He got up and sat on the edge of the bedstead with his back to the window. “It’s better not to sleep at all,” he decided. There was a cold damp draught from the window, however; without getting up he drew the blanket over him and wrapped himself in it. He was not thinking of anything and did not want to think. But one image rose after another, incoherent scraps of thought without beginning or end passed through his mind. He sank into drowsiness. Perhaps the cold, or the dampness, or the dark, or the wind that howled under the window and tossed the trees roused a sort of persistent craving for the fantastic. He kept dwelling on images of flowers, he fancied a charming flower garden, a bright, warm, almost hot day, a holiday—Trinity day. A fine, sumptuous country cottage in the English taste overgrown with fragrant flowers, with flower beds going round the house; the porch, wreathed in climbers, was surrounded with beds of roses. A light, cool staircase, carpeted with rich rugs, was decorated with rare plants in china pots. He noticed particularly in the windows nosegays of tender, white, heavily fragrant narcissus bending over their bright, green, thick long stalks. He was reluctant to move away from them, but he went up the stairs and came into a large, high drawing-room and again everywhere—at the windows, the doors on to the balcony, and on the balcony itself—were flowers. The floors were strewn with freshly-cut fragrant hay, the windows were open, a fresh, cool, light air came into the room. The birds were chirruping under the window, and in the middle of the room, on a table covered with a white satin shroud, stood a coffin. The coffin was covered with white silk and edged with a thick white frill; wreaths of flowers surrounded it on all sides. Among the flowers lay a girl in a white muslin dress, with her arms crossed and pressed on her bosom, as though carved out of marble. But her loose fair hair was wet; there was a wreath of roses on her head. The stern and already rigid profile of her face looked as though chiselled of marble too, and the smile on her pale lips was full of an immense unchildish misery and sorrowful appeal. Svidrigaïlov knew that girl; there was no holy image, no burning candle beside the coffin; no sound of prayers: the girl had drowned herself. She was only fourteen, but her heart was broken. And she had destroyed herself, crushed by an insult that had appalled and amazed that childish soul, had smirched that angel purity with unmerited disgrace and torn from her a last scream of despair, unheeded and brutally disregarded, on a dark night in the cold and wet while the wind howled

Children’s Book

Want to Write a Children’s Book?

I work with a lot of frustrated writers who spent months and even years trying to write and publish their children’s book. I want to make it easier on you.

Let me be your guide and it will radically speed up the process (and your book will be much better, too).

I’ve counseled thousands of children’s book writers through the process of coming up with an idea, writing the book, revising the book, and then publishing.

If you want a book that children clamor to read a second time, let’s work together.

Books I’ve Helped Authors Create

I’ve helped more than 1,000 children’s book authors just like you.

Not expert writers. Not famous people.

Just moms, dads, grandpas and grandmas who wanted to entertain the little ones.

By taking my course, you can transform your idea into a living, breathing children’s book, just like all these authors.

And after you write your book, I offer editing services and also help authors with publication.


  • Evelyn was a writer who had a young child at home, and though she had a great idea for a children’s book, she didn’t know how to write it.
  • My course helped her to tweak her concept, and to get a rough draft on the page.
  • She sent it out to literary agents, and an agent got it published with a huge publishing house in 2019, and it even won a prestigious Northern Lights Book Award for Best Nature / Environment children’s book.
  • And then she started reading at schools around the country, entertaining children with her story of an environmental superhero who used his superpowers to clean up garbage.



“Totally new to this, but within a few videos I was flying with my writing and looking critically at my own creations. This course streamlined the crucial points of writing children’s fiction – and I didn’t know that I needed to know it! On top of this, the tips on the next stages of getting agents and publishing has been insightful and I am excited to continue with the process.

Gemma Coombes

“John’s course allowed me to go through the content at my own pace. I loved that I could pick up wherever i needed to, go through the videos and rewind when I wanted to hear some piece of info again. The provided pdf’s were helpful and really I had a great time while learning SO much. Thanks John for putting together this great course in an easily accessible and organized platform. ”

Belinda Hiebert

“What a GREAT way to get started! Love the videos, excellent exercises and resources. This answered a lot of questions — especially the age range and creating memorable characters. Thank you!!!
Annie Olson, Author of “The Adventures of Emily and Kooper”

Ann McIndoo

“Particularly useful information, very well structured, easy to follow (even for a person who is not a native English speaker). It was a real pleasure to watch the course and do the exercises (and I will continue). I truly appreciate your work.”

