READING OUTSIDE YOUR WRITING GENRE
by Annie Cronin Romano
You’ve heard the advice: read what you write. Do you write nonfiction picture books? Read hundreds of them. Are you a middle grade fantasy writer? Read all the fantasy MG you can get your hands on. Write dystopian young adult? You get the picture.
Let me be clear. This is good advice. Solid advice. It is imperative to be aware of what is getting published in the area in which you write. It’s important to study it. What makes those books work? Why did it make it to the shelves? What is unique about the concept?
But what writers often overlook is that it is just as important to nourish our reading souls as it is our writing knowledge. That means reaching for that book outside the genre in which you write and reading for pleasure. Grab that commercial book club novel. Dive into that mystery or psychological thriller. Itching to check out a sci-fi series? Go for it. Pour a glass of wine and crack the spine on that romance.
I write picture books and middle grade, and I read as much as I can in both those areas. For quite a while, that’s all I read. But since working in a bookstore and a library for nearly a year, I’ve been reading a lot more YA and adult books of all stripes. I needed to be familiar with what was on the shelves beyond just the children’s sections. When customers and library patrons come in, I have to be prepared to offer tips and guidance in a broader range of areas. And—Surprise! Surprise!—I discovered I could learn a lot from those books that–despite not being the type of books I write--offered a window into strengthening my own writing, regardless of the genre. I found myself considering pacing, character development, plot, setting: the elements that are required in any story, inspired from a different perspective. I wondered how I could try different styles and points of view, how I could switch up my characters and make them more engaging, how I could play with setting and voice. I was still reading for pleasure, of course, but I realized that even though a book isn’t specifically a mentor text to what I write, I can still learn about the art of writing from reading it. Eureka!
Of course, no matter what I read, I’m always enjoying myself. But often, I felt locked into a particular genre because it aligned with what I wrote. Now I read more outside my writing genres because it feeds my reader’s soul and, I firmly believe, makes me an even better writer. So yes, continue to read mentor texts and study the areas in which you write, but go beyond that, too. Make time to read whatever catches your fancy. Your inner reader and your thoughtful writer will thank you for it.
~ By Amanda Smith
Our final classroom take-over for the 2019/2020 school year comes from an amazing group of 7th and 8th graders. Back in the fall when I had asked them about their favorite books, none of us could have imagined the way this school year would end. Missing them as I work through their responses, I am reminded why I write for children. Our readers, these kids, draw hope and strength from our stories. They escape into fantasy worlds where they learn how to deal with reality. They gather compassion and empathy, grow strong and kind. And they become our heroes.
As I worked through the questionnaires, I found it interesting that the majority of 7th and 8th grade students focused their answers on characters and endings. So, as writers, we should make sure we listen and give them well rounded characters and satisfying endings. Let’s see what they have to say.
What kind of characters do you like?
Adrienne—I recently read the book WE ARE OKAY by Nina Lacour, where the main character is always there for her friends. I like this character because of the way she cares for and loves her friends. I would be friends with this character because she is sweet and loving, and matches my personality.
Avery – In MATCHED by Ally Condie, I like the main character, Cassie because she is relatable. I can connect to her and know what she feels when she doesn’t want to follow the rules.
Ella H. – In WINGS OF FIRE, Tui T. Sutherland creates a character named Sunny. Sunny is a small nightwing-sandwing hybrid and she is always happy and optimistic. I would be friends with her because she is basically the dragon version of me.
Ella K. – I look for depth in characters’ feelings, details of characters’ thoughts and an elaborate display of characters’ motives for the decisions they make. I look for these things, because it makes me feel connected to the main character and the people around them.
Claire – Glory is my favorite character form WINGS OF FIRE. She is a dragon who can change her color and spit venom with her fangs. She is not aggressive, but will fight when it is necessary. I think if she was real, we would be good friends.
Sebz -- Ben Ripley from SPY SCHOOL is a character I like, because he is sarcastic.
