Home Page  
Teach  

No matter the course or workshop I teach, my goal is the same: to help the writer learn to tell his story well within the context of today's children's book world.

How do I realize that goal?

I facilitate, I coach, I cheer on, I share.

I come to know each student as I come to know my characters, asking "What do you want and why do you want it?"

A successful picture book offers up concrete details from which the reader can draw Universal Truths.  I strive to do the same in a supportive environment.  I offer up my craft, my children's books, my years on task, as well as my working knowledge of children's book publishing, the children's book world and its singular body of children's literature.

 

Look for these classes throughout the year!

The Newberry Library
60 West Walton Street
Chicago, IL

Ready, Set, Go! - Using Marketing Tools to Revise Your Children’s Book Manuscript

Wednesday evenings, 5:45 pm – 7:45 pm, June 7, 14, 21, 28


It’s easy to get lost when revising your manuscript for publishing consideration. Except, the required accompanying synopsis, pitch and query letter can also serve as your GPS for finding your way through the revision process! Fine-tune these tools in this hands-on workshop to “recalculate” and take control so you can fine-tune your manuscript. Agent/editor discovery resources are included. Open to children’s book writers of all formats and genres with a manuscript close to submission.

For more information or to register, visit http://www.newberry.org/
or call (312) 255-3700



* * *

Gleacher-Center

The Writer's Studio
The University of Chicago
The Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies
450 N Cityfront Plaza Drive
Chicago, IL

Publishing Your Book for Children and Young Adults

Thursday, November 30/Thursday, December 7, 6 pm to 9 pm

If you’re thinking about writing a children's book, either fiction or nonfiction, this two-session seminar will both ground you in today’s children’s book world and help you move forward in readying your book for readers. Session one will focus on publishing possibilities and opportunities – the segments, formats, genres, marketplace, and reader considerations. After sharing up to five double-spaced pages of a book proposal or first chapter, session two will focus on providing group and instructor feedback to assess three areas – a story’s likely audience, format, and marketability.

To register, visit http://grahamschool.uchicago.edu/

* * *

SUMMER 2017! Readying your story for readers….in a nurturing environment

Land Grove Inn

The 2017 Vermont Manuscript Workshop

July 9 – 14, 2017



The Center for the Arts at the Landgrove Inn
Landgrove, Vermont

I’m enormously proud to continue for a second year the Vermont Manuscript Workshop, honoring Workshop founder Barbara Seuling’s love and knowledge of writing for children, dedication to craft and personal investment in her writers and their stories.

Click here to read about the magic made in 2016. (http://www.teachingauthors.com/2016/07/making-magic-in-vermont.html

  • Morning sessions include hands-on writing exercises and instruction on craft – story and its structure, format and genre considerations, the young reader’s needs
  • Afternoons are set aside for individual writing and/or re-visioning of manuscripts, optional special interest sessions or free time
  • Evening sessions focus on readings of the day’s work and guided critiques
  • Throughout the week, focused Food for Thought conversations at meals highlight the writing process, paths to publication, writer’s tips and sustaining the creative Spirit.
  • Manuscript Workshop founder Barbara Seuling and Surprise Children’s Book World residents ice the week’s cake with Guest Speaker visits.

The small (up to 8 writers) week-long workshop, grounded in both the ways and wonders of today’s Children’s Book World and the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont, offers one-to-one student-teacher connections that allow participants to continue to move forward on their writer’s plotlines, informed, affirmed, inspired, encouraged, growing and changing right along with their characters.

    Interested participants need:

  • a working manuscript on which to focus;
  • a want and a need to take that manuscript to the necessary Next Level, whatever that might be; and
  • a willingness to only connect, as Mary Poppins’ P.L. Travers advised – with their world, their story, themselves.

Note: all formats and genres will be considered.

The historic Landgrove Inn invites the making of magic. Cradled by an unspoiled valley and surrounded by the majestic Green Mountains, innkeepers Tom and Maureen Checchia provide guests with a quintessential Vermont getaway. Visit http://www.landgroveinn.com to read about the outstanding accommodations, award-winning meals and workshop studio space.

For more information about the Manuscript Workshop, email Esther Hershenhorn at esthersh@aol.com.
Manuscript Workshop fee: $500.00

Room and Board: workshop-friendly rates; all rooms are singles
For more information about the Inn’s accommodations, email Tom at:vtinn@sover.net
Registration
Call (800) 669-8466 to register and to reserve a room. 
Register by 2/28/2017 and receive 10% off the accommodations rate!

“We are all looking for magic…But indeed we have to wave the wand for ourself.”
P.L. Travers

* * *



Ragdale Foundation
1260 N. Green Bay Road
Lake Forest, IL
http://www.ragdale.org/

Workshops vary. 

* * *

Caught on Camera

Listen to my Writer's Tip, captured by Tina Nichols Coury (www.tinanicholscouryblog.com) at the recent NY SCBWI Conference.

* * *

Wondering if you should enroll in my class?

Recent University of Chicago Writer's Studio and Newberry Library Seminar Evaluations included the following comments:

“…Esther is a true treasure. Don't ever lose her!”