Mirela Szitar-Sirbu

“This course was exceptionally helpful, entertaining, and kept me on track to creating my children’s book. Upon completion, I felt like I had the tools and resources needed in order to make this dream a reality. Thank you!!!!!”

Zac Peter

“I’m a first time writer and what a wealth of information this is. Hesitated at first to purchase but I am so happy I made the investment. John is animated and interesting and clear and exceptionally helpful. ”

Karen Abramo

“If you are looking this over – DO IT !!! I love this course. The content is perfect, the topics covered are so simply and directly explained that they are totally relatable and understandable. And it covers the lot. Beginning to end of the whole process. It has made the world of difference to me already in the first few lessons. I feel like I have a good understanding of the process now and it is not so out of reach! So grateful I came across this!”

Deborah Fraser

“I have been on a number of children’s writing course, some with big publishers and this is the first realistic course. John gives fabulous information I have never received on any other course. His ideas about finding an agent and writing a ‘query letter’ are invaluable. I would highly recommend this course to both new writers and also to those of us coming from a different field of children’s writing wanting to to write children’s stories. ”

Vanessa Reilly

“Writing my first book, I thought I nailed it straight up, but I decided to do John’s course anyway. What an eye opener to all of my mistakes and solutions on how to improve them. It resulted in a couple of re-writes to a much more polished and (I hope) publishable book. The course is easy to follow and do at your own pace. Don’t skip ahead though, make sure you do the “homework” as you go. It makes the whole process so much more beneficial. Loved it!”

Karen Andrews



Learn how to write, edit and publish your children’s book with these practical, step-by-step lessons.


Test your memory of what you’ve just learned with playful quizzes at the end of each video.


After you’ve finished the course, you can hire me to personally edit your children’s book.


1. Pre-Writing

Generate the best idea for your book, learn how to build your character, and avoid cliche ideas.

2. The Writing Process

How to use repetition, employ key storytelling techniques, and write illustrator-friendly books.

3. Revision

Learn how to compress your book, choose the exact right language, and find an editor.

4. The Marketplace

How to write the perfect query letter and find an agent, or how to hire an illustrator and self publish.


No, you can go at your own pace. Start and finish when it’s right for you.

Yes! There is an enormous amount of information to help you shape and revise your book, as well as the next steps for publication.

Yes. The only video specific to the U.S. is the one on copyright law — all other videos are applicable to writers wherever you live.

You have lifetime access.

No, this course focuses on board books, picture books, and early readers.

Bookfox has appeared in:

Your Takeaways

  • By the time you finish this course, you will have a finished and polished children’s book and know the next steps for publication.
  • You’ll understand how to pick the right age range, the right length for your book, and the fundamentals of storytelling.
  • You’ll have practical know-how about how to work with illustrators, query agents, and self-publish.

Bonus Material

Earn a Certificate

When you finish the course, you will earn a completion certification that shows you’ve mastered the fundamentals of children’s book writing.

Access to Instructor

If you have any questions about the course content, you can post a question within the course and I’ll answer it for you.

Downloadable PDFs

To help you with your children’s book education, you can download resources which you can consult at any time.

