Online Resources for Children’s Writers and Illustrators

We are stuck at home. There are a lot of resources being shared for children. But there are many online resources for children’s writers and illustrators.

SCBWI is offering many webinars. Some are members-only benefits, some are available to all. Make sure you check out the webinars being offered by regions around the globe.

Highlights Foundation is also offering many free online events. There are meditations, discussions, and prompts.

Highlights Foundation

I get a weekly email from the Institute for Children’s Writers. It’s always been free and full of good advice. They have online courses and there is a discount right now.

Institute for Children’s Writers


What other online resources are you using right now?


But For Now…

But For Now

Not so long ago, things were one way. For now, they are different. 

Before, we pumped our swings as high as the clouds. Soon, we’ll slide so fast our hair stands up. 

But for now we’ll play in other ways. (On couch cushion obstacle courses.)

We used to sprint and shout “Tag, you’re it!” Soon, we’ll hold hands on walks. 

For now, we can still make each other laugh. (Video chat anyone?)

Last month, we sat in rows at school. Soon, we’ll be back in lunch lines and libraries. 

For now, we can do math, science, and art at home (I suggest cookies).

Back then, people left for work. Soon they’ll be back driving cars, on buses, in trains. 

For now, work looks a little different. (Wear your fancy pjs on conference calls.)

We used to cheer for our favorite team. Soon we’ll be back on the field. 

For now, we can invent new games to win. (Try sock-hockey.)

Back then we went to the movies on rainy days. Soon, we’ll be back watching the curtain rise. 

For now, we can tell our own stories. (And jokes and riddles.)

We used to rush from place to place. Soon we’ll have lots to do. 

For now, we can go a little slower. (Sleeping in is surprisingly fun.)

We gathered to feast with friends. Soon we’ll be back to sharing snacks and hugs. 

For now, we can send our love. (Time for an old-fashioned note.) 

Some things have changed, but some things haven’t. Like you and me. 

For now and for always, one way or another, we’re here for each other.  



Don’t ask authors for free visits – and don’t do them for free!

Take a look at the income survey results from Authors Guild.

Authors don’t make a lot of money writing books. We usually juggle lots of different types of work. At the same time I was writing my seven recent projects I was teaching two different writing classes.

I was also doing marketing for school visits and other public events, hoping to boost book sales.

I turned down at least one request for a unpaid school visit in the past month.

Authors, we need to value our work, so others value it, too. Please don’t do school visits for free.

And schools, community events – please don’t ask authors to speak for free.

Join in Nonfiction Fest this February

I joined Nonfiction Fest this month, and I’m already learning a lot.

Nonfiction Fest is organized by a great group of nonfiction writers that call themselves the Nonfiction Chicks.

Basically, I read a post a day to learn something incredible. There’s also an activity grid with helpful tasks to keep us nonfiction writers working.

Here’s a post from author Beth Anderson about how she organizes her research before she writes. I’m excited to say I do a lot of the same thing – only I use Scrivener.

If you’re into Nonfiction, get int Nonfiction Fest!

Medical Mishaps and Gadget Disasters!

Now available!


Does your young reader love non-fiction? Are they an inventor? A doctor? A kid with big ideas? Looking for books that encourage a growth mindset? The “Learning from Bad Ideas” series is for anyone who wants to know what worked, what didn’t, and why.

Medical Mishaps: Learning from Bad Ideas.

Captsone, 2020.

book cover medical mishaps

See some of the world’s most messed-up medical mishaps at a microscopic level. Find out how each procedure, tool, or surgery failed, the basic science that was missed, and what doctors learned from their mistakes.

Please consider buying from your local bookstore first!

Barnes and Noble



Gadget Disasters: Learning from Bad Ideas.

Capstone, 2020.

book cover gadget disasters

See some of the world’s greatest gadget disasters from the palm of your hand. Find out how each gadget failed, what went wrong with its design or manufacture, and what programmers learned from their mistakes.


Please consider buying from your local bookstore first!

Barnes and Noble





STEAM Team 2020: STEAM books for kids

I’m so excited to share that I’ve joined STEAM Team 2020! This is a group of writers who have STEAM books for kids coming out in 2020. STEAM is science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

steam team 2020 logo

Social Media

Follow STEAM Team on Twitter and Instagram to learn about an amazing collection of STEAM books!

Also, use the hashtag #steamteam2020 to find out about all of the books and events.


Many authors will be sharing reviews of books and announcing book birthdays on their blogs.  I will add more blogs soon! Check out:

The Picture Book Buzz

Archimedes Notebook


I have two STEAM books for kids out right now. They are Medical Mishaps and Gadget Disasters. Both of these books are published by Captsone. Medical Mishaps covers old and incorrect ideas about medicine and medical treatments. Gadget Disasters is perfect for young inventors who want to hear about failed inventions.

Later this year, my book The Science and Technology of Leonardo da Vinci will be released. I worked with Nomad Press to publish this book. I can’t wait to celebrate!

What are some of your favorite STEAM books for kids?

Pittsburgh Creative Writing Camp for Kids

This past summer, I had a great time hosting a Pittsburgh creative writing camp for kids ages 5-12. I didn’t plan to have such a wide age range, but lots of things in life happen different than we plan!

Before the class started, I had a pretty decent curriculum planned for kids ages 9-12. I was prepared for this age group, because I also host an after school writing club at our elementary school. But when I saw I had young kids in this camp, I had to REVISE the entire thing that first afternoon.

Luckily writers are familiar with revision.

I feel pretty proud of the new version of the camp. It’s perfect for pre-literate kids who want to write books. We review mentor texts  – many books with little or no words! – then create our own. It’s a little bit of STEM, a little bit ELA, a little bit ART, and a lot of fun.

I’m planning to host a camp at a local bookstore this summer, so stay tuned!