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Emma Walton Hamilton / Just Write for Kids Picture Books

Just Write for Kids Picture Books



This self-paced, home study course in writing picture books has helped hundreds of would-be children’s authors fulfill their dream of writing children’s picture books…

“Emma is not only a gifted writer, but she is a truly gifted teacher. In ultra clear step-by-step building blocks, she guides you through the style basics required to produce a publishable picture book in today’s competitive literary world. For me the course was a personal journey of discovery full as much with inspiration as with information; a real gift.”

      – Joanna Marple – Librarian, Children’s Author

Just Write for Kids will teach you the fundamental aspects of writing for preschoolers and elementary school-aged children, including:

  • How and where to find ideas
  • Developing characters, mapping a plot and identifying themes
  • Writing engaging narrative, effective dialogue, and successful beginnings, middles and endings
  • Special issues such as anthropomorphism, verse vs. prose and word play
  • How to edit your manuscript…. and more!


How does this course work? What does it include?

Just Write for Kids is an independent study course, delivered via 8 modules.
Once you sign up, you will be given access to the Just Write for Kids website. The information in each lesson builds upon the one before it, and each lesson concludes with one or more writing assignments for that week.
Any comments or questions that arise during the course may be posted in the Comments section of that week’s lesson page (where you can also review comments and questions from previous or current course participants, along with my answers). At the end of the 8th module, you will have a completed manuscript in hand. You will also receive a series of bonuses, including Writers Resources, an Editing Checklist and information about submitting your work to agents and publishers.

When does the course start?

Whenever you’re ready! Because it’s designed as an independent study, and delivered to you digitally, the course may be started – and completed – at any time you choose.

Do I have to complete it in 8 weeks or may I go at my own pace?

You may absolutely go at your own pace!

I live overseas. Can I still take the course?

Yes! Because everything is delivered digitally, you may take the course from anywhere in the world. And, because the publishing industry is so globally-minded, the course is relevant to writing children’s books wherever you are.

I write non-fiction. Does this course have any value for me?

If you write narrative non-fiction (for example, a story-driven account of an event, or a life) then this course will have great value for you. If what you write is concept books, how-to or other fact-based non-fiction, then this is not the course for you.

What is the cancellation or refund policy?

Should you wish to cancel your purchase of the course, you may do so for up to 30 days and prior to commencing Lesson 4 to receive a full refund. After 30 days, or if you have completed more than Lessons 1-3, all sales are final.

Isn’t it incredibly hard to get published these days? Do you provide advice on the submission and publication process?

The main standard for getting published is the same as it’s always been – high quality writing.  While it is highly competitive, it’s important to realize that the children’s book industry needs an influx of new, high quality books every season.  This course will give you the skills to be the best writer you can be, as well as providing resources for taking the next steps toward publication.

Are there opportunities to ask questions of or interact with Emma personally during the course?

Yes. Once you have enrolled, you can post your questions and comments via the course’s online comments sections on each lesson. I answer as many questions as I can on a regular basis.  This also provides a unique opportunity for students to network with each other, and learn from each other’s experiences. There is also a Facebook group where you can interact with other members of the course.

Does the information in this course also translate to chapter books and young adult novels, or is it strictly limited to picture books?

This is a picture book course – and as such, the focus is on that format. That said, I do have two other courses formatted just like this one, Just Write for Middle Grade (for those writing chapter books and middle grade novels) and Just Write for Young Adults.

I’m not an artist. Does “picture book” mean I have to have pictures as well?

“Picture Book” is a specific genre in the children’s book industry, and its name is frequently misinterpreted. Many people think that if a book has (or is intended to have) illustrations of any kind, it must be a ‘picture book’. But if a book has chapters with illustrations, it is <em>not</em> a picture book – it is a “chapter book.” A picture book is 32 – 48 pages maximum, approximately 1000 words, divided into double-page spreads and generally featuring a balance between text and art.
Unless you are specifically an author/illustrator, you are not expected to come up with the illustrations for a picture book manuscript. It is the publisher’s job to identify and pair you with the best possible artist for the project.  This course is focused on the writing of the text only. Art comes later – after the manuscript has been accepted for publication.

I don’t have a Paypal account. Is there another way to pay for the course?

You do not need a Paypal account to make a one-time payment through Paypal for the course. The shopping cart system will walk you through the totally safe method for making your payment via credit card. Please email us at <a href=””></a> if you have further questions about payment.

I don’t have a Paypal account. Is there another way to pay for the course?

You do not need a Paypal account to make a one-time payment through Paypal for the course. The shopping cart system will walk you through the totally safe method for making your payment via credit card. Please email us at <a href=””></a> if you have further questions about payment.

If I sign up for your course, does that guarantee submission to publishers and/or that my manuscript will definitely be published? Would you be making the publishing connection for me?

My services are strictly editorial/educational. I am not an agent or a publisher, and cannot make any guarantees of publication or make publishing connections. My sole function is to assist my clients/students in the development of their manuscripts.
Editing is a highly subjective process of offering advice and suggestions to an author to strengthen and improve a manuscript. I make my best efforts to advise and suggest changes to improve the manuscript based on my own experience as a professional author and editor, but unfortunately there are no guarantees in the highly competitive field of publishing. The acceptance of a manuscript for publication is the subjective decision of a publisher and its editors. This decision is based upon individual taste and the perceived marketability of a given manuscript. I bring my personal experience and understanding of the trends of the current market to bear on the editorial task at hand, and work with my Clients in preparing the best manuscript possible given the submitted material, but I have no final control over the market or the decisions made by individual publishers or members of the publishing industry.
That said, I do include comprehensive information (in the bonus materials included with the course) as to how and where to submit a manuscript to publishers, write query or cover letters, and otherwise maximize your opportunities for publication. But the actual work of obtaining an agent or publisher lies with the author him/herself.

Can I send my manuscript to you to see if it’s ready for publication?

I do offer editorial evaluations and line editing as a business, as well as one-to-one mentoring, which can be purchased in one-hour increments.

During the course will you be personally reviewing our submissions?

Reviewing every individual manuscript or homework assignment would be a substantial time commitment that would require me to charge a great deal more for the course – but I do regularly review and respond to all questions and comments that are posted on the course website.  I also offer a discount off of any of my editorial services for anyone who has completed the course and wishes to have their manuscript evaluated or line-edited.

Do you have a Facebook page?

You have access to a private Facebook group (<a href=””></a>) – just for participants in my home study courses.
You will need to request permission to join, but as soon as I see your request we’ll approve you and you can begin posting within the group.
From, there you are able to post questions for your fellow participants as well as for me, share comments and experiences, and offer feedback on each other’s works in progress or exercises/prompts, if you choose to share them.

I am having technical difficulties (logging in, accessing materials, downloading materials)

If you are having trouble logging into the website or accessing the product you’ve purchased, please email <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”></a>. We will help you as soon as we possibly can. If your issue is with downloading materials, be sure to take a look at our <a title=”Download Instructions” href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>download instructions</a> page first. If you are still having trouble, email us.

Still have questions?

Email <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”></a>