Do the Write Thing

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In Which Letters, Diaries, and Journal Entries Tell the Story
In Which Writing in Some Form is a Key Element in the Story
Writing a Story...Creating a Book
Autobiographies of Children's Book Authors


 

IN WHICH LETTERS, DIARIES, AND JOURNAL ENTRIES TELL THE STORY

Ada, Alma Flor. Dear Peter Rabbit. Illus. by Leslie Tryon. Atheneum, 1994. Gr. 1-3.
Alternating letters between Peter Rabbit and Pig 1 (from the “Three Little Pigs”) and between Goldilocks and Baby Bear reveal some friendships and interconnections previously unknown to fairy tale readers. See also: Yours Truly, Goldilocks (Atheneum, 1998) and With Love, Little Red Hen (Atheneum, 2001).

Ahlberg, Janet & Allan. The Jolly Postman or Other People’s Letters. Little, Brown, 1986. Gr. 1-3
The postman delivers different types of mail to several familiar fairy-tale characters. Alternating pages are envelopes containing these different pieces of mail. See also: The Jolly Christmas Postman (Little, Brown, 1991) and The Jolly Pocket Postman (Little, Brown, 1995).

Blos, Joan. A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal 1830-1832. Scribner’s, 1979. Gr. 5-8
In this Newbery Medal winner, the journal of a fourteen-year-old girl records daily events in her small New Hampshire town, her father's remarriage, and the death of her best friend.

Brighton, Catherine. Dearest Grandmama. Doubleday, 1991. Gr. 1-3
In 1830, young Maudie-Ann is on a long sea voyage with her scientist father. In a series of letters to her grandmother, she tells of a mysterious, silent boy who comes aboard the ship and becomes her friend…but, is he real?

Brisson, Pat. Kate on the Coast. Illus. by Rick Brown. Bradbury, 1992. Gr. 2-4
Kate’s moving to Seattle, and she writes the details of their trip on the west coast, including Alaska and Hawaii, to Lucy, her friend in New Jersey. See also: Kate Heads West (Bradbury, 1990) and Your Best Friend, Kate (Bradbury, 1989).

Cleary, Beverly. Dear Mr. Henshaw. Morrow, 1983. Gr. 4-6
Initiated by a school assignment to write a letter to an author, Leigh Botts begins a lengthy correspondence with Mr. Henshaw in which he tells the author about family and school problems. Newbery Medal winner. See also: Strider (HarperCollins, 1991)

Conrad, Pam. Pedro’s Journal: A Voyage With Christopher Columbus August 3, 1492 - February 14, 1493. Boyds Mills, 1991. Gr. 4-8.
Pedro, a ship's boy on the Santa Maria, writes in his journal about the voyage, his feelings for Columbus, and his discomfort about the treatment of the natives.

Creech, Sharon. Love That Dog. HarperCollins, 2001. Gr. 3-5
As he shows in his journal entries, Jack finds his voice as a poet with the help of a teacher who encourages him to write and the inspiration of author Walter Dean Myers.

Cronin, Doreen. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. Illus. by Betsy Lewin. Simon & Schuster, 2000. Gr. K-2
When the farmer’s cows find an old typewriter in the barn, they use it to write him notes, making demands and going on strike when their wishes are not met.

Cronin, Doreen. Diary of a Worm. Illus. by Harry Bliss. HarperCollins, 2003. Gr. K-3
Humorous diary entries relating to the everyday life of a worm. See also: Diary of a Spider (HarperCollins, 2005) and Diary of a Fly (HarperCollins, 2007)

Cushman, Karen. Catherine Called Birdy. Clarion, 1994. Gr. 6-9
With wit and a sharp tongue, the daughter of an English nobleman, writes in her diary about avoiding marriage to a series of undesirable suitors and relates aspects of life in medieval England.

French, Jackie. Diary of a Wombat. Illus. by Bruce Whatley. Clarion, 2003. Gr. K-3
In a diary format of simple sentences accompanied by hilarious illustrations, a wombat observes its life, especially as it relates to interactions with a human family.

