Barbara Herkert

Children's Book Author

Mom in her 40's

The Soup That Saved Valley Forge

Pepper pot soup

Selected Works

Children's Nonfiction Picture Book Biography
Released Oct. 27, 2015 with illustrations by Gabi Swiatkowska. Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt, publisher.
Picture book biography
Released Oct. 13, 2015 with illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. Alfred A. Knopf, publisher.
Nonfiction picture book biography
To be released in October 2017 with illustrations by Lauren Castillo. Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt/Macmillan, publisher. "Herkert's elegant prose and Castillo's stunning illustrations team up for a magnificent model of what a picture book can be...A stunner--radiant even." Kirkus starred review

Quick Links

Barb's Blogs

A Funny Thing Happened On My Way to a Master's

January 15, 2012

My agent rejected my third novel the other day. This may seem like bad news, and it was, after working on this novel for two years. But something had been inkling at me for a while now, and my dear agent put it into words: "Your true calling is narrative nonfiction."

A few years ago, I decided to get a Master's degree in Children's Writing. I'd written and illustrated a nonfiction picture book, but I wanted to learn how to write novels. I entered Hamline University's MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program and proceeded to work on my goal. I started two novels in that amazing program. But a funny thing happened toward the end of my degree. I needed to write a thesis, and my adviser happened to be the incredible Jackie Briggs Martin, author of Snowflake Bentley and many more beautiful nonfiction books. I decided to write my thesis on picture book biographies. And I decided to try to write one, too.

Well, I fell in love with this genre. And it looks like fate is pointing me in that direction. My agent now has two of my picture book biographies. And she wants more. It seems that behind every closed door, there is another open one, even though you might fumble in the dark for awhile. Look for that sliver of light. You'll find it.


  1. January 15, 2012 7:56 PM EST
    Beautiful and poetic, just like the woman who wrote this post! I hope that we see many biographies from you, I am sure to use them in my classroom. :)
    - Susan
  2. January 15, 2012 8:45 PM EST
    Thanks for posting this! A lot of writers can learn from it. How will they know what they're good at if they don't broaden their horizons?

    But I still want you to submit the novels. Just sayin'.
    - Robink
  3. January 16, 2012 12:22 PM EST
    Inspirational indeed. Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to share your picture book biographies with Brian!
    - Megan
  4. January 16, 2012 1:16 PM EST
    Picture Book biographies sound very cool, I can't wait to see your books!
    - Robyn Waters
  5. January 16, 2012 3:38 PM EST
    I am sorry to hear that Barb, But I believe in your art and your amazing way of putting words together.
    - Taffu
  6. February 28, 2012 7:06 PM EST
    Barbara you are a beautiful craftsman with words and where ever they lead you will be a perfect place!
    - Judi Gardiner