Monday, September 10, 2018

The Miraculous Mira Reisberg - - Plus a PRIZE!

Smart Note: Adj. Stepping Back  -- Page 5 Tomorrow: Reg. Emotions and Poses -- Pages 12-13

I love that I've been friends with Mira for a few years now. She has helped out with Smart Dummies since the beginning. Her help with this event has encouraged me to work harder year after year to make Smart Dummies an event that helps other illustrators. I see all the work Mira does in helping other people with their work through her free webinars and everything she does.

I've seen many webinars that Mira and the Children's Book Academy has given over the years. I've learned a lot from every one of her webinars. These are the types of courses to take. Learn from people who honestly want to help people and will give out free information. Unfortunately I hadn't had the opportunity to take her classes until just recently. So far it is absolutely wonderful! I'm having a lot of fun. I promise to do a full write up on the course once it's all done. One thing I will say now is that her illustration course fits in perfectly with Smart Dummies. Sign up for the mailing list so you can catch the next illustration course!

Check the bottom of this post for a PRIZE!

Dani: What are some of the things Illustrators and writers should look for in an online course?

Mira: First of all, thank you Dani for inviting me to be a part of your wonderful challenge. As you know, there are now many online courses available, which can make it a bit of a challenge in terms of which course to choose. The first thing you want to look at is how qualified the person is running the course or school in terms of both education and how many books they’ve published as well as the quality of testimonials speaking to both the instructors teaching style and the content of the materials that they share. You want to find out how substantive the course is - is it described as 10 weeks but it’s only one lesson a week spread out over time or how many lessons will you actually be receiving? Are you someone who needs the support of an interactive environment where you are given guidance and lots of interaction or do you prefer a go it alone approach? If it’s the former, choose a highly interactive course but if you prefer to go it alone, go for an instant access course. Besides the lessons and the teaching, what other resources will the course be providing to help illustrators and writers meet their goals and dreams? Finally, does the teacher have any kind of track-record of helping people do great work and get published? I think these are helpful questions to consider when looking for an online writing or illustrating course.

Dani: How should one prepare when taking a class on the computer? 

Mira: There’s not a lot of things you really need to do to prepare for an online course other than make sure you have decent internet or can have access to somewhere with good internet like a library or cafĂ©. With an interactive illustration course that has a beginning and end date for interaction, you need to have a scanner or access to one, or be pretty good at taking digital photographs of your work so that you can share it for feedback. Apart from carving out time to take advantage of the course and have working tech – a reliable computer, Internet, scanner etc. you don't really need that much.

Dani: When working online what's something that people tend to forget?

Mira: People often forget about the importance and vibrancy of community in online courses. You can form or take part in really robust groups where you make friends with people all over the world, join critique groups that go on indefinitely, and support each other in realizing dreams in a myriad of ways including getting marketing support from your peers after you get published. Having taught both in universities and online, I was very surprised to find this. The other thing I realized was that I could bring infinitely more resources online than I ever could teaching in person. That was a big surprise. Being a bit of a resource queen, I love this.

Dani: How does the Children's Book Academy help writers and illustrators hone their craft?

Mira: Pretty much all of the above plus, because of my intensive educational background, and my PhD work in developing a pedagogy of pleasure through children’s literature and art, I like to think that we are pretty expert in teaching in a fun and in-depth way. I love co-teaching with other experts, often from within the publishing world and am proud to say our former students have won just about every North American award and published around 230 books. We also provide lots of bonuses and exceptional resources helping you directly connect with editors, agents, and art directors through critiquing webinars and skip the line submission opportunities. For me, this is not just a business, it’s my life’s work - helping others create wonderful meaningful or fun-filled kid’s books, and getting them published.

Dani: If you could only give one book to a new author/illustrator what would it be?

Mira: Voices In The Park by Anthony Browne is one of the most brilliant children’s books ever published in terms of learning voice and how to layer in social justice themes like class and gender without being heavy-handed. It has equally extraordinary multi-layered illustrations that reference art history. Here’s a review of it if you want to find out more. And while the review doesn’t talk about the super smart way that the book subverts gender roles and addresses class it does give a glimpse of why it’s so brilliant. I also think younger readers will appreciate it too because of the language and art, even if they don't get all the layers.

Another favorite is I See The Rhythm by Toyomi Igus and Michelle Woods. This is another perfect mix of art and words with a multi-layered approach to African American history and music that is relevant for all kids. Here’s a review for that, which I wish mentioned the relevance of African-American music on the history of North American music in general, but still gives a glimpse of why it’s such a great book

Finally, I have to give a shout out to Mac Barnett who is such a clever wordsmith and whose books always make me laugh.

I hope this interview has something helpful for someone. Thank you Dani and thank you everyone here for reading this.

Mira’s bio

Over the past 30 years, Dr. Mira Reisberg has worn just about every hat in the children’s book industry including award-winning illustrator, author, and children’s literary agent. Mira holds a PhD in Education and Cultural Studies with a focus on Children’s Literature. She taught university level children’s book courses before starting her own international online school – the Children’s Book Academy Mira’s students have published or contracted over 230 books and won just about every North American children’s book award. Her first edited and art-directed acquisitions at Clear Fork/Spork will be available at the end of 2018 and early 2019. She feels very grateful to help make the world a better and more joyful place through children's books. If you join her newsletter tribe, she will send you wonderful goodies

Follow Mira:



Mira is offering a 5 Ways to Make a Dummy Course!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This sounds wonderful - great post! My next course to look at will be with Mira - thanks for participating!.

    1. Yay! It's a lot of hard work but very well worth taking!

  2. One day I'll have the time for these courses... so many things I want to do, so little time.

  3. I would love to take Mira’s course because I feel aligned with her philosophy: “She feels very grateful to help make the world a better and more joyful place through children's books.” Lovely! :-)

  4. I have always wanted to take one of Mira’s courses because she has such a wealth of knowledge and experience, plus I have heard so many great things from others who have taken them.

  5. I’ve taken Mira’s class- phenomenal community!

  6. I would love to take this course, I've been hearing a lot of good things about Mira's classes.