George, Jean Craighead. Dear Rebecca, Winter Is Here. Illus. by Loretta Krupinski. HarperCollins, 1993. Gr. 1-3
On the shortest day of the year, a grandmother writes to her granddaughter telling her about the changes of the earth and the animals in winter and the preparation of all living things for the spring that follows.

George, Kristine O’Connell. Hummingbird Nest: A Journal of Poems. Illus. by Barry Moser. Harcourt, 2004. Gr. 3 and above
When a hummingbird built a nest on her porch, the poet kept a journal of the bird’s actions in hatching and raising its young. This collection of poems evolved from that journal.

George, Lindsay Barrett. Around the World: Who’s Been Here? Greenwillow, 1999. Gr. 1-4
When Miss Lewis, a teacher, circumnavigates the globe, she sends letters and sketches back home to her students, telling them about all the habitats she has visited.

Gottlieb, Dale. My Stories by Hildy Capurnia Rose. Knopf, 1991. Gr. 2-4
In the form of journal entries, an eight-year-old girl records six episodes in the daily lives of friends and family in her city neighborhood.

Hesse, Karen. Letters from Rifka. Henry Holt, 1992. Gr. 6-9
Told in the form of letters written in the margins of a volume of poetry and addressed to a relative in Russia, Rifka awaits her opportunity to go to America.

Hopkinson, Deborah. Birdie’s Lighthouse. Illus. by Kimberly Bulcken Root. Atheneum, 1997. Gr. 2-5
In diary format, ten-year-old Birdie recounts the first year of her family’s life on Turtle Island where her father is the lighthouse keeper.

House, Silas & Vaswani, Neela. Same Sun Here. Candlewick, 2012. Gr. 5-8
This novel in letters relates the pen pal friendship of Meena, an immigrant from India living in New York's Chinatown, and River Justice, a boy from the coal mining region of Kentucky. They write about their families and friends, feelings, school activities, likes and dislikes, and much more. Readers will notice the similarities between Meena and River and will learn about their respective cultures as well.

Jackson, Alison. Thea’s Tree. Illus. by Janet Pedersen. Dutton, 2008. Gr. 1-3
When Thea plants a purple seed in her yard for a science project, strange things happen. She writes letters to local experts seeking information about the mysterious plant. The replies are not helpful. When the plant becomes so large that it consumes her house, she calls upon a tree removal expert, but he can't help either. The plant eventually disappears with a CRASH, leaving behind a giant footprint. Readers can make predictions from clues in Thea's letters and the illustrations that the plant is actually Jack's beanstalk.

James, Simon. Dear Mr. Blueberry. McElderry, 1991. Gr. K-2
Convinced that there is a whale in her backyard pond, Emily writes a series of letters to her teacher asking for advice on how to care for it. In his responses, Mr. Blueberry provides many facts about whales along with his insistence that a whale in her pond would be impossible.

Kinney, Jeff. Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Amulet, 2007. Gr. 5-8
The trials and tribulations of a middle school boy both at home and at school are related in humorous diary entries, illustrated with cartoon sketches. See also: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (Amulet, 2008) and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw (Amulet, 2009)

Leedy, Loreen. Postcards from Pluto: A Tour of the Solar System. Holiday House, 1993. Gr. 2-5
When Dr. Quasar, a friendly robot, takes a group of children on a tour through the solar system, they are inspired to write postcards home to family and friends telling them what they have learned about the planets. (Pluto is still a planet in this book.)

Lowe, Steve (Sel.). The Log of Christopher Columbus. Illus. by Robert Sabuda. Philomel, 1992. Gr. 4-6
Drawn from the log Columbus kept of his 1492 journey, the entries relate his impressions of the voyage.

Lyons, Mary E. Letters from a Slave Girl: The Story of Harriet Jacobs. Scribners, 1992. Gr. 5-8
A fictionalized version of the life of Harriet Jacobs, written in the form of letters, during her slavery in North Carolina and as she prepared to escape to the North. See also Letters from a Slave Boy: The Story of Joseph Jacobs (Atheneum, 2007).

