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Picture Books Course

4 weeks

Aimed at:
All levels



18th September 2017
7 Places available.

Course Overview

Do you long to write Picture Books that engage and delight young children but don’t know where to begin?  Don’t worry. If you long to write, you’re already halfway there. This is a course which aims to introduce you to the key skills and techniques required for this specialist area of writing. Picture Books are a child's first contact with the world of books, so this market is always looking for new, quality writing that stimulates young readers. Each week Pippa will guide you through the important elements of this genre and get you playing with sound and pictures as well as words.

On our Picture Books writing course you will learn:

* To understand your audience for Picture Books

* How to refine your writing to suit your audience

* How layout is important

* How to work text and pictures and book design together for dramatic effect

* To understand the market

* How best to approach publishers and agents

A small selection of student praise for this course:

Pippa Goodheart was an excellent tutor. She was encouraging to everyone and offered insightful editing of all posted work. I felt that I learnt a great deal and made good progress during the course. Pippa responded very quickly to posted work and gave generously of her time. I didn’t want the course to end! I now have so much more confidence and fully intend to keep writing picture books.  F. D

I have already been singing the praises of this course to many people! Many thanks – I really enjoyed the course and it has inspired me and taught me a lot of valuable lessons.  O. Neville

 I have loved the personal challenge, grown as an author (I hope) and adored watching my peers stories unfold and develop.Thank you to Pippa ... I know that she is an expert but I think she has given over and above the call of duty with her "markingT. Bunting

Course Syllabus

Week One - Getting in Touch with Childhood

We will start by getting you to think about your own childhood memories, fragments of experience, emotion, sound and touch. Think about what is important to a small child, what upsets them, what excites them, what new experiences they may face and, of course, what makes them laugh. You will be getting in touch with what it is like to be a small child and identifying how your own small memories can tap into the universal emotions of young children. You will start to look at the world from the viewpoint of the very young.

Week Two - Story

This week we will be focussing on the construction of stories and examining the way that words and pictures work together in the picture book format. We will be looking at the key elements of shaping your story, giving it pace and creating a good ending. We will also explore the advantages and pitfalls involved in writing about real life or fantasy.

Week Three - The Physical Book and the Writing Voice

We will explain the main physical requirements that your story needs to fit into the picture book format, and to suit the publishing world. We will be looking at how to make your work dynamic and entertaining.  The exploration of the visual progression of your story and learning how to justify every part of the text are covered along with the key areas of rhythm and repetition to make your story have impact.

Week Four - The Publishing Process & The Market

During this week we concentrate of the problems and opportunities relating to getting your work published. We will be looking at the picture book market and thinking about where your picture book fits into it. We will explore not just what a child responds to but also what the adult purchaser is looking for in a picture book. You will be encouraged to think about how to make your work stand out in a competitive market, and a possible alternative to full picture book publication. Sub-sections of the market, eg age range, will be discussed.
We will address how to approach a publisher or agent, as well as giving advice on ways to find out what publishers are looking for.

Course Tutors

Pippa Goodhart

Pippa worked in the book world, selling, working as a publisher’s reader, and teaching young children before beginning to write books herself. Shortlisted for the Kathleen Fidler, Smarties, Young Telegraph Book of the Year, Blue Peter Book of the Year and Stockton Children’s Book of the Year, she has had more than a hundred books published, ranging from picture books to early readers to novels. Picture books include ‘You Choose’, illustrated by Nick Sharratt and selected by Bookstart.

Pippa teaches writing for children at Cambridge University's Institute of Continuing Education, and also does lots of school visits to work with children. Her website can be found here.

Course Feedback

Here's feedback from our course users.

