Peg366's Blog

An email from Highlights for Children.

Posted on: July 25, 2009

A Writing Tip from Highlight/Calkins Creek Editor, Carolyn Yoder‏
From: Highlights Foundation (
Sent: Fri 7/24/09 7:03 PM

What makes a great biography? Do readers need to know every detail, every event, every opinion? Masters at the art of biography know what to leave in and what to leave out—how to build character, discovering along the way just what makes the covered subject worthy of attention. A great biography uncovers a person’s soul—or in simple terms, reveals what makes him or her tick.

Biographers have a balancing act to perform—creating harmony between research and writing. A great biography is a good story full of rich, accurate, and fair detail. In Real People, Great Stories: The Art of Writing Biography, writers will study this balancing act closely—reviewing their own “portraits” as a group and individually (one on one).

From hardbacks to news rags, why are we so fascinated with what other people are doing—eating, dating, marrying, and even, perhaps, thinking. And why do so many people write about other people—alive AND dead? Biographers tend to be curious (uncovering new details), heroic and loving (setting the story straight or simply offering exposure), and at times devious (setting the story straight or simply offering exposure). Biographers also tend to love a good hunt (digging really, really deep through piles of all kinds of stuff) and a good story (those rich anecdotes). In my workshop, Real People, Great Stories: The Art of Writing Biography, running from October 29 to November 1, 2009, writers will look closely at the art of biography—reviewing their own “portraits” as a group and individually—as well as come to realize why this art form has lasted for so many years.

Carolyn P. Yoder is the editor of Calkins Creek Books, the U.S. history imprint of Boyds Mills Press, and the senior editor of history and world cultures at Highlights magazine. She is the author of John Adams: The Writer; Becoming George Washington; George Washington: The Writer; and three books in Heinemann Library’s We Are America series. Carolyn has been an editor and writer for the New Jersey Historical Society and the executive director of the New Hampshire Antiquarian Society. From 1983-1996, she served as editor, editor in chief, and assistant publisher of Cobblestone Publishing, Inc.

For more information on Carolyn’s upcoming Highlights Foundation workshop, Real People, Great Stories: The Art of Writing Biography, visit Please feel free to share this e-mail with others who might find it of interest.

Highlights Foundation, Inc.
814 Court Street
Honesdale, PA 18431
Phone: (570) 251-4500

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I am an aspiring picturebook writer with some magazine credits just no picture book contract yet. I know it is coming and I am more than willing to work for it.

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July 2009

July 2009
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My Favorites:

I love the children's movies Wizard of Oz and the Neverending Story. Both movies make me feel the lesson that hope is alive and well. After seeing UP this past week, it just might have a chance at being added to this list.

I love the cool colors of blues and purples.Those colors are peaceful for me.

I love The Velveteen Rabbit. Even as an adult, I still feel the urge to cry when he becomes real. I know, silly, but a good book can make me laugh and cry as it takes me on a magical journey.

Authors and Illustrators:

Authors, Author/Illustrator, Illustrators that I know and/or Like.


C= Children

MG= Mid Grade

T= Teen

YA= Young Adult

A= Adult


Bonnie Adamson *

Kathi Appelt *

Tedd Arnold


Natalie Babbit

Molly Bang

Bonnie Becker

Jan and Stan Berenstain

Judy Blume

Tracey M. Cox

Linda Crotta Brennan *

Jan Brett

Janie Bynum *

Eric Carle

Pam Calvert

Nancy Carlson

Beverly Cleary

Kevin Scott Collier

Sharon Creech

Doreen Cronnin

Tomie dePaulo

Kate DiCamillo

Kathleen Duey *

Dotti Enderle

Jan Fields *

Denise Fleming

Mem Fox

Kelley Milner Hall

Amy Heist

Kevin Henkes

Ellen Jackson *

Jeff Kinney

Jackie French Koller

Ursula K. LeGuin

Leo Lionni

Lois Lowry

Mercer Mayer

Robert Munsch

Laura Numeroff

Linda Sue Parks

Dav Pilkey

Patricia Polacco

Peggy Rathmann

Bethany Roberts

David Shannon

Aaron Shepard

Donna J. Shepherd *

Cynthia Leitich Smith

Jerry Spinelli

Diane Stanley

Chris Van Allsburg

Rick Walton *

Lisa Wheeler

Mo Willems

Karma Wilson *

Audrey Woods

Jane Yolen *

Favorite Websites:

Favorite Blogs:

• ShelfTalker: A Children’s Bookseller’s Blog
• Alice’s CWIM Blog
• A Fuse #8 Production
• Cynsations
• Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent
• Editorial Anonymous
• Miss Snark’s First Victim
• Writing for children and teens

Favorite Quotes.

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