Instructor Stories: Marcie Colleen


We're so happy to have the wonderful, award-winning Marcie Colleen teaching our Crafting a Strong Beginning intensive this month. Marcie has a background in teaching and the theatre. She is a frequent presenter at conferences for the SCBWI, as well as a faculty member for The Writing Barn, San Diego Writer's Ink, and the University of California San Diego Extension. In addition to her picture books and chapter books, her educational work in children’s literature has been recognized by School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and the Children’s Book Council.

Susan Hawk at Upstart Crow Literary represents Marcie's picture books and chapter books.

I'll be giving away one of Marcie's books at the end of this post. One randomly selected winner will get to choose from any of her eleven children's books.

Marcie's Books

Marcie writes picture books and chapter books for multiple publishers. 

Her Super Happy Party Bears chapter book series follows the delightfully funny situations that some upbeat bears get into in the “Grumpy Woods” where they live. 

Love, Triangle was named a Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children's Book of 2018. 

And Penguinaut! was voted One Book Colorado for 2019! Over 75,000 copies were distributed to every four-year-old in the state.

The Bear's Garden, illustrated by Alison Oliver (Macmillan), was called “a well-illustrated, beautifully written tale of encouragement” by Kirkus and given a starred review. It releases next month!

Crafting a Strong Beginning with Marcie Colleen

In this bite-sized, 25-minute intensive, you'll learn how to craft the best beginning for your picture book. Marcie Colleen will share the four essential elements that every beginning should have, a step-by-step exercise to help you connect with your characters, and examples from picture books with great beginnings. Each of the three lessons has an assignment to help you get the most out of what you're learning, and we've included two handouts for easy reference.

It's so easy to see progress with this intensive that I've already had some “Aha!” moments for one of my own picture book beginnings (and then the overall story). Marcie gets to the heart of the matter quickly and gives assignments that will help you see results.

I also loved how helpful the examples she shared were. The following example shows how she resolved the promise she made in the beginning of the story at the end. 

Book Giveaway Details

For the book giveaway, which IS open to international readers, the winner can choose one book—any book—of Marcie’s. To enter, you must tell me which book you’d choose in the comments of this post. For additional entries, you can share the post on social media and post a link to where you’ve shared in the comments (preferably as a comment to your original comment so that all of your entries are grouped together). 

You can go ahead and ask questions in the comments and interact with each other, but I won’t count those as entries.

I’ll close the contest at midnight PST on February 21. You don't need to be a Storyteller Academy student or purchase anything to enter. Thanks for reading and sharing!

Blog Contributors

Instructor Photo: Myrna Foster

Myrna Foster writes and edits content for Storyteller Academy and the WriteRiders Newsletter for SCBWI Nevada. She has spent a lot of time teaching and coaching children, including five years as a preschool teacher. She's also worked as a journalist, and Highlights High Five has published six of her poems. 

Arree Chung is an author/illustrator and the founder of Storyteller Academy. Arree’s Ninja! series has received starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal. Kirkus also gave a starred review to Mixed, which recently won the FCGB award. 

Today Arree lives a creative life, making stories for children. Arree spends most of his time making picture books, writing middle grade novels, and sharing his love for art, design, and storytelling with kids and dreamers everywhere.

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20 thoughts on “Instructor Stories: Marcie Colleen”

  1. Arree, Marcie’s book, LOVE, TRIANGLE, demonstrates a beautiful theme of accepting differences! I would be proud to add it to my collection.

  2. We already own ‘Love, Triangle’ and ‘Penguinault’. It would be great to add ‘The Bear’s Garden’ to our collection. 😊
    Thanks for the opportunity!

  3. Thanks Myrna, Penguinaut would be an awesome book to win because the beginning and ending sound intriguing. I also enjoyed reading Love Triangle by Marcie Colleen. Plus her intensive was extremely helpful in understanding how beginnings and endings mirror each other.

  4. I would love a copy of “Penguinaut,” the opening statment is very intriguing, I can’t wait to hear of what adventures Orville and his friends encounter!

  5. THE BEAR’S GARDEN! This topic intrigues me the most to me plus I really like Alison Oliver’s illustrations.

    The suspense of what happens in the bear’s garden is as high as a 6-foot fence with netting to keep out the deer, birds and other critters who like to eat for free. Winning would be as sweet as a tea party with Marcie and Bear right there in the garden. I can bring my stuffed gryphon and Totoro. I’ll even bring the tea.

    1. Hi Bonnie! The original winner of this giveaway hasn’t responded to my emails, so you are the new winner. Congrats! I think that I have your mailing address, so I’ll just send it.

  6. I’m so happy that Marcie has joined the faculty of Storyteller Academy. She’s amazing and very generous with her knowledge/experience in the children’s book field.

    And I’d choose Penguinaut (as I actually helped with the social-media campaign, but don’t own the book itself).

  7. I really enjoyed the intensive! A great beginning is so important. And I would love a copy of The Bear’s Garden!

  8. I am hoping one day to be able to take a course with Marcie! I’m excited about her new book, The Bear’s Garden, and would love a copy to share with my kindergarten students.

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