Average Course Rating:
(5 Customer Reviews)
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

Customer Reviews
Worthwhile21st September 2016
By Michelle Winter
Review of: Picture Books
Coming from a background in art and design, I don't have much experience in writing, but did have some ideas. I found this course invaluable in helping me to get those ideas in order and to critically evaluate them. I had looked at other courses but was swayed to do this one specifically because Pippa Goodhart was the tutor. YOU CHOOSE has been a favourite in our house and Pippa's experience in the industry is incredible. I value everything that I have learnt on this course, it has made me focus much more on the core of the STORY. My only wish is that the course could be longer.. I feel this had been a good investment in my future direction.. Thank you Writers' Workshop and Pippa Goodhart.
My impressions of the 4 week course for writing for children.30th October 2016
By Helena Maria
Review of: Picture Books
My experience in this course was very good, but I feel a month was not long enough to go deeply enough. I would have preferred a 2 month course, with 2 weeks on each topic area or more time to work on the story. I actually think 3 months would be good as well! Most of the other participants were serious about book writing as well, so it was more than a 'diversion activity'. Still, even in a month, I feel I was pushed very hard to really understand the complexity of a children's story and the importance of a goal, well-developed characters and the need to have a conflict to resolve. The course leader's comments were detailed and very helpful and analysed the complete story in depth. I think that was the best part! What makes a child almost unable to wait to turn the page? What makes a good story? How to make 'less more'. As I was still trying to work on the story, I had no time to explore the Early Readers topic introduced in the last week as much as I would have liked. I also sent in my last story draft on the last day, but the critique was not as detailed in the past weeks even thought the course was still officially running until it ended on that day in the evening. I feel the course should be full on - right to the last moment! The feedback and interaction with the other participants was very valuable as well and I feel some of us will continue to exchange and share on the website. I am giving 4 stars as nothing is perfect and there is always room to improve! I would recommend this course to other people and I am interested in others in the future. From a technical side, I had a lot of trouble the first week with Forbidden messages and web issues, but you were accessible and very quick to resolve this situation, and the rest of the course went smoothly!
Picture book course with Pippa27th May 2017
By Susanna Dachtler
Review of: Picture Books
I thoroughly enjoyed this course and feel I have learnt a huge amount from it. Initially I felt a bit demoralised by some of the comments, but I stuck with it, and as more positive comments started to come, my confidence grew. Pippa was great to work with and I never had to wait long for a response. I think the course could have easily been longer so it could properly cover Early Reader books too. This was a bit of an add-on at the end. I feel I've finished the course with a book I'd like to try and get published but still feel a bit in the dark as to where to go from here.
Picture Book Course Review 28th May 2017
By Loretta Marconi
Review of: Picture Books
I learnt more than I anticipated on this course. The way in which to balance the illustrations with the text in such a way to keep the reader interested and intrigued. The whole process of putting a picture book together and presenting to an agent is what I was looking for and did learn. I learnt how to better articulate a story to a child and the type and level of language to use when writing a picture book. This was a real eye opener. I am pleased with Pippa's methods and approach to delivering this course and also acquired a better understanding of the picture book industry and its competitiveness and what is expected of a picture book author. Thank you very much Pippa for all your feedback and guidance you gave. I never expected to have a draft picture book, more so on the topic I chose. Writing for children is something I have put on the back burner for years and completing this course was a big step for me. Thank you for giving me the tools and information to move my life long dream forward. Hopefully I will one day get published :-). Loretta
Simply wonderful!8th June 2017
By Rashmi Sirdeshpande
Review of: Picture Books
LOVED this course. I'm now absolutely obsessed with writing - I'm eating sleeping dreaming picture books. I've learnt so much in such a short space of time. Pippa is brilliant and inspiring and a true master of her craft. Her comments were thorough, insightful and always encouraging. Thank you so much. This was my first foray into picture book writing and what a start it has proved to be!

How our online courses work

Our courses are hosted on our own community site, The Word Cloud, which is a very friendly, intuitive and supportive writing community.

The tools and environment are very intuitive and easy to use: you won't have a problem. Each week, courses will include:

• A video introduction
• A written 'lecture'
• Interactive classroom discussion
• A writing exercise on the week's topic
• Feedback on your homework

All the course material can be accessed at any time of day or night. If you miss a few days, it will be easy to catch up. You are also warmly encouraged to interact with fellow-students - offer advice, give feedback and make friends. Find out more about how our courses work here.