There are wonderful books aimed at inspiring children to write and read. Now that school has started, I thought I’d share a bundle of titles that I’ve come across. Some of these books are useful during school visits. Others are wonderful classroom additions. All of them are visually appealing.
This list of recommended reads is full of color, humor, and story. The whole idea is to make writing fun for kids. Yes, even grammar and punctuation. If we can wrap Language Arts lessons into a positive experience, young writers are bound to blossom. But, these aren’t only for elementary school kids. Writers of all ages can benefit.
THE PLOT CHICKENS by Mary Jane Auch, illustrated by Herm Auch (Holiday House, 2010) Henrietta loves to read so much she decides to write a book of her own. With the help of her three old aunties, she hatches a plot, gives her character lots of problems, and writes what she knows. But when Henrietta publishes her story, the critics say she’s laid an egg! Is this the end of Henrietta’s career as an author?
A BOOK by Mordicai Gerstein Once upon a time there was a family who lived in a book. All but the youngest had stories they belonged to–fighting fires, exploring space, entertaining in the circus–but she didn’t have one yet. Walking through all the possibilities of story types Mordicai Gerstein presents her quest in unique and changing perspectives
SHOW; DON’T TELL: SECRETS OF WRITING by Josephine Nobisso’s, illustrated by Eva Montanari (Gingerbread House, 2004) Innovative yet accessible writing strategies appropriate for both fiction and nonfiction are presented in this enchanting tale of a writing lion who holds court for a cast of animal friends. Aspiring writers learn the essential nature of nouns and adjectives and how to use them to express their individual visions so that they “show and don’t tell” every time. Writing lessons are cleverly integrated into a tale that incorporates a sound chip, a scratch-and-sniff patch, and a tactile object to engage the aspiring writer’s five senses in fun proofs.
S IS FOR STORY: A WRITER’S ALPHABET by Esther Hershenhorn, illustrated by Zachary Pullen (Sleeping Bear Press, 2009) What is a first draft? What is a writer’s notebook? Authur Esther Hershenhorn uses the alphabet to help explain, explore and examines the tools, techniques and strategies for those hoping to live the literary life. Budding writers of all ages will be inspired to put pen to paper (or fingers on keyboards)!
THE PUNCTUATION STATION by Brian P. Cleary, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff (Lerner, 2010) All aboard! Join a family of giraffes on their journey to Punctuation Station. As the train chugs along, you’ll learn the ins and outs of using periods, commas, apostrophes question marks, hyphens, quotation marks, and exclamation points!
WORDS ARE CATEGORICAL SERIES. Here’s one title: SLIDE AND SLURP, SCRATCH AND BURP: MORE ABOUT VERBS by Brian P. Cleary, illustrated by Brian Gable (Lerner, 2009)One book is never enough to explore the wide range of verbs! The crazy cats deliver loads of additional examples to illustrate the power of both action verbs and linking verbs. **Different titles cover specific grammar points with humor. Nouns, pronouns, adverbs, adjectives, antonyms, synonyms, metaphors and similes, conjunctions, etc.)
VOICES IN THE PARK by Anthony Browne (DK, 2001) Four different voices tell their own versions of the same walk in the park. The radically different perspectives give a fascinating depth to this simple story which explores many of the author’s key themes, such as alienation, friendship and the bizarre amid the mundane.
WHAT DO AUTHORS DO? by Eileen Christelow (Sandpiper, 1997) A sprightly text and colorful illustrations follow two creative people-and a talkative dog and cat-through the writing process step by step, from the inspiration for a story to the satisfaction of sharing the book with readers. Eileen Christelow based this instructive picture book on questions children asked during her classroom talks around the country. Simple enough for young children to understand.
THE BEST STORY by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf (Penguin, 2008) The best story is one that comes from the heart. The library is having a contest for the best story, and the quirky narrator of this story just has to win that rollercoaster ride with her favorite author! But what makes a story the best?
Her brother Tim says the best stories have lots of action. Her father thinks the best stories are the funniest. And Aunt Jane tells her the best stories have to make people cry. A story that does all these things doesn’t seem quite right, though, and the one thing the whole family can agree on is that the best story has to be your own.
WORD AFTER WORD AFTER WORD by Patricia MacLachlan, (Katherine Tegen Books, 2010) Every school day feels the same for fourth graders Lucy and Henry and Evie and Russell and May. Then Ms. Mirabel comes to their class- bringing magical words and a whole new way of seeing and understanding. An honest story about what is real and what is unreal, and about the ways writing can change our lives and connect us to our own stories- word after word after word.
Have you discovered other books for kids about the writing process? Share in the comments and I’ll add to this post.