Writing books for children

At Create a Kids’ Book we help people to write and illustrate stories for children, then to locate publishers and literary agents. We do this through workshops, e-courses, mentoring, assessing manuscripts and an e-bulletin (free). We will work with you on writing and illustrating picture books, chapter books, fantasies, YA novels and non-fiction.

Virginia oversees a team of talented and experienced assessors and tutors – word people and artists. Clients have access to their assessor or e-course tutor to discuss and clarify suggestions.

Picture book workshops have two tutors, illustrator Jo Thompson and Dr. Virginia Lowe. One to one feedback is given on work brought to the sessions. Jennifer Dabbs is the tutor for the novel workshops.

Dr Virginia Lowe has been a judge for the CBCA Children’s Book of the Year Awards, has lectured in children’s literature, English and creative writing at university, and writes extensively on children’s responses to books. Stories, Pictures and Reality: Two children tell  was published in 2007.

Create a Kids’ Book has been helping authors and artists for fifteen years. See our successes.

Read an inteview with Virginia on the business Create a Kids' Book: Interview blog link

Virginia has a done a few guest blogs which may interest you:

Kids Book Capers:
Boomerang Books
On Nursery Rhymes at:
PDF download here
A Book that impacted my Life at:
The Book Chook
Writing Picture Books - it's not as easy as it looks
Kids' Book Review

E-bulletin: We produce a monthly e-bulletin on writing for kids and children’s literature generally.

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Workshops: The Picture Book Workshop is held regularly in Melbourne, annually in Sydney and Brisbane, occasionally elsewhere (your writing or painting group may like to organise one). There are two tutors, one for the words (Virginia) and one for the illustrations (usually Jo Thompson). Individual feedback on all stories and illustrations brought to the session. Check out the dates (Saturdays for six hours) and book here.

The Novel Workshop is an annual event in Melbourne (also six hours on a Saturday), and the tutor is Jennifer Dabbs. Dates and booking here.

Manuscript Assessment:

Because picture books have few words, many people feel they will be simple to write. This is not so – like poetry, every word must count and the words and pictures work together. Here, use of the storyboard is invaluable.

As some assessment agencies charge by the word, picture book texts are often not given the intensive appraisal they deserve. Our reports often run to five pages, and more if you have supplied illustrations as well. We will give an honest opinion on whether the story and/or pictures are publishable, or not. Layout for submission is also important. We will work on four or five drafts, if necessary. Your assessor is available for comment.

The rates for assessments are here.

We also offer appraisals of chapter books, junior novels, YA novels, fantasy and non-fiction. See suggested layout for submission here.

Also available, in exceptional circumstances, is a recommendatory letter from Virginia, to accompany the submission to publishers. This often gets the manuscript off the slush pile. 


We offer three e-courses: picture books (writing only); picture books with illustrations; and novels (long or short, fantasy or realism).

Each comprises ten modules, with exercises in each. Exercises are individually commented upon, and there is opportunity to also work on stories begun outside the course. The tutors are June Colbert (picture book texts), Jo Thompson (picture books with illustrations) and Jennifer Dabbs (novels).

As the courses are individual, you can begin whenever it suits, and take as long as you like to complete them – people often take a year. See the rates here.


We will mentor your writing or illustrating, aimed at any age group. This involves finishing the relevant e-course, then working for six months with your tutor on the story (and illustrations) you produced during the course. Rates.

contact us
PO Box 2 Ormond 3204
phone 03 9578 5689

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