Author  DRBU Newsletter Team

Over the course of six weeks in March and April, veteran children’s storybook authors Bhikshuni Jin Rou, Terri Nicholson, and Natasha Yim offered instruction and guidance in the art and industry of children’s storytelling. They taught workshop participants how to develop a story from concept to manuscript. They advised budding authors on how to find and nurture their own unique voice. They led exercises in peer review and revision and gave an introduction to the world of publishing. Several DRBU students who joined the workshop shared with us their reflections on what they learned and how they were inspired by the wisdom and experience of the workshop’s instructors.

Instructors Bhikshuni Jin Rou and Terri Nicholson with students (left to right)

Yidan Wang (Translation Certificate Student)

The children’s book writing class with esteemed authors Bhikshuni Jin Rou, Terri Nicholson, and Natasha Yim could only be found here in Ukiah. This trio of wonderful, experienced, and talented teachers brought wisdom, patience, and a wealth of knowledge to every session. We had the chance to explore various storytelling techniques, collaborate with writers from diverse cultural backgrounds, and craft our own imaginative tales. Inspired by the teachers and fellow writers, I drafted my own story, “A Journey of the Sun Soleil,” during the class. 

Instructors Natasha Yim and Terri Nicholson with students (left to right)

One of the teachers told me, “Let the character learn their own lesson and solve their own problem, empowering the character!” This unique children’s book writing class has been an invaluable experience for me. With the encouragement and support of the teachers, I aspire to publish my very first picture book, There Is a Hole. Thank you to Bhikshuni Jin Rou, Terri Nicholson, and Natasha Yim for helping us create picture books that illuminate the path for children, bringing joy and empowerment to their lives, and also to mine.


Sanju Baral (MA ‘23)

I learned from this workshop that children live in a world that is broader. As we grow older, perhaps our world narrows down. Reading and learning about the formation of children’s books broadened my world a bit. The workshop itself invited participants from various backgrounds. Three amazing instructors—Bhikshuni Jin Rou, Terri Nicholson, and Natasha Yim—walked us through their entire process of writing a children’s book, from creating characters to looking for publishers and ways to connect to the wider writing community. This framework of the workshop could apply to any other genre of writing.

Some participants of Children’s Books Writing Workshop

I was also amazed at the amount of work that goes into the project of creating books for children. It takes a real passion and a compassionate heart to take this on. It was also nice to know that the Children’s Writing Community is full of warm-hearted people who are constantly trying to empathize with children’s worlds. In doing so, one can often reconnect with one’s own inner child.

Instructor Bhikshuni Jin Rou presenting one of her favorites Children’s Book

Victoria Sheung (MA ‘25)

I’ve found my voice. How marvelous, this voice of the Dharma.

Instructors Natasha, Bhikshuni Jin Rou Shi, and Terri Nicholson with participants

The passion, kindness, and wisdom of the three teachers showed me a whole new world in writing. They put the soul back into the art of storytelling and gave me hope for a wonderful new arena of thought and inspiration. All three teachers thoroughly leveraged their individual expertise and together delivered an unforgettable experience.

Their meticulously planned lessons, rich with interaction and creation on our parts, made me realize the need for authentic and empathetic voices in crafting narratives for young people. This effectively ignited and awakened my own inner child. The joy that Bhikshuni Jin Rou channeled through her pure love of stories, words, and the Dharma was transformative in itself. Natasha Yim brought in a structured analysis of everything related to the formation of a book, from its story, to its language and purpose, and even its entrance into and performance in the market. Terri Nicholson brought fun and a detail-oriented lens to the movement of a story through its different phases, and also explored how one personally connects with the process and the final product. It is love itself that fuels their activity and deepening connection with the children they both work with and serve through this medium. 


A Few More Photos from the Workshop

The workshop in action
A final group photo of the workshop participants