Writing Workshop: Picture Books and
the Art of Writing

MARCH 2015 Start
Taught by Dallas Bradel.  Ages 8-10.
6 week workshop; $90 per student.


Picture books have long been used as a tool for teaching young people to write. The limit of each book’s length requires exceptionally careful crafting of text. Students will be introduced to a variety of picture books that together model key traits found in strong writing, including word choice, ideas, and sentence fluency.

DAY ONE: Miss Rumphius and the magic of 3

Three bears. Three pigs. Three wishes. Something about the number 3 seems to leave us feeling satisfied at the end of a story. Students will read Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney and then consider and describe three things they would like to do with their lives, particularly things to “make the world more beautiful.”

DAY TWO: Boys-n-Berry Pie with Fried Chipmunk Crust

In The Wolf Who Cried Boy, author Bob Hartman creates a new twist on an old tale. Students will work on expanding word choice by designing a “cookbook” of some of the wolf’s favorite boy recipes!

DAY THREE: “Now I know my ABC’s…” Observation and Alphabet Books

After reading The Farmer’s Alphabet by Mary Azarian, we will look at the concept of alphabet books, and then explore the New Hope campus to inspire ideas for create our own New Hope alphabet!

DAY FOUR: The Secrets of GrownUps (and the Real Reason You Shouldn’t Bite Your Fingernails)

In The Secret Knowledge of GrownUps, David Wisniewski intrigues readers by imagining explanations for everyday rules that grown-ups recite to their children. As an exercise in developing creative ideas, students will write some “secret rules” of their own!

DAY FIVE: Brave Writers, Brave Potatoes

Brave Potatoes by Toby Speed takes word choice to brave new levels, introducing students to spuds that are mesmerizing, death-defying and chef-defying. Students will learn fresh and inventive ways to use words that appeal to the senses, and will put those skills to work on a story about their very own amazing potato.

DAY SIX: The Music of a Well-Written Book

We read with our ears as much as with our eyes. The musical rhythms and cadences of Nicola Davies’ Bat Loves the Night provide an excellent lesson in sentence fluency. Students will learn how two different modes of writing, descriptive and expository, can be combined in one text. The class will do some reading out loud, combined with movement, to see how beautifully writing can flow when it is carefully crafted.