Picture Book Writing Retreat
Friday, May 2 to Sunday May 5, 2024


Have you always wanted to write a picture book? Join me on beautiful Bald Head Island to learn the ins and outs of crafting picture books.

Friday, May 3 to Sunday May 5, 2024

What is a Picture Book Writing Retreat

Have you always wanted to write a picture book? This writing retreat is the perfect escape for writers new to the picture book format. We will read picture books, we will write picture books. We will revise and workshop picture books. This retreat is a relaxed way to get your feet wet… with writing and on beaches of Bald Head Island.

Participants will submit a picture book manuscript ahead of time to workshop over the course of the weekend. There will be three information sessions, three relaxed critique and revision sessions, lots of time for writing and reading, and plenty of time to share in the joy of writing books for kids.

All participants will take home two books – one on the craft of writing and one picture book. Workshop goers will have the opportunity to submit a revised manuscript to Jenny following the retreat to receive an assessment and a one-on-one, one hour follow up call to discuss the revisions and ask questions.

Everyone has a story to tell… what’s yours?

When and Where

When: Arrive on Friday, May 3 and depart Sunday, May 5, 2024.

Where: Bald Head Island is a quaint island off the southeast coast of North Carolina known for its undeveloped 10,000 acres of beaches, salt water marshes, and maritime forests. This exclusive island getaway is perfect for writers who want to leave the hustle and bustle of day-to-day behind while focusing on their craft.

How to get to Bald Head Island

To get to the island you’ll need to take the two mile journey across the Cape Fear River from Southport to Bald Head Island. Enjoy the relaxing 20 minute ferry ride where you can unwind and leave your day-to-day of the mainland behind.

The Bald Head Island’s passenger ferry departs the mainland from Deep Point Marina, located at 1301 Ferry Road in Southport, NC, just before the state-operated Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry Landing. The 40,000-square-foot ferry terminal provides a host of creature comforts, including indoor and open-air waiting areas, restrooms, and the Island Times Café, which is opened seasonally.

Once you arrive on Bald Head Island, a pre-arranged tram can take you to the Inn at Bald Head Island or your other accommodations.

Accommodations on Bald Head Island

The Marsh Harbour Inn overlooks the Bald Head Island Marina with easy access to South Beach and short walking distance to restaurants, shops and other island activities. It offers 12 rooms and suites, each equipped with one or two rooms, a private bathroom, and living space. Hot breakfast and access to a golf cart is included with every suite. Guest privileges to the Shoals Club may be included for a fee.

The Inn at Bald Head Island offers 10 unique rooms in the heart of Harbour Village. The rooms are all equipped with a king bed, flat screen tv’s, and balconies with lovely views of the harbor. Easterly facing rooms have a view of Old Baldy Lighthouse. As a guest you will enjoy daily continental breakfast, afternoon hors d’oeuvres and refreshments in the main dining hall. Bald Head Island Club Membership, bicycles, beach chairs and beach umbrellas are complimentary with your stay.

Rooms are Limited! Please book your stay immediately following registration.

If you would like to extend your stay, consider booking a private home. Bald Head Island’s preferred accommodations provider, Intracoastal Realty, offers the island’s premier vacation rentals in the best locations. The professionals at Intracoastal Realty take care of every detail to ensure your rental home meets your high expectations, and are here for you on island when any needs arise during your stay. From beachfront to nestled away in the Maritime Forest, Bald Head Island vacation rentals will provide the ideal getaway for the entire family.

Retreat Schedule

Before the retreat: participants may submit one picture book manuscript for review

Friday Night

  • 5 – 7 pm – Meet and Greet

Location: Marsh Harbour Inn

What: Take time to meet me and the other registrants. Light bites and drinks will be served.


  • 9 am – 12 pm – Workshop: Picture Book Standards + Breakout Critique Session

Location: The Bald Head Association

What: Learn market and conventional standards for picture books, such as word count, page count, and how to use story structure, repetition, rhyme or lyrical language to craft your book

  • 12 – 2pm – Lunch on your own
  • 2 – 4pm – Workshop: Revision Tips and Tricks + Breakout Writing Session

Location: The Bald Head Association

What: Learn tips for tackling revisions such as testing read-aloud quality, paginating dynamic page turns, how to trim excess words, and other useful tips and tricks

  • 6pm – Optional dinner together


  • 9am – 12pm – Workshop: Self vs Traditional Publishing + Breakout Revision Session

Location: The Bald Head Association

What: Learn the differences between self and traditional publishing, when you should and shouldn’t commission illustrations, and how to decide which path to take.

  • 12 – 12:30pm Break/Formal Workshop End
  • 12:30 – 1:30pm – Optional Ask Me Anything Session and box lunch

Location: TBD

What: Ask Me Anything – let’s debrief, ask questions we didn’t have time for, talk about next steps. Ask me anything!

Registration Info

Registration Fees include:

  • Opportunity to submit a picture book manuscript for review
  • All Workshop and Writing Sessions
  • Meet and Greet on Friday Night; light bites and drinks will be served
  • Light snacks and beverages during workshop
  • A copy of Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul
  • A picture book of your choice
  • Optional Ask Me Anything Session with Box Lunch on Sunday
  • An editorial assessment of your revisions and a 1-hour follow up call after the retreat (must be used within three months)

Participants are responsible for room and board, transportation to and from Deep Point Marina, ferry tickets to Bald Head Island and parking, any other personal or on your own activities

Registration fees are $920/person.

A 50% deposit is due at time of registration to reserve your spot; the remaining 50% is due by April 3, 2024.

There are plenty of things to do on Bald Head Island, and you can learn more about those activities, events, dining, and more here.

Learn more about life on Bald Head Island through the Bald Head Association.

Stay in the know about future retreats here.

About Jenny

I am a children’s book editor with over twelve years experience editing and writing children’s books. And I’m a beach girl at heart. What better way to combine my passions than to teach a workshop on writing picture books in one of my favorite places, Bald Head Island, where I spend a few weekends away each year with my family. This workshop is open to 12 participants. I hope you’ll join me!