Moss, Marissa. Rose’s Journal: The Story of a Girl in the Great Depression. Harcourt, 2001. Gr. 4-6
Fictional Rose keeps a journal of her family’s difficult times on their Kansas farm during the Great Depression in 1935. Hand-lettered text, illustrated with sketches and black-and-white photos. See others in this series: Emma’s Journal: The Story of a Colonial Girl (Harcourt, 1999), Rachel’s Journal: The Story of a Pioneer Girl (Harcourt, 1998), and Hannah’s Journal: The Story of an Immigrant Girl (Harcourt, 2000).

Moss, Marissa. Amelia’s Notebook. Tricycle Press, 1995. Gr. 3-6
The first of several journals by Amelia, in which she writes about her family, her friends, and events in her life beginning in elementary school and following her into middle school. (Other publishers of the series: American Girl and Simon & Schuster)

Murphy, Stuart J. Pepper’s Journal: A Kitten’s First Year. Illus. by Marsha Winborn. HarperCollins, 2000. Gr. 1-3
In this selection from the “Math Start” series, Lisa keeps a journal of her kitten’s first year, beginning with its birth. Facts about cats and monthly calendars are included.

Nichol, Barbara. Beethoven Lives Upstairs. Illus. by Scott Cameron. Orchard, 1993. Gr. 3-5
Actual incidents from the life of Beethoven are woven into this fictional correspondence between a 10-year-old boy and his uncle, a music student in Salzburg.

Orloff, Karen Kaufman. I Wanna Iguana. Illus. by David Catrow. Putnam, 2004. Gr. K-3
In an amusing exchange of notes between a boy and his mother, he is trying to persuade her that he should have a friend’s iguana for a pet, and his mother is not receptive to the idea.

Pattison, Darcy. The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman. Illus. by Joe Cepeda. Harcourt, 2003. Gr. 2-4
A man made of wood takes a journey across the United States, as told through letters and postcards written by people he encounters along the way. Oliver’s journey continues in Searching for Oliver K. Woodman (Harcourt, 2005).

Pérez, Amada Irma. My Diary from Here to There/Mi diario de aquí hasta allá. Illus. by Maya Christina Gonzalez. Children’s Book Press, 2002. Gr. 2-4
In a Spanish/English bilingual text, Amada describes her feelings in her diary when her family decides to leave their home in Mexico to look for work in the United States. Based on the author’s experiences.

Schanzer, Rosalyn. How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis & Clark. National Geographic Society, 1997. Gr. 4-6
Beginning with Lewis’s letter to Clark asking him to accompany him on the expedition and continuing with excerpts from journals kept by both Lewis and Clark and other men in the Corps of Discovery, brief glimpses of the trip are presented.

Schimmel, Schim. Dear Children of the Earth. NorthWord Books, 1994. Gr. 1-4
Mother Earth writes a letter telling children about herself and asking them to take care of her for themselves and for all living creatures.

Stevens, Janet & Crummel, Susan Stevens. Help Me, Mr. Mutt!: Expert Answers for Dogs with People Problems. Illus. by Janet Stevens. Harcourt, 2008. Gr. K-3
Canine Counselor, Mr. Mutt, guarantees prompt replies to dogs that write to him about problems with their owners. Dogs from all over the United States respond, and Mr. Mutt not only offers encouragement to every pooch that writes, he illustrates his letters with sketches, diagrams, and charts. What he doesn't know is that his feline companion is writing letters of her own. Mixed media illustrations add to the hilarity of the letters.

Stewart, Sarah. The Gardener. Illus. by David Small. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1997. Gr. K-3
When Lydia Grace leaves home to stay with her dour uncle in the city, she takes seeds with her. In letters to her family, she relates the garden surprise she has planned for him, with the hope she can make him smile.

Stewart, Sarah. The Journey. Illus. by David Small. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001. Gr. 1-4
A young Amish girl writes in her diary about her experiences on her first trip to the big city.

Stewart, Sarah. The Quiet Place. Illus. by David Small. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012. Gr. K-3
After Isabel and her family move to the United States in 1957, she writes a series of letters to her aunt in Mexico relating their new adventures as well as their struggles. Both poignant and joyful, this beautifully illustrated story is an uplifting portrait of the immigrant experience and family life.

