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FICT 79 — Mirrors and Windows: Writing Transformative Stories for Children and Young Adults

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Saturdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 3 days
Date(s): Oct 15—Oct 29
Time: 9:30 am—12:45 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Oct 17
Unit: 1
Tuition: $360
Instructor(s): Lynn Hazen, Elissa Haden Guest
Limit: 21
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Registration opens Aug 22, 8:30 am (PT)
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
9:30 am—12:45 pm (PT)
Oct 15—Oct 29
3 days
Refund Date
Oct 17
1 Unit
Lynn Hazen, Elissa Haden Guest
Registration opens Aug 22, 8:30 am (PT)
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience. —Rudine Sims Bishop

From the earliest age through young adulthood, the right literature at the right time can transform lives. Powerful stories reveal human nature in all its complexity and offer children a chance to live vicariously through characters in a real or imagined world. Stories give children and teens humor and hope in challenging times. And, as beloved characters change over the course of a story, so, too, does the reader. In this three-day course, we will explore authors such as Alison McGhee and Jacqueline Woodson, examining how they create heartfelt characters that undergo change. Through engaging in-class writing prompts, students will try their hand at developing characters, obstacles, and conflict, all essential elements in creating stories with mirrors and windows. Students will have the opportunity to share their writing in breakout groups. Due to the short nature of this course, students will not receive instructor feedback on their writing. Practical tips about the publishing world will be addressed, with plenty of time for Q&A. This course is open to aspiring as well as experienced writers.


Lynn Hazen is the author of the young adult novel Shifty, which was named to VOYA’s Top Shelf Fiction and was a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children. Her other books include Mermaid Mary Margaret, Cinder Rabbit, The Amazing Trail of Seymour Snail, and Buzz Bumble to the Rescue.


Elissa Haden Guest’s most recent picture book is Baby Builders. Her 10-book early reader series, Iris and Walter, includes five Junior Library Guild selections, an ALA Notable Children's Book, and the winner of a PEN Center USA West Literary Award.

Textbooks for this course:

(Recommended) Alison McGhee, What I Leave Behind (ISBN 978-1481476577)
(Recommended) Nancy Lamb, The Writers Guide to Crafting Stories for Children (ISBN 978-1582970523)
(Recommended) Brian Lies, The Rough Patch (ISBN 978-0062671271)
(Recommended) Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López , The Day You Begin (ISBN 978-0399246531)