Beachside Nonfiction Workshop with Candace Fleming & Jennifer Swanson

one ocean Signature_Shot

Beachside Nonfiction Workshop with

Candace Fleming & Jennifer Swanson


May 3-5 , 2019 in Atlantic Beach at One Ocean Resort

Our featured editors are:

Alyssa Mito Pusey, Executive Editor, Charlesbridge Publishing

Stephanie Pitts, Editor G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Young Readers

Emily Feinberg, Editor at Macmillan Publishing/Roaring Brook Press

Susan Dobinick, Senior Editor, Bloomsbury Publishing

Kelly Delaney, Editor Alfred A. Knopf BFYR, PGH

Julia McCarthy, Assistant Editor at  Atheneum Books for Young Readers



Publisher,  Neal Porter Books, an imprint of Holiday House.

But wait, there’s more:

Andrea Cascardi, Senior Agent at Transatlantic Agency will join us, too!

*Price:  $499  

What that includes:

  • Access to 7 high-level workshops given by each editor,
  • 1 15-minute face-to-face critique with an editor or the agent,
  • 2 breakfasts,
  • 2 lunches,
  • Entrance to the Friday night reception with the editors and agent,
  • Choice of two Breakout Workshops given by Candace Fleming or Jennifer Swanson

*All purchases are nonrefundable.

Breakout Workshops:

Saturday – a) Candace Fleming –  Six Quick Fixes for Your Nonfiction Picture Book:

Bring along your in-progess nonfiction picture book to this hands-on workshop where we’ll uncover six, often overlooked but quick and simple strategies that will improve any picture book… instantly!

Saturday – b) Jennifer Swanson –  Your Title as Your Hook:

Top notch nonfiction needs a BIG hook. Even better if that hook is your title. Bring your WIP title ideas to this hands-on workshop where we will stretch our minds, and turn things upside down and inside out to find the perfect title/hook combination.

Sunday – a) Candace Fleming –  Narrative nonfiction in a Nutshell:

Are you having trouble carving a storyline from that mountain of research? Does you story lack movement? Is your writing encyclopedic? Then joins us in for this hands-on workshop where we’ll practice skills and offer tips to get your story moving again… narratively!

Sunday – b) Jennifer Swanson – Using Voice, Tone, and Structure to Capture an Editor’s Attention:


Have a manuscript that needs to go from good to great? Bring your WIP for this interactive discussion packed with specific suggestions about how to infuse your manuscript with active voice, tone, and structure to capture an agent or editor’s attention.

Optional Add-Ons for Retreat Attendees (click here if already registered and want to add on extras)

  • If you would like to have dinner with the editors and the agent Saturday night, there is an additional cost of $75. Limited seats available.
  • Andrea Cascardi, our Senior Agent, will be taking 5-minute pitches. Those are $50 a piece.
  • You will have the option to purchase additional critiques at the price of $100 when you register, provided spots are still available. These will go fast!
  • Intensives – Candace Fleming and Jennifer Swanson are each offering a three-hour Intensive session on Friday.  Details below.
If you wish to extend your time and have MORE fun with us, please consider the following: OPTIONAL Intensives on Friday, May 3rd  (these have a separate cost and are NOT part of the workshop fee above)9:00am to 12:00pm  “All STEAMed Up!”1:00pm to 4:00pm  “Behind the Scenes of Successful Nonfiction

All STEAMed Up!

with Jennifer Swanson and Emily Feinberg

This interactive and exciting workshop will dive deep into STEAM/STEM books by taking a close look at topics, structure, focus, and photo research. Editor Emily Feinberg will take you behind the scenes of her acquisitions process and present specific books that she was immediately drawn to and discuss why they captured her attention. Writing exercises will help you find your structure and focus as we delve into ways to pick topics that are intriguing, timely, and also interesting to kids. Not sure if you should use narrative or expository tone, we’ll discuss that too. And finally, bring lots of questions about how to handle photo permissions. (I know you have them!) We will have fun and learn to make STEAM/STEM books exciting in ways that is sure to make any reader a STEAM fan.