Marley – The character in JELLY BEAN SUMMER by Joyce Maghin is a young girl like me and I liked her so much, because her inner thoughts were very funny. I would be friends with her because she is kind and clever.
Elyssa – I would be friends with Frances from RADIO SILENCE by Alice Oseman, because she is relatable and headstrong.
Carolyn – I liked Raina in GUTS (Raina Telgemeier), because she is a good friend and sounds like she would be easy to get along with.
Caden – I think I would be friends with Oliver in THE UNEXPECTED LIFE OF OLIVER CRAMWELL PITTS (Avi) because he is nice and very kind.
Inspiring or brave characters:
Julia and Hannah B —I loved the character, Sara from WHITE BIRD. What I liked about her is that she almost gave her life just to save Julien, and her loyalty. She has courage, honesty and a kind heart.
Jonathan – I liked how Julien from WHITE BIRD (R.J. Palacio) overcame hardship and hid his friend. I like characters that are positive friends.
Georgia – In the book I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU by Ally Carter the main character is Cammie Morgan. She has a lot going on, but she seems to stay cool and she has two best friends. They stick together through everything.
Jake – Alex Rider us a teenage spy and goes on lots of intense missions. I like this character because there is always a surprise at the last second.
Damian – I like Harry Potter, because he is brave and adventurous, but I wouldn’t want to be his friend, because he can be selfish.
Makenna – Katniss Everdeen is from THE HUNGER GAMES. She doesn’t give up and will do anything to keep her family and friends safe.
Hayden – I liked Link from OCARINA OF TIME by Akira Himekawa, because he is fun-loving and mischievous, as well as courageous. I would like to be friends with him to have fun adventures.
Megan – Recently, I read A TALE OF MAGIC by Chris Colfer. The main character, Brystal Evergreen was a strong role model, because when her teacher was taken, Brystal gathered her friends and found her.
Kelsey – Auggie from WONDER (R.J. Palacio) is my favorite character, because he stayed positive and strong. I would want to be friends with him, because he would always be there for me.
Daniel – Cup from THE HOUSE OF ROBOTS by James Patterson is always loyal.
Brianna – I recently read ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY by Chris Grabenstein. I liked Kyle, because of his sense of adventure and team leadership.
Characters that provide deeper insight and personal growth:
Chloe – The book I’m currently reading, FORGET ME NOT by Ellie Terry, is about a girl with Tourette’s. I like reading books form the point of view of people with disabilities. I like these books, because it gives me insight.
Hannah – I like the characters Anya and Siobhan in ANYA’S GHOST by Vera Brosgol. I like how Anya grew to like herself for who she is and how Siobhan didn’t care what anyone thought of her.
Scarlett – In the book THE CUPCAKE QUEEN by Heather Hepler, I like the character Tally, because she accepts who she is. She isn’t afraid of anything, and she shows other people to stand up for themselves not matter what body-type they are.
Kaylin – In the book WAITING FOR SARAH by Bruce McBay, Mike has a very interesting personality. He was different from a standard character. He is angry at the world for what happened to him and blames everyone else.
Camdyn – Lizzie from LIZZIE FLYING SOLO by Nanci Turner Steveson is positive and never gives up. Maybe I would be friends with her because I sometimes need positivity.
Margaret – I liked Savannah in HIDEOUT (Gordon Korman), because she never gave up on Luthor. I would love to be friends with her, because she would push me to be better.
What kinds of endings do you like?
Just as with the 6th graders we hosted in March, these students appreciate a good cliff-hanger - provided a sequel is close at hand. But don’t leave them hanging with unresolved threads. Like Ella B. said, “You can’t just end a book with a major cliff hanger and never write another book explaining what happens.” What I have noticed, though, is that these discerning readers expect an ending to deliver more than just a neatly wrapped up story.
