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Institute of Children's Literature

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Hi All,

I did a search on any ICL queries and the only one I could turn up was a thread from 2009.

So I wanted to reach out and see if anyone else had any feedback on the course and how they found it.

I'm self publishing my first children's book already and I have a degree in screenwriting, so I'm not totally new to writing. I really just want to make sure the course is going to be worth it as money is tight and as the 2009 thread mentioned - the acceptance letter seemed a tad formulaic so it almost gives me the impression that anyone is accepted in an effort to get students. I realize that probably isn't the case.

Would really love to hear from folks who have gone through the program - specifically those who already had creative writer training prior to the course.


#1 - October 03, 2018, 11:36 PM

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Hi Laura,

I won't have any new information as my thoughts were probably in the 2009 class as it may have been that long since I've done my second course with ICL. When I took my first course in 2005 -06, I don't think there were as many online courses as there were today. But I got so much out of it, I did do the Advanced Books Course a few years later. I think writing for kids is very different than writing for adults so I definitely learned a lot and at the time highly recommended ICL. Since then, there are a lot more courses available online for possibly less money, that I think it would be worth exploring the boards for "online courses" to see if you find some suggestions. Here is a more recent thread than the ICL one, but this one focuses on PBs:

I hope this helps and I hope others chime in! But bottom line is that I did find ICL very helpful. I loved the one-on-one feedback I received from my instructors.
#2 - October 04, 2018, 05:45 AM

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Here is a newer thread.

If you want to do magazine writing, then it'd be great. I don't believe they allow you to take the book course without first taking the basic one, but you can ask.  I've loved the one-on-one mentorship and definitely think it's the best bang for the buck because so many courses tend to be for a short time but you don't grow as much over 2 months as you do over 2 yrs so your instructor is with you that whole time.

Check into other programs like 12X12 for picture books or the Highlights Foundation workshops--scholarships are available. All the best.

 Full disclosure: I am both an ICL graduate (magazine and book courses) and a retired instructor.
#3 - October 04, 2018, 06:27 AM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

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Full disclosure: I'm also a retired ICL instructor, having taught from 2000-2016.

Honest opinion: When I started teaching, and long before that, ICL was the best course of its kind out there. The curriculum was wonderful and the one-on-one instruction couldn't be beat. However, we know the internet has truly exploded on the scene since that time, and now there is such an abundance of offerings. Also, ICL suffered badly in the Great Recession. 

The upshot of everything is that ICL has not managed to keep pace with industry changes. I feel its day has passed, especially for anyone who wants to "turn pro" instead of be a hobbyist. The route to novel writing no longer goes through the magazine market, and there are SO many fewer magazines available now that I honestly wonder how they keep the basic course running. Not a criticism; an honest question. The vast, vast majority of writers learning to write and publish for kids today are NOT learning from ICL. I would investigate other offerings, unless I were a university student or a teacher needing continuing education and were interested in earning the college credits. Because each course is worth six credits, and the cost per credit is a steal, or at least it was, and all books are included in the fee, to boot.
#4 - October 04, 2018, 07:25 AM
Adventures of Jenna V. Series
Caroline Grade Mysteries
The Journey of Emilie
Anne Bradstreet: America's Puritan Poet

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I learned a ton from the class back in the late 90s and I too was an experienced writer and writing teacher.  Writing for kids is a different ball of wax than almost any other kind of writing.

But Vijaya's and mrh/Marcia's points are very good and far more current than my experience.

#5 - October 04, 2018, 01:46 PM
VAMPIRINA IN THE SNOW (Disney-Hyperion, 2018)
BUSY-EYED DAY (Beach Lane Books, 2018)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others


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