— $199 intensive added onto weekend workshop

Behind the Scenes of Successful Nonfiction

with Candace Fleming, Neal Porter

+ special guest speaker Eric Rohmann

This fun and informative intensive workshop will use writing exercises and informal discussion to help you create a publisher-ready manuscript.  Editor Neal Porter starts things off with a behind the scenes (or should we say, behind the editorial desk) look at some of the extraordinary nonfiction books he’s recently acquired for his Holiday House imprint, Neal Porter Books.  Why did these books spark him?  What specifically caused them to rise above in this highly competitive market?  Using Neal’s observations as a guideline, we will look at ways of upping our nonfiction game by experimenting with structure and storytelling techniques, exploring new ways of weaving exposition into narrative and uncovering unique ways of infusing our nonfiction stories with rich, engaging language while STILL staying true to our research materials.  We will also engage in a conversation with Caldecott Medalist Eric Rohmann about the importance of illustration in today’s nonfiction, and how we can “think pictures” even when writing for middle grade and high school.

—  $299 intensive added onto weekend workshop

Hotel Information:

Location: One Ocean Resort, Atlantic Beach, Florida

Room rate:  $219 a night plus tax for double occupancy (We encourage roommates!)

When you register, you will get the code to give the hotel for the discounted room rate we have listed above.

Critique Information for Workshop Attendees:

When you register, you will get to pick the person you will have your one included critique with. You may choose from the following list:

Julia McCarthy

Alyssa Mito Pusey

Stephanie Pitts

Emily Feinberg

Susan Dobinick

Kelly Delaney

Andrea Cascardi

** Please note:

  • Critique picks are on a first come, first serve basis
    • We ask that you rank the list from top choice to last choice
    • The earlier you register, the more likely you will get your top choice
  • Neal Porter will not be doing critiques and is not open to submission for attendees unless he requests your manuscript in person at the workshop**

Critiques will be 15 minute – “on the spot critiques”

You will turn in 5 pages of your manuscript and a 2-paragraph synopsis when you arrive at the workshop, during registration. The editor/agent will read your manuscript for the first 5 minutes and then will discuss it with you for the last 10 minutes. This is a real-life critique and mirrors how an editor would typically review your submission. Bring your BEST work!

Travel information:

Nearest airport is Jacksonville International Airport (JAX). This airport is served by many different carriers including Delta, American, United, JetBlue, Southwest and others.

Sanford Airport (2 hours away) has Allegiant Airlines, too.

You are responsible for your travel from the airport to the hotel and back.

For Trade and Educational Published Authors 

When you register for the workshop, you will have the OPTION of sending us information about your school visits. The information should consist of the following:  your name, your email, your website, ONE of your books (pick your most visible) and a 3-line pitch of what you do. This will be forwarded to the local school districts who are might be interested in hiring authors for a paid school visit. This is NOT a guarantee, and we will NOT manage this, but we are happy to provide your info to the schools.

WE ARE NOT ARRANGING ANY SCHOOL VISITS. We are only providing the connections for the opportunity. It is up to the individual author to pursue this.

There will also be an independent bookstore on site (and about 2 blocks down the street) that has agreed to stock some author’s books. In order to be considered for this, please indicate on your registration that you are interested, and we will forward your information to the independent bookstore.

Submissions***:  All of the editors and agent (except for Neal Porter) will accept ONE submission from attendees after the workshop. Details will be handed out at the workshop.

****Just a quick note! 

We know that you are all sooo excited about this workshop and can’t wait until next May, but we ask that you please do not submit to or contact any of our editors or the agent in advance and use our name. They have  generously agreed to accept submissions from all of our attendees, but AFTER the workshop. Thanks so much! 

This high-level workshop is open to just over 60 people and is on a first-come, first-served basis. We are working to add many extras for attendees, so stand by for more details.  

The Faculty:

Neal Porter 


Neal Porter helped to found Roaring Brook Press, now an imprint of the Macmillan Children’s Book Group where he served as Publisher of Neal Porter Books for sixteen years. In September 2017, Neal brought his imprint to Holiday House where he is now Vice President and Publisher of Neal Porter Books.Having been in the publishing industry for over four decades, Neal has worked with a number of Caldecott Medal–honored illustrators, including Eric Rohmann, Brian Floca, Ted Lewin, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Yuyi Morales, and Erin E. Stead, winner of the 2011 Caldecott Medal for A Sick Day for Amos McGee, written by Philip C. Stead.  More recently Porter worked with Jason Chin, illustrator of the acclaimed nonfiction picture book Water Is Water by Miranda Paul, and his nonfiction picture book Grand Canyon,which received a 2018 Caldecott Medal Honor, 2018 Sibert Medal Honor, 2018 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award, and Booklist Editors Choice Top of the List 2017.Porter has also worked with authors and artists such as Nick Bruel, Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, Candace Fleming, Patricia MacLachlan, Stephen Savage, Antoinette Portis, Julie Fogliano, and Christian Robinson. His books have won, among other awards, the Caldecott Medal, five Caldecott Honors, five Sibert Honors, two Geisel Honors, the Coretta Scott King Award and Honor for illustration,three Pura Belpré Awards, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. In 2015 Porter was awarded an Eric Carle Honor in the category of Mentor.

Alyssa Mito Pusey

Executive Editor

Alyssa Mito Pusey is an executive editor at Charlesbridge Publishing, specializing in nonfiction, who firmly believes there is nothing as astonishing as real life. Almost any topic can hook her—as long as it’s approached from an unexpected angle. In addition to nonfiction, she edits the occasional fiction title with memorable characters and strong school-and-library hooks. In both nonfiction and fiction, she looks for innovative structure, clarity, and a distinctive voice. Humor is a plus! Alyssa’s titles include Samurai Rising by Pamela S. Turner, SUPER GEAR by Jennifer Swanson, Bugs Don’t Hug by Heather L. Montgomery, Poppy’s Best Babies by Susan Eaddy, and the Baby Loves Science series by Ruth Spiro.

Stephanie Pitts


Stephanie Pitts is an editor at G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group. Prior to joining the team at Putnam, Stephanie worked at Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books. She once pulled a darling picture book manuscript, Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller, out of the slush pile. It published to four starred reviews and was named an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor Book. She has edited the middle grade novels My Brother’s Shadow and Not as We Know It, both by Tom Avery, and the picture book Jackrabbit McCabe and the Electric Telegraph by Lucy Margaret Rozier and illustrated by Leo Espinosa, among others. Before working in publishing, Stephanie taught first grade and ESL in the Bronx.

Emily Feinberg


After earning her master’s degrees in Children’s Literature and English Literature from Simmons College in Boston, Emily joined the editorial team at Roaring Brook Press. Emily works mostly with picture book and nonfiction titles. She edited Elisha Cooper’s Caldecott Honor book Big Cat, Little Cat as well as Lily Williams’ If Sharks Disappeared and Maria Gianferrari’s Hawk Rising, illustrated by Brian Floca. Emily is not an editor of fantasy.

Works on: Nonfiction (all genres), picture books, middle grade, YA (contemporary).

Looking for: Science-driven narrative nonfiction (all ages); nonfiction for all ages; character-/voice-driven middle grade novels; picture books with a different perspective.

Recent Titles: Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper; Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline; The Doll’s Eye by Marina Cohen; If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams; Hello Goodbye Dog by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Patrice Barton; Shawn Loves Sharks by Curtis Manley, illustrated by Tracy Subisak; The Inn Between by Marina Cohen.

Susan Dobinick 

Nonfiction Senior Editor

Susan Dobinick is nonfiction senior editor at Bloomsbury Publishing,  where she works on books that range from picture book through young adult as well as crossover projects with the adult team. Some upcoming projects include Down the Hill, a nonfiction in verse co-authored by Debbie Levy and Jo Ann Allen Boyce, who was one of the first twelve students to desegregate a high school in the south; Something Rotten, a Mary Roach-style middle grade narrative that follows the author’s journey to understand what becomes of roadkill; and You Are Mighty, a kids’ guide to activism. She is always looking for diverse voices, immersion with primary sources and unpublished research, and fresh, kid-friendly approaches to topics. She will also consider the occasional literary middle grade novel and quirky and heartfelt author/illustrator picture books. Tweet her @sdobinick.

Kelly Delaney  


Kelly Delaney is an editor at Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, where she acquires and edits picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction.  She has a master’s degree in Publishing: Digital and Print Media from NYU and has been at Random House Children’s Books for seven years. Books she has edited include 10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac, Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung, The Distance to Home by Jenn Bishop, and Duncan the Story Dragon by Amanda Driscoll. In her time at Random House she has been fortunate enough to work with many of her favorite authors, from R.J. Palacio and Markus Zusak to Anita Lobel and Norton Juster. She is always on the lookout for quirky humor, bright characters, and writers that don’t underestimate their readers. You can follow her on Twitter at @kellyunderwater.


