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Writing for Children

ENGL 121.301
instructor(s):

This is a course for students who have always thought it would be easy, fun, interesting, or rewarding to write a children's book. In the class we will discover that it is anything but easy, definitely fun and interesting, and ultimately rewarding to do so. The class will be conducted as a seminar, using a wide variety of published children's books in all genres -- picture books, chapter books, young fiction, older fiction - as examples of successful and maybe not-so-successful books for young readers. We will discuss the major question of what makes a good book for children and the importance of creating compelling characters, a good plot, excellent pacing, a distinctive voice, and an appropriate theme with the goal of each student refining an existing project or beginning work on a new one. There will be at least one reading and one writing assignment each week. Exercises will include writing picture books for the very young as well as stories for older readers. No previous experience in writing for children is required but students will be admitted on the basis of an application by email that includes a brief description of their interest in the course and a writing sample of no more than five to ten pages. Please email applications to Mingo Reynolds at mingo@writing.upenn.edu