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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