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CW 16 — Writing for the Youngest Audience: Little Children, Big Emotions

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Saturdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 3 days
Date(s): Apr 15—Apr 29
Time: 9:30 am—12:45 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 17
Unit: 1
Tuition: $355
Instructor(s): Lynn Hazen, Elissa Haden Guest
Limit: 21
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
9:30 am—12:45 pm (PT)
Apr 15—Apr 29
3 days
Refund Date
Apr 17
1 Unit
Lynn Hazen, Elissa Haden Guest
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Well-written books for young children can have a lasting effect on their lives. Great picture books, early readers, and young chapter books offer humor, lyrical language, and the chance for readers (from infants through age nine) to live vicariously through characters. In this workshop, students will participate in engaging in-class writing exercises with a focus on character development, vivid language, pacing, and voice. Throughout, we will examine the interests, concerns, and often turbulent feelings of young children. As legendary author and illustrator Maurice Sendak said, “...from their earliest years children live on familiar terms with disrupting emotions....” We will explore how exemplary classic and new titles by successful children’s authors such as Atinuke, Kevin Henkes, Phyllis Root, Deborah Underwood, and Jacqueline Woodson develop empathetic characters, present conflicts, and capture the emotional heartbeat of a story. Students will put these strategies to work in developing their own characters and stories. Practical tips about the world of children’s book publishing will be addressed, with plenty of time for Q&A.

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 list and was a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children. Her other books are 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) Kevin Henkes, Kitten's First Full Moon(Board book) (ISBN 978-0062417107)
(Recommended) Deborah Underwood, Walter Had a Best Friend (ISBN 978-1534477001)
(Recommended) Phyllis Root, Oliver Finds His Way (ISBN 978-0439589109 )
(Recommended) Atinuke, Love From Anna Hibiscus (ISBN 978-1406349122)
(Recommended) Jacqueline Woodson, The Other Side (ISBN 978-0399231162)