Highlights Foundation: Picture Books and All that Jazz!

At the end of June, 2017, I attended the Highlights Foundation: Picture Books and all that Jazz workshop! Located near Honesdale, PA, I spend three nights and four days submerged in the craft of picture books.


The Highlights Foundation provides workshops for children's authors and illustrators, allowing them to hone their craft through an immersive retreat experience located in the Pocono Mountains.



To say this experience was lovely is an understatement. This experience was...




and I would absolutely do it again. 

Picture Books and all that Jazz was led by authors Darcy Pattison, Leslie Helakoski and Kelly Bennett

As faculty of this particular Highlights Foundation workshop, Darcy, Leslie and Kelly led us through the ins and outs of picture book creation. From structure, to dummy making, revision and even the job of an editors. It's great to know how you can improve your craft, and also informative to know what goes on behind the scenes.  

Highlights provides furnished cabins with en-suite bathrooms and a Lodge, which houses additional furnished rooms with en-suite bathrooms. The Lodge also has a living room space, a telescope (!!!) and each room (along with the cabins) comes with plenty of books. 

The Barn is where most activities take place, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner, yoga in the mornings, and the actual workshop itself. Outside of The Barn is the Word Garden, which provides the perfect place to let out creativity. 

Highlights also has plenty of trails near by to get in a run, or clear your mind. 

Story Alert:

The day after I arrived I woke up super early and wanted to get a workout in. I figured I would go on a hike. It was early and Highlights warns to let others know when you go on the trails alone. Me being me, I didn't want to inconvenience anyone, so I told not a soul. 

So I'm walking...I'm walking, enjoying the scenery, and out of the blue I saw a baby black bear. A BABY BLACK BEAR! Then, I saw a larger bear behind him... A LARGER BLACK BEAR! Was it his mother? His brother? Sister? Cousin? I don't know and I didn't stick around to find out. 


I turned around and fast walked back to where I came from, the whole time thinking, this is it, it's over for me!

I can now say this was part of my amazing Highlights experience, so don't let the bears stop you from attending!

Along with the somewhat friendly bears (I'm still alive) I met an amazing group of writers, published and unpublished, some of which have become even more amazing friends. 

Highlights creates an experience that will last a life time and I plan to take a trip back! I hope this post aids in your decision to attend!