More Than Words

by | Apr 9, 2019 | Uncategorized

More Than Words

March found Lead Up enjoying three packed days exploring every angle of children’s picture books, and learning that something as seemingly simple as an eBook is a lot more than words.



First, students attempted to dissect the magic that makes up our favorite picture books. Student leaders discussed their favorite books from childhood as well as some new favorites they discovered during the book tasting.

Determining what they liked, what they didn’t, and what they wanted to see, was the perfect start to help them brainstorm the type of picture books they wanted to write.

With the help of Nichole Hansen, CEO and Co-Founder of Handersen Publishing, students got a crash course in the editing, publishing, and marketing that goes on behind the scenes to make a children’s book come to life.

But, don’t worry, the night wasn’t all business. There were some fun and games, too.


After getting more familiar with picture books, our students put their skills to the test by spending two days of their spring break creating beautiful, fantastical, and heart-warming stories.

The first day was spent storyboarding, researching, and having a couple dance breaks to get those authorly juices flowing. Nichole stopped by again to see our leaders’ progress and to offer advice about getting big ideas concretely on the page, guiding students on areas to revise or reconsider.

After a big day of imagining and creating, Leslie Huerta, the owner of Lincoln’s only independent book store, Francie and Finch, welcomed Lead Up student leaders to her shop. Leslie invited Patricia Scott, a local writer, who offered her top tips about the writing process and shared insights into her own writer’s journey. After a look around the store, students also had plenty of questions for Leslie about all the nuances of owning a bookstore.

Day two saw our students putting pen to page, or rather, the computer equivalent of that. Students used an app to help bring their eBooks to life as they wrote dialogue and designed illustrations.

After another morning of hard work, and a couple more dance breaks, we took a trip to the Haymarket to visit Don’t Panic Labs, a software development company based here in Lincoln. Doug Durham, CTO of Don’t Panic Labs, and his wife Shana, were kind enough to give our students a tour of their office and a glimpse into the world of software development. Doug talked apps, coding, and the behind the scenes process of eBook creation and software similar to that which our students used to make their own books.

When all was said and done our students had taken a quick but in depth jaunt into the writing, illustrating, publishing, editing, selling, and software design that goes into those special pages we can’t help but turn over again and again.

Keep a look out for their books, coming soon!