In a guest post last week for the International Reading Association’s Engage/Teacher to Teacher blog, I wrote about a technique I use for getting to know my the characters in my nonfiction books.

(In the same post, YA novelist Jennifer Ziegler — Sass & Serendipity, How Not to Be Popular — wrote about how she gets inside the heads of her fictional characters, and vice versa. So, really, between the two of us, you’re all set.)

Check it out, and if what I had to say seems useful to you, I hope you’ll join me this June for “You Don’t Have to Choose: Balancing Playful Picture Books With Rigorous Research,” a one-day workshop I’ll be teaching through the Austin chapter of the Society for Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.

Workshop Synopsis: Creatively and professionally alike, authors can enjoy big benefits from letting the silly stuff cross-pollinate with the seriously researched. In “You Don’t Have to Choose,” we’ll use the examples of picture book authors who have done both fiction and nonfiction as a springboard for discussing and honing skills and techniques applicable to both types of writing. We’ll examine the benefits — and potential drawbacks — of that sort of career cross-pollination with a goal of having each student leave the workshop inspired and equipped to create books in both realms, with some newly gained practical experience under their belts.

Details, including discount info, are available here.