Writing Picture Book Biographies 2019

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:

Faculty lectures and breakout sessions on craft and markets.

One-to-one critique sessions with faculty mentors.

Writing exercises and free writing time.

Editor Q&A.

Time for informal discussion with faculty and industry special guests.


True Storytelling: Tod Olson and Leda Schubert in Conversation

Don Tate: Get it Right with Research

Don Tate: Illustrating Lonnie Johnson’s story, Whoosh!

Don Tate: “Whoosh!” Research and texting with Lonnie Johnson

Donna Janell Bowman’s website


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


Venue Highlights




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