Kids & Teens Classes

Bethanie Murguia - Cockatoo, Too (Corte Madera)

Sunday, February 7, 2016 - 11:30am

In Cockatoo, Too, two cockatoos meet two more cockatoos in tutus and two tutued toucans. And then two more Can they all can-can? They can The cockatoos and toucans join together for a dance and ask the reader: "Can you can-can too?" Bethanie Deeney Murguia's fabulous book combines fantastically funny wordplay with lush, vibrant illustrations that will make readers want to can-can along.

Bethanie Deeney Murguia is the author and illustrator of Zoe Gets Ready; Buglette, the Messy Sleeper; and Snippet the Early riser. She lives with her family in Sausalito, California.

Cockatoo, Too Cover Image
ISBN: 9781499801026
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little Bee Books - January 5th, 2016

Who can can-can? Find out in this hilarious book that features cockatoos, two more cockatoos, and tutued toucans too


Cockatoo two?

Cockatoo, too?

Two cockatoos

Two cockatoos, too?

Cockatoo tutus

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Karen Benke - Get-Ready-for Poetry-Month Workshop for 3rd - 5th Graders (Corte Madera)

Saturday, March 26, 2016 - 12:30pm

Sat., March 26 • 12:30-2:30 pm • $45

 We'll play with haiku, tanka, haibun forms of poems and create a group narrative using visuals off postcards for prompts.

Karen Benke has pens poems-on-the-spot and leads creative writing adventures for kids and kids-at-heart both privately and, for many years, with the California Poets in the Schools program. She is the author of a poetry collection, Sister, and three popular non-fiction books to inspire even the most reluctant to reach for a pen, Rip the Page!, Leap Write In!, and her newest Write Back Soon! Adventures in Letter Writing. She prefers snail mail but can be reached via her website

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Children's Picture Book Writers & Illustrators Conference - Day 1 (Corte Madera)

Saturday, January 23, 2016 - 9:00am
Children's Picture Book Writers & Illustrators Conference
Sat., Jan. 23 • 9:00 am - 7:00 pm & Sun., Jan. 24 • 9:00 am - 4:30 pm • $335

Online registration is no longer available. Walk-ins welcome! Please call or stop by for more details ($335 for full weekend, $200 for one-day registration). Thank you!

About the Writing Weekend
This unique and exciting conference covers all aspects of creating books for children, from developing ideas to honing your skills to finding a publisher. Conference participants will spend the weekend writing, illustrating, workshopping, networking, and perfecting their craft. Our celebrated faculty of award-winning authors, illustrators, agents, and editors will offer inspiration and guidance in a collegial and intimate setting. Participants will work closely with other writers and illustrators in a particular area of emphasis, such as writing for picture books or illustration; and have the opportunity to get feedback from experts in a workshop setting. Writing sessions will be offered where participants can workshop something they have been working on in a group with a faculty facilitator. The writing sessions will focus on craft, style and structure. Expert panels feature topics of common interest, such as finding an agent, how to work with your editor, marketing and promotion, and more. There will be many opportunities for faculty and participants to talk, laugh, and exchange ideas in workshops, lunches, and at evening events.

Open to new, established and aspiring writers and illustrators, the conference takes place in beautiful Marin County, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco and adjacent to Northern California’s wine country.


What else will be covered?
When participants are not writing and critiquing their work, they will participate in panels and discussions about a variety of key topics for authors. The topics will include:
• How to find an agent       
• Query letters and pitches
• Trends in the Picture Book market  
• Working with an editor
• Creativity and inspiration        
• Working with a writing group    
• Developing empathetic characters
In addition to these structured sessions, participants will have plenty of time to network and interact. The Weekend Workshop will include lunch on both days and a dinner on Saturday, during which the faculty and participants are encouraged to mingle.


The Weekend Schedule


9:00 – 9:15 am               Conference Check In

9:15  – 9:30 am              Conference Kick-off/Welcome + Introductions

9:30 – 10:30 am              Against All Odds with Salina Yoon

10:35 – 11:00 am            A Librarian’s Perspective with Jane Ritter

11:10 am – 12:00 pm      KEYNOTE: Why is Where the Wild Things so Wonderful? Deconstructing Three Classic Picture Books with Jon Agee

12:10 – 1:10 pm             Editor Panel featuring Katie Carella and Allison Moore

1:10 – 2:15 pm              Lunch

2:15 – 3:15 pm             The Graphic Novel & Experience Publishing/Promoting with Ian Lendler

