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Learn to Write a Children's Picture Book

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by Umm Sumayyah (subscribe)
Melbourne based writer of whatever takes her fancy. She doesn't blog but may just start if anyone on WN likes what she has to say.
Published July 19th 2014
You could be the next Dr Seuss
Go on, admit it. You get more pleasure out of reading a children's picture book than the latest bestselling novel. At the time, you tell yourself the excitement is only due to the prospect of blobbing solo on the couch with the Tim Tams after bedtime stories. Really though, it's because you appreciate a good picture book for what it is - a literary masterpiece!

Then comes the lightbulb moment - probably after reading 'Fox in Socks' a little faster than your ageing brain could cope with - "Why don't I write a picture book?". Kids surely aren't that fussy as long as the pictures are pretty! So you think you know how to make cat rhyme with hat and give a charming personality to a dog? You're sure it could be written in thirty minutes and you'll have a publisher hounding you to sign a contract by the end of the week. Stop! Before you start picturing yourself in Target strolling past merchandise depicting your version of 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar', there's something you should know.

Picture books seem easy to write, so lots of people try...and fail. After I was unexpectedly inspired to write my first children's picture book a few months ago I quickly discovered it wasn't going to be as easy as I had first thought. The good news is, ample professional help is at hand. In Melbourne (being the artsy place it is) we are spoiled for choice with courses and workshops designed specifically to help budding authors pen their first children's picture book.

write children's picture book course
Not sure where to start?


Workshops are usually run over 1 - 3 weekend days, whilst short courses may be over several weeks. Most workshops cover all the basics like book length, appropriate age group, development of plot and character, how to get published and so on. Workshops are almost always presented by one or more published children's picture book author, so you'll be learning from someone who has firsthand experience and was, of course, once unpublished too!

children's writing picture book course workshop
Get those creative juices flowing


Below is a list below of those workshops / courses specifically dealing with writing children's picture books that are running in Melbourne for the remainder of 2014. Most of the organisers continually offer repeat workshops on an ongoing basis, so if you can't fit it into your diary this year, check their websites for upcoming sessions. Many also offer online versions or a mentoring or manuscript assessment program if you can't make it in person (as was my case).

So if you have a great story to tell, or need help to find one hidden deep inside, then reserve your place today - most have limited spaces and it is common for workshops to book out. You may just find you have an unused talent that can put a smile on a child's face and help instil in them a lifelong love for books.

children's writing picture book course workshop
A love for reading starts at a young age


Children's Picture Book Writing Courses and Workshops 2014

Organiser: Australian Writer's Centre
Starts: Saturday 30th August 2014
Duration: 2 days (consecutive Saturday and Sunday), 10 am - 4 pm
Location: Abbotsford
Cost: $395
Bookings: Click here

Organiser: Centre for Adult Education
Starts: Saturday 6th September 2014
Duration: 3 days (consecutive Saturdays), 10 am - 4 pm
Location: CBD
Cost: $405 (full rate), $393 (concession)
Bookings: Click here

Organiser: Create-a-Kids'-Book
When: 20th September or 22nd November 2014
Duration:1 day (Saturday)
Location: Ormond
Cost: $295
Bookings: Click here

Organiser: RMIT
Starts: Wednesday 1st October until 19th November 2014
Duration: Short course of 8 weeks (Wednesdays) x 3 hours (6:30 pm - 9:30 pm)
Location: CBD
Cost: $585
Bookings: Click here

Organiser: Faber Academy at Allen and Unwin
When: Saturday 25th October 2014
Duration: 1 day
Location: East Melbourne
Cost: $295
Bookings: Click here

Note: Writers Victoria and the 100 Story Studio also offer children's picture book writing workshops from time to time, although none were available at the time of writing this article.

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Why? You could be the next Dr. Seuss!
When: Starting August 2014
Where: All over Melbourne
Cost: Varies from $295 - $585
Your Comment
When I was at university, I studied children's writing, and had a go a picture books. They aren't easy, but it is a lot of fun thinking ideas up.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12442) 1860 days ago
Congratulations on winning third place.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12442) 1852 days ago
That's a great list of courses, you are lucky in Melbourne to have so many options. Well done.
by Shannon Meyerkort (score: 3|1794) 1852 days ago
Hi Umm, I like what you have to say about kids' books.
by Jenny Rossiter (score: 3|4069) 1860 days ago
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