MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults

Faculty / Picture Book Intensive

Jane Kurtz will be the Picture Book advisor for the Summer/Fall 2014 term. She is looking forward to leading the Picture Book Intensive Semester starting in July 2014.

Jane Kurtz, Faculty, MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults, is the Picture Book Intensive advisor at Vermont College of Fine ArtsAuthor of twelve picture books, including Fire on the Mountain (a Book of the Month Club selection), Only a Pigeon (winner of the Children's Africana Book Award), and River Friendly River Wild (winner of the SCBWI Golden Kite award for picture book text), Jane has published picture books, nonfiction, novels for young readers, easy ready-to-read books, and books for educators—thirty in total—along with short stories and articles. Her poetic picture book, River Friendly River Wild, was given the Golden Kite award for excellence in picture book text by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Another picture book, In the Small, Small Night, was named one of the year's best by the Washington Post, and School Library Journal. Many of her books connect with Ethiopia, where she spent most of her childhood and now volunteers to plant the first libraries for children. She does author visits all over the U.S. and internationally and has taught writing at the elementary, secondary, and university levels. When Jane is not speaking nationally or internationally, she can be found in her house or yard in Portland, Oregon or on her blog.

Jane says, "Picture books are quirky...and becoming quirkier by the minute, it sometimes seems. I was part of a world that celebrated picture book folktales as a sometimes-authentic and important glimpse into other cultures. I was part of a world that thought picture books should be read with kids in upper elementary school and even middle school or high school. Now I'm part of a world where picture books are often seen only as a lap experience for the very young. I've never ceased to be intrigued and sometimes baffled by this art form. Come explore with me. We'll look at language, rhythm and beat, possible organizational structures, pacing, the term "character-driven" and how text and illustration play in picture books."