Children's writing courses are available at many colleges and universities, and they're typically taken by bachelor's-level and master's-level students in creative writing, professional writing or literature programs. Students gain a broad knowledge of the history of children's literature while developing their own creative written works. Children's writing courses often include peer critique sessions, allowing students to benefit from valuable feedback from other students and their professors. Concepts covered in these classes include:
- Storytelling techniques
- Story-boarding and illustration
- Gender roles and age-appropriate designations
- Sub-genres including fantasy, science fiction, and fairy tales
- Editing your manuscript
List of Common Courses
Fundamentals of Children's Writing Course
This course serves as a broad introduction to writing for children. A wide range of genres is observed including fiction, nonfiction, poetry and picture books. The course focuses on the essential components of storytelling, including plot, setting and character structure, while highlighting how these elements pertain to specific types of works for children.
History of Children's Literature Course
Students learn about and investigate the development of children's literature over time, beginning with oral traditions and early written works before progressing to more familiar modern writing. Emphasis is placed on the structure of various common children's literature forms, such as folklore, fables, animal stories and fantasy literature.
Picture Books for Children Course
This course includes an overview of the history and techniques involved in creating picture books for children. Writing students learn the essentials of the design process, from storyboard development to illustration creation. The course provides observation of various published works, along with workshop and studio components, to offer students a unique hands-on perspective.
Poetry for Children Course
Here, students specifically study the history of poetry written for young readers and analyze a diverse sampling of contemporary children's poetry. Beyond the analytical approach, students prepare their own poetry geared toward children while giving and accepting opinions and criticism.
Fantasy and Science Fiction for Children Course
In this course, students investigate the characteristics of the imaginative genres of fantasy and science fiction literature geared toward children. An overview of common archetypes and character development is necessary for an understanding of how fantastical story elements seem real and relatable for young readers. Students create their own original story ideas and characters to achieve a greater grasp of the appeal of these genres of children's literature.
Children's Writing Workshop Course
While other courses offer an overview of themes and genres within children's literature, the writing workshop allows students the chance to more closely develop their own original written works, illustrations and designs. Faculty supervision and monitoring is required and approval by the department may be necessary.