Talbott, Hudson & Greenberg, Mark. Amazon Diary: The Jungle Adventures of Alex Winters. Illus. by Hudson Talbott; photos by Mark Greenberg. Putnam, 1996. Gr. 4-8
Presented in diary format, fictional 12-year-old Alex is rescued from a plane crash by the Yanomami people and spends several weeks in the Amazon rain forest with them, learning and appreciating their way of life. Busy hand-lettered pages are filled with sketches, diagrams, and color photographs.

Talbott, Hudson. Safari Journal: The Adventures in Africa of Carey Monroe. Harcourt, 2003. Gr. 4-8
Fictional 12-year-old Carey goes with his aunt on an African safari. Soon after arriving in Kenya, he meets a Maasai man and his son, who open Carey's eyes to the ways of their people and the beauty of the African landscape and wildlife. Photos and illustrations accompany the journal entries.

Teague, Mark. Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School. Scholastic, 2002. Gr. 1-4.
Desperate to come home from obedience school, Ike stretches the truth a bit in a series of letters home to his owner, hoping to make her feel guilty. See also: Detective LaRue: Letters from the Investigation (Scholastic, 2004) and Letters from the Campaign Trail: LaRue for Mayor (Scholastic, 2008)

Thaxter, Celia. Celia’s Island Journal. Illus. by Loretta Krupinski. Little, Brown, 1992.
Adapted from her childhood journal, 19th-century writer and poet Celia Thaxter relates her experiences on an isolated island off the coast of New England where her father keeps the lighthouse.

Turner, Ann. Nettie’s Trip South. Illus. by Ronald Himler. Macmillan, 1987.
In a letter to her friend Addie, Nettie relates all that she saw and heard on her trip from New York to Virginia in the pre-Civil War south, including the grim realities of slave quarters and a slave auction.

Webb, Sophie. My Season with Penguins: An Antarctic Journal. Houghton Mifflin, 2000. Gr. 3-5
Journal entries describe the author’s two-month stay in Antarctica to study and draw penguins. See also: Looking for Seabirds: Journal from an Alaskan Voyage (Houghton Mifflin, 2004) and Far from Shore: Chronicles of an Open Ocean Voyage (2011).

Wild, Margaret. Thank You, Santa. Scholastic, 1992. Gr. K-3
When Samantha writes a thank-you letter to Santa Claus, he writes back and they become pen pals for the next year. In their letters, they exchange information about animals, where they live, and what they enjoy doing.

Whelan, Gloria. Fruitlands. HarperCollins, 2002. Gr. 4-6
Fictional diary entries describe the efforts of Louisa May Alcott’s family to establish a utopian community, Fruitlands, in the Massachusetts wilderness in 1843. Based on actual journal entries from Alcott’s childhood.

Williams, Vera B. Stringbean’s Trip to the Shining Sea. Greenwillow, 1986. Gr. 2-4
A series of postcards home traces the trip of Stringbean, his older brother Fred, and their dog, across the western United States to the Pacific Ocean.

Woodruff, Elvira. Dear Austin: Letters from the Underground Railroad. Knopf, 1998. Gr. 4-6
In a series of letters to his older brother Austin in 1853, 11-year-old Levi describes his adventures with his friend Jupiter, the son of a former slave, when the two of them embark on a dangerous journey south to find Jupiter’s captured sister. See also: Dear Levi: Letters from the Overland Trail (Knopf, 1994).
SERIES:
"Diaries, Letters, and Memoirs." Blue Earth Books. Gr. 4-6
With several titles in the series from different time periods in American history, these excerpts from diaries capture the daily lives, events, and emotions of various young people who lived through those times.

"Dear America." Scholastic. Gr. 5-8
Historical fiction from different time periods written in diary format by girls/young women of the time.

“Dear Mr. President.” Winslow Press. Gr. 5-8
Letters between a fictional young person and a president discuss the times in which they live and the challenges faced by both. Presidents included in the series: Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

“My Name is America.” Scholastic. Gr. 5-8
Companion to the “Dear America” series, featuring boys/young men from different time periods writing journals about their quest to find a place for themselves.

