Laura Atkins: The Craft of Creating Picture Books – Where Text and Image Meet

1 Saturday, August 12, 10am-4pm  Berkeley
$130 members/$145 non-members

Picture books provide one of the most exciting and innovative spaces for play in the book world today. Genres collide, stories become graphic novels, and nonfiction dances from the page in lyrical twists and twirls. This concise form, with a close relationship to poetry, needs to carry a strong emotional core, giving satisfaction with minimal words. Picture books can be aimed at young children, even toddlers and infants, but reach older readers as well, especially through nonfiction. While 4-8 is the typical age group associated with this genre, we will look at some examples that target older readers.

Instructor Laura Atkins says, “In this workshop, I will provide an overview of some of the options available within the exciting variety of the picture book form. Nonfiction picture books for older readers are becoming more popular and receiving awards, in part building from the Common Core focus on nonfiction. This can be a more flexible and innovative form than many people realize.

“After this overview, we will shift to looking at the nitty gritty of the picture book format — typical page counts, expectations including trip-off-your-tongue language, repetition, and using the drama of the page turn. There will be a chance to do your own writing play in order to generate picture book ideas and time for Q & A about craft and also publishing trends. This session will be accessible to those who have been reading and writing picture books for years, but also those fresh to the form. Bring your curiosity, your youthful spirit, and be prepared to play.”

Laura Atkins is a children’s book author, editor, and teacher. She has edited books for over twenty years (Children’s Book Press, Orchard Books, Lee & Low Books, and freelance), taught undergraduate and MA-level children’s writing at the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature in London, and received top evaluations when running the MG/YA workshop at the Mendocino Writer’s Conference. She has an MA in Children’s Literature from Roehampton University in London, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. The author of a picture book, Sled Dog Dachshund, and co-author of a MG biography, Fred Korematsu Speaks Up, first in the Fighting for Justice series, Laura lives in Berkeley with her daughter and their dog.

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