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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Sparking the flint

Children aren’t the only kids who get bored during the summer. Teens are looking for something to do in more subtle ways. If they’ve got the writing bug … or if they don’t have it yet … you might tempt them with one or more of these books. You’ll find something for every taste, with enough pizzazz and enough detail to satisfy the most reluctant and the most avid writers-to-be.

Your Life in ComicsYour Life in Comics: 100 Things for Guys to Write and Draw by Bill Zimmerman (Free Spirit Publishing). Whether this becomes a journal, a story-starter, something to do on a vacation journey, or the start of Something Big, Zimmerman’s highly graphic book irresistibly invites writing and doodling with direction. The author’s intent is to “provid[e] boys with a forum for thinking about what’s important to them and celebrating who they are.” I suspect guys will find many ways to use these pages, especially for those times when they feel as though they don’t have any ideas. There’s a video and downloadable pages on the Free Spirit website.

Write Your Own Graphic NovelWrite Your Own Graphic Novel by Natalie M. Rosinsky (Compass Point Books). Need a step-by-step guide for creating your own graphic novel? This useful book provides directional signs along the way, great tips, and examples of successful graphic novels and comics. Storyboarding, working with an illustrator, getting past writer’s block, submitting your work to publishers … it’s all here. Other titles in this series are Write Your Own … Autobiography, Tall Tale, Folk Tale, Legend, Biography, Myth, Fairy Tale. Whatever motivates your own teen or students this week, these are books that will answer questions, spark the writing mind, and connect explorers to excellent examples of each genre.

Write Your Own PoetryWrite Your Own Poetry by Laura Purdie Salas (Compass Point Books) Love poetry but wish you knew more about it? Do you find poetry helpful for working on higher level thinking, problem solving, cultural diversity, writing, shorter reading assignments? Working hard to have your own poetry published? Covering voice, a myriad of poetic forms, the language of poetry (assonance and alliteration, anyone?), working with imagery, point of view … all the way to tips for getting your poetry published … this book will be a go-to reference for many of you. Jammed full of good examples of poetry by some of the nation’s best poets, there are writing prompts as well: “Now It’s Your Turn.” Whether you’re a beginning or what’s-the-next-step poet, a teacher, a homeschooling parent, or a summer school activity leader … this book’s for you.

Drawing Words & Writing PicturesDrawing Words and Writing Pictures: Making Comics: Manga, Graphic Novels, and Beyond by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden (First Second). The authors work with students in schools around the country. They’ve observed what works and what isn’t as helpful. They’ve filled their book with the helpful stuff in 15 lessons. They’re interested in helping budding comics writers and illustrators find a solid grounding and move on to selling their work in any of the number of venues currently publishing comics. They help with supplies to buy, websites for reference, terrific examples, and everything in between.

Our StoriesOur Stories: a Fiction Workshop for Young Authors by Marion Dane Bauer (Clarion). Of Marion’s three books about writing, written especially for young writers, this one follows a workshop format that will help writers organize their work. In Writer’s Story, the focus was on inspiration. That book was followed by What’s Your Story?, which delved more deeply into various areas of craft. This third book illustrates workshop points with writing by young people in grades 4 through 12. It’s a blend of personal motivation, shared stories by the young writers featured here, and solid tips that will keep you writing … whether you’re writing for pleasure or publication. I was fortunate to take several writing workshops from Marion thirty years ago … and I still remember everything she taught me. These books are that good.

Do you have other books on writing to recommend for teens? Share!

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