“The Royal Diaries.” Scholastic. Gr. 5-8
Fictional diaries of persons of royalty from various world cultures in different time periods in history.

“My America.” Scholastic. Gr. 2-4
Diaries that tell the stories of fictional children who lived during different time periods in our American history. Similar to “Dear America” and “My Name is America,” but for a younger audience.

IN WHICH WRITING IN SOME FORM IS A KEY ELEMENT IN THE STORY

Asch, Frank & Vagin, Vladimir. Dear Brother. Scholastic, 1992. Gr. K-3
Joey and Marvin (mouse brothers) discover an old packet of letters sent years ago between their great-great granduncle (a country mouse) and their great-great granduncle (a city mouse). The family’s past unfolds as they read the letters.

Bauer, Joan. Peeled. Putnam, 2008. Gr. 7-10
Hildy Biddle, a reporter for her high school newspaper, The Core, dreams of following in the footsteps of her journalist father. Her town's apple industry is facing economic crisis. The opportunistic editor of the hometown newspaper has whipped people into afrenzy over ghost sightings at the local "haunted" house. There is even a dead body. When Hildy and her colleagues on The Core get too close to the truth, the principal shuts down the paper. The kids go underground and publish The Peel, an independent paper, and expose the truth.

Bowen, Anne. Tooth Fairy’s First Night. Illus. by Jon Berkeley. Carolrhoda, 2004. Gr. K-3
On her first night as a tooth fairy, Sally is challenged by a little girl who has left her a series of notes to follow in order to determine if she is real.

Brown, Marc. Arthur Goes to Camp. Little, Brown,1982. Gr. K-3
Arthur is not happy with his experiences at Camp Meadowcroak. While the text tells of his problems, the illustrations show letters to his parents in which he describes his misery.

Caseley, Judith. Dear Annie. Greenwillow, 1991. Gr. K-2
Since she was a baby, Annie has received cards and letters from her grandfather. She has written too, from her mother doing all the writing, to dictating what her mother should write, to writing her own. When Annie shares her collection of letters at school, her teacher sets up a bulletin board to display everyone’s mail.

Cherry, Lynne. Armadillo from Amarillo. Harcourt, 1994. Gr. 2-4
A wandering armadillo sees cities, historic sites, and geographical features of Texas and beyond and shares his adventures through a series of postcards with his cousin, an armadillo at the Philadelphia Zoo.

Christelow, Eileen. Letters from a Desperate Dog. Clarion, 2006. Gr. 1-4
Feeling unappreciated by her owner, Emma exchanges e-mails with Queenie, the canine advice columnist from the Weekly Bone. Cartoon-style illustrations with the e-mails in the text.

Gray, Dianne E. Holding Up the Earth. Houghton Mifflin, 2000. Gr. 6-9
Hope is trying to adjust to her newest foster mom, who has brought them to spend the summer on the Nebraska farm where she grew up. What she discovers are the letters, diaries, and stories of four generations of girls her age who lived there.

Harrison, Joanna. Dear Bear. Carolrhoda, 1994. Gr. K-2
Afraid of the “bear” under the stairs in her house, Katie initiates an exchange of letters that eventually results in her meeting him.

Johnson, Jane. My Dear Noel: The Story of a Letter from Beatrix Potter. Dial, 1999. Gr. K-3
This book relates how an illustrated letter from Beatrix Potter to a sick young friend marked the beginning of her famous Peter Rabbit tales. Endpapers show a facsimile of the original letter with sketches.

Joseph, Lynn. The Color of My Words. Joanna Cotler, 2000. Gr. 5-7
When life in the Dominican Republic becomes difficult for 12-year-old Ana Rosa, she finds inspiration for writing all around her and realizes the power of words to change her world.

Krupp, Robin Rector. Let’s Go Traveling. Morrow, 1992. Gr. 2-5
Letters, postcards, and diary entries supplement an informational text as Rachel Rose travels to six ancient sites around the world.

Mills, Claudia. The Totally Made-Up Civil War Diary of Amanda MacLeish. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008. Gr. 4-6
Fifth grader Amanda is thrilled with her class assignment to keep a diary of someone who lived during the Civil War. She is ