Writing for All Young Readers: Board Books through MG Series 2019

About This Event


This workshop is for anyone looking for ways to break in or expand upon a career in writing for children, from board books to middle grade series.

Crystal Allen, Kelly Starling Lyons, Kristy Dempsey, and Gwendolyn Hooks met at the Highlights Foundation’s Chautauqua Workshop over a decade ago. Their friendship was forged over works-in-progress, critiques, and the drive to publish great books for all children. Fast forward to now, and between the four women, they have over 30 books published for readers of all ages. They’ve designed a workshop to share with you all that they have gathered over years of their journeys. This workshop is designed to help writers uncover the possibilities offered in the children’s book industry as well as discuss ways to make the most impact on children of all ages.

What You’ll Learn

Ways to break into the industry.

How to turn your passion and ideas into a career.

How to work in multiple genres and for varying ages.

Where to find work-for-hire opportunities.


Daily lectures and discussions.

Hands-on writing exercises.

Chances to meet one-on-one with the faculty.

Opportunities for peer review of your manuscript.

Who Should Attend

This workshop is for anyone looking for ways to break in or expand upon a career in writing for children, from board books to middle grade series.


Turning Passion into a Career

Begin by Beginning–Ideas/First Lines

Board Books and Picture Books


Non-Fiction and Historical Fiction

Early Readers, Chapter Books and Middle Grade

Writing Time/One to One meetings/Group Sharing

Characters: Sweetie Pies and Smart*sses

Plot, Pacing and Paging

Voice, Emotion, and Language

The Business of Publishing

Goal setting


Faculty Interview: Kristy Dempsey, Crystal Allen, Gwendolyn Hooks, Kelly Starling Lyons

Faculty Interview: Kristy Dempsey and Kathryn Erskine

Kristy Dempsey – Taking a Leap


“I found the faculty to be open, accepting of questions, respectful, extremely knowledgeable, and able to share their knowledge in an engaging, forthright manner that was very helpful.”

“The faculty members were extremely knowledgeable, experienced, and personable. They presented so much information in a short amount of time! A very worthwhile conference.”


Venue Highlights




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