“…Esther is truly a gifted teacher, mentor, and writer. She listened carefully to the needs of the class and crafted a syllabus individually relevant to the class.”

“…I walked out more informed and a better writer than when I walked in.”

“Esther was terrific. Smart, accomplished, warm, engaging.”

“A delightful and enriching experience.”

“Esther is one-of-a-kind. Her greatest strength is how much she cares for her students and their stories.”

“Very engaging, responsive and insightful.”

“…Esther really invests herself into each of her students' stories. I was very nervous going into this class having never written before but she quickly calmed my nerves and broke writing down into measurable tasks. Honestly the class provided me with more than I could have hoped for.”

“The best thing about Esther is her ability to connect to every student. She makes you feel like you’re the only one…”

“…a gifted teacher…”

“…Esther knows children's writing!…”

“…Esther offers positive leadership and a wealth of knowledge, especially in regards to this industry!…”

“….Esther’s knowledgeable, enthusiastic…”

“….Esther always saw the kernel of possibility in each and very manuscript.”

“…able to listen to each individual and address his or her specific needs while teaching the whole class.”

“…knows the business and the craft and is very supportive.”

“…caring, enthusiastic, offers great feedback.”

“…an inspirational, radiant teacher.”

“…Esther has a breadth and depth of knowledge of every aspect relevant to the topic and she’s charming, professional and works so hard!”

“…Esther cares and it shows!”

* * *

“…Esther's summer workshop at the Newberry exceeded all reasonable expectations. As a result of her class, I was able to finish a major revision of my novel, uncover mind-blowing revelations about my heroine, and join a wonderful writers group. Esther is the Queen of Inspiration and the Writer's Incarnation of the Buddha of Compassion.”

—Debra Mitchell, Riverside, IL

“I first met Esther Hershenhorn in her children's book writing class at the Newberry Library, "The Write Place." Even though I'm a children's librarian and knowledgeable about children's books, Esther opened up this magical world in directions I never knew existed. Looking at books from a writer's perspective rather than from that of a reader was the key to my development as a writer. Later, in one-on-one sessions, Esther helped me carve through layers of confused ideas to discover the heart of my story and then shape it into a beautiful work of art-most appropriate for a story about a beginning sculptor! As a teacher, Esther has all the qualities a writer most needs-extensive knowledge, an uncanny ability to ask just the right questions, and much cheerful encouragement. Her new book, S is for Story, overflows with her wisdom, revealing insight in manageable pieces from A to Z.”

—Natalie Ziarnik, Barrington, IL

“Esther is an amazingly effective and supportive teacher and writing coach. Implementing her clear and specific critiques into my work gave my manuscript the push and direction that it needed. With Esther's unwavering support and thorough manuscript advice, I got my first book contract and some serious agent interest. She is the wind that I needed beneath my wings and now I'm finally flying! Thanks, Esther!”

— Tina Fakhrid-Deen, Chicago, IL
LET'S GET THIS STRAIGHT, Seal Press, 2010


http://www.tinafakhriddeen.com

“Esther is a wonderful writer, editor, teacher and motivator. In her classes, I've gone from writing my first children's book to actually selling my first children's book. Esther's knowledge of the industry, the craft of writing, and what it takes to nurture writers and their stories is invaluable.”

—Cheryl Bardoe, Chicago IL
GREGOR MENDEL: THE FRIAR WHO GREW PEAS, Harry N. Abrams

“Esther is a gifted teacher. She is always warm, positive and inspirational. She takes everyone's work seriously and doesn't intend to "fix-it" as if it were broken; instead, she mines each manuscript for the gold inside of it through facilitation of discussion and direct teaching. Every class has such a lively pulse and I learn just as much from other projects as I do from my own. ”

“She is incredibly connected and at the forefront of what is happening in the world of children's books even as it is constantly changing. This work in children's literature is a journey, she tells us, and as a published author she shares her knowledge so we can pack well, take more careful steps, and understand the path we are on so that we can navigate it better. Her advice and counsel have been invaluable to me as I return to my class notes, as I now understand that revision is the key to getting to the heart of it and as I push to write, I believe in myself more than I did before I met her.”

—Deborah Marcero
Chicago, Illinois

“When I first met Esther Hershenhorn at her Newberry Seminar, The Write Place: A Facilitated Children's Book Writers Group, I had been working eighteen months on a middle grade novel, and had produced 70,000 words without really knowing what to do with them. Esther’s comprehensive knowledge of the art and the industry of writing provided exactly what I needed. Her understanding of the art of writing helped me focus the story and sharpen its voice, while her grasp of the publishing industry helped me to understand the appropriate markets and media for my work. Her enthusiasm, attention to detail and willingness to argue brought out the best in all of us in the seminar. Above all, her ability to confront a problem, chew on it for several days, and to watch her own evolving insights, was truly inspirational.”

