Are you a teacher or librarian overwhelmed by the prospect of picking out the best new picture books for your young readers? Are you a creator who needs to stay on top of today’s picture book marketplace? If so, let this expert guide you on a curated reading journey. Over the course of five days, award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Elizabeth Dulemba will work you through the picture book submissions for the annual Margaret Wise Brown Prize and other best-sellers, covering current themes and trends, and pointing out the written and visual tricks that make them popular, successful, and beloved. By the end of the week, you will have a solid grasp of the current picture book landscape to better prepare you to recommend books to others or create them yourself. Workshop limited to 12 participants.Being our first year, we had a small group of four students, but it was a very powerful group indeed! I thought we'd get teachers wanting to find books for their students. Well, it ended up being a bit bigger than that. Dr. Marilyn Mallue is one of our MFA students, who was an invaluable member of our group since she was already familiar with our program and was able to provide further feedback and pointers on her experiences at Hollins (on the left).
We started out by examining our Hollins Children's Literature department picture book collection and the categories they are broken into.
We took several field trips to different children's book collections to see how they were curated. We began at the Hollins Library - the academic section - the tribute to Margaret Wise Brown - and the children's book section. There, students were asked to search out the newest picture book they could find.
We studied the media of various books until they could identify how the artwork was made themselves...
Marilyn: How wonderful to spend time learning about picture book trends with others of such diverse backgrounds who love AND respect picture books. How wonderful to spend time with a professional author/illustrator who is so willing to share her knowledge and love for what makes a good picture book as well as what is involved in curating a picture book collection.
Rosario: I came to this workshop to learn from Elizabeth, who I have been following for a while in social media because of her work and academic experiences and found Hollins University and a world of possibilities!
Because of the nature of the work I do with Mi Primer Libro Peru, which is predominantly visual, I was looking for learning opportunities to fit my needs, to fill the gaps in the limited time I can afford. Not only I found more than I wished for, I had the privilege to share these days with smart and thoughtful people who enriched my experiences with fun and insightful discussion.
The possibility of working with the submissions for the Margaret Wise Brown Prize has been a great opportunity to access books that otherwise would have been more difficult to see and learn from what they have to offer under Elizabeth’s guidance/advise. I want to come back for more and highly recommend it to those who are looking for a week of intense hands on learnings.
Vickey: Not only did I learn more about the art of children’s literature, but I internalized much of that learning because of the hands-on nature of this workshop. Elizabeth is a skilled practitioner who knows her craft and understands how to teach it. In addition, my classmates all brought unique perspectives and a willingness to work together to the learning space. Incredible week!
Teri: In February, when I read the description of this workshop in Elizabeth's newsletter, I called Hollins right away to reserve my spot! As a retired educator and long-time lover of children’s books, the opportunity to "browse through hundreds of picture books" while staying on a lovely college campus in the Virginia mountains was too good to pass up. Now that the workshop is at an end, each of us has read at least a hundred books (laughed and cried as we did so), and we've learned what goes into making the words and pictures of a good story. We have gained a deeper understanding of the value of children’s picture books in every culture, and we have become friends. As a children’s book lover, who could ask for more?
Thank you, Elizabeth, for being our teacher. You are so knowledgeable and so eager to bring others into the fold. And thanks to Hollins for hosting us this week. Let’s do it again next year :)
Last year's trends were biographies, protest/activism books, and wellness books. So, what trends did we identify this year? Cats and collage! We saw a LOT of that in this year's books. Here's a quick video to show what else we discovered - click to watch on YouTube:
I hope you can join us next year!