Writing the Rainbow: Crafting Picture Books With LGBTQIA+ Themes 2019

  • Highlights Foundation Highlights Foundation
  • Pocono Mountains Municipal, Coolbaugh Township, PA, USA
  • Oct 27 - 30, 2019 (4 days)
  • $1,099.00 - Program Price

About This Event


Picture books bring the world into the hands of young readers. The world we would like them to see (and in which we would like to exist) celebrates all of us as individuals, families, and communities. In many ways we are different, and in many ways we are alike. Our diversity is our beauty and our strength.

Picture books that feature LGBTQIA+ topics, heroes, characters, families, and experiences can be a source of comfort to many children as well as a chance to promote respect, acceptance, and the celebration of diversity. Join workshop leaders Lesléa Newman and Rob Sanders, along with special guests, for an immersive experience in creating LGBTQIA+ themed fiction and nonfiction picture books for today’s market.

What You’ll Learn

Understand the needs of the diverse LGBTQIA+ community

Discover the importance of mirrors and windows in children’s books

Analyze current and historical picture books with LGBTQIA+ themes and topics

Identify topics that need to be addressed in LGBTQIA+ themed picture books

Explore tools of storytelling for both fiction and nonfiction picture books

Examine how to turn story ideas into books that children will love

Learn tools for revision

Hear from an editor about the submission process and LGBTQIA+ needs in the market

Receive critique on a full picture book manuscript

Who Should Attend

This workshop is open to all writers and illustrators of all levels.


Day 1


Arrival and check in


Appetizers and dinner

After dinner: Introductions

The Possibilities Are Endless: One Topic, Many Stories, Lesléa and Rob

Hot Chocolate and Chit-chat

Day 2



Read-Aloud Mentor Text, Rob

Writing Activity #1, Lesléa

Sharing and Celebration

Finding and Telling Untold Stories, Rob



One-on-ones and free writing time

Special Guest Session TBA


Appetizers & dinner

After dinner: Book Chat

Each participant with bring a favorite LGBTQIA+ themed book to share.

The session will end with Lesléa reading a “bedtime story”

Day 3



Read Aloud Mentor Text, Lesléa

Q&A Session with Agent Rubin Pfeffer

Sharing and Celebration

Dump Trucks, Dresses, and Dolls, Oh, My: Smashing Gender Stereotypes in Children’s Literature, Lesléa



One-on-ones or revision and free writing time

Writing Activity #2, Rob

Book signing


Appetizers & dinner

After dinner: Open Mic Readings

The session will end with Rob reading a “bedtime” story.

Day 4


Hands-on Session: Small but Mighty: Verbs, Nouns, POV, Perspective, and Tense, Rob

Hands-on Session: Exercises in Style: 99 Ways to Tell Your Story, Lesléa

Where to Go from Here: Resources to Guide You on Your Journey

Questions and Closing Remarks


Lunch and farewells


Bringing Allyship to Your Work in Children’s Literature

Lesléa Newman’s websites: (contact info blocked) and (contact info blocked).

Rob Sanders’ website: (contact info blocked).

The Gay History of America’s Classic Children’s Books (just for fun!)

Trans kids’ book Julian is a Mermaid is winning hearts and awards

Watch a Lee & Low Books webinar: LGBTQ+ Children’s Books: A Conversation with Authors and download their list of books and resources.

More LGBTQIA+ Picture Books: Why?

Writing the Rainbow: Rob Sanders and Lesléa Newman Talk About LGBTQIA+ Picture Books

Cancellation Policy

100% deposit refund for cancellation 30+ days before event.
50% deposit refund for cancellation 15-29 days before event.
0% deposit refund for cancellation 0-14 days before event.
The remaining balance (total price minus deposit) is due upon arrival.
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