—Christopher L. Thomas, Architect, AIA
Evanston, IL

“As a radio host, I always dreamed of writing a children's book. When I became a Mom, I knew I had to do it. Esther Hershenhorn's Picture Book Class will show you just how carefully a children's book is crafted. From character development to word choice, you'll learn how to get your ideas on the paper and make your story soar. Esther's enthusiasm and optimism is so infectious and you will love discovering the art of storytelling for children. I encourage you to take her class and write that book!”

—Eileen Byrne, former WLS-AM talk host,
Author, Diary of a NICU Baby: Surviving and Thriving in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

“Esther Hershenhorn’s workshop at the Newberry Library on writing children’s books taught me new things about revision, audience, and focus every single session. Her relentless but upbeat critiques encouraged all of us to take our writing to another level. People who were stymied actually made progress in their projects, and I realized that my book needed to be two different books. In Esther’s case H is for honesty, humor and hard work. I’ve been teaching and writing over thirty years and I only steal ideas from the best. Esther is one of the best.”

—Lois Barr Associate Professor of Spanish
Lake Forest College
Lake Forest, IL

“Esther Hershenhorn is a teacher of rare insight who has an uncanny ability to zero in on the particular truth that a fledgling novelist is wanting to explore. I saw her do it with every student in our class and heard them express the same amazement I felt when her probing questions suddenly revealed to me what my story was about. Really about. That in itself would have been worth the price of tuition, but it’s only the beginning of what Ms. Hershenhorn accomplished in the six-week class I took.”

— Ellen Reagan, Deerfield IL

 

“I had been thinking about writing a children's book for a long time, but Esther's class finally helped me put my story on paper.  Feedback from other class members proved to be very helpful, though the greatest part of the course is Esther, herself.  Not only does she have valuable knowledge of the children's book industry (at a writers' conference, she introduced me to author Tomie dePaola!) but her enthusiasm for children's literature and her wonderful personal spirit are truly inspiring.  Take the class!   

“Or, to paraphrase Quentin Crisp, 'Please feel free to quote me as saying anything that will help promote this excellent instructor and her class.'”

— Mark Maroney, River Forest, IL, The Write Place

“Esther's picture book workshop at Ragdale was chock-full of information and inspiration. Whether we were novices or more experienced, Esther gave each of us helpful constructive criticism with our manuscripts. Her keen insight cut right to the core of our stories. And her warm personality and positive attitude set the tone for our group discussion. I left Ragdale with my arms full of handouts about writers' resources and my mind full of ideas about revising.”   

—Brenda Ferber, Deerfield, IL
JULIA'S KITCHEN, Farrar Straus & Giroux '06

 

Prior to attending a Picture Book Writing class with Esther, I was not sure if I could be a writer.  After that class, I became a timid, cautious writer.  I then attended Esther's course on Writing YA fiction and discovered my passion:  edgy, gritty, realistic fiction for teens.  With Esther's encouragement and guidance, I took a serious plunge and fired my "censor."  The stories I'm to tell have now found life.”

Lori Yoder, Oak Park, IL

When I first signed up for Esther's class I was hoping to merely get some fundamentals of Children's Literature under my belt, but what I actually received was so much more.  Esther is the type of teacher who inspires you to sit down at your desk and write.  Esther lets you know that it is normal for your first draft not to be perfect, that writing is supposed to be hard work-and that is what is so rewarding about the craft.  Her candid honesty week after week gave me the courage to put my heart and soul into my characters.  I would not have the courage or ambition I write with now had I not taken Esther's class.”

—Sarah Bartel, Geneva, IL

“Before I met Esther, I animated, illustrated and told -other people’s stories through 3D animation and Virtual Reality. I had a wish that one day I would be able to tell a story that was my own, a story that I wrote.

“I attended Esther’s workshop “The Write Place,” at the Newberry Library, in Chicago. Esther motivated us to put our words on paper, taught us and helped us hone the craft of writing for children. Esther helped me reconnect and stay in touch with my childhood memories again. Esther told me to write with my heart, not with my hand. Later, I took Esther’s “Picture This: Writing Picture Books for Children” workshop, also at the Newberry Library. This time, Esther helped me find my voice and helped me become a real writer. I finished my first picture book manuscript before the end of the workshop. Thanks, Esther!”

—Sam Thongrong, Chicago, IL

“Having our manuscripts analyzed by a professional gave good focus to the weekend. We appreciated Esther’s breadth of knowledge, her nurturance, and helpfulness. We loved having Esther with us all day long, including lunch and dinner. We were inspired by her experience with her own manuscripts and were touched by her ability to be vulnerable along with us. One of the things that most set Esther apart from other facilitators and teachers was the way she so effectively bridged between being an authority or expert in the field and being a colleague to the rest of our group. We were also impressed with her expertise and we learned from listening to critiques about each other’s stories as well as our own. We got feedback about our writing as well as ideas about marketing. Esther was supportive and respectful; we really appreciated that.”

—The Derry Do’s
August ’05 Summer Chicago Weekend Retreat
Jan Donley, Barbara Fisler, Barbara Gregorich, Vicki Hayes, Chris Tebbetts, Carrie VanderLaan

 

Esther Hershenhorn

Return to the Top