Hooray for children’s picture books

Participants in the first session of WRP’s Writers’ Barn workshop, The Craft of Writing Children’s Books, taught by local author and Flying Pig Bookstore co-owner Elizabeth Bluemle, concluded with participants reading their newly drafted manuscripts. Pictured from left to right: Susan Lepple, Elizabeth Bluemle, Nancy Jennings (Shelburne), Sherri Siebenaler, and Gillian Murphy. Missing from photo were Laurie Caswell Burke (Shelburne) and Alice Outwater.

by Lin Stone
Who doesn’t fondly remember their favorite children’s picture books? Many of us have been so inspired that we’ve harbored our own dream to pair sweet silly words with colorful images to create our own Sendak, Seuss, or Bluemle book proudly waiting on bookshelves for bedtime. However, some folks have taken their dreams, ideas, and images one brave step further. Twenty-eight local and aspiring writers, illustrators, parents, and grandparents have joined children’s book author Elizabeth Bluemle at WRP’s newly opened Writers’ Barn to put pens to paper and create storyboards capturing their dream and ideas in 500 words or less. The second (sold out) session of this workshop, The Craft of Writing Children’s Picture Books, to be held May 8-22, serendipitously coincides with the national celebration of Children’s Book Week. A request list for a third Bluemle session is being compiled.
The WRP Writers’ Barn will also offer a page-turning calendar of workshops and feedback groups for writers of divergent interests, ages, and skills. The next scheduled workshop is Memorable Memoirs, Friday, May 4 from 9-noon, with author and writing coach Linda Bland guiding participants in telling true stories well. Bland shares that memoir writing can be easy and fun, whether writers aspire to high literary standards or just want to record their stories for family and friends.
The Writers’ Barn also will offer writing camps for children (see page 20), as well as sports writing tips for beginners, storytelling circles for adults, and supportive writers’ critique groups. The Writers’ Barn will offer many regular opportunities for writers to develop and grow.
The mission of Wind Ridge Publishing’s Writers’ Barn is threefold: to build a supportive space for writers and aspiring writers to learn, practice, and develop writing skills, whether for pleasure or profession; to offer opportunities for building writing communities of careful readers and fellow writers for development of craft and feedback; to offer opportunities to celebrate the spoken word with storytelling circles and other community events.

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