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Mary Penney Hershey

Writing for Children

This two-part workshop covers an overview of children's lit as well as an emphasis on working with  each student  to discover their strongest stories

1:00-3:30 PM
RM 234

Workshop One The ABC's of Children's Literature -- with a Few E's and Z's thrown in for the Eager and Zealous

In this introductory session, Mary will complete an overview of the best of children's lit titles and teach students the different age-related genres within the children's marketplace. She will guide students through the journey to publication, addressing writer's groups, classes, conferences, how to target specific agents and editors, and current submission processes. Throughout the workshop, Mary will help students identify their unique "sweet spot" for excavating the best and strongest story.

Workshop Two "Arresting Beginnings-- Catching and Cuffing the Children's Editor or Agent of Your Dreams

This workshop will focus on selecting and distilling the essence of a strong story idea in a first paragraph or page. Students will select and prepare an arresting story beginning, designed to catch the attention of a busy (read swamped) editor or agent. Students will read first pages with feedback by Mary and other workshop students.


Mary Penney Hershey is an author of five humorous and heartfelt middle grade novels, published with Random House and Harper Collins. Her sixth novel, entitled GREEN EYES & HAM, will be launched Fall of 2019 with editor Kristen Petit of Harper Collins. Her latest book, ELEVEN AND HOLDING was reviewed by Kirkus as "... lively, funny, tender without being syrupy, and full of life." Publishers Weekly's review described "Compassionate portrayals of grief, courage, and resilience season this compelling coming-of-age story..." Indies Next List featured Mary's novel as one of one of the ten best for middle graders Summer 2016. She is serving as the 2018 Mentor for the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrator's Cen-Cal Region.

Mary holds an undergraduate degree in Child Development and a Master's degree in Education. She is an Army veteran, a certified Personal & Executive Coach, and works full-time at Chaucer's Bookstore in Santa Barbara, where she is frequently instructed to stop drooling on the new releases.