Take a look:
Rosemary – The ending of THE KINDOM (Jess Rothenberg) was great. It did not end with a “happily ever after.” It ended with a nice resolution to the plot, but left the rest to the readers’ imagination.
Erin – I liked the ending of THE OUTSIDERS (S.E. Hinton). The ending is similar to the beginning.
Grace – I liked the ending of WHITE BIRD, because it had a good message and made me think of what I can do to change the world.
Corbin – REBOUND by Kwame Alexander ended in a way that linked up well with the first book THE CROSSOVER.
Emelyn – The ending of AN INQUISITOR’S TALE (Adam Gidwitz) revealed identities of mysterious characters and tied the whole book together really well.
CJ – I liked the ending of TYRANT’S TOMB (Rick Riordan), because it ended with a battle. I don’t like books that end with “happily ever after,” because it makes it feel as if nothing had changed since the beginning.
Hannah – TO CATCH A KILLER by Sheryl Scarborough ended so nicely and all the pieces fit together. It made me feel like life could be like that someday.
Seventh and Eighth graders fall in that obscure place in the market – that crossover spot between upper middle grade and young YA, which can make finding the right book tricky. I doubt that they care much about marketing labels. However, they are clear about what they want: Adventure, escape, and hope. A call to action. Glimpses of who they are. Examples of who they aspire to be. And inspiration to be brave and be the very best version of themselves.
Other books and authors mentioned by these students:
AMULET SERIES by Kazu Kibushi
BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys
BLINDSIDED by Priscilla Cummings
BROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jacqueline Woodson
DEEP BLUE by Jennifer Donnelly
GEMINI SUMMER by Iain Lawrence
GIRL STOLEN by April Henry
GREYSON GRAY by B.C. Tweedt
GYM CANDY by Carl Denker
I WILL ALWAYS WRITE BACK by Martin Ganda
LAND OF STORIES by Chris Colfer
LOST IN THE SUN by Lisa Graff
MISSING by Margaret Peterson
PART OF YOUR WORLD by Elizabeth Braswell
PERCY JACKSON by Rick Riordan
SO B IT by Sarah Weeks
STORMRISE by Jillian Boehme
THE ABILITY by M.M. Vaughen
THE BILLIONAIRE’S CURSE by Richard Newsome
THE COMPOUND by S.A Boden
THE EXTRA YARD by Mike Lupica
THE FOURTH STALL by Chris Rylander
THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY by Trenton Lee Steward
THE PERFECT SCORE by Bob Buyea
THE RED STAR OVER CHINA by Edgar Snow
THE SECRET KEEPER by Kate Messner
THE THIEF OF ALWAYS by Clive Barker
THE WESTING GAME by Ellen Raskin
WEDNESDAY WARS by Gary Schmidt
WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS by Wilson Rawls
by Kelly Carey
In honor of National Reading Month, 24 Carrot Writing is celebrating by sharing a few of our recent favorite reads.
When social distancing and quarantine orders have us searching for home bound activities, books offer up friends, adventure, and escape. This might be the perfect time to open a book. Let me suggest a few fun places you can run away to without leaving your house!
HOME IN THE WOODS uses gently lyrical language and stunning artwork to teach the stark realities of poverty during the Great Depression. It is a book about hope and persistence in the face of difficulty. Perhaps it can act as a road-map for how to move forward in the current environment.
In picture books also look for Trevor by Jim Averbeck and illustrated by Amy Heveron, Hum & Swish by Matt Meyers, and What Miss Mitchell Saw by Hayley Barret and illustrated by Diana Sudyka.
VERNON IS ON HIS WAY by Philip C. Stead offers the whimsical humor and soul filling simplicity of a silly frog exploring his surroundings and learning how to be a friend. Vernon is a celebration of everyday items and easy problems. Told in three short stories this book is a great mentor text if you’re ready to write a chapter book or if your young reader is ready to tackle a longer solo read.
