The Children’s Book Academy

Image courtesy of Mira Reisberg at the Children's Book Academy

Image courtesy of Mira Reisberg at the Children’s Book Academy

Six weeks ago, I told you about an online class that I was taking to hone my skills as a picture book writer. I thought the class was fantastic!

For those of you who are interested in improving your writing/editing skills or learning more about how to get published, I highly recommend taking a class with Mira Reisberg and her team at the Children’s Book Academy. The information she covered was extensive, and the material was well thought out. I think the biggest draw is Mira herself. She is incredibly kind and generous with her time and her knowledge. She loves teaching, and it truly shows in the interaction with her students.

Though I had high hopes that I would accomplish a lot during this class, alas, I did not. I wasn’t able to devote the time I wanted to devote to it. Consequently, I fell woefully behind with the lessons. However, I did manage to follow the webinars and the interaction with teachers and fellow students on Facebook as well as participated in my critique group.

The Teachers

  • Mira Reisberg – She has helped MANY authors and illustrators get published. She has worn many different hats in the industry including art director, editor, illustrator and author, and literary agent.
  • Kelly Delaney – An Assistant Editor at Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, where she acquires and edits picture books and middle grade and young adult novels.
  • Published authors – Mira interviews many different authors so you get to learn from those who are on the same path you are on. She shares these interviews via videos in each daily lesson.

Class structure

Daily lessons were given through a password protected website. The material was presented via a web page and there was usually at least 1 video on the page. This allows students to go at their own pace. Mira acknowledges that there is a lot of information provided. So, she encourages you to go at a pace that works for you. I know I was not the only one who could not keep up with the material. Fortunately, the website still will be available for several months after the end of the course so that those who were unable to keep up will have access to the material. In addition, she provides an e-book at the end of the course which is a compilation of all the lessons!

Each lesson typically had homework. This homework was submitted as a comment on a corresponding “homework” web page.

Each week there was a webinar during which Mira and her co-teacher Kelly critiqued the homework submitted on the “homework” web page. Webinars were typically 1 hour long. So Mira and Kelly each were able to critique 10 of the students’ homework.

A dedicated Facebook page for the class was created. This was where we could interact with our fellow students as well as with our teachers. Questions posed to Mira and Kelly were typically answered within hours if not within minutes of posting! That’s how on top of things they were.

Critique groups (5 students each) were created and given a dedicated Facebook page. This was where we could upload our manuscripts and have the other students in our group critique our work. My critique group was great! Everyone was so helpful and responsive!

Fostering a community

Mira’s enthusiasm and love of craft were infectious. She created a wonderful community of authors who feel connected and supported. She accomplished this by bringing together people who share the same common goal and who actively engaged in learning not only from the teacher but also from one another.

Mutual respect and a wonderful camaraderie developed among the members of this group. Even after the course ended, class members are still posting questions and answers; and I suspect this will continue well past the end.

Bonuses and Golden Tickets

As a bonus at the end of the course, Mira critiqued our personal websites. Through a webinar where she shared her computer screen, she visited each individual’s website and offered advice on how to make it better. I am thrilled to say that she thought my website was great!!! She did have some wonderful ideas on how I can share my writing with you all. So, I will be working on that in the weeks/months to come.

Lastly, at the end of the course, Mira offers what she calls the “Golden Ticket” opportunity. You get to submit a pitch for your book to an agent or editor bypassing the slush pile or closed house submission policies. Writing a pitch for your book is one of the lessons provided, and the pitch is critiqued by Mira or Kelly before you submit it. The panel of editors and agents will read your pitch, and then choose ones for which they would like to see the full manuscript.

Because I fell woefully behind, I will not be submitting a pitch, but I wish my fellow students luck and success with their pitches as well as their careers as writers.

I highly recommend this class to new authors as well as published authors. There is something in it for everyone! By the way, writing and publishing are not the only topics Mira teaches. She has an illustration course coming up. If you’re interested, early bird registration is now open. Click here for details.

To find out what other classes Mira teaches, go to the Children’s Book Academy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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