Study at City
  1. Courses
  2. Applying
  3. Fees and funding
  4. Living in London
  5. Visit us
  6. Student support
  7. International students
  8. Order a prospectus
  9. Ask a student
  1. Short courses
  2. Courses
Study at City

Writing for Children: picture books and junior fiction (Intermediate Level) Short Course

Key information

Dates and fees to be confirmed

To be confirmed
To be confirmed
To be confirmed
To be confirmed
Course Code:
To be confirmed
To be confirmed
Booking Deadline:
To be confirmed
To be confirmed

The Writing for Children: picture books and junior fiction (Intermediate Level) short course is for students familiar with the basics of writing for children who wish to continue to develop their writing skills.

Why choose this course?

Our intermediate Writing for Children – picture books and junior fiction course offers students currently writing for children, the skills and opportunity to specialise in writing for the younger ages of the children’s publishing market.

It is ideally suited to those who have already completed the Writing for Children short course, it will give you a set of practical techniques to work with, as well as an insight into the children’s books currently being published for younger children. Although the course will not cover illustration techniques, illustrators who would like to write their own stories will find this course useful.

This course will be taught by an internationally published children’s writer and storyteller who will share her knowledge not only in the craft but also how to prepare your work for publication and beyond.

Taught over four Saturdays and delivered at our central London location, the course offers expert tuition and the flexibility of part-time study.

Course overview

This Writing for Children intermediate course, taught in the heart of London, is for students who would like to write picture book texts and junior fiction for children aged 3-8.

Over the four Saturday workshops, the course will cover how to write picture books including stories and non-fiction, covering the entire spectrum of structuring the story, knowing what will be represented in pictures vs. text and how to keep young children engaged using language and imagery. The non-fiction aspect will cover how to write a subject – be it a person or an event or a concept engagingly for children.

The Saturday workshops will also cover how to write junior fiction and non-fiction (both illustrated fully and sparsely) ranging from ages five to eight, when children are becoming confident readers. It will cover, amongst other things, the stories that appeal to this age group, structure and plotting, settings and dialogue and voice.

Across both picture books and junior fiction, we will look at texts from a variety of children’s authors, both contemporary and classics.

In the last Saturday session we will look at finding markets for your work and the various avenues in educational and trade publishing.

At each workshop, the students will tackle writing exercises and there will be some element of sharing work within the group.

By end of the course, the students should have a strong grasp of what it takes to succeed in the tough yet rewarding environment of children’s publishing.

  • “ Chitra Soundar is motivational, handouts are excellent and everyone is encouraged to write ”

    Annette Walsh

    Former student

  • “ A well-structured, informative and very helpful course delivered by Chitra who has such a wealth of experience and knowledge of the subject and market ”

    Zandra Johnson

    Former student

  • “ Very informative and inspirational ”

    Nadia Williams

    Former student

What will I learn?

What will I learn?

Over the course of four Saturday classes on the Writing for Children picture books and junior fiction short course, you will learn:

  • How the UK children's fiction market is structured from age 3-16
  • How to help you identify the age-group you are writing for
  • Working with an illustrator: how words and pictures work together in picture books
  • Plotting your story
  • How to make your characters stand out
  • The importance of voice in children’s literature – and how to find yours
  • Using dialogue and humour to bring scenes to life
  • Tips for research and world-building
  • Writing, rewriting and sharing – learning how to give and take constructive criticism, and the importance of the editing process
  • The different routes to publication, and what agents and publishers expect from a new author
  • Finding friends, getting help and setting realistic goals to keep you moving with your manuscript



Prerequisite knowledge

You should have taken an introductory fiction writing course or be writing regularly.

English requirements

Good written and spoken English.

Teaching & assessment

Teaching & assessment

Informal assessment will take place through group discussion, class room activities, and questions and answers sessions as guided by your tutor.

Recommended reading

Recommended reading

Contemporary Stories

Odd Dog Out – Rob Biddulph
The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
I want my hat back – Jon Klassen
Julian is a mermaid – Jessica Love
Oi Dog –  Kes Gray and Clare Gray
The Ugly Five –  Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
Ada Twist Scientist –  Andrea Beatty, David Roberts

Modern Classics

The Tiger Who Came to Tea –  Judith Kerr
The Very Hungry Caterpillar –  Eric Carle
Not Now Bernard – David McKee
Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak

Creative non-fiction

King of the Sky –  Nicola Davies & Laura Clarin
The Street Beneath My Feet –  Charlotte Guillian and Yuval Zommer

Wordless Picture Books

The Arrivals –  Shaun Tan
Flotsam –  David Weisner

Junior Fiction / Chapter Books (Ages 5-8)

Anna Hibiscus series –  Atinuke
Clarice Bean, That's Me –  Lauren Child
The BFG –  Roald Dahl & Quentin Blake
Horrid Henry –  Francesca Simon & Tony Ross
Hooey Higgins series –  Steve Voake
Flying Fergus –  Chris Hoy, Joanna Nadin & Clare Elson
Dog Man –  Dav Pilkey
Claude series by Alex T Smith

This list is by no means exhaustive but just a sample.

Do visit your local library / children’s section in a bookstore and the following resources to understand the range and variety.

Also check out books by the Course Leader at

Tutor information

  • Chitra Soundar

    Chitra Soundar has published over 30 books for children in the UK, India, US, Pakistan and her books have been translated into French, German, Chinese and Thai amongst others. Her picture book Farmer Falgu Goes on a Trip (illustrated by Kanika Nair, published by Karadi Tales) was shortlisted for the inaugural The Hindu Good Books children’s book award in India.

    The second book in the junior fiction series, A Jar of Pickles and a Pinch of Justice (illustrated by Uma Krishnaswamy and published by Walker Books) was shortlisted for the Surrey Children’s Book award and won the  inaugural Eugenie Summerfield children’s book award in 2018.

    Her picture book Pattan’s Pumpkin (illustrated by Frané Lessac, published by OtterBarry Books) has won many accolades including being chosen by the Read Across America campaign for October 2017.

    Her latest book You’re Safe with Me (illustrated by Poonam Mistry, published by Lantana Publishing) has been shortlisted for the Early Years Excellence award and received starred reviews from Booklist, the ALA’s flagship magazine.

    Find out more at and follow her on twitter @csoundar and on Instagram @chitrasoundar

Next steps

This Writers' Workshop is a practical journey for writers. Learn how to revise and edit your fiction, learn more about publishing and more. …