In chapter books also look for Frank & Bean by Jamie Michalak and illustrated by Bob Kolar.
In THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF COYOTE SUNRISE by Dan Gemeinhart, Coyote and her dad Rodeo have suffered a BIG loss and Rodeo has decided the best way to heal is to travel forward on a converted school bus. As they encounter fellow travelers, Coyote starts to wonder if they really are healing and if maybe their aimless wandering needs a destination. You’ll be cheering for quirky Coyote Sunrise and her journey is truly remarkable!
In middle grade books also look for The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden and The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty.
WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH by Elizabeth Acevedo offers plenty of spice in the form of main character Emoni Santiago who has a love for food and a knack for creating culinary excellence. But Emoni has lost her mother, her father is absent and she is navigating her senior year of high school while caring for her daughter. You’ll want to help Emoni, cry for Emoni and be Emoni – or at the very least eat her food!
In young adult also look for The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman and Geek Girl by Holly Smale.
Feel free to add your favorite fresh reads in the comments!
by Annie Cronin Romano
March is National Reading Month, and in honor of this auspicious occasion, we at 24 Carrot Writing have decided to share some of our favorite kidlit books. I'm starting off this series by highlighting five books which have reached into my reader/writer's heart and made it skip a beat.
THE DARK DESCENT OF ELIZABETH FRANKENSTEIN, a young adult novel by Kiersten White, kept me enthralled from chapter one. This YA retelling of Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN is told from the perspective of Elizabeth Lavenza and takes the reader on a journey of darkness, devotion, love, and survival that leads one to wonder who the monsters among us truly are. Atmospheric and haunting!
I adored R.J. Palacio's WHITE BIRD. This middle grade graphic novel depicts the horrors of one Jewish girl's experience during the Holocaust with tenderness and hope. Engaging illustrations add to the vividness of this story. Readers who have enjoyed WONDER and AUGGIE & ME will appreciate the connection to those stories as this story is narrated by Julian's grandmother.
One of my all time favorite middle grade novels is Sharon Creech's WALK TWO MOONS. Salamanca Tree Hiddle is a 13-year-old on a journey from Ohio to Idaho with her grandparents. During the trip, Sal entertains her grandparents with the tale of her friend, Phoebe Winterbottom, and their quest to find out why Phoebe's mother abandoned her family. Sal's story emerges through the narrative, which alternates between Sal's memories of her own mother and her telling of Phoebe's story. Layered and bittersweet, this Newbery Medal winning book of family ties, loss, and understanding the experiences of others is a must read.
If you need a smile, then reach for A LIGHT IN THE ATTIC, by Shel Silverstein. This humorous collection of poetry and sketches will add a bit of joy to any day. Full of Silverstein's imagination and whimsy, these poems grasp the minds and hearts of young readers, leading them to laugh and ponder. You're certain to crack the spine of this book again and again for another dose of wit and insight.
Enjoy a good laugh and and unexpected heroine? Than grab TYRANNOSAURUS REX VS. EDNA THE VERY FIRST CHICKEN. Tyrannosaurus Rex may frighten all the other dinosaurs, but he cannot scare Edna! This hilarious picture book, written by Douglas Rees and illustrated by Jed Henry, shows that just because you're small doesn't mean you're weak. The defiant Edna will leave you cheering!
Kelly and Amanda will share some of their favorite kidlit titles in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please tell us what some of your favorites are!
A Holiday Picture Book Sampler
by Annie Cronin Romano
The holiday season has arrived. When my children were young, one of our favorite activities to do was cuddling on the couch reading holiday picture books. Sometimes there were old favorites; other times they were the latest arrivals at our local library or bookshop. This post is a mix of holiday classics and newer arrivals to the shelves. Hopefully you'll find a few titles to add to your "must read" list (links are included with the cover images). Please share your favorite holiday picture books in the comments!
