Picture Book Revising and Re-imagining

When I got word of a full day SCBWI picture book revision workshop, I couldn’t sign up fast enough! Last week we gathered at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art with the fabulous Harold Underdown and amazing Eileen Robinson of Kid’s Book Revisions for morning and afternoon workshop sessions, creativity exercises, manuscript critiques, and time to write, revise, and network.

The red Mo Willems elephant sculpture greeted us with a grin, despite the chilly weather.

The Carle was filled with many temptations: the stunning gallery (don’t miss Barbara McClintock’s special exhibit from Leave Your Sleep), the bookshop packed with favorite classics and new releases, and the cozy library. Even the craft room was freshly stocked with paint, paper, brushes and glue!

carle workshop 5

Photo credit: Harold Underdown

I can’t reveal specific workshop content, although it’s fair to say that Ann Whitford Paul’s Writing Picture Books was kept close at hand. Chatting with like-minded picture book writers was a definite highlight from the day. To give you a glimpse of the terrific people I met, visit the PB writing blogs of Papa J Josh Funk, Ninja Woman Julie Phillips, and Carol Gordon Ekster from the mighty group blog Writers’ Rumpus.

Finally, a big thank you to SCBWI for financial support underwriting workshop costs, to Carol Munro for organizing a fabulous day, and to fellow 12X12 friends Melanie Ellsworth and Carrie Finison for their insightful critiques on my latest picture book draft!

Carle workshop (2A)

Photo credit: Carol Munro


About Cathy Ballou Mealey

Children's book author, repped by Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Agency. Wife, mother, daughter, sister, alumna, autism advocate, book reviewer. Reach me via email at cmealey@post.harvard.edu or Twitter @catballoumealey
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43 Responses to Picture Book Revising and Re-imagining

  1. rnewman504 says:

    Cathy, Sounds like an awesome day! And so nice to be greeted by Gerald on your way in! p.s. Love the pic! 🙂

  2. It was such a fun day! I thought Harold and Eileen did a great job of walking us through exercises that helped me see my story from slightly different angles, and find cracks that I didn’t know were there. I only wished it were longer…I didn’t have enough time to poke around the library. 🙂

  3. Laura Sassi says:

    I would have loved to have been there too! Sounds WONDERFUL!

    • Wonderful is a perfect word to describe it Laura! I was amazed at how much I was able to tackle and re-think. Having dedicated time to focus on writing without any other distractions was a big plus!

  4. Sue Wang says:

    How fun to be with other pic book writers and do something hands-on. Eric Carle Museum -I would have love to go there. I love his art!

  5. LovableLobo says:

    Lucky you, Cathy! Sounds like a day made in every PB author’s heaven!

  6. Oh, wow. I want to go to there. Well, there AND the Fluff factory.

    It looks like my New England trip is all planned out!

  7. danacarey1 says:

    Lucky you, Cathy! Sounds like a great event. And look at you there with Carrie!!

  8. Yes, lucky you! Sounds like you really got a lot out of the workshop presentations and interacting with other writers. And a PB eval. Doesn’t get better. Glad you had so much fun!

  9. Josh Funk says:

    It was a splendid day, great to meet you, Cathy! And thanks for the blog shout out!

  10. Nancy Tandon says:

    This is a great recap, Cathy. I agree – the “free from distractions” part of the day was practically worth the price of admission!

  11. tinamcho says:

    That’s so cool you got to hang out with Carrie and Melanie and have a class at the Eric Carle Museum! Thanks for the photo!

  12. Wow! What an all-around amazing day! Lucky you! 🙂

  13. Weren’t you lucky to be able to attend this workshop! It’s sounds great. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Jealous! Carol put together an amazing workshop!

  15. Thanks, Cathy. I want a do over! It was so much fun and informative. Great to see you, Carrie, Deb, and Melanie again, and to meet so many new friends.

    • I think Harold mentioned something about advanced PB workshops coming up in CT this year. Maybe we can have a do-over! Thank you again Carol for all your work in making this terrific event take place. 🙂

  16. btw, if you can get enough of your writer friends together, you can have Harold C& Eileen present this workshop for you — or ask your local SCBWI chapter to host it. Contact Harold for pricing details and availability. Here’s a link about their workshops (it includes a cost estimator): http://www.kidsbookrevisions.com/workshops.htm

  17. Romelle Broas says:

    Wow! What a terrific day. I am quite envious that you got to visit the Eric Carle museum, attend a great workshop, and meet wonderful people like our 12x friends! Sometimes I wished I was living on your side of the continent…okay, with the cold weather, maybe not. 🙂

  18. Ronna Mandel says:

    Cannot wait to tell Ann that you mentioned her! Saw her today, but will send her a message. Sounds like such an amazingly informative workshop, not to mention all the wonderful women writers you connected with!!

    • The exercises in her book are SO helpful! Having the time dedicated to revising meant we could walk through them thoughtfully and completely. PB writers (and revisers) really owe her a debt of gratitude!

  19. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    I read this back in March, but never commented. Just found it in my inbox. 🙂 Glad you had a good time. SCBWI workshops on all topics are refreshing for our work. Hope all is well.

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