• Books for Children and Young Adults by Hamline Authors

    Program Details

    As a student at Hamline, you will graduate with a comprehensive knowledge of the following:

    • The forms and elements of the craft of writing used by published authors in their chosen genre(s)—picture book, early reader, middle-grade and young adult fiction, nonfiction, poetry and verse novel, comics, and graphic novel.

    • The writing process from generation of creative work through substantive revision.

    • Reading and analysis of literature as writers, mining texts for lessons in craft.

    • The structure and content of a critical essay.

    • Key texts and major cultural trends in children’s and YA American literature.

    • The diverse social contexts in which writers write and readers read, including the roles of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, dis/ability age, class, etc.

    • The business of publishing.

    • The writer’s life (e.g., keeping the work going; finding and then working with an agent and/or editor; promoting one’s work; making a living as a writer).

    The core curriculum moves you from a basic understanding to an ability to execute the craft of writing at the most advanced levels. You will be able to mine works of literature for lessons in craft and be able to think and write critically. You will graduate with an effective writing practice and will know how to navigate the literary marketplace as preparation for publishing and promoting your work.


    The core curriculum is developed over the course of five residencies and executed throughout your four semesters. Residency work is accomplished over 11 days each in January and July, through lectures and intensive mini-courses offered by core faculty as well as guest lectures given by visiting writers, agents, and editors. Past visiting writers have included Lois Lowry, Rebecca Albertalli, Libba Bray, and others.

    Each residency focuses in part on one of the five major elements that cross over all forms and genres: plot, character, point of view, setting/world building, and theme. Other lectures and mini-courses focus on additional aspects of the core curriculum, including craft techniques (e.g., writing effective dialogue, the use of time in fiction, beginnings and endings, picture book dummy workshop, first chapters, mythological structures, humor writing, the musicality of language, deep revision, etc.) Students read and discuss common books selected by the faculty that have direct relevance to the primary craft element being explored.

    In the mornings students participate in daily, two-hour workshop sessions led by faculty advisors. These sessions develop their ability to provide constructive feedback on the work of their peers and to receive and integrate feedback on their own writing.
    Students who’ve completed their third semesters give a short lecture based on the material in their extended critical essays, while fourth semester students give a public reading from their critical theses.

    During summer residencies, all new students and faculty participate in a multi-session diversity workshop entitled “Not Other, But Us: Writing with Insight and Empathy.”

    January 2021 Residency Guests:

    Mitali Perkins is the author of twelve books for young readers, including the picture book Between Us and Abuela, winner of the Americas Award for Children and Young Adult Literature; and novels You Bring the Distant Near, nominated for a National Book Award; and Rickshaw Girl, adapted into a film by Sleeperwave Productions.  Born in Calcutta, India, Mitali Perkins lived in Ghana, Cameroon, London, New York, and Mexico before settling in the United States. She studied political science at Stanford University and public policy at U.C. Berkeley. 

    Katherine Harrison is a senior editor at Knopf Books for Young Readers at Penguin Random House.  Her primary focus is books for middle-grade and young adult readers but she’s open to picture books as well.  Her books include Liesl Shurtliff’s New York Times Bestselling True Tales series, Morris Finalist Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dave Eggers’ The Lifters.  

    Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning writer and author of numerous middle-grade and young adult novels, including her latest, Never Look Back, a retelling of the Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice set in New York.  Her novel Dealing in Dreams was nominated for the 2020 International Latino Book Award.  Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Elle magazine, and elsewhere.  She lives in Los Angeles.   

    Mariko Tamaki is an award-winning Canadian artist and writer.  Her graphic novels include Skim and This One Summer with Jillian Tamaki; Emeriko Superstar with Steve Rolson; Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass with Steve Pugh; Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me and the  upcoming I Am Not Starfire with Rosemary Valero O’Connell.  In addition to graphic novels, Mariko Tamaki has published several works of prose and comics.  Her comics include She-Hulk and Spider-Man & Venom: Double Trouble for Marvel Comics; Supergirl Being Super for DC Comics, and the middle-grade Lumberjanes comic series.  Her awards include a Michael L. Printz Award, a Caldecott Honor, several Ignatz Awards, a Joe Shuster Award, a Doug Wright Award, a German Rudolph-Dirks-Award, a Walter Award, and an Eisner Award.    

    Carole Boston Weatherford writes poetry, nonfiction, and fiction for young readers.  Her 50+ books include her most recent—Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library; Respect: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul; and Freedom in Congo Square.  Her many awards include several Caldecott Honor awards, several Coretta Scott King Honor Awards, several NAACP Image Awards, the Arnold Adoff Poetry Award, an SCBWI Golden Kite Award, the Charlotte Zolotow Award, the Carter G. Woodson Award, and innumerable “Best” lists. She holds an M.A. in publications design from the University of Baltimore and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of North Carolina.  She lives in North Carolina and is a Professor of English at Fayetteville State University. 

    Semester Work

     The work of the residency continues over the ensuing semester as students write and rewrite, practicing and refining lessons learned during residencies and through their reading. They are guided in this work by faculty advisors assigned during the residency. Faculty advisors are assigned based on availability, student choice, and content/genre.

    Hamline’s faculty/student ratio ranges from 3:1 to 5:1.

    Each month during the semester, students send their faculty advisors a packet that includes creative writing, critical work, and short bibliographic annotations of books from the required reading list. Faculty advisors return these packets with extensive feedback and recommendations for further work.

    First Semester
    During your first semester, you are introduced to the craft and process of writing for children and/or young adults. You can choose to focus on any of the genres taught in the program.

    Second Semester
    During your second semester, in addition to your new and revised creative work, you will write and revise a critical essay of approximately 20 pages developing a topic relevant to your creative work. You also develop a lecture based on your critical essay to be given during the ensuing residency. Critical essays by program alumni are available online.

     Third Semester 
    During your third semester, in addition to your new and revised creative work, you will write and revise a critical essay of approximately twenty pages developing a topic relevant to your creative work. You also develop a lecture based on your critical essay to be given during the ensuing residency. 

    Fourth Semester
    During your fourth semester, you will complete a substantive project of original work that illustrates mastery of the craft in your chosen genre(s) and demonstrates your ability to establish an independent artistic process. You will also prepare a public reading based on your creative thesis to be given during your final residency.

  • At A Glance

    The low-residency model accommodates working adults and those who cannot relocate. 

    Program Founded:   


    Credits Required:             


    Time to Complete:

    2 years + 1 residency


     View latest tuition costs


     $31,500 annually

    Degree Structure:    

    4 semesters, 5 on-campus residencies (January and July, 11 days each), monthly correspondence with faculty advisors. Critical essay & creative thesis. Critical essay lecture & reading.

    * Hamline advantage over key competitors

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