SANTA MOUSE, by Michael Brown, illustrated by Edfrieda DeWitt
MR. WILLOWBY'S CHRISTMAS TREE, by Robert E. Barry
PICK A PINE TREE, by Patricia Toht, illustrated by Jarvis
RED AND LULU, by Matt Tavares
CHRISTMAS FARM, by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Barry Root
OSKAR AND THE EIGHT BLESSINGS, by Richard Simon & Tanya Simon, illustrated by Mark Siegel
THE TREE THAT'S MEANT TO BE, by Yuval Zommer
HANUKKAH BEAR, by Eric A Kimmel, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
OLIVE, THE OTHER REINDEER, by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh
SEVEN SPOOLS OF THREAD: A KWANZAA STORY, by Angela Shelf Medearis, illustrated by Daniel Minter
DASHER, by Matt Tavares
THE TREES OF THE DANCING GOATS, by Patricia Polacco
Happy Holidays from all of us at 24 Carrot Writing!
A SPOOKTACULAR KIDLIT BOOKS SAMPLER
By Annie Cronin Romano
October is well under way with leaves of amber and crimson, cool, crisp evenings, apple cider, winding corn mazes, and, of course, Halloween! Whether it’s carving pumpkins or choosing what costume to wear trick or treating, most families have traditions they enjoy throughout the fall season. As you embrace Halloween preparations, don’t forget to visit your library or bookstore to snag a few Halloween and seasonal books, and add some new favorite reads to your October rituals. This list contains just a sampling of the entertaining spooky and autumn-themed kidlit books to be discovered. Included are both older classics and newer releases. Most I have read and enjoyed myself. A few were suggested by other avid readers. Pick one or all of them, and dive into these stories of pumpkins, scarecrows, and things that go “Boo!” in the night!
MR. PUMPKIN’S TEA PARTY by Erin Barker
ROOM ON THE BROOM by Julia Donaldson, Illustrated by Axel Scheffler
THE SCARECROW by Beth Ferry, Illustrated by the Fan Brothers
LOS GATOS BLACK ON HALLOWEEN! by Marisa Montes, Illustrated by Yuyi Morales
SAMURAI SCARECROW: A VERY NINJA HALLOWEEN by Rubin Pingk
OAK LEAF by John Sandford
BIG PUMPKIN by Erica Silverman, Illustrated by S.D. Schindler
THE LITTLE OLD LADY WHO WAS NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING by Linda Williams, illustrated by Megan Lloyd
THE NIGHT GARDENER by Jonathan Auxier
THE JUMBIES by Tracey Baptiste
WATCH HOLLOW by Gregory Funaro
THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman
TOOK: A GHOST STORY by Mary Downing Hahn
SCARY STORIES FOR YOUNG FOXES by Christian McKay Heidicker
GHOST: THIRTEEN HAUNTING TALES TO TELL, a collection by Illustratus
And a few YOUNG ADULT…
MARY’S MONSTER: LOVE, MADNESS, AND HOW MARY SHELLEY CREATED FRANKENSTEIN by Lita Judge
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs
PUMPKIN HEADS: A GRAPHIC NOVEL by Rainbow Rowell, Illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks
Please share some of your favorite kidlit Halloween/fall season books in the comments.
And HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Musings of a Library-Lifer
~by Amanda Smith
When I was a little girl, my father would take my brother and me to the Pretoria Public Library every other week, where we could each check out two books. I would tightly hug my books against my chest as we crossed the busy street, skipped up the wide steps, and entered the grand red granite building through enormous oiled teak doors.
The Children’s Library was on the second story, accessed by an enchanted staircase that magically transported itself from the greatest castle of a fantasy novel. My dad would let us ascend to the Realms of Upstairs by ourselves as he continued on the adult shelves. Inside the children’s library, I was greeted by the kind librarian who always remembered my name. She received my books like the great treasure they were, and paid me with the keys to the universe, my two sunshine-yellow library pockets. My tickets to Narnia.
