Usually I do children's book reviews here but yesterday I taught an intensive in Portland, Oregon, and it reminded me of why I teach and why I love teaching. I kept it very small for a bunch of people who had helped me and it made my heart so big to share our love of kid's books and to be able to share my passion and expertise for helping people create and publish kid's books. Because it was such a small group I did it very differently using some of the worksheets from the upcoming Craft and Business of Writing Children's Picture Books course and meeting with folks individually before coming back together as a group. My friend Debra Bartsch made fantastic food and we had a lovely fire going in the fireplace to combat the ice and snow outside.
I thought back to my long-deceased dad, who had seen starving artists in Montmatre after the war and had starved himself during it. When I told him I wanted to be an artist, he said, "artist schmartist, be a teacher." At the time I scoffed, but I did become a teacher and then a professor both of which I loved for the teaching and sharing and hated because of the beaurocracy. Little did I imagine that one day I'd have my own school and get to teach the way that I loved, from the heart and without grading or fake propriiety AND that I'd still get to be an artist and creative.
I recently sent out a newsletter reminding folks that the $70 discounts on the Craft and Biz of Writing PBs were ending tomorrow midnight where I also spoke about value and values and how much more important rich experiences were to me than things. Because my parents were survivors, they constantly told my sisters and me that it was our job to help make a better world and I truly believe I get to do this by helping folks birth and publish beautiful and fun or deeply meaningful and important books. I feel very fortunate..
Below are some comments from the students in yesterdays intensive that will give you an idea of why I love teaching so much. They kind of ended up as more like testimonials but here they are:
From Cortney Benvenuto
When I learned Mira was doing a workshop in Portland I jumped on the opportunity. I had previously taken her illustrating picture books course and fell in love knowing it would be incredible. Today’s intensive with Mira was more than I expected. Mira’s expertise and thoughtfulness gave me insight and perspective on how to rework my portfolio and make the appropriate edits to my manuscript. With worksheets, one on one critiques, and group collaboration I had a very successful day. Mira is truly amazing. If you have the opportunity to take a course or work with her in any way, you absolutely must!
From Debra Bartsch
A Picture book, Chapter book, and Middle Grade Workshop Intensive was held today in Portland, Oregon with Mira Reisberg of the Children's Book Academy presenting her specialty style of Intensive techniques. I was lucky enough to host this talented group of women writers and illustrators who came through the icy weather to further their careers.
Mira's style really gets at the heart of our work, from individual manuscript consultation, portfolio review and guidance, group discussion of books, collectively working together to grow with Mira's
advice. Please take time to check out her Children's Book Academy for the numerous courses she has to offer your. If you are serious about getting published as a writer, illustrator and children's book creative, this is the place to be. Thanks so much for the fabulous day!
From Emily Alexander
I arrived for the intensive with a lot of excitement and left with even more. The narrative for my picture book was far too long. Although it was difficult to let go of my precious words, Mira helped me make the brutal cuts. I now have a clear plan for moving forward towards publication and will be joining the Picture Book Writing Course. Yay!
From Roz Malin
After numerous rewrites of my chapter books, I came expecting to have to totally rewrite the first pages -- yet again. But I was surprised and excited because, instead, Mira worked with me through my synopsis/outlines and convinced me to meld the chapter books together into a middle grade novel.
By the end of the workshop, I had the transition between the first two books finished and plan on working on the transition between the second and third books.
This is a hands-on workshop with guidance from one of the best editor/teachers in the business.
And Deb’s food was fantastic!
Thank-you, Mira, for sharing your time and knowledge.
Puppeteer extraordinaire Emily Alexander's picture book characters who will be joining us in the upcoming Craft and Business of Writing Children's Picture Books course. If you'd like to find out more about it or register now, simply click here.
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with Clear Fork/Spork editor/art director, former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays feature funny Aussie author Sharon Giltrow sharing awesome Aussie books.
And 5th Mondays will feature Libyan American author Koloud Tarapolsi sharing wonderful diverse books.