Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 11, 2017

ASK DIANNE: Children’s Writing Resources

Q:  I’d like to write a book for kids.  Can you recommend some good resources for newbies like me?

A:  Excellent question! To start, I’d say ‘stay tuned’ right here.  Kathy Temean’s blog, Writing and Illustrating ( features editors, authors, illustrators and agents sharing the kind of ‘how-to’ nuts and bolts information you’ll need to make your writing shine…as well as how to sell it to a publisher.  Kathy posts links to cool writing contests, too.  Entering these gives a beginner some experience with the submission process and just might result in a first publication credit to boot!

There are several other excellent online resources which I often recommend to the children’s writers I work with in my role of writing coach and freelance editor:

Julie Hedlund ( offers the basics of picture book writing as well as the chance to participate in the “12×12 Picture Book Writing Challenge” program (

Mira Reisburg offers online courses for Picture Book, Middle Grade and Young Adult writers through her online school, The Children’s Book Academy (www.children’

Katie Davis ( is a children’s publishing diva with a lot of practical information to share on podcasts and building an author’s platform (you’ll want this information later in your writer’s journey) and is the author of How to Write a Picture Book:  Advice on Writing Children’s Books from the Children’s Institute of Literature. 

I’d recommend you hop over to to see what online courses offered by The Children’s Institute of Literature (the grand-daddy of courses targeted toward writing for children) might best serve your needs.

Long-time children’s publishing editor Harold Underdown, offers a cornucopia of great advice on his website, The Purple Crayon,  He is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books, a book full of seriously good information despite its light-hearted title.       

And you’ll find a lot of good writerly advice, courses and books on, home base for the publisher of WRITERS DIGEST magazine.  They also publish the annual Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market, which not only gives you all the up-to-date information on publishers of children’s books, magazines and other materials; but also includes a ton of articles on the craft and business of writing for children.  A good investment!

The one organization to join if you have not yet is the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (  There are many other groups you may wish to join on the local or national level, but SCBWI is the only one you’ll really need if you’re writing for the toddler-to-teens marketplace.  SCBWI is an international organization with regional chapters that plan conferences and workshops throughout the year where members can improve their craft, and network with other children’s writers in the area.  SCBWI also runs two ‘mega-conferences’ yearly, one in Los Angeles and the other in New York City, open to all members who make their way there for the immense inspiration offered.

While this is a good start on resources available to you for little or no cash outlay, there are some key reference books that I believe should be on any writer’s shelves.  I’ll be sharing that list in next month’s column.   Meanwhile, happy writing to you all! – Dianne


Dianne Ochiltree is a nationally recognized author of books for the very young. Her books have appeared on numerous recommended reading lists, classroom desks and library shelves.  Her bedtime book, LULL-A-BYE, LITTLE ONE, was a selected for the Dollywood Foundation’s childhood literacy initiative, Imagination Library in 2007. Her picture book, MOLLY BY GOLLY! THE LEGEND OF MOLLY WILLIAMS AMERICA’S FIRST FEMALE FIREFIGHTER, received the Florida Book Awards (FBA) Bronze Medal in the Children’s Literature category in 2012 and was chosen for the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer list of feminist literature for girls. Her picture book, IT’S A FIREFLY NIGHT, won the FBA Silver Medal in 2013. Her 2015 title, IT’S A SEASHELL DAY, was given the FBA Gold Medal/Gwen Reichert Award as well as the Gold Medal for Florida picture book from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association. For more information about Dianne’s books, go to

Dianne, thanks for sharing your expertise with us. Another great answer.

REMEMBER: To send in your questions for Dianne. Use Kathy(dot)Temean(at) Please put ASK DIANNE in the subject box.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Dianne, you are SO spot on with all these suggestions! And I can’t wait to see what books you see as essential (in comparison to mine) 😀

    P.S. Your Twitter link on the bottom of your site’s home page doesn’t work :-\


    • Thank you for the nice comments on my suggestions as well as the info about the broken link on my website. I will pass that on to the website pro who helps me fix things like that!


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