Children's Literature: Writing for Children

Students in our Children's Literature: Writing for Children (MFA) program nurture their creativity with engaged critical study and analysis of literature for children and young adults.

Students sitting in class

Dare to imagine

Transformative works from folklore, fantasy, nonfiction, poetry, and realism set rich contexts to your developing vision and voice. Small group critiques, individualized mentorships, and grounding in the publishing industry fortify your developing career as a writer.

Explore genre and audience. Engage with picturebooks, young adult realism, beginning and middle-grade readers, graphic novels. Dare to discover new audiences and forms all your own.

Learn from colleagues from across professions. Core classes will include teachers, librarians, editors, illustrators, academics. Join experienced authors and illustrators in unique events such as the summer institute at the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons, Horn Book at Simmons Symposium, and Boston's annual literary events. From P.E.N. New England Discovery Night to the Boston Book Festival, participate in today’s literary heritage as you create tomorrow’s.

Scholarships, Discounts, Fellowship and Teaching Assistantship Opportunities 

All applicants are considered for a range of university scholarships, including endowed and departmental awards; new and returning students may apply for selective fellowships to help fund their degrees. Students who have completed at least eight credits are eligible to apply for teaching assistantships to gain experience in the classroom and help finance their degree. Additionally, Simmons is proud to offer teachers, librarians, affiliates of partner organizations, and Simmons alumnae/i reduced tuition and other benefits.



Degree Requirements ( 32 credits)

Graduate students in the MFA (Writing for Children) degree program typically carry between eight and ten credits in the fall, spring, and summer semesters after an initial semester of eight credits. Students considering registering for more than ten credits per term must consult with the graduate program director.


Required and Elective Courses (32 credits)

CHL401 Criticism of Literature for Children 4
CHL403 The Picturebook 4
CHL430 Writing for Children I 4
CHL431 Writing for Children II 4
CHL441 MFA Mentorship I 4
CHL442 MFA Mentorship II 4
History elective/s
Coursework in the history of children's literature, selected from course with a chronological focus. To total 4.00
Genre elective/s
Coursework in children's literary genres. To total 4.00

Elective Credits:

The remaining 12 credits are completed by drawing from a variety of two- and four-credit elective courses. Electives cover a range of academic and professional interests. See the list of general electives above in the Department page. A student's academic advisor will be an invaluable partner in determining which electives to take to meet the student's immediate interest and to build their professional portfolio.

Our students work with two mentors to advance their creative work toward publication. Authors, literary agents, and editors serve as mentors. Recent mentors have come from:

  • Candlewick Press
  • Charlesbridge Books
  • Scholastic Books
  • Tu Books
  • Walden Media
  • Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency

Alumni of our MFA program have served as Boston Public Library Children’s Writers-in-Residence and St Botolph Club Emerging Artists. Recent M.F.A. alumni have been contracted by Simon and Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and HarperCollins. Two May 2014 graduates received the P.E.N. New England Children’s Book Caucus Discovery Award.

Programs at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

All Children’s Literature degree and dual degree programs are offered on the Boston campus. In addition, the MA in Children’s Literature, MFA in Writing for Children, the dual degree MA/MFA are also offered at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst. Students can complete the MA in Children’s Literature/MS in Library Science with MA courses at the Carle and LIS courses on the Mount Holyoke campus. Founded by Eric Carle, the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the Carle is the first full-scale museum in this country devoted to national and international picture book art.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

In collaboration with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Simmons offers all four graduate programs in Children's Literature onsite at The Carle. This includes our M.A. in Children's Literature, M.F.A. in Writing for Children, M.A. in Children's Literature/M.F.A. dual degree, and M.A. in Children's Literature/M.S. in Library Science dual degree offered in collaboration with Simmons's School of Library and Information Science program at Mount Holyoke. Founded in part by Eric Carle, the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is the first full-scale museum in this country devoted to national and international picture book art. The Carle is located in Amherst, in the heart of the Five Colleges area of Western Massachusetts. Learn more about the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

Children's Literature at Simmons University

From picture books to young adult literature, classic works to contemporary prize-winners, you will explore the artistry of literature for children and young adults. Dare to discover new audiences and stories all your own.

Recent News

Diverse Voices in Storytelling

Genielysse Reyes '20MFA is adding her diverse voice to storytelling. Learn more about her experience in the Children's Literature program.

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