How Do Picture Books Work? (A Free Webinar)

January 23, 8:30 PM Eastern. Update: We presented the webinar and will be sending a link to all those who signed up to receive it. We may provide additional access to it in the future.

How does a picture book work? We often talk about the author needing to "leave room" for the illustrator, and about the way text and pictures work together to tell a story. But in our work at Kid's Book Revisions, we've come to understand that there's another collaborator needed to make a picture book work. We will explore that in this webinar.

This free webinar will look at examples of four different kinds of picture books to demonstrate a crucial insight into the way that they work. This webinar is free, and can be watched on its own, but it also works as a useful introduction to Kid's Book Revisions, our approach to webinars, and our upcoming webinar series, "Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book Manuscript." We're not going to pretend that we don't want you to sign up for "Revising and Re-Imagining" after you experience this presentation, but you're under no obligation to do so, and we promise you useful information, insight, discussion, resources, and more, including a lively question-and-answer time.

What can you expect in this one? We want to answer a basic question: How does a picture book work? There isn't a simple formula that a writer can follow, but we will offer insights into how picture books work. In order to show you how picture books work, we will be looking at four examples.

Throughout the free webinar, you'll be able to text chat with other participants and ask questions that we will answer as we go or at the end. We may even use your questions to inform what we cover in the full webinar series. And yes, you can expect us to make a pitch for you to sign up for "Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book Manuscript," but we won't be doing the hard sell. We think you'll like what you experience in this free webinar so much you'll want to sign up for the series.

For more information, also see the FAQ for the PB webinar--Frequently asked questions: You may find your questions answered on this page.

Our backgrounds:

Eileen Robinson published both fiction and nonfiction as an Executive Editor at Scholastic, as well as at Harcourt. She got her start in educational publishing in classroom and school and library and moved on to work with magazines, book clubs, book fairs and Scholastic trade, helping to create product that could work across markets.

Now an editorial consultant, she works with both published and unpublished authors on picture books through young adult novels, and helps them strengthen their writing and get published. She also consults with publishers on manuscripts before they go to press. Eileen created the site to help authors and partnered with Harold Underdown to provide online tutorials at Kids Book Revisions (, where you can get the benefit of two professional editors simultaneously. She recently launched Move Books, a children's book publisher dedicated to moving boys to read.

Harold Underdown is an independent editor; he does critiques, helps to develop manuscripts, and provides other editorial and consulting services for individuals and publishers.

Harold wrote The Complete Idiot's Guide to Children's Book Publishing, now in its third edition. He founded and runs "The Purple Crayon," a respected web site with information about the children's publishing world at He speaks and gives workshops through the Highlights Foundation, SCBWI's national and regional conferences, and Kid's Book Revisions (offering online and on-site tutorials and workshops in partnership with Eileen Robinson).

As an in-house editor, he worked at Macmillan, Orchard, and Charlesbridge, and has experience in trade and educational publishing.

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