Critical essays help you understand and internalize the many craft elements that go into writing a successful book for young readers. When you can see and discuss these elements clearly, you have the best chance of incorporating them into your own creative work.

What makes a good critical essay?

Here’s a primer written by editor and author Shelley Tanaka, a longtime faculty member.

How do I choose my topic?

In general, successful essays focus on a narrow aspect of craft and use a close examination of one or more books. Write about something that fascinates you or something you wish to understand more fully.

Our program has a list of core topics we focus on. You can review our core topics and their definitions here.

How do I format my essay?

We follow MLA Style. You can read more about that here.

If you have any hesitation, concerns, or questions about this or any other part of the application, reach out to Admissions any time.