Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators


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The Miracle of the Picture Book!


Instructor: Allyn Johnston


Audience: Picture book authors and illustrators


Level: Beginner to advanced; all interested levels are welcome


Description: Allyn Johnston, VP and publisher of Beach Lane books, will guide participants through all aspects of creating a picture book, from beginnings and endings to pacing to rhyme. Attendees will have an opportunity to work on a current picture book work-in-progress and receive feedback from Allyn and their fellow picture book writers. A few surprise guests may pop in as well!


What to bring:

  • A first page of one of your picture book manuscripts to turn in Saturday morning for the ongoing First Pages sections
  • One or more of your printed picture book manuscripts for the various workshop projects


Attendees in this Creative Lab will learn:

  • All about picture book structure: what goes into a picture book, beginning, middle and end
  • Pacing and page turns
  • How to create a picture book dummy
  • How to use rhyme, rhythm, and repetition
  • The process for submitting a picture book to an editor


 Over the course of the seven-hour Creative Lab, Allyn will:

  • Lecture on picture book structure, voice, plotting, and language using read-aloud examples
  • Explain everything you need to know about cover letters, query letters, word counts, and the submission process
  • Cover picture book dummies and why you should create one
  • Give feedback on attendees’ first pages
  • Provide attendees with exercises to improve their picture book works-in-progress
  • Provide attendees with a picture book project to do either individually or in small groups
  • Take attendees questions


What to expect afterward:

  • An open invitation—with contact details provided in the workshop—to submit picture book projects directly to Allyn and receive a personal response



About Your instructor:

Allyn Johnston is VP and publisher of Beach Lane Books, a San Diego-based children’s book imprint that she founded on April Fool’s Day, 2008. Among the authors and illustrators with whom she works are Marla Frazee, Lauren Stringer, Cynthia Rylant, Arthur Howard, Mark Teague, Mem Fox, Linda Davick, Jeanette Winter, Jonah Winter, Jan Thomas, Mary Lyn Ray, Amy Schwartz, Aura Lewis, Katie Mazeika, K. L. Going, and Debra Frasier.