Course Curriculum

Get the Most out of this Course
Find Your Best Book Idea (and Avoid these 3 Cliches)
7 Steps to Becoming a Children’s Book Author
Book Idea Quiz
The Golden Rule of Page 3
Picking a Mentor Book
Quiz Time!
5 Steps to Choose Your Ideal Age Range
7 Examples of Children’s Book Age Ranges
How to Build Your Character (4 Easy Steps)
A Visual Guide to Children’s Book Lengths
30 Questions to Improve Your Character
Quiz: Can you guess the age range?
Launch Day! Writing Your First Draft
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat – Use Language Repetition
Repetition of Story Structure
Repeat after me: I Will Get All These Quiz Questions Correct
Storytelling with Problem:Solution
Storytelling through Mystery
Storytelling Quiz
The Power of Humor – Be Funny, Zany, Wacky
Should I Rhyme or Not?
Funny Rhyme Quiz
Who is Telling Your Story?
Harness the Power of Emotion
Quiz: Mistakes to Avoid
How to Write an Illustrator-Friendly Book
Find Your Deeper Meaning – Metaphor and Subtext
Quiz: Layers of Illustrations
The Art of Compression
The Right Language
Compression Quiz: Can You Edit Like John?
Beta Readers – Feedback from Children and Adults
How to Choose an Editor
20 Questions for Beta Readers
Why You Shouldn’t Copyright (But I’ll Show You How)
Writing the Perfect Query Letter
3 Fantastic Examples of Query Letters
Quiz: Queries and Copyright
How to Find the Right Illustrator
Don’t Freak Out About Formatting
How to Find the Perfect Literary Agent
Illustrator Cost Ranges
Formatting Examples
A Challenging Quiz
How to Find the Perfect Literary Agent (Part II)
A Guide to Self-Publishing
3 Action Steps as We Conclude
I’d Love to Know Your Thoughts (Survey!)

Learn About Me

I’ve helped thousands of children’s book authors write, revise, and publish their books. If you take my course and hire me for editing, I promise you that you’ll end up with a book that you’re proud of.

My website Bookfox has nearly 1,000 posts to help writers, and I’m the author of a nonfiction book, “The Linchpin Writer” and also a short story collection, “I Will Shout Your Name.”

I’ve also written for the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times.

Ask me a question?

Success Story

Leesa McGregor took my course and her children’s book, “A New Alphabet for Humanity” ended up selling 85,000 copies around the world.

She said: “I absolutely LOVE John’s work and his writing course really helped me to move my writing forward.”

Make Your Book a Reality

Get Access Now

Normal price is $250

One Payment

Start Learning


“What an incredibly fun and thoughtful course packed with insider information on how to get your Children’s Book finished and published. The exercises were awesome to help you hone your skills. This is a must take course! 5 stars”

Sandie McCullough

“Content of course was really good, small chunks easily absorbed. As a published illustrator and author I still gained valuable insight and information from John. Highly recommend this course.”

Matt Lewis

“This course was really everything that I’ve been looking for. I have been googling “tips for writing children’s books” for so long, but this course surpasses all of the articles that I have read combined. It is so clear with very useful examples and assignments. Thank you so much John!”

Elizabeth Buffolino

“John has completely demystified the Children’s book writing process with his current, clear, concise, deconstruction and explanation in this well worth it how-to!”

Selina Courtney

“I have wanted to write a children’s book for a long time but did not know how. I jumped onto this course and it delivered in spades, answering questions I didn’t even know I had. I highly recommend this course to anyone who wishes to write a children’s book, especially because John’s style is friendly and humorous and his obvious passion for writing shines through every video.”

Elke Effler

“As somebody just starting out on the journey to writing children’s books, this course was pure gold! So much useful information, presented in an accessible and engaging way by John. I’ve learned so much, and armed with this new knowledge I feel confident to continue my journey, thank you!”

Louise Vippond

“JMF is a really compelling and inviting instructor. You feel like you have someone in your corner guiding you as you finish your book. Each lesson is upbeat and insightful and he gives practical advice and exercises so you, the writer, can see you books improvements with each class. The videos are short but packed full of solid information. If you are considering taking a class, I recommend Bookfox!”

Saralyn Critchlow

“This course is just what I needed. I have been working on my picture book manuscript for almost three years. This course covered every area of the book writing process from idea to publishing. The section on “revision” really helped me rewrite my manuscript and make it so much better. I really like that I could do the class at my own pace and go back and re-watch various parts.”

Lisa Spencer

“I am a novice writer who first read John’s article 12 Tips on writing a children’s book. The article itself was so helpful and the reviews so positive that I took this class. The writing tips shared plus how to navigate the end-to-end process of finding an editor, agent, publisher and illustrator were all so valuable. The videos are short, fun and very helpful. HIGHLY recommend this class especially for beginners like me!”

Cathy McCabe

“This course is easy to follow. John makes it fun! His instructions are clear and he gives great examples. The writing exercises and course homework really help so don’t skip them!”

Beth Sadlek

Money Back Guarantee

I’m so confident that you’ll like this course that I’ll refund your money if you don’t love it.

Get an Annual Pass

Want access to all my courses? It’s only $25 a month, paid annually.

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