There, between the dark wood shelves, lined with rows upon rows of books, hugged by silence, breathing in the wholesome, dusty smell of historical building, knowledge, and art, I lost myself. And found myself.
And a place to belong.
Many, many years later, when my husband and I immigrated to the US, one of the first things we did, was to join our local library. It was there that we learned to navigate this new culture, were educated about US holidays and celebrations by exhibits librarians thoughtfully pulled together, and ran into acquaintances who became friends.
We found a place to belong.
When my children were toddlers, we were regulars at library story times and craft mornings. When they became independent readers, we signed up for summer reading programs and activities such as visiting magicians, hand-drum sessions and worm races. Parents huddled in the back in quiet conversation, watching kids play, and maybe made arrangements to meet at a playground later in the week, finding community.
And a place to belong.
Last summer, as part of a road trip, our family visited friends in Pittsburgh. Proud to show off their city, they took us to the Carnegie Museum and amazing Carnegie library (true kindred spirits). Their kids dragged our kids to the youth room as we explored the fabulous architecture of the library. When we returned to the youth room, we found our children playing board games with other kids who happened to be there. Some kids were knitting, others had fabric scraps laid out over the table, making elaborate fabric art plans, others were playing computer games. As I looked at these city kids (and my country bumpkins dragged into the mix) contently engaged and interacting, I saw kids who found a safe place.
The place they belong.
Recently I have watched our small-town library undergo a transformation. When we pop in after school, we have walked in on Taco parties and art classes. A youth director has been hired to provide after-school activities to students who stay at the library every afternoon. She offers homework help and recommends books. I have heard her give pep talks and friendship advice. Today’s library is a far cry from the quiet place that provided sanctuary to me. When I watch my youngest lug a stack of graphic novels taller than himself to the check-out counter, I marvel at all the ways libraries have changed.
Upon entering our library, we walk past the expected: books, DVDs, music. We greet the patrons: the elderly, the scholars, the unemployed doing a job-search on the computers provided. We scan the flyers advertising activities hosted by the library: Yoga classes, book clubs, sewing and art classes, local authors’ support groups. We browse the ever-growing audiobook section. We lose a child in the expansive graphic novel section. And then we pause at something new: A Library of Things: board games, toys, puzzles, Lego!
What other international institution has adapted to a continuously changing world as successfully as libraries have? Libraries have their finger on the pulse of their communities, and constantly adapt and grow to meet their communities' needs. Yet libraries continue to do what they have always done.
Provide a place to belong.
April 7- 13 is National Library week. If you haven’t visited your library since your childhood, I would like to urge you to look in and discover all it has to offer. If you are a lifer, like me, this is the perfect week to thank your librarians.
By Annie Cronin Romano
Summer is here. It’s a time for sun, sand, and sangria! A time for hanging out with friends and family, relaxing vacations, and outdoor fun. So, my fine writer friends, where does your writing fit into the summertime equation? Because, as most of us know, summer is also notoriously known as a time for slacking.
Don’t be a slacker, my writer friends! This is where those writing goals come in handy. Hopefully you included that “forgiveness clause” into your writing goals (see Set Your Writing Goals With a Little Forgiveness, 1/23/18). But if you didn’t, or if you haven’t set your summer writing goals yet, here are some tips for keeping the ink flowing while enjoying this active time of year.
Tip #1. Going on vacation? Take a journal with you and write in it daily. It doesn’t have to be long. Just a few reflections on your day, or perhaps a description of a scene that you don’t want to forget. Maybe you came up with some story ideas. Jot them down. Keep your writer’s mind active even when you’re not working on an actual story.
Tip #2. Read! What better way to become a better writer than to read consistently. Writers hear it all the time and, naturally, love books, so there’s a good chance you read regularly anyway. But in case time is more elusive for you the rest of the year, take some time this summer to crack the spine on a few books you’ve been wanting to dive into. You may notice some new writing approaches or styles along the way.
