If you’ve ever dreamed of writing for children, and creating stories and books that get published, here’s your best chance to learn what it takes to convert that writing dream into a bright reality.

If you qualify, one of our nationally published writer/instructors will be your personal mentor on every assignment and teach you how to write the kinds of manuscripts that editors are looking for.  With first hand knowledge of editorial needs, your instructor develops a teaching plan that meets your individual needs and goals and then guides you with constructive encouragement every step of the way.

For details on this celebrated home study training course from the Institute of Children’s Literature, review the topics below:



Specialists in children’s
literature since 1969


The Institute was founded in 1969 to establish the finest course of instruction in how to write and how to market fiction and nonfiction for children and teenagers.

Now, after more than 40 years of devotion to the juvenile market, the Institute has become the leading teacher and the primary source of new children’s writers in North America. We publish annual market directories and a monthly newsletter, as well as course materials and textbooks—all related exclusively to writing for children and teenagers.

As you read through this material, you’ll meet our instructors. In total, our faculty has worked for more than 1,000 publishers and won more than 200 medals, prizes, and awards including the highest honors in children’s literature.

While our faculty has published more than 26,000 books, stories, and articles, our students and alumni have been well-published, too. We have received reports of more than 11,000 sales, and the rate of publication notices is now running at a rate of 1,000 per year.


The Institute of Children’s Literature, nestled deep in the woods of western Connecticut, was founded in 1969.


Learn at your own pace
Writing for Children and Teenagers was structured with maximum flexibility: Students learn at their own pace within their own schedules, and they work in the privacy of their own homes.

The cornerstone of this unique course, which has evolved through a series of refinements and enhancements since 1969, is its one-on-one method of teaching: Each student is assigned his or her own instructor—a published writer or experienced editor—and they work together to achieve the student's goals.

You are a class of one
Compare our
“class of one” method of teaching with the traditional college or university classroom with one instructor for 20, 30, or even 50 students. Our pairing of a beginner with an accomplished instructor—the classic master-apprentice relationship—gives aspiring authors the finest, most personal training available anywhere.

Exclusive publishing data
One key to our students
’ extraordinary record of success is the Institute’s research facility, which continuously monitors the editorial requirements of every publisher and every publication related to children’s literature. This data, published annually in the form of market directories, is available exclusively from the Institute.

The measures of success
For many students, publication is the yardstick of success. For others, it is the exhilaration they feel in being able to communicate in writing more effectively in their business or professional life.

Whatever your writing objective may be, if you pass our Aptitude Test for Children’s Writing and enroll in Writing for Children and Teenagers, we will give you our promise: You will complete at least one manuscript suitable to submit to an editor by the time you finish the course.

Finally, we are dedicated to your satisfaction.



If you are not satisfied that you’ve become a better writer and learned how to market your writing to publishers by the time you’ve completed our program, you can obtain a full refund.


Writing for Children and Teenagers course, offered by the Institute of Children's Literature, is recommended for college credits by the Connecticut Board for State Academic Awards and approved by the Connecticut Commissioner of Higher Education.


You can be a writer


A traveling salesman from Chittenango, New York, returned home from his trips with fanciful stories he made up to delight his children. He failed as a businessman, but L. Frank Baum’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published when he was 44, won him lasting fame and led to 13 more books about his enchanted land.

But most successful authors create their stories, at least in part, with material drawn from their personal experiences. Fantasy, imagination, hard facts, snippets of conversations, and personality quirks are all coin of the writer’s realm.

Charlotte’s Web was inspired by a cobweb in E. B. White’s barn in West Brooklin, Maine, inhabited by a spider he endowed with endearing human qualities.

While a spider in a web was only a point of departure for White, Mark Twain drew heavily on his boyhood in Hannibal, Missouri, to create the scenes and settings along the river as well as the characters and personalities that populate The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Life on the Mississippi.

Louisa May Alcott went to work at age 15 as a governess and household servant to help support her family. At night, she wrote stories. She sent her manuscripts to a publisher who suggested that Miss Alcott write a story based on her childhood. The book captured the hearts of girls everywhere, and Little Women became one of the most successful children’s books ever published.

Writers of articles and other forms of nonfiction often make use of their hobbies, interests, and even their work experiences as the basis for interesting expositions. One of the outstanding examples of this kind of writing is Science Experiments You Can Eat, written by a junior high school science teacher. It has been a steady seller since 1962.


You can take up writing for children
at any age, any time, and any place

Whatever your age, education, and occupation—wherever and however you live—finding the best time and place to write is the student writer’s first assignment.


Whether you’re a “morning person” or a “night person” and whether you write on the kitchen table or at your own desk are much less important considerations than having your own time and place to write. That time and place then become your creative center and yours alone—a place of one’s own.

