Instructor Stories: Tim McCanna


For this month's Storyteller Academy intensive, Tim McCanna is teaching “Storytelling in Rhyme.” We're excited to have Tim coming at rhyming picture books from a slightly different background than Diana Murray's. While Diana has a lot of published children's poetry (and books), Tim has a background in musical theater and song writing. 

In fact, for you those of you who are familiar with Julie Hedlund's 12×12 Challenge, Tim wrote the official jingle.

As a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), he also served as Assistant Regional Adviser for the San Francisco/South chapter for five years.

Caryn Wiseman at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency represents Tim’s work.

Tim’s Picture Books 

Tim debuted as a picture book author with Teeny Tiny Trucks in 2013. He’s also the author of the following picture books: Bitty Bot, Watersong, So Many Sounds, Barnyard Boogie!, Jack B Ninja, Boing! A Very Noisy ABC, and Bitty Bot’s Big Beach Getaway, which was an ALA/LITA 2019 Golden Duck Notable Picture Book.

Tim McCanna's Storytelling in Rhyme Intensive

You may be thinking that this intensive is just a repeat of Diana Murray's intensive from May, but nothing could be further from the truth. Tim went out of his way to make sure he covered different material. 

It's impossible to cram everything you need to know about writing rhyming picture books into one intensive. While the two intensives are complementary and bring up some of the same pitfalls, we believe that you'll have the best experience if you use both intensives to come up with your own process.

Where Diana's intensive focuses mainly on meter and rhyme schemes, Tim's focuses more on how to tell your story and word choice. You're going to learn more about utilizing keywords and tools, like a rhyming dictionary or a thesaurus.

Tim created three checklists for you to use at different stages, and we're excited to see how they improve the way you write stories!

Writing in rhyme can be a great way to connect with your audience. When it's done right, the combination of rhythm and rhyme will stay with your readers, much like a favorite song.

It's important to have a strong foundation for your story. Before Tim starts writing a rhyming picture book, he summarizes the story and asks himself some questions. We think that you're going to find a lot of value in the assignments and checklists that he's prepared for this intensive.

Tim shares examples from his published books to help students see the importance of strong rhymes and finding the right meter and rhyme scheme for your story. He shares the entire book layout for Bitty Bot. It’s helpful to have some idea of how many pages, lines, and words go into published rhyming picture books.

You can register for Tim McCanna’s intensive HERE.

Book Giveaway Details

I’m giving away one of Tim’s books. To enter, just let me know which book you’d like to win in the comments by midnight on July 17. You don’t have to buy the intensive or be a student. If you don’t live in the States, just make sure it’s something that Book Depository carries, and you’re also welcome to enter.

Please share this post on social media for extra entries, and paste the link to wherever you shared as a reply to your original comment.

Thank you for reading!

Blog Contributors

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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19 thoughts on “Instructor Stories: Tim McCanna”

  1. *not sure if my comment posted due to error. But id pick Barnyard Boogie. Im so excited to learn about Tims class!

  2. Carole Meyer-Rieth

    Looking forward to the intensive! I’d like to receive the first book that Tim would pull off the shelf when a new friend visits and asks to read a book he has written. 🙂

  3. Thank you, Myrna, for the post and thanks also to Tim for running the intensive. I would like a copy of Watersong because it contains onomatopoeia and is available via Book Depository.

  4. Fredette Forbes

    I love Tim’s intensive ! So much information!
    His book “Watersong” would love to have a place in my children’s library!

  5. Looking forward to take this class
    with a lucky charms,
    I will win the Watersong book,

    Regards, Yvette

  6. I would love Barnyard Boogie. Does it come with the music from the promo? (LOL) This is the kind of book that would be SOOOOOOOO fun at a toddler storytime. I want to do Toddler Storytime. I wish there was a way for me to do storytimes at libraries and not actually be employed. It is the only thing I miss about my old life.

  7. Elizabeth Westra

    Sounds exciting! If chosen I’ll gladly take whatever you think my grand-kids and I would enjoy.

  8. Wow! Tim is so talented!! I have been afraid of approaching rhyme because I know how difficult it is. Tim Canna makes it lookalike a lot of fun 🙂

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