Celebrating 10 Years of Magic!

Guess what?

It’s time for cake!

Today marks the 10th Anniversary of my first Making Picture Book Magic class, which opened February 1, 2013 with 8 students. Where does the time go???!!!

All I can say is, what a wonderful, amazing, experience it has been so far. I have been lucky enough to work with over 1000 writers (I’ve lost count at this point 😊), all of them determined, dedicated, and diligent – taking the initiative to work seriously at their craft and try to improve their writing skills – while also being imaginative, creative, inspired, and inspiring.

I love teaching this class. I think (I hope!) it has been helpful to the writers who take it, although I in no way claim any credit for their success. They have had the ideas, done the research and the work, put in the time, effort and energy. I’m sure they would all have succeeded with or without my class. But having spent time with them and worked with them, I feel such pride for what they have accomplished, and so honored to have been a part of their writing journeys that I’d like to acknowledge them all here today.

I won’t list them by name, because I’d be sure to miss someone since there are so many, but if you are one of the writers or illustrators who have taken Making Picture Book Magic, thank you so much for allowing me to be part of your writing journey, and congratulations on every success, from writing new manuscripts, to getting agents, to publishing magazine pieces, to winning writing contests, to publishing one or more picture books, to winning some of the industry’s biggest awards, to writing better than you used to whether or not you have ever chosen to share your work.

❤️ You are all magic! ❤️

And you have all brought magic into the world and shared it with countless children whose lives are richer because of it.

Below is a little slide show with just some of the titles published by Making Picture Book Magic graduates. Please take a moment to scroll through and enjoy and be inspired by their tremendous creativity!

I will be celebrating 10 Years of Making Picture Book Magic throughout the month of February by sharing a social media graphic each day on FB, Twitter, and Instagram featuring one of the class graduates.

I hope you will all get to see the features, and celebrate these writers’ success with them by following their social media accounts, reading their wonderful books, leaving reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and/or B&N, requesting that your local libraries carry their books (if they don’t already!), recommending them as guest speakers at your children’s schools, and by considering purchasing their books for the little ones in your lives!

I hope I will be able to teach Making Picture Book Magic for a long time to come, and that new writers (and experienced ones who want to try something different to shake things up) will continue to fill my class.

I have also been saying for 7 years (yes, really, I’m not exaggerating – there just never seems to be quite enough time to do all the things I want to do!) that I want to write a new class, and I am finally getting closer to actually doing it. I’m hoping to have the new class completed within the next couple months and ready to beta test sometime this spring. Good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise 😊 And if time is kind, maybe I’ll also get Making Picture Book Magic fancied up a bit to feel like part of the 2020s! 😊

In the meantime, let’s keep the magic going!

Take in the world around you.

Write a little something every day, if you can.

In the words of Mary Oliver:

Instructions for living a life.

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.”

― Mary Oliver, Sometimes

We write for children. And for children, everything is brand new and full of magic.

83 thoughts on “Celebrating 10 Years of Magic!

  1. Beth Stilborn says:

    Happy 10th Magic-aversary! How exciting! As I went through the slide show, I also had my library’s website open, so I have some books to read in the next little while! Congratulations to you, and to all who have benefitted from this wonderful class. Even though I no longer write PBs, this *must* be the year when I take Making Picture Book Magic. Here’s to another gazillion years!

  2. Melissa Trempe says:

    10 Years! That’s wonderful. It’s hard to keep something going for so long unless there’s a bit of magic in it, so congratulations on finding that secret sauce and making your class so powerful for writers! You’re AMAZING.

  3. Norah says:

    Congratulations, Susanna. That’s an awesome achievement. What a variety of picture books written by your students too. I’m hoping to be one of your students sometime this year. 🙂

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Thank you, Nancy! I can’t wait for that either! Right now it’s in the throw-ingredients-into-the-cauldron stage and see what the results are before tweaking the potion with alternate or additional ingredients 😊

  4. Colleen Owen Murphy says:

    If your new class is one covering the next steps I would love to be a part of that!! Congratulations on all of your successes!!

  5. Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf says:

    Many, many congratulations on such a successful class! And I’m very excited to find out what your next class is all about!!!!

  6. Marta Cutler says:

    Congratulations Susanna! What a milestone. Signing up for your course was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and has added immeasurably to who I am as a person, and obviously as a writer. Many many thanks for your special brand of magic that inspires us all!

  7. kathalsey says:

    Susanna, yes, there is never enough time to do all we writers want to do! Ty for as I said earlier, helping birth all these books and teaching us all more about the craft and joy of making picture books.

  8. Jen Bagan says:

    Oh Wow, Susanna … congratulations!! To you for your vision and tireless work to lift up writers AND congratulations to us! The lucky ones that get to benefit from your wisdom and kindness. You were my very first teacher of how to write picture books. You not only gave me a solid educational foundation but reading your books, reading your blog posts, participating (or sometimes just voting) in your contests and just knowing you are out there doing good things has really kept me afloat on some dark days in these difficult business. I appreciate your generosity to this community so much! I hope you enjoy a BIG slice of cake today. Here’s to 10 more! xoxo

  9. Sandra Sutter says:

    Congratulations, Susanna! What a fantastic milestone. Thanks for sharing your talent, creativity, knowledge and positivity with us all!

  10. CJ Penko says:

    So many congratulations, Susanna! Look at all those wonderful books from your grads!!! Thank you so very much for all you do for the kidlit community, Susanna. I can’t imagine how much work it is, and I have no idea how you do it all, but we appreciate it more than you know. Sometimes we forget to say it, but we love you, your site, your contests and your books!! Thanks a million times and congratulations again! ❤️📚🎉🍾🔟

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Thank you, Genevieve! And boy, we did have fun back in the early days in those classes full of folks who have now been around for years! I mean, a decade – literally! What a privilege it is to know you all! ❤️

  11. marty bellis says:

    Wow, such an impressive group of authors and books. Congrats, Susanna, on celebrating this special milestone and for the impact you’ve had on picture books for little ones – through your own amazing books and through those written by others, who you’ve guided to success. What an achievement! Cheers and enjoy that cake 🙂

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      I take no credit for the accomplishments of these talented and dedicated writers, Marty! Truly, it was they who did all the work. But I am so happy if I could help a little, and I so appreciate your kind words! ❤️ You can be sure I will enjoy the cake! 😊

  12. Anne C. Bromley says:

    Congratulations, Susanna! You definitely have cause to celebrate. I am one of your students, and I am most grateful for the “magic” that you brought to my picture book education. I look forward to seeing your new course and wish you all the best in 2023. Be sure to celebrate with cake!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Thank you so much, Anne! It was a privilege to get to work with you, and I hope your writing is coming along swimmingly in whatever direction you hope for it! And yes, you can be sure I will celebrate with cake! 😊

  13. 1mlp says:

    WOW! 10 years! Congratulations Susana! And look at that great slideshow! So many great books! Thank you so much for the knowledge you’ve given me. I’m putting it to good use!

  14. palpbkids says:

    You are such an inspiration, Susanna!
    When looking for supporting words, when looking for new avenues of success, you have succeeded in providing both to so many.
    Thank you for all you do!
    Happy 10th Anniversary!!

  15. authorlaurablog says:

    Susanna, I always say you are a big deal and now here is the post to prove all the things I’ve been saying about you! What an amazing collection of books you’ve helped to inspire, not to mention all the books you have published. This seems like a good reason to have a slice of cake!

  16. viviankirkfield says:

    In 2014 I realized I’d better take a picture book writing class or two because the feedback I was getting on my submissions was…not good. The very first class I took was Making Picture Book Magic…it was the best class I could have taken – it gave me a strong foundation in EVERY aspect of writing a picture book – PLUS there was a wonderful camaraderie in the class Facebook group…and there was YOU…the icing on a fabulous cake! Thank you so much for providing me with exactly what I needed…and for being such a brightly shining beacon in our kidlit community, dear Susanna.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Oh my goodness, Vivian! What lovely things to say. I truly appreciate your words, and I’m so glad if Making Picture Book Magic was helpful, but I know you would have found your way no matter what – you are a gifted and talented writer! And you have become as much of a beacon in the community as I am if not far, far more!

      • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

        You give me too much credit, Vivian! I do try to answer blog comments, but there are plenty of times I simply can’t. On a post like this, though, where people like you have taken time out of YOUR busy schedules to be so supportive of me, I would hate to miss replying to any comment! ❤️

  17. Laura Jensen Bower says:

    Congratulations Susanna!! You are such a bright light in the kidlit world. Your books, posts, contests, humor, creativity, encouragement and kindness make so many people happy. You have touched so many lives. I learned so much in your class and only wish I had taken it sooner! Congratulations on 10 years of magic and cheers to many more!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Thank you, Laura! That is so lovely of you to say! I don’t feel like I do that much, really. There are others in the kidlit world who I think do so much more. But I’m so glad if whatever I do is helpful, and I truly appreciate all your kind words!

  18. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    Yay for a fabulous first decade filled with success stories! I’ve been seeing your posts. (And you know, I’m one of your success stories, too, LOL I took your self-study course in 2017!) Thank you!!!

  19. marshaelyn says:

    Oh, Susanna! I just found this link buried in my “Social” folder, which I hardly check. Congratulations on 10 years of extraordinary teaching and mentoring . When I participated two years ago in “Making Picture Book Magic ,” I was able to find my way through the maze of how to write good stories. YOU led step-by-step within a safe space, letting us discover and develop our skills. Your downloads of lessons and examples–stored in a binder–are wrinkled and torn from overuse. They’re my go-to resources when I begin a draft. In fact, JULES RULES–the story I began in your course–has evolved into READY FREDDIE. I’ve submitted it to four different agents as of today. Because of inspiring mentors like you, I wouldn’t have found the courage to persevere in the long haul to publishing and to keep believing in myself. I’ll be ever grateful for you.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Oh, my goodness, Marsha! What a lovely thing to say! You made me all teary! I’m so glad if MPBM has been helpful to you, and I look forward to the day when I can add your first picture book cover to the Wall of Awesomeness! ❤️

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