Writing for Children:  Voice, Story & Structure

Your teacher: Helena Clare Pittman

helena clare pittman

Helena Clare Pittman,
photo by Carol Montana

Helena Clare Pittman has an MA from Antioch College in Art & Writing.  She’s taught creative writing for 25 years, at Hofstra University and the CUNY Queens College graduate program, as well as in schools, libraries and workshops in New York City, Long Island and Upstate New York.  She’s the author/illustrator of 18 children’s books and her young-adult novel, Ruthie Pincus of Brooklyn, has just been released by Maple Hill Press.  Her children’s classic, A Grain of Rice, has sold more than 280,000 copies.

Helena is an accomplished and widely-exhibited visual artist who brings to her teaching of writing a lifetime’s experience with creativity.  Recipient of a New York State Council of the Arts “Artist in the Community” grant, Helena says, “I was an artist from an early age.  In adulthood I discovered painting with words.  Both mediums are my joy and my means of expression to the wider world.”

Helena’s passion for teaching arises from a deeply held conviction that the creative act is important.  In her words, “Our work can serve to lift the world in the people it touches.”  She sums up her vision as a teacher when she says, “I suppose I could say that I feel moved, when I teach, to welcome the timid traveler, who seeks shelter and recognition for their writing.”

Read Helena’s beautiful reflection, “On Teaching Writing.”

“This is what I try to do with my feedback to my students—affirm.” – Helena Clare Pittman

Learn more about Helena’s philosophy on teaching writing.


“This course has given me the deadlines and direction I need to get going more seriously on this path. I can see how hard I have to work to carve out time for writing. And I can see how much it really does mean to me.” – Melanie Miner

“Taking Writing for Children with Helena Pittman was a wonderful and life-changing experience. I had no background in writing before the course. I simply had an interest in learning something new. I was encouraged by my classmates and by Helena’s thoughtful comments. She helped us discover our own unique voices by showing us what was working best for us on the page … Now, we all are moving, in our own unique ways, towards publishing our work. I look forward to writing everyday as a creative outlet in my life…” – Caroline Dowling