Basic Info
  • Children's/Young Adult
  • Fiction
  • Poetry

Oh the elusive perfect picture book! We want our picture books for children to be accessible to young readers yet appealing to the adults who are reading them, fresh yet somehow familiar, and interesting enough to be unforgettable. In other words, we want to find the pulse of the story, where it connects to its heart. What is it about this story that makes it feel ‘alive’ to readers? Maya Angelou has said, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” ‘Heart’ is how we feel. Locating the pulse-point, and writing from there, helps our story matter to a reader.

In this workshop (open to writers at all levels), we will search for the pulse of stories and consider the ways that other writers, and we, too, can write stories with heart. We will look at classic texts as well as wonderful new picture books that resonate with readers of all ages. We’ll use what we learn. Participants should bring twelve copies of a current picture book manuscript or 2-5 pages of poetry (800 words maximum) to the workshop. The emphasis of our weekend’s work will be on process as we learn, through critique and conversation, how to strengthen our stories and our poems. We hope also to generate some new writing during our time together through exercises and free-writing.

Sarah Sadie Busse


Sarah Sadie Busse helps people connect to their creativity and to each other. Her poetry chapbook Do-It-Yourself Paper Airplanes was published by Five Oaks Press in 2015, and a full-length collection, We Are Traveling through Dark at Tremendous Speeds, came out from LitFest Press in spring 2016. Winner of the Lorine Niedecker, Posner, and Pushcart Prizes, she teaches in a variety of locations, works with poets one on one, and hosts occasional retreats for writers and other creative types.