Opportunities for new writers

More than 580 publishers of books and 670 publishers of magazines related to children buy manuscripts from freelance writers. Of course, all manuscripts must be  “right on target” and written and presented according to the publishers’ specifications if they are to be considered.

While more than 10,000 different titles for children and young adults are published every year, children's magazines consume thousands of stories and articles every month!

Some have many subscribers. Boys’ Life has 1,300,000; Scholastic’s magazines total 25,000,000; and Highlights for Children goes into more than 2,500,000 homes every month! With their voracious appetites, magazines require a lot of writing to keep them well fed. Freelancers supply most of it.

Where, when, and at what pace
you write is up to you

One of the most appealing aspects of writing is the extraordinary flexibility it offers; you can write anywhere, anytime you wish. All you need is some way to capture the words.

One famous author (before she was famous) wrote in longhand on a board propped up on the steering wheel of her car—which was parked in her driveway, locked. It was the only way she could get away from the children, the pets, and the telephone. She bought a precious hour every day with this arrangement, and with it, Jean Kerr produced the best-selling novel Please Don’t Eat the Daisies.


A record of success
No matter how or when you write, or what you write about, there
’s always a waiting market for good juvenile writing. See for yourself; go to your library and skim a dozen books and magazines for children and young adults.

Ask yourself: If I had individual instruction from a real professional, could I learn to write as well as that? If your answer is yes and if you have the necessary aptitude to qualify, you may wish to consider the Institute’s course, Writing for Children and Teenagers. Our students and alumni have already written and published more than 11,000 books, articles, and stories.

Writing can be highly rewarding
The rewards of writing begin with the recognition that you
’ve succeeded in expressing yourself on paper the way you want to be read—first, by you, and second, by your instructor.

At the outset, those rewards may seem almost unattainable. But once you start satisfying your own standards—and your instructor’s—you’ll be ready to learn the next steps: how to find appropriate markets and how to offer these editors and publishers your work.

That first sweet letter of acceptance from a publisher will never be rivaled by anything you’re likely to get in the mail—except, possibly, your publisher’s check.

The last, and perhaps the greatest, of these early successes is seeing your name and your words in print. For most writers, this is the realization of a cherished dream, a confirmation of their faith in their ability, and the beginning of a life in writing.

Karen Hesse, author of Out of the Dust, achieved a great triumph in 1998, eight years after graduating from the Institute, when she won the Newbery Medal, America’s highest honor in children’s fiction. She has now written 20 children’s books.

In 2003, Karen Hesse was granted a $500,000 “Genius” fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation.

The pure joy of writing for youngsters
There are special joys to be found in writing for children and teenagers that no other category of writing can offer you. The light your words bring to a child
’s face, the giggles and laughter your stories tickle out of a youngster’s imagination—these are experiences you’ll treasure forever.

And if your words succeed in reaching and touching a teenager, offering understanding in that often confusing world of adolescence, you’ll find gratification beyond measure.

The surprisingly big juvenile market
Although for many years books and magazines for children and teenagers were the cinder maids of the publishing world, they have emerged in recent years as the Cinderellas:

  • Publishers’ total sales of children’s books have multiplied nearly 16 times since 1980—from $211 million to $3.4 billion in 2006. And publishers’ sales of juvenile paperbacks rose from $336,000,000 in 1988 to nearly $900,000,000 in 2000 to $1.4 billion in 2006—a 400% increase in 18 years.

  • Magazines for and about children have exploded from a handful just a generation ago to more than 670 today.

  • While public school enrollments in grades preK-8 increased 15.8% from 1990 to 2007 (projected), the enrollment in grades 9-12 for the same period increased by 32.4%.

The reason for this dramatic growth is the population boom, or “boomlet,” produced by the baby boomers, as well as the positive attitudes they have developed, as parents, toward reading and education. The result has produced an eager audience with money to spend.

Publishers in the juvenile market have also reacted favorably, from a freelance writer’s point of view, and they continue to be receptive to fresh, new material that meets their specifications.

Of course, no matter who submits a manuscript for consideration—an established author or an unpublished writer—professional standards apply. These are the standards you learn at the Institute.

Your best prospects for success
If you have the desire and the aptitude to write for children and young adults, we have a truly superior course of instruction and a highly qualified instructor to work with you one-on-one.

We teach you how to write—and how to get your writing published. As a result, our course offers you the best prospects for success as a student and, later, as a freelance writer.


Sources: U.S. Dept. of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2008).




Writing for Children and Teenagers, offered by the Institute of Children's Literature, is recommended for college credits by the Connecticut Board for State Academic Awards and approved by the Connecticut Commissioner of Higher Education.



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