3:15 – 4:15 pm             Raising Social Awareness Through Picture Books with Kathryn Otoshi

2:15 – 4:15 pm             TRACK 1: Critique Group Session for Illustrators with Julie Downing

                                     TRACK 2: Critique Group Session for Writers with Amy Novesky

                                     TRACK 3: Critique Group Session for Writers with Katie Carella

                                     TRACK 4: Critique Group Session for Writers with Eve Porinchak

                                     TRACK 5: Critique Group Session for Writers with Andrea Alban

4:25 – 5:50 pm              Agent Panel featuring Eve Porinchak, Abigail Samoun, & Amy Rennert

5:50 – 7:00 pm              Dinner & Networking Consultations



9:00 – 10:30 am               A Query Letter Workshop with Eve Porinchak, Abigail Samoun, & Amy Rennert

10:40 am – 12:00 pm       Picture This: Creating a captivating story in 750 words or less with Andrea Alban

                                        Beginning to End, Creating the Art for Picture Books with Julie Downing

12:10  – 1:10 pm            Lunch

1:10 – 2:10 pm              The Writer and the Illustrator: How They Work Together with Amy Novesky & Julie Downing

                                      Telling Stories with Words and Pictures: How to create more compelling picture books with Bethanie Murguia

2:20 – 3:20 pm             Publishing Panel with Amy Novesky & Simon Stahl

3:30 – 4:30 pm             Collaboration Magic: A conversation between the author of Desiree’s Night Flight and her writing mentor with Andrea Alban & Jacquie Faber

4:30 pm                       Conference Wrap-up & Goodbyes


Who will be there?

Abigail Samoun
Was an in-house children’s book editor for over ten years, working on a wide range of projects, from board books to young adult novels. Her books received such honors as the CCBC Charlotte Zolotow award, the New York Public Library Ezra Jack Keats award, and the Pura Belpre. In 2011, Abigail made the transition from editing to agenting, co-founding Red Fox Literary with Karen Grencik. She is the author of three children’s books, What’s In Your Purse? (Chronicle Books, 2014) and the Little Traveler board book series published by Sterling Publishing. 

Andrea Alban
Author of nine books, including The Happiness Tree and Anya’s War. She edits manuscripts and coaches writers in how to prepare submissions to editors and agents. 

Amy Novesky
Award-winning children’s book editor and author. Her books include Me, FridaGeorgia in HawaiiImogen, The Mother of Modernism and Three BoysMister and Lady Day, and the forthcoming Cloth Lullaby. She lives in Marin.  

Jon Agee
Illustrator of a large collection of children's picture books, such as Little SantaThe Other Side of Town, Nothing, and most notably the National Book Award-nominated Mean Margaret. He lives in San Francisco with his wife.

Ian Lendler
Author of a series of graphic novels titled, The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue (First Second). In addition, he has written two children’s picture books: An Undone Fairy Tale and the upcoming Saturday (Roaring Brook, 2016). Plus, after the children have gone to bed, he has a book for adults titled, Alcoholica Esoterica (Penguin), a non-fiction history of alcohol. He started life as a journalist for the San Francisco, and Mental_Floss magazine.

Bethanie Murguia
Bethanie Murguia earned an MFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts. She has created numerous picture books including Zoe Gets Ready, I Feel Five, and the forthcoming, Cockatoo, Too. Her illustrations and books have received many accolades, including Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Book Awards, Bank Street College Best Books of the Year, and a variety of SCBWI awards.

Katie Carella
Senior Editor, oversees Scholastic’s early chapter book line, Branches, as well as the fiction leveled reader line. Her career began on the adult side of publishing in marketing and publicity. She then earned her master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania and taught elementary school--all before entering children's editorial in 2007. She has edited many early chapter book series, including The Notebook of Doom and Owl Diaries. She has also edited leveled readers such as The Long Dog. Katie is focused on creating great books for newly-independent readers! 

Allison Moore
Associate Editor at Little Brown Books for Young Readers who works on a wide range of books from illustrated titles to middle grade and young adult novels. She has worked picture books by Todd Parr, Sujean Rim, Nancy Tafuri, Eric Litwin, Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, Todd Tarpley, John Rocco, Bob Staake, Marc Brown and RL Stine, among others. Allison is particularly interested in clever picture books with fresh art styles and stories that appeal to all ages; character-driven chapter books with original premises and a strong sense of voice; and middle grade and YA novels that encourage readers to open their minds and consider unexpected points of view and perspectives. Before joining LBYR in 2010, Allison interned at Bloomsbury & Walker Books for Young Readers, Barefoot Books, the Kneerim & Williams agency, and Simon & Schuster UK; worked as a bookseller and at her hometown library; and graduated from Boston University and the Columbia Publishing Course.

