Holly Niner

Published Work: No More Noisy Nights, The Day I Ran Away, Mr. Worry: A Story About OCD, I Can’t Stop: A Story About Tourette Syndrome

Holly is a graduate of Institute for Children’s Literature. View Course Catalog >

Welcome to the Winner’s Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL students. Today we are celebrating published author Holly Niner!


What are the names of your books? Who is the publisher?
No More Noisy Nights – Flashlight Press

The Day I Ran Away – Flashlight Press

Mr. Worry: A Story about OCD – Albert Whitman

I Can’t Stop: A Story about Tourette Syndrome – Albert Whitman


Tell us a bit about your path to publishing, from idea to submission to published book.

My first book, Mr. Worry (2004) came about because my son has OCD and I could not find a picture book to help explain it to him. That manuscript found a home fairly quickly because AW publishes books about children’s issues and I had many magazine credits to my name. I Can’t Stop (2005) came when AW was looking for a book on the subject. And then the LONG wait. My next 2 books were released this year! The Day I Ran Away idea started after I saw an AFV clip with a child wondering how he could run away when he wasn’t allowed to cross the street! No More Noisy Nights came from a writing prompt for 3rd graders to write a letter to the monster under the bed. Both were shopped for years and finally found their way to Shari Dash Greenspan at Flashlight Press. And still we waited as discussion on them began around 2009! But they were worth the wait. I enjoyed collaborating with Shari and I love the finished product.


How long have you been writing?
Since about 1991


What’s your favorite genre to write and why?
I like to write picture books because of the wonderful the pictures and words combine to tell the story.


What ICL courses have your taken?
Writing for Children and Teens


How has taking our course helped your writing and/or career?

The actual writing of the assignments, feedback and wealth of other information helped me decide it was a path I wanted to pursue and that, maybe I did have some talent in writing.


Do you have a favorite writing tip you’d like to share?

Don’t just learn about the craft, but also the business of writing. Then the rejections won’t hurt as much!


If you could travel back in time and give yourself one piece of writing advice, how far back would you go, and what would you tell yourself?
After finishing the course and submitting for a few years, I got discouraged by the rejections. Then there were some major life changes and I stopped writing. Years later I approached it in a different way and succeeded. So I would tell myself to keep writing and learn more about the business of writing.


Please tell us the best or most valuable thing you learned from your experience with ICL.

I doubt I’d have pursued writing without ICL. It showed me how much there was to learn about writing and pointed me to the right resources.


What’s the best thing about have a book published?
When a child tells you they LOVE your book!



Holly Niner is the author of NO MORE NOISY NIGHTS illustrated by Guy Wolek, and THE DAY I RAN AWAY illustrated by Isabella Ongaro. She has had numerous stories published in children’s magazines, and her previous picture books were award winners. MR. WORRY: A STORY ABOUT OCD, received the 2005 IBBY Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities Award, and I CAN’T STOP: A STORY ABOUT TOURETTE SYNDROME, was the winner of the 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award and a 2005 Bank Street College of Education Best Book. Holly lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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