Storytelling and Symbolism

Give Your Stories More Depth

Retail: $60 | Discounted Price: $20 | SAVE 67%


What You’ll Learn

Symbolism and Metaphor Help Us Tell Powerful Stories.
You've probably heard that you don't want to write “preachy” or “didactic” stories. Kids don't like it when we write down to them to teach them a lesson. Actually, adults who work with kids don't like it, either. They know that kids are smart. And “preachy” stories aren't any fun to read.

However, as a writer for children, you might have certain themes or messages that you'd like to share with children. You may have noticed that a lot of books for children that sell well have messages. If you look at those stories closely, you'll often find the message isn't stated directly. Symbolism and metaphor make those stories more fun.

Visual Cues Have Emotional Connotations.
Different shapes and colors can be simple, yet effective, visual cues. Do you feel differently when you see red than blue? Shapes and colors can take on different personalities if we let them. A square feels more stable than a triangle, doesn't it? But a triangle might feel more exciting, a little more edgy, unstable even. Are you making good use of visual cues to enhance a reader's emotional experience?

Write From the Heart.
Kathryn shares personal experiences that inspired some of her picture books. Readers can tell when you're sharing your emotional truths. She suggests that you use life's challenges as inspiration.

You'll come away from this intensive with a better understanding of how to make messages and themes that are dear to your heart more kid-relatable and powerful. We want to help your stories reach more readers. You'll have five exercises, plus a warm-up exercise, to help you apply the material as you learn it.

Enroll Now for Just $20

Retail: $60 | Discounted Price: $20 | SAVE 67%


Learn how to use symbolism and visual cues to tell more powerful, kid-relatable stories. You'll learn how to use your own challenges as inspiration. This intensive includes a handout with Kathryn's exercises for each lesson.


We are thrilled to have Kathryn Otoshi teaching our Storytelling and Symbolism intensive this month.

Kathryn Otoshi is a bit of a unicorn: she's an author, illustrator, graphic designer and publisher – all wrapped into one. Her mission “is to introduce young readers to big issues through the power of reading and literature.” To this end, she founded KO Kid's Books and Blue Dot Press.

Kathryn is an award-winning author/illustrator. Her books include: One, Two, Zero, Draw the Line, Beautiful Hands, Simon and the Sock Monster, and What Emily Saw. 

Kathryn Otoshi


Published Books


Mini-class Details

In this 90-minute intensive, you'll learn how to create powerful, kid-relatable stories through symbolism. Each of Kathryn's five lessons will have an exercise to help you implement what you've been learning. A replay of the live review will be available.

Lesson 1

Find out what kind of personality each shape has.

Lesson 2

See how a line can symbolize a turning point in your life, or a change in a relationship.

Lesson 3
Color and Emotions

Learn about how colors make you feel.

Lesson 4
Size Relationship and Composition

In this lesson, you'll explore what you've learned about shapes and colors to make a composition.

Lesson 5
Writing and Wordplay

You'll add wordplay to everything else you've learned in this intensive to tell a story about three words.


Storytelling and Symbolism

$ 20
  • Lifetime Access
  • 5 Lessons
  • 1 Downloadable Handout
  • Course Forum
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Frequently Asked Questions

If you use symbols or metaphors that are part of a child's world, they're going to reach a kid on an emotional level. You can simplify complex subjects and use fewer words to tell stories that kids relate to in some way.

Yes. If you're writing picture books, you need to understand how visual elements will affect your readers. This isn't so that you can describe visual elements in the text or illustration notes. You can leave that to the illustrator. It's so that the right emotional cues will be embedded in the story.

Well, you will have to find a way to make your life's challenges more fun or kid-relatable. Kathryn managed to do it with challenges from her life: watching a new student get bullied, a friend dying of cancer, a fight with her father. If she could turn those experiences into stories that kids want to read, then it's worth taking a look at how we can use symbolism to tell our own stories. Right?

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