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Children's Literature Workshops and Faculty

July 10-14, 2019


Dan Yaccarino

From Inspiration to Publication: The Essentials of A Picture Book
A picture book isn’t just drawings depicting text, but images and words uniquely intertwined to create a story. This presentation teaches the fundamentals of picture books, from format, character development to basic storytelling.

Internationally acclaimed author-illustrator Dan Yaccarino has published over 50 picture books, which have sold over 1.5 million copies, and he will share his experience of his 20+ years in creating books for children. Children the world over know Dan from his children's books ( Doug Unplugged, Five Little Pumpkins, Unloveable, The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau ), to his Parent's Choice Award-winning animated TV series Oswald (Nick Jr), Emmy-winning Willa's Wild Life (NBC and Qubo), and character designs for The Backyardigans (Nickelodeon), as well as his many illustrated toys, games, and other children's products. In addition to his own stories, Dan's bold, stylized illustrations add wit and energy to the work of such distinguished authors as Margaret Wise Brown, Jack Prelutsky, and Kevin Henkes.

Dan's books have been translated into many languages and have inspired animated series, toys, ebooks, children's musicals, and video adaptations. People all over the world enjoy Oswald, Dan's animated series about the wonderfully whimsical world of a lovable octopus, which Time magazine chose as one of the top 6 shows to watch on cable.Animation Magazine hails him as "an American original."

Dan's work has been recognized with a host of prestigious awards including the Bologna Ragazzi, The New York Times 10 Best Illustrated, ALA Notable, and the Parents Choice Award. Over 2.5 million of his books have been sold to date. His internationally recognized art style has earned him a large following in Japan, exhibits in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Bologna, and a visit to the White House. He is also a contributing children's book reviewer for the New York Times.

Dan lives in New York City and creates his quirky characters and stories in his studio full of vintage toys.


Middle Grade Workshop 



I Hear Voices! Making the Voice of Your Protagonist Leap from the Page
YA novels are often very voice-y. We need to grab our readers immediately, and a strong protagonist's voice can make the immediate connection that will keep readers turning pages. From novels like the award-winning Feed by MT Anderson, The Boy Book by E. Lockhart, and Marcelo and the Real World by Francisco Stork and so many others, a strong voice not only shapes your character but it can bring the entire story--and plot--to life. In this workshop we will work on strengthening the voice of our protagonists, and seeing how that process can help to fine tune a narrative arc and our prose with it!

Donna Freitas

Donna Freitas is the author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her novels for children and young adults include The Survival Kit (FSG, 2011), named an ALA Best Books for Young Adults and the winner of the Bookstar Award in Switzerland, and This Gorgeous Game (FSG, 2010), also named an ALA Best Books for Young Adults, a winner of the CCBC Choice Award, and a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best winner. Her novel, The Possibilities of Sainthood (FSG, 2008), received five starred reviews and many accolades, including: an Indie Next Kids' List Great Read, Society of School Librarians International Book Award Honor Book, VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers, and the Texas Lone Star Reading List. Donna has also published two middle grade companion novels with Scholastic, Gold Medal Summer (about a gymnast) and Gold Medal Winter (about an ice skater), which won a CCBC Choice Award. Her latest novel, Unplugged, the first in her sci-fi trilogy about two competing worlds, one real, one virtual, was published by HarperTeen. 

Donna also writes non-fiction for adults. In 2008, she published Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance and Religion on America’s College Campuses with Oxford University Press, based on her national study about sex on campus. Her latest book is called The Happiness Effect: How Social Media is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost (Oxford, February 2017), and it is based on her research for a new study about social media and how it is effecting the ways we construct identity and sense of self, how we make meaning in the world, and navigate our relationships during college. In 2014 and 2015, Freitas conducted approximately 200 in-person interviews with college students at thirteen different colleges and universities, and collected nearly1000 online surveys about these subjects.

Donna lectures at universities across the United States on her work about college students, most recently at Colby, Pepperdine, Harvard, and Yale. Over the years, she has written for national newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post, and she’s currently a non-resident research associate at the Center for Religion and Society at Notre Dame. Donna has been a professor at Boston University in the Department of Religion and also at Hofstra University in their Honors College. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.  

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