18+, Regular Rate $385/Non-member $365


Pen & Ink Watercolor-6 week Class #0163

Starts Friday, June 15th, 2018, 9:30-12:30 pm

Using still life and reference material students will create drawings and paintings using a variety of pens-dip pens, micron pens, brush pens, watercolors, Dr. Martin Watercolors, and brushes on various papers.  See posted list for materials.

Ages 16+  Regular Rate$205/Member Rate $185



Pens & Ink &   Dr. Martin Watercolor Workshop #9026

Saturday, August 11th, 9:30 am to 4:00 pm

Create studies and one finished piece using the pens, micron pens,brush pens and Dr. Martin watercolors.  The instructor will provide a still life or you can bring in still life material.  See posted list for materials.

All levels.  Ages 18+ Regular Rate $120/Member Rate $100


Plein Air  in the City #9005A Thursday, June 14, 21, & 28, 2018.  

Plein Air in the City #9005B Thursday, July 5, 12 & 19, 2018.

Plein Air in the City #9005C Thursday, August 2, 9, 16, 2018.

Draw and paint inside or outside the Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.  Work in watercolors and watercolor pencils, drawing mediums or acrylics.  Focus includes instruction on creating quick thumbnail sketches, compositions and color.

All levels Ages 18+ RegularRate $140/Member Rate $120


Michelle Kogan also works independently with students; email her to arrange



The following institutions also offer classes and workshops for writers and illustrators.  Specific class information was not available at time of publication.


Lake Forest, IL

Phone (847) 234-1063 or visit www.ragdale




Elgin, IL

Regular writing workshop plus weekend special-topic workshops

Phone (847) 697-1000, Ext 7578



This event is sold out

Wait list infor:

August 17 to August 19, 2018

Words in the Woods

East Bay Camp at Lake Bloomington

24248 Roy Smith Memorial Highway

Hudson, Illinois



Festival of Writing and Illustrating

June 1, 6:00 pm  to June 3,  2018, 2:00 pm

Central Library

200 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Evanston, Indiana


Grow Your Picture Book Garden

August 11, 2018, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

Drake University

2507 University Avenue

Des Moines, Iowa


Illustrator Group Exhibition

July 1, 9:00 am  to August 14,2018, 9:00 pm

Urbandale Public Library Art Gallery

3520 86th Street

Urbandale, Iowa



Farmington Hills Shop Talk

June 2, 2018, 10 am  to 12 pm

Heritage Park Visitors Center

24915 Farmington Rd.

Farmington Hills, MI


Ann Arbor Shop Talk             

May 12,June 23,August 25, 2018, 10 am to 12 pm

AADL Downtown

343 S. 5th Avenue

Ann Arbor, MI


Humor Conference in Detroit

May 5, 2018, 4 pm

Aloft Hotel

David Whitney Building

Detroit, Michigan



Crafting Chapter Books

May 5, 2018, 10:30 am to 1:30 pm


Columbus, OH


Joining Pictures With Words

May 19, 2018 10 am to 1 pm

Parma Library

6996 Powers Blvd.

Parma, OH


How To Write Realistic Dialogue

May 5, 2018 10 am to 12 pm

IWU Education and Conference

4100 Rockside Road

Seven Hills, OH



Illustrator Workshop with Eliza Wheeler

June 2, 2018, 9 am to 3 pm

Cooperative Children’s Book Center

 225 N. Mills Street

Madison, WI



47th Annual Summer Conference

August 3 to 6, 2018

Los Angeles, California

Visit for faculty, registration and information.





Honesdale, PA

Conferences include seminars, small-group workshops, and one-on-one sessions with some of the most accomplished, prominent and supportive authors, illustrators, editors, critics and publishers of the world of children’s literature, all determined to help authors and illustrators meet their goals

To register: 


Writing and Revising Narrative Nonfiction

May 7 to May 12, 2018

Learn narrative nonfiction storytelling skills and get the feedback  you need to complete your revision . A writer of narrative nonfiction. . .


Filling The Writer’s Toolbox: Tools for First Lines, Voice, Character, World Building,and Revision

May 12 to May 17, 2018

Under the guidance of Emma Dryden,you’ll prepare your manuscript for submission and gain
a deep understanding of the fundamentals…


Writing The Unreal: The Whole Novel Workshop in Fantasy and Speculative Fiction

May 13 to May 20, 2018

Please note: this workshop is full.  Send us an email to join our waiting list. Designed for any one with a . . .