Tip #3. Use your phone’s note-taking app. Even if you don’t have time to do much extended writing, sparks of inspiration may strike, and you probably won't have your laptop or notebook available if you’re at the amusement park or on a hike. So pull out your phone and type yourself a brief note. Store that idea or inspiration away for another time.
Tip #4. Take pictures, especially of unusual things. Vacations are full of picture taking opportunities, but step away from the selfies and snapshots of family, and take some random “slice of life” shots. Then use those images later as writing prompts. I know. Brilliant, right? You never know what the lens will capture. Your next story gem could lurk in those precious photos!
Tip #5. Enjoy! After all…it’s summer!
By Francine Puckly
As I reflect on the year as it comes to a close, I am reminded by how important it is to be encircled in a loving, supportive writing community. I am grateful for the daily and weekly buoying by my 24 Carrot Writing peeps, my New England SCBWI team, my accountability genie, and many other writing friends and partners. These wonderful people are my sherpas—leading me up, up, up as I scale the mountain. They encourage me to keep going when I want to turn around and ride a toboggan back down to the bottom and forget the whole thing.
But I have other guides on this journey. Voices from the past. Voices in the present. A stack of books by other writers that I read, reread, and then read again. These mentors offer practical, detailed advice about perplexing aspects of drafting and revising, precious guidance in making plots and characters spring to life, and words of wisdom and encouragement when the journey feels long. I would be lost without these “friends” who accompany me on this pilgrimage as well.
So just in case your loved ones are still asking you what you’d like for Hanukkah or Christmas, here are 30 of my favorite books to add to your Writer’s Book Shelf:
Finding Your Way and/or Thoughts on the Journey:
Drafting and Revising:
Did I say 30 books? I think we all deserve a holiday bonus this year, and here it is!
The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler
Invite a few of these writing masters to guide your journey in the new year!
“Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood.”
By Annie Cronin Romano
Oh, the lazy, hazy days of school vacation! On this first day of summer, what could be more fitting than gathering up some picture books with Fourth of July and summertime themes? (Besides slathering on the sunblock and hitting the beach, of course!) This list features picture books of varied reading levels for your child's summer reading enjoyment. Pick one or all of them and dive into stories of Independence Day or summertime rituals with your young readers! No matter what books you choose, keep the stories flowing all summer long!
4th of July themed stories:
THE STORY OF AMERICA'S BIRTHDAY, by Patricia A. Pingry, Illustrated by Meredith Johnson
FOURTH OF JULY MICE! by Bethany Roberts, Illustrated by Doug Cushman
RED, WHITE, AND BOOM! by Lee Wardlaw, Illustrated by Huy Voun Lee
APPLE PIE 4th OF JULY by Janet S. Wong, Illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine
IMOGENE'S LAST STAND by Candace Fleming, Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
INDEPENDENCE CAKE by Deborah Hopkinson, Illustrated by Giselle Potter
THOSE REBELS, JOHN & TOM by Barbara Kerley, Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
THE JOURNEY OF THE ONE AND ONLY DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE by Judith St. George, Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
Summertime themed stories:
SUMMER DAYS AND NIGHTS by Wong Herbert Yee
THE WATERMELON SEED by Greg Pizzoli
MOUSE'S FIRST SUMMER by Lauren Thompson, Illustrated by Buket Erdogan
DUCK AND GOOSE GO TO THE BEACH by Tad Hills
HOW MANY STARS IN THE SKY by Lenny Holt, Illustrated by James E. Ransome
ICE CREAM SUMMER by Peter Sis
THINK COOL THOUGHTS by Elizabeth Perry, Illustrated by Linda Bronson
MONSOON AFTERNOON by Kashmira Sheth, Illustrated by Yoshiko Jaeggi
NIGHT OF THE MOONJELLIES by Mark Shasha
Have some favorite summer-themed children's books? Please share them with us in the comments section!
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