Writing Children's Books

WRIT S4313Q - Session 2: July 6–August 14 - 3 points
9:00am - 12:10pm
tue thu
Summer 2020
Peter Catalanotto

This course is only offered in the summer.


The hallmark of a successful children’s book is a strong story that captivates children and resonates with adults. In this course, students will learn how to distinguish between the crafting of a story and the mere describing of events. They will gain a thorough understanding of the creative process from inspiration to publishing house submission.


Students with all levels of writing experience—from novice to published—will learn how to mine their lives and imaginations for ideas that can be developed into children’s stories. Through the study of beloved childhood books, we will identify the characteristics of a timeless story; one that endures generation after generation. Over the six-week course, each student will develop a children’s book manuscript. They will learn the importance of reading their stories aloud, which helps both reader and listener develop a better ear for a story’s pace, cadence and structure. This course emphasizes the power of brevity in children’s book writing and will cover the format of picture books, early readers and emerging readers.


Writing for children has become incredibly popular in the past two decades and many publishing houses, having been inundated with manuscripts, have ceased to accept unsolicited submissions. This course will disclose other avenues to getting your manuscript into the hands of agents and editors.


Each student will need a writer’s notebook or journal, writing implements and a children’s book that he or she loved as a child—the physical book or just the memory.


All courses subject to change.


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Current Columbia students can review tuition and fees here.
Visiting students can review tuition and fees here.




For questions about School of the Arts summer courses, including those concerning admissions, registration, and billing, please contact the School of Professional Studies summer team at summersessions@columbia.edu or 212-854-9666. With questions about specific course content, please contact Writing Departmental Representative Dorothea Lasky at dsl2121@columbia.edu.