Retell, Revisit, Reimagine: Writing Fresh Fairy Tales and Folklore for Older Readers

May 18 to May 20, 2018

Explore ways to harness the enduring appeal of fairy tales in your own work.  Fairy tales have inspired writers since. . .


Crafting a Dummy with Heart and Soul: A creative Incubator for Illustrators

May 24 to May 27, 2018

Find balance with words and pictures as you polish your book dummy for admission. At last!

You have a. . .

PB&J: Picture Books and all that Jazz

June 7 to June 10, 2018

Go beyond the basics to understand the “whys” behind current picture book bestsellers.  Every one loves picture books.  But writing stories. . .


Getting to Know Your Picture Book with Debbie Ridpath Ohi (Online course plus onsite


June 11 to September 16, 2018

Give your picture book the special attention it deserves with this long-form workshop: an

activity based web series paired with a. . . 


 Writing First Chapter Books and Early Readers

June 10 to June 13, 2018

Gain understanding of the unique needs of books for children who are beginning to read independently.  Do you remember the. . .


Connecting Source to Story: Mining the world for your Fiction

June 14 to June 17, 2018

Writers of  historical, contemporary or speculative fiction; Join Ashley Hope Perez for a look into the authentic sources for fiction. .


Writing Mysteries for Middle Grade, Chapter Books and Series 

June 17 to  June 20, 2018

For writers eager to begin or complete a mystery for middle grade readers.  Children love to cozy up with a. . .


Beginning Steps to Writing Historical Fiction

June 21 to June 24, 2018

Give your historical fiction a strong start by learning the fundamentals of this popular genre.

Are you writing a novel. . .


Novel Beginnings: Building Strong Foundations for Your Novel and Your Career

June 21 to June 24, 2018

Get feedback on your novel and guidance about your writing career from two experienced

authors with great teaching and editing. . .


Writing For  the Educational Market

June 24 to June 28, 2018

Would you like to have editors actually contacting you and asking you to write for them?

Welcome to the educational. . .


Summer Camp at the Barn: A Week of Creative Mentorship

July 8 to July 13, 2018

Keynotes, workshops and a creative member to provide one-on-one support.  The Highlights Foundation tackles summer camp a bit differently than. . .


Master Class In Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adult

July 15 to July 19, 2018

Work with our talented group of mentors to explore factual writing! Nonfiction matters.

Publishers crave it.  Teachers and librarians need. . .


Illustration Intensive

July 20 to July 23, 2018

Immerse yourself in illustration techniques and gain tools for storytelling. Explore the ever-

changing children’s book market with authors , illustrators and . .  .


Revision Retreat

August 3  to August 7, 2018

Intended for writers wanting to revise a draft of a manuscript and explore proven techniques

for self-editing,  In this working. . .


Nuts and Bolts of Science Writing

August  8 to August 12, 2018

Energize readers through active fiction and nonfiction writing that shines the light on

exciting science, technology, engineering and math. . .


Whole Novel Workshop MG.YA

August 12 to August 18, 2018

Revise and polish your novel preparation for submission.  Take your novel to the next

level! Our instructors will challenge. . .


Carolyn P. Yoder’s Alumni Retreat

August 18 to August 25,2018

Please note that this workshop is full.  Send us an email to join our waiting list!  A special

and unusual retreat. . .



The Ins and Outs of a Picture Book and its Many Forms

August 26 to August 29, 2018

Crafting characters, Storyboarding with an Illustrator Eye, Revising Strategies, Stand Out

Submissions, School Visits and more,  The word count may be. . .


For all workshops, phone (877) 512-8365 with questions.  To register or to request  more

information, e-mail Jo Lloyd, Program Assistant,


Off Campus Writer’s Workshops Spring 2018

Winnetka Community House

620 Lincoln


Join the writing group that will help you start your first or finish your seventh novel, memoir, non-fiction, young adult or children’s book.  OCWW meets Thursday mornings 9:30 am  to 12:00 pm and provides professional workshops from September to May each year, featuring current authors, editors, professors and publishers.  Per session fee $15. (Members $10 with yearly membership).   Yearly membership @$30 entitles members to reduced session fees, manuscript critiques by presenters, and member critique groups.  Our final meeting the first Thursday in May each year presents a panel of publishers and agents who provide vital information for all authors. For a full list of all OCWW programming, which starts in September, visit:  https://ocww

Check our website for further information,






Montpelier, VT

July, January

11-day intensive residencies in July and January on campus alternate with 5 month nonresident projects  (4 semesters, 5residencies).  Faculty includes M. T. Anderson, Kathi Appelt.Marion Dane Bauer, Sharon Darrow, Ellen Levine and Norma Fox Mazer

Contact Melissa Fisher at (800) 336-6794, Ext. 8637 or e-mail or visit the website at





with a Concentration in Writing For Children

Semesters begin in May or October

Program is 4 semesters, 5 residencies

Contact Graduate Admissions at (800) 896-8941, Ext. 2423 or e-mail: or visit the website at




Cambridge, MA

Offering a concentration in Writing for Young People

Semesters begin in January and June

Program is 4 semesters, 5 residencies

Contact Jana M. Van der Veer

Assistant Director, Advising and Student Services

[LINK: mail to:]





1536 Hewitt Avenue

Saint Paul, MN 55104

Semesters begin in January and July

Program is 4 semesters, 5 residencies

Office phone: (651) 523-2047, Fax: (651) 523-2490

For questions, call (651) 523-2900 or e-mail






Correspondence courses and access to articles, tips, chat room discussions on writing.




“Fundamentals of Writing For Children”  (12 week beginning course)

“Focus Course in Writing For Children” (14 week intermediate course)

For details and starting dates on these workshops and other Writer’s Digest Online Courses, visit


Engl. 1/374: Writing For Children and Young Adults

May 14 to July 3, 2018  

Instructor: Alexandria LaFaye, Author and Writing Mentor

Contact Admissions at 800-345-4440,  Ask about being a guest student to access the class online.  Teachers can sign up for a writing pedagogy version of the 500 level for professional development.  Each student will focus on the genre(s) of their choice but we’ll explore picture books, poetry, nonfiction, short stories  and novels.  Hope you can join this class!


Manuscript Review For Children’s Writers

Ten weeks, starts April 30, 2018

Instructor: Sarah Aronson

This supportive and enthusiastic ongoing writers’ workshop strives to find the heart of every story and assist the writer in every stage of revision.  The instructor welcomes all writers who are working on manuscripts for kids and teens.  Unlike the writing for children introductory class, this advanced course will not offer weekly exercises or lectures, but will focus entirely on the participants’ own work in progress,  Topics for discussion are generated from student manuscripts and are unlimited. Participants should expect to submit material for consideration once a week, offer encouraging and constructive comments on others’ work and be prepared for critical appraisals of their own.  Pictures books through YA. Students should have completed an introductory class in writing for children or have a working knowledge of  and experience in sharing a story from idea to completion.

We take applications first come, first serve until full.  Email me or writers @writers.

com for information.



The Writing Barn – Novel  Foundation MG 1 Online

September 17, 24, October 1, 8, 15, 2018. 7-9 pm CST

Instructor: Michele Weber Hurwitz, Author

Do you have a story in your heart for young readers that is aching to be told? Is the middle grade genre calling your name? If you write fiction for the 8-12 old age range or want to, then this five week class is for you.  This online course will cover the fundamentals of setting, characters,  conflict, theme, voice, dialogue and plot. We will dig deep into these areas with a combination of lecture, supporting examples, discussion, writing exercises, Q&A and group critique. Attendees can work on an existing manuscript or start a new project during the class.  All of the sessions will help build technique and offer suggested guidelines to tackle revisions, rough spots and writer’s block. By the conclusion of the course, you will have a better grasp of how to see an initial germ of an idea through to a fully formed manuscript. Who should take this course: Beginners interested in writing a middle fiction novel, whether it’s fantasy, contemporary, sci fi or medical realism; authors of other genres looking to expand to middle grade; writers who have started outlining, brainstorming or drafting a novel; intermediate writers looking to deepen their craft and benefit from camaraderie on their journey.

Register at the writin