Eve Porinchak
A true omnivore (both literarily and gastronomically), Eve has eclectic tastes in children's literature, with favorites ranging from THE STUPIDS STEP OUT to Walter Dean Meyers’ edgy YA masterpiece, MONSTER. Eve represents everything from picture books to adult novels. A former early childhood educator, Eve is a lover of laugh-out-loud picture books like I WANT MY HAT BACKBAD KITTY, and NO, DAVID! but also adores classics like THE GIVING TREETHE POKEY LITTLE PUPPY, and IF YOU GIVE A PIG A PANCAKE. A world traveler and lover of fresh adventures, Eve will travel anywhere, read anything, and eat anything (except frog legs - EWH!).

Salina Yoon
An award-winning author/illustrator of nearly 200 books for children, including Penguin and PineconePenguin on Vacation, Penguin in LovePenguin and PumpkinPenguin's Big AdventureFound, Stormy Night, and the forthcoming Be a Friend. She studied art and design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and now lives in San Diego with her family. Visit her online at

Simon Stahl
Art director at Creston Books, a small children's book press in Berkeley. He has lectured at Pixar and is the recipient of a Publishing Professionals Network award for book design. More importantly, he is a recent winner of the Zachary's Pizza Art Contest.

Julie Downing
Has written and or illustrated over 45 books for children, and has worked with major publishers including Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, Scholastic Press and Houghton Mifflin. Downing has won many awards for her work, including a Parent's Choice Award, the New York Public Library Best Books Award, Chicago Tribune Best Books of the Year and Bank Street Children's Book Award. She was selected to appear in Talking with Artists Too, a book about 12 of the nation’s best Children’s’ Book Illustrators. Downing is most noted for her rich, jewel like watercolor illustrations. Her work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the United States and England. She currently teaches watercolor and Children's Book Illustration at the Academy of Art University and UC Berkeley Extension.

Kathryn Otoshi
A multi-award winning author, illustrator and speaker, best known for her character-building number/color book series: ZeroOne, and Two. She goes across the country to encourage kids to develop strong character assets and help teachers find creative methods to connect with their students through the power of reading, art, and literature. 

Amy Rennert
Represents several New York Times bestselling authors and illustrators including Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Eric Litwin, the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes and Tom Lichtenheld, the illustrator for Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site which has sold one million copies and been on the list for four years.


Private Consultations
Optional 30-minute private consultations are available for $95. You may use that time to either discuss a concept or proposal, or have a faculty member give you feedback on a portion of work or portfolio you have submitted. Faculty members offering consultations: Amy Novesky, Andrea Alban, Bethanie Murguia, Eve Porinchak, Julie Downing, Ian Lendler, Simon Stahl, and Katie Carella.

Add a Consultation


Recommended Local Hotels:
The following is a list of local Marin area accommodations. Please choose based on your own needs:

*Within walking distance. **Within walking distance and offer a discount to Book Passage Children's Picture Book Writers & Illustrators Conference participants. Please call hotels for discount, as discounted rates are not available via online registration.
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Karen Benke - Creative Writing Adventure for Kids (Corte Madera)

Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 9:30am

Saturday November 11th, 2017 • 9:30 am - 12:30 pm • $120

For 4th, 5th and 6th Graders

A lot can fit on and into an envelope—poems, quotes, story starts, jokes—and of course detailed lettering and stamps!  In this interactive workshop, we’ll inspire ourselves and 
each other with letter poems and magic word tickets, tipped words and broken bits of thought, black-out poems and 100 word stories...  Well take a field trip to the big blue box 
to send our hand-heart creations into the world and even risk eavesdropping for overheard dialog. Snacks, stamps, all materials, take-home writing ideas included.  

Karen Benke is the author of Write Back Soon! Adventures in Letter Writing, Leap Write In! and Rip the Page! now available in Russian. (Shambhala/Penguin Random House). 
She has worked as a Poet in the Schools, is a visiting author, and plays on the page with students at The Writers Nest.


