Writing Picture Book Biographies 2019

  • Highlights Foundation Highlights Foundation
  • Pocono Mountains Municipal, Coolbaugh Township, PA, USA
  • Oct 2 - 5, 2019 (4 days)
  • $1,099.00 - Program Price

About This Event


Engage children in the lives of others through captivating events and compelling narrative threads.

A good biography fuels a story with research. It brings subjects to life through accuracy and authenticity. A well-told true story can inspire, delight, teach, and enthrall: kids are realizing that nonfiction can read with the same page-turning momentum as great fiction. In this workshop, you’ll explore the fundamentals of writing biographies for children.

What You’ll Learn

In this workshop, you will learn answers to these questions:

How do you select a biographical subject?

How do you tell a true story that is calling to you?

What makes this particular life worth writing about?

Will this person’s life make a good story for children?

What can be accomplished within the short form of a picture book biography?

What are some tips and tools for researching your subject?

How do you take a mountain of research and carve a storyline through it?

How do you create tension and keep readers turning the page?

How can fiction writing techniques enrich a picture book biography?

What are the publishers and markets for picture book biographies?

Who Should Attend

Beginning or intermediate authors or author/illustrators who want to learn, or strengthen, techniques for writing compelling picture book biographies.

Anyone who is fascinated with a potential biographical subject, feels that children would be interested in their story, and would like to discover the best way to tell that story.

Storytellers who would benefit from one-to-one critique sessions with mentors working in the field of picture book biography.


This workshop features:

Day 1


Arrival & check in


Appetizers & dinner

After dinner: Introductions and welcome

Day 2



Faculty lecture

Writing exercise



One-to-ones consultations or free writing time

Faculty lecture


Appetizers & dinner

After dinner: Author talk

Day 3



Faculty lecture

Breakout sessions: craft and markets



Small group workshopping

Q&A with editor


Appetizers & dinner

After dinner: Author talk

Day 4



Small group workshopping

Closing comments and goal setting


Lunch and departures


True Storytelling: Tod Olson and Leda Schubert in Conversation

Birthdayographies, where Donna Janell Bowman celebrates over 700 (so far!) picture book biographies

Past Present: Giving Past Stories New Life with Lesa Cline-Ransome

Get It Right With Research

Donna Janell Bowman’s website

10 Things to Consider When Writing a Picture Book Biography


This is a new workshop, so we have no testimonials yet.

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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