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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

No need to be bored!

Although I remem­ber my puffy pink diary with the curi­ous brass clasp, I don’t recall writ­ing in it much. Age nine, I may have exper­i­ment­ed with writ­ing on the first page. Some­thing like, “Today was my birth­day. I had a par­ty. Noth­ing else hap­pened.”

If only I’d had books about writ­ing sto­ries … I loved to tell sto­ries and I would have spent hours in the sum­mer­time writ­ing them down, but no one told me I could. I didn’t know how. A sto­ry on paper is dif­fer­ent than telling a sto­ry out loud … isn’t it? It felt over­whelm­ing, daunt­ing, and some­thing that some­body else did.

I read plen­ty of books in the sum­mer. I came home from the library with 10 books in my bike bas­ket every oth­er day. That’s all they’d let me check out. But it nev­er occurred to me that I could write a sto­ry myself. I could write a page in school, but a whole book? Nuh-uh.

If only I’d had books like these. You’ll find them appro­pri­ate for chil­dren up to age ten or as dis­cus­sion tools for a an old­er group of kids.

A BookA Book by Morde­cai Ger­stein (Roar­ing Brook Press). Sto­ry telling hap­pens in many ways, but author and illus­tra­tor Ger­stein turns con­ven­tions on their ear and invites us to look at sto­ries in a new way. The peo­ple in this book live inside the book. They go to sleep when the cov­ers are closed. You’ll have fun dis­cussing this book with your kids.

Once Upon a Baby BrotherFor inspi­ra­tion, Once Upon a Baby Broth­er by Sarah Sul­li­van, illus­trat­ed by Tri­cia Tusa (Far­rar, Straus & Giroux). Two books in one: cop­ing with a new sib­ling and real­iz­ing that inspi­ra­tion is all around us. Lizzie loves to write and draw … but an inspired teacher helps her pull it all togeth­er.

Born YesterdayDo you have a bud­ding com­e­dy writer in your house? Need an exam­ple of the diary form? Born Yes­ter­day: the Diary of a  Young Jour­nal­ist by James Sol­heim and Simon James (Philomel) will fill the bill and it’s fun­ny to boot. “If I’d known I was going to be born in pub­lic, I’d at least have put on a tank top.” Jour­nal­ism has nev­er been this inspir­ing.

My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty SocksMy Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks by Hanoch Piv­en (Schwartz & Wade) Sim­i­les and word play. A fam­i­ly is described with found object illus­tra­tions (what a great way to get kids to pick up the house so they have choic­es!) and words that inspire cre­ative writ­ing play: the title and “my mom­my is as soft as the soft­est fluff.” Dry­er lint … you got­ta love it.

Show Me a StoryShow Me a Sto­ry: Writ­ing Your Own Pic­ture Book by Nan­cy Loewen (Pic­ture Win­dow Books). You’ll read about the tools for writ­ing a pic­ture book and under­stand how they’re applied in a con­cur­rent sto­ry. Using these tools, your young­sters can cre­ate their very own pic­ture books.

You Can Write a Story!You Can Write a Sto­ry: a Sto­ry-Writ­ing Recipe for Kids by Lisa Bullard (Coop­er Square Pub­lish­ing). With a step-by-step cook­book approach, sto­ry writ­ers will learn about char­ac­ter, set­ting, and action, brain­storm about the ele­ments they want to include in their own sto­ry, and feel sat­is­fied with the knowl­edge giv­ing them con­fi­dence. The bright and live­ly illus­tra­tions are invit­ing. This is a good book to give kids to work through on their own. It would work well on a vaca­tion-bound car trip.

MeanwhileMean­while. Pick Any Path. 3,856 Sto­ry Pos­si­bil­i­ties by Jason Shi­ga (Abrams / Amulet). You (or Jim­my, if you must) wan­der into the lab-or-a-tor-y of a mad sci­en­tist where you must make a choice, using a mind read­er, a time machine, or the Kil­litron. That’s just the first of many mind-bog­gling choic­es. It’s a great exam­ple of how many sto­ries there are in the world.

Adventures in CartooningAdven­tures in Car­toon­ing by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alex­is Fred­er­ick-Frost (First Sec­ond). With sim­ple, near­ly stick fig­ures, this book tells us a sto­ry in such a clever way that it’s easy to under­stand how to write your own com­ic book, some­thing many kids want to try. From the humor­ous tone to the swift action to the chang­ing set­ting to the twist at the end, this will get kids think­ing.

We’ll cov­er books for old­er kids about writ­ing in our next arti­cle.

In the mean­time (and don’t tell any­one I told you this), you (yes, you the adult) will have fun read­ing through these books, too.

It’s sum­mer. Relax!

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