Rip the Page!: Adventures in Creative Writing Cover Image
ISBN: 9781590308127
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Trumpeter - July 27th, 2010

Here are the ideas, experiments, and inspiration to unfold your imagination and get your writing to flow off the page This is the everything-you-need guide to spark new poems and unstick old stories, including lists of big, small, gross-out, and favorite words; adventurous and zany prompts to leap from; dares and double dares to help you mash up truths and lies into outrageous paragraphs; and let

Leap Write In!: Adventures in Creative Writing to Stretch & Surprise Your One-Of-A-Kind Mind Cover Image
By Karen Benke (Translator)
ISBN: 9781611800159
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Roost Books - April 2nd, 2013

Invite your jittery mind into quiet slips of timed or untimed writing experiments that are designed to encourage your timid heart to forge forgotten feelings and entice your shy-self to make friends with emerging emotions.

Write Back Soon!: Adventures in Letter Writing Cover Image
ISBN: 9781611802689
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Roost Books - September 22nd, 2015

Connect to your friends through handwritten notes, cards, letters, and postcards--an interactive workbook that encourages creative interactions between friends through the written word, complete with cross-outs, smudges, and parenthetical asides.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Karen Benke - Writing Workshop for Mothers & Daughters

Sunday, May 3, 2015 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Sun., May 3 • 1:00-3:00 pm • $40
Suitable for all ages, this is a workshop to explore themes of gratitude, humor, kindness, and generosity. You do not have to attend with your mother or your daughter to sign up, though you can. We’ll play with making creative leaps in list making, tip favorite words over to reveal their secret centers, inspire ourselves with 100 word stories, and more. Just in time for Mother’s Day!

Karen Benke is the author of a small poetry collection, Sister, and several creative writing adventure books Rip the Page! and Leap Write In! and coming out soon Write Back Soon!

Attendees at either workshop will get a 10% discount on any of Benke’s books.


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Thais Derich - Write Haiku Poems

Sunday, August 10, 2014 - 11:00am to 12:30pm

Sunday, Aug. 10 • 11:00-12:30 pm • $40

Young authors write haiku poems with the skilled guidance of published writer and young author mentor, Thais Derich. Count syllables, use the traditional three-line structure of haiku, and capture the beauty of summer in a poem. Guaranteed success!


The meadow is still.

A bird flies over the meadow.

Whoosh! The seeds scatter.

-Lily C. (2nd grade, poem written at Thais’s workshop)

CANCELLED Class: Andrea Alban - Happiness Tree Playshop

Saturday, August 2, 2014 - 10:00am to 11:30am

THIS CLASS HAS BEEN CANCELLED. For more information, please contact the Classes Department at 415-927-0960 ext. 1



Join local children’s author and yoga teacher, Andrea Alban Gosline, for a summer of nature discovery and creative expression. Children will play the “I Notice” game (a quiet, noncompetitiveversion of “I Spy”), write poeTREE, make leaf and bark rubbings, and learn amazing tree facts. Andrea inspires children to express their own original ideas and encourages thoughtful observationof the natural world. “Seedlings” (4-5 year olds) and “Saplings” (6-9 year olds) are welcome to join in the forest fun.


Class: Karen Benke - Creative Writing Playshop

Sunday, June 29, 2014 - 11:00am to 1:00pm

Two Sundays: June 29 & July 6 • 11:00-1:00 pm • $80 (or $40 for single session)

Join author Karen Benke for a lively couple of Sundays. After a year of school work, it’s time to play on the page and unwind from school with creative writing experiments guaranteed to amuse even the most reluctant writer. We’ll eavesdrop to gather great lines for dialogue prompts, tip words over and see what wants to spill out, create comic cross-out poems, and write a story from inspiring postcard paintings. The afternoon will close with a chocolate mindfulness experiment. Benke is the author of Rip the Page! and Leap Write In!.

Class: Leslie Goldgehn - Understanding Financial Aid & Acing the College Essay

Monday, October 7, 2013 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm

Mon., Oct. 7 • 6:30-8:00 pm • $25/parents, $15/students



Do you qualify for financial aid? Where does a student have the best chance of receiving aid? Essays are often the “tipping point” that can turn a student’s application into an acceptance letter. Advanced registration recommended.

Leslie Goldgehn Ph.D.has been an Independent College Counselor for over 15 years, and has assisted many students and families through the college application process.


Class: Leslie Goldgehn - Picking a College is All About "Fit"

Monday, September 30, 2013 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm

Mon., Sep. 30 • 6:30-8:00 pm • $25/parents, $15/students



Navigate through the world of college choices and how to determine the right academic and social fit for each student. You will learn how to assess a student’s portfolio of grades, test scores, activities, community service, and goals.

Leslie Goldgehn Ph.D.has been an Independent College Counselor for over 15 years, and has assisted many students and families through the college application process.



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