A long time ago, I took a course through the Institute of Children's Literature. It was a correspondence course, so I was wary. I was also sloth-like in my progress, not taking the assignments (or deadlines) very seriously.
Twenty years later, I look back at my young, unpublished self and shake my head. I have gone on to take a second ICL course, the assignments for which became the backbone of my second published book. These folks know what they are doing, and they offer guidance and support to their students long after they have "graduated." (Check out their website for more information, and for a free issue of Children's Writer).
They also offer writing contests. Their latest is the Kindergarten Story Writing Contest. If you've ever had the desire to write a story for a five-year-old, here's your chance. I entered a few years ago, and let's just say that, published or not, not everyone can write well for kindergarteners.
In the interest of full disclosure, I need to tell you that by posting this, I will be entered in a drawing for - you guessed it - children's books. But to be entered, all I had to include was the link.I didn't have to tell you what I think of ICL, or that my entry in this same contest was embarrassingly bad. (That's just gravy).
But as a writer who feels that ICL was an important stepping stone on her career path, I though you should know.