Julia McCarthy

Assistant Editor

Julia McCarthy is an assistant editor at  Atheneum Books for Young Readers. She assists Reka Simonsen and Emma Ledbetter on a brilliant range of young adult, middle grade, and picture books. Before joining Atheneum, Julia worked as an editorial assistant at Puffin Books. Julia believes that each story has the power to engender compassion, empathy, and courage within a reader, and delights in her opportunity to champion Atheneum’s list of powerfully imaginative books. Some nonfiction titles Julia has helped with are: On the Origin of Species (Young Readers Edition), Rising Water (Thai cave rescue of the soccer team), Reaching for the Moon (Katherine Johnson MG autobiography), Your Amazing Skin/Your Amazing Digestion (science/biology poetry), When Angels Sing (picture book biography about Carlos Santana), and To Dance (graphic novel autobiography). You can visit her on Twitter @thejumbles.

Andrea Cascardi

Senior Agent

Andrea Cascardi is a senior agent at Transatlantic Agency.  Andrea held senior editorial positions at Random House and Disney Publishing, and was publisher at Egmont USA. As an editor she acquired and edited Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King winner Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold and Pura Belpre winner Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez among many other acclaimed books. As an agent she represented many bestselling and award-winning titles including Clare Vanderpool’s Newbery winner MOON OVER MANIFEST; Printz Honor winner NAVIGATING EARLY; Stonewall winner FAT ANGIE; New York Times Bestseller NUBS: A MUTT, A MARINE, AND A MIRACLE; and Texas Bluebonnet winner TEN RULES YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST NOT BREAK IF YOU WANT TO SURVIVE THE SCHOOLBUS.

Eric Rohmann


Eric Rohmann is the award-winning author/illustrator of thirteen books for children and in 2004 won the prestigious Caldecott Medal for My Friend Rabbit (Roaring Brook/Macmillan, 2003).  He was previously awarded a Caldecott Honor for his book, Time Flies (Crown/Random House, 1995).  His other books include the ALA Notable titles, Clara and Asha (Roaring Brook/Macmillan, 2005), A Kitten Tale (Knopf/ Random House 2008,) and Bone Dog  (Roaring Brook/Macmillan, 2011). He has also illustrated many other books, including the Sibert Honor winning Giant Squid written by Candace Fleming, and has created book jackets for a number of novels, including His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman and Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry.  His artwork has been featured in various exhibitions and permanent collections throughout the United States. 

Candace Fleming


Candace is the author of more than forty books for children, including picture books, middle grade novels and biographies. Among her nonfiction titles are Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart, The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion and the Fall of Imperial Russia, Giant Squid and most recently Strongheart Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen. She is the recipient of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington D.C.’s Nonfiction Award given for her “substantial body of consistently high quality nonfiction books for children of different ages,” as well as the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and she is a two-time recipient of the ALA Sibert Honor Award, as well as the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Nonfiction, and the Society of Book Writers and Illustrators Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction.

Among her other honors are the Orbis Pictus Award, and the Charlotte Zolotow Award.  She has twice been a YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award finalist.

Candace lives in Oak Park, Illinois with one dog, two cats and her partner and sometimes-collaborator, Caldecott medalist Eric Rohmann.  

Jennifer Swanson


Science Rocks! And so do Jennifer Swanson’s books. She is the award-winning author of over 35 nonfiction books for children. A self-professed science geek, Jennifer started a science club in her garage at the age of 7. While no longer working from the garage, Jennifer’s passion for science resonates in in all her books but especially, BRAIN GAMES (NGKids) and SUPER GEAR: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up (Charlesbridge) which was named an NSTA Best STEM book of 2017 and an NSTA Outstanding Trade Book 2017. Jennifer’s book, Geoengineering Earth’s Climate: Re-setting the Thermostat (Lerner Books) received a Green Earth Book Honor Award. She has presented at National NSTA conferences, the Highlights Foundation, and also the World Science Festival. You can find Jennifer through her website

More information coming soon.




Limited spaces available!

Will you be there?