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Notes on the Revolution

Kidlit Distancing Social #11 – Patrice Williams Marks on How Sensitivity Readers Can Help Writers

On this week’s Kidlit Distancing Social, author, screenwriter and sensitivity reader Patrice Williams Marks shares how all writers can…

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sensitivity reader

What is a Sensitivity Reader and Why Would I Need One?

by Jean Daigneau
Even though everybody loves a winner, what sometimes garners the most press is the bad news. In the world of children’s book…

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How One Man’s Simple Idea Changed the Way the World Reads

Is it possible for one “regular” person to truly change the world? To bring hope and connection to millions?


When Todd Bol built a…

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Traditional Writer Versus Indie Writer

by Tracy Bryan


When a writer — whether a traditional writer or an indie writer — imagines a story, they usually can’t wait to bring…

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Why I Write Teen Books with Diverse Characters

by Michael J. Bowler


As a high school teacher for twenty-five years, I primarily taught kids of color. And yet, in the books and stories…

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We Need More Diverse Books!

by Tracy Bryan


I am a relatively new children’s author, but from where I stand, (way down here looking up) there seems to have been a…

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Book marketing

Terrified by Marketing? Then Don’t. Do This Instead…

I get it.  You’re a writer, not a marketer.  You’re not excited by the notion of “hawking your wares” or “pushing your book”.  You think that,…

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The Shortcut to Writing Stardom

by Laura Backes


Admit it, haven’t you wished that authors could be “discovered” just like old-time movie stars? You’re sitting in a…

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Kindle Picture eBooks Are For Real – and Here’s Proof

When Amazon released their Kindle Kids Book Creator software back in September, we jumped on the opportunity to create a full “how to” course on…

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Interactive eBooks for Kids Put the Readers in Control

by Alice Kuipers


Time for my latest confession (I seem to get into confessional mode when I write for you at –…

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How to Change the World as a Children’s Book Writer

At, we’ve talked about the revolution taking place in publishing today. No longer do you, as an children’s book writer, have to wait…

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Top Editor Emma Dryden on Working with Editors and Acting Professionally

Emma Dryden is one of children’s publishing’s most accomplished editors, having worked on  hundreds of books for young readers, including board…

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Jack Kerouac's tips for writers

Blow as Deep as You Want to Blow: Jack Kerouac on the Art of Writing

In the late 50’s, Allen Ginsberg asked his friend Jack Kerouac to explain his concept of “spontaneous prose”. Kerouac responded with a…

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Young Adult author Alice Kuipers

How One Top Young Adult Author *Really* Feels About Social Media

Guest post by Alice Kuipers


Psst. Let me tell you a secret. I probably shouldn’t tell you this because I’m supposed to be good at…

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Travel the World (Virtually) To Give Your Children’s Book a Great Setting


Ever wish you could give your book’s setting that “you are there” feeling, but can’t afford the plane ticket to do the in-person research?…

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children's book editor emma dryden

Top Editor Emma Dryden on Hot Children’s Book Trends & How to Connect with Teens

(Paid subscriber to Children’s Book Insider? Keep reading for bonus content!)


Emma Dryden is one of children’s publishing’s…

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10 Declarations for the 21st Century Children’s Author


It’s time for a fresh start.


For the moment, forget apps and ebooks.  Forget query letters and page counts. Let’s focus…

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Emma Dryden

A Top Editor on What Children’s Writers Must Know to Succeed Today

(Paid subscriber to Children’s Book Insider? Keep reading for bonus content!)


Emma Dryden is one of children’s publishing’s most…

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Write Stories for Kids That Teach… Not Preach

Here at WriteForKids, we’re committed to helping you impact the lives of children around the world with your work. What’s the best way to write…

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The World Is Now Ours. A Children’s Writing Vision for the 21st Century


Laura and I have been teaching people how to become successful children’s authors for close to 25 years. It’s a rich and wonderful way to…

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Latest Posts

Kidlit Distancing Social #38 Replay – Chris Tebbetts on Middle Grade That Gets Kids Reading… and Laughing

Meet Chris Tebbetts, a successful middle grade/YA author who has mastered a compelling, humorous approach that gets even the most reluctant readers glued to the page.

Chris partners with superstar author James Patterson to create the bestselling Middle School series, and with Survivor host Jeff Probst for the Stranded series. His solo titles include the Viking series and the novel Me, Myself, and Him.

Join us to learn about creating middle grade books with humor and plot that appeal to readers across the board – especially reluctant readers – and the ins and outs of building a successful series.

Kidlit Distancing Social #37 Replay – Darcy Pattison on Self-Publishing & the Path to Success as an Indie Author

This week, meet Darcy Pattison, a prolific kidlit author who has found great success self publishing her own work. Darcy’s authored dozens of books – some with major publishers – but has seen her career truly take off after starting her own independent publishing company.

Darcy describes her journey, and discusses why other authors should consider self-publishing. If you want to be truly empowered to share your words with the world, Darcy is the perfect person to inspire you!

Kidlit Distancing Social #36 Replay – Kirsten W. Larson on Writing Nonfiction/STEM Picture Books

This week, meet Kirsten W. Larson, author of over 25 kidlit nonfiction titles. Her picture book biography ‘Wood, Wire and Wings’ was just named a 2021 Best STEM Book by the National Science Teaching Association.

Kirsten shares her thoughts on writing compelling nonfiction picture books, incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) into picture books, and discuss her success writing for the school and library market. STEM and the school/library market continue to provide tremendous opportunities for kidlit writers – so you’ll want to hear what Kirsten has to say.

Kidlit Distancing Social #35 Replay – Rethinking Book Marketing: Michael Schein on How Any Author Can Become a ‘Micro Celebrity’

This week, meet Michael Schein, President of MicroFame Media & author of the upcoming book ‘The Hype Handbook’ (McGraw-Hill). The subject: creative author marketing.

Michael is an expert on fame-generating tactics, and has studied history’s greatest self-promoters to discover what they have to teach us about gathering attention in the modern media climate.

Can “hype” be used for good? Michael believes it absolutely can, and that any author can break through to generate and cultivate a fan base. Can “hype” be used for good? Michael believes it absolutely can, and that any author can break through to generate and cultivate a fan base. We know that book marketing and author promotion are overwhelming issues for many writers, and this episode will give you a new way to look at the subject.

Kidlit Distancing Social #34 Replay – How Two Unagented First Time Authors Got Published

Meet two debut authors who got their publishing contracts without an agent. If you think you can’t get published on your own, Cori Cooper and Risa Nyman beg to differ! Cori is the author of contemporary middle grade book Bake Believe and Risa is the author of Swallowed By a Secret, a middle grade mystery. Find out how they captured the attention of their publisher – and get inspired to follow in their footsteps!

Tonight’s Kidlit Distancing Social Has Been Postponed – But We’ll Be Back Next Week!

Due to some unforeseen circumstances, Holly Hatam won’t be able to join us tonight for the Kidlit Distancing Social. We’ll reschedule Holly as soon as we can. We’ll be back next week with another all-new Kidlit Distancing Social!

Kidlit Distancing Social #33 Replay – Newbery Honoree Steve Sheinkin on Making History Exciting

In this episode of the Social, we welcome Steve Sheinkin, author of Newbery Honoree and National Book Award finalist Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon.

Steve’s hugely popular books make history accessible, fun and exciting for young readers. With wildly diverse topics – from Jim Thorpe and Benedict Arnold to Daniel Ellsberg and the women pioneers of aviation – Steve proves that history can be massively entertaining. And his Time Twisters series bends time to allow for wild adventures – like Abraham Lincoln, Pro Wrestler.

A Writing Opportunity That’s Too Good to Pass Up

Learn about the School & Library Market, and how it offers nonfiction writers tremendous opportunity, with little need for promotion, getting an agent or endlessly querying publishers.

Kidlit Distancing Social #32 Replay – An Evening with Author/Illustrator Lea Lyon

In this episode of the Social, we welcome author/illustrator Lea Lyon, co-author of Ready To Fly: How Sylvia Townsend Became the Bookmobile Ballerina (HarperCollins), and illustrator of seven books including It Rained Warm Bread (Henry Holt) and Lailah’s Lunchbox (Tilbury House). 

Among her honors are a Teachers’ Choice Award, ILA-CBC Children’s Choices list, Skipping Stones (twice), and Moonbeam award (twice.) If you’re an illustrator, a writer who wants to learn more about illustration or just a kidlit fan who enjoys learning about the creative process, Lea is someone you absolutely want to meet.

Kidlit Distancing Social #31 Replay – Ask Laura & Jon Anything!

In this episode of the Social, Jon and Laura from Children’s Book Insider answer a slew of viewer questions about writing, publishing and marketing a children’s book.  There’s a ton of great info, advice and insight here!

In fact, his A Kid’s Book About Belonging was just named one of Oprah’s Favorite Things for 2020!

Kevin has some big things to communicate with kids, and he has a fascinating approach that should make every kidlit author stand up and take notice.

You absolutely don’t want to miss this one!

Kidlit Distancing Social #30 Replay – Kevin Carroll on Communicating Big Ideas to Young Readers

Kevin Carroll has led a remarkable life – and he’s just getting started. Head athletic trainer for the Philadelphia 76ers, Nike’s first-ever “creative change agent”, an in-demand speaker with multiple Ted Talks and now, a successful children’s book author.

In fact, his A Kid’s Book About Belonging was just named one of Oprah’s Favorite Things for 2020!

Kevin has some big things to communicate with kids, and he has a fascinating approach that should make every kidlit author stand up and take notice.

You absolutely don’t want to miss this one!

Kidlit Distancing Social #29 – Lynne Marie on Knowing When You’re Ready to Submit to Publishers

Get some great revision tips from Lynne Marie, who is the author of five picture books including Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten (Scholastic), The Star of the Christmas Play (Beaming Books), and Moldilocks and the 3 Scares (Beaming Books), and the owner of Lynne Marie will help you answer the immortal question “Is my manuscript ready to submit to publishers?”

CBI Editor Spotlight Excerpt: Eileen Robinson of Reycraft Books

Excerpted from the November 2020 edition of Children’s Book Insider, Eileen Robinson, executive editor of Reycraft Books, talks about the new imprint and offers her best book marketing tips.

Kidlit Distancing Social #28 – Nicole C. Kear on Writing Across Age Groups & Genres

Meet a writer who is making her mark across multiple genres and categories – and learn how you can do the same. Nicole C. Kear has published two chapter book series, a middle grade novel, a highly acclaimed memoir and dozens of articles in such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post and Good Housekeeping. Nicole is the model of a modern working writer, whose built a fascinating, rewarding career.

Kidlit Distancing Social #27 – Teresa Funke on the Steps You Can Take Now to Become a Successful Author

This week, we welcome back the inspiring Teresa Funke (Dancing in Combat Boots, V for Victory, 10 Things All Successful Authors Do). Teresa will help you get on – and stay on – the path to becoming a successful professional writer. She’ll share the things you can do write now that will pay big dividends down the road. If you need some inspiration and confidence – this is the Social for you!

10 Things That Get Kidlit Manuscripts Rejected – and How to Avoid Them

An all-new workshop led by Deborah Halverson, editor at Harcourt Children’s Books for ten years, and author of Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies, Writing New Adult Fiction, the teen novels Honk If You Hate Me and Big Mouth, the picture book Letters to Santa, and three books in the Remix series for struggling readers. Deborah is the founder of the popular writers’ advice website

Kidlit Distancing Social #26 Replay – Lyn Miller-Lachmann on Writing Historical Fiction & Creating Inclusive Characters

This week, we have a really fascinating guest – author, translator and sensitivity reader Lyn Miller-Lachmann (Gringolandia, Surviving Santiago, Rogue). Lyn talks about writing historical fiction, writing books with international settings, and the difference between a sensitivity reader and an expert reader (and when you should use each one).

Kidlit Distancing Social #25 Replay – Brian Weisfeld on Writing Books that Promote a Passion & Deliver a Message

Brian Weisfeld, author of The Startup Squad series (Macmillan), is devoted to empowering girls with an entrepreneurial mindset so they can realize their potential. In this episode, Brian gives his advice for authors seeking to change the world with their writing. If you have a passion or cause you’d like young readers to know about, Brian will help you understand how to create books that teach while entertaining.

Kidlit Distancing Social #24 Replay – Brooke McIntyre on Finding, Joining & Getting the Most of a Critique Group

Brooke McIntyre, the founder of, a platform for writing groups and an online space for writers, joins us to talk about finding your own critique group, getting feedback on your work and providing feedback on other writers’ work. This is a super-timely topic, and you should definitely check it out.

Kidlit Distancing Social #23 Replay – Tracey West on Chapter Books, Movie Novelizations & Books w/Licensed Characters

Tracey West is the author of more than 300 books for children and young adults, including the Pokémon chapter books, the popular Pixie Tricks series, and the brand new Dragon Masters series. She talks about her first love – writing chapter books – and how she’s built a career writing movie novelizations and books with licensed characters. Tracey is a real pro who will open your mind to new ways to make a good living as a full time writer.

Kidlit Distancing Social #22 Replay – Candice Ransom, Author of 150+ Children’s Books

Candice has written more than 150 books, including 18 books for The Boxcar Children series, The Time Spies series and the Sunfire series. She wrote the Dungeons & Dragons novel, Key to the Griffon’s Lair. Her work includes picture books, easy readers, middle grade fiction, biographies, and nonfiction. Laura and Candice discuss her fascinating career, and then open the floor for a freewheeling “Ask Us Anything” session!

Kidlit Distancing Social #21 Replay – An Evening with Legendary Children’s Poet David Harrison

This week, we welcome a children’s book legend – poet David Harrison, who is about to see his 100th book in print. He is Drury University’s poet laureate. David Harrison Elementary School in Springfield, MO is named for him, and he was recently chosen to receive the first Laura Ingalls Wilder Children’s Literature Medal for his body of work.

Kidlit Distancing Social #20 Replay – Tod Olson on Writing Creative, Exciting Nonfiction

Tod Olson is a writer with a knack for making nonfiction topics come alive with excitement and vibrancy. Tod is the critically-acclaimed author of middle grade narrative nonfiction series Lost and How to Get Rich, and Into the Clouds: The Race to Climb the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain (all published by Scholastic). He talks about finding that creative, exciting story within the nonfiction topic, and gives some research tips.

Tuesday August 25: How to Add Emotion, Compassion & Heart to Create a Truly Magical Picture Book Manuscript

There’s a magic ingredient that makes an editor take notice, stops an agent in her tracks and makes a delighted child say “Read it Again!” What if you had this magic ingredient at your fingertips, ready to sprinkle it throughout your next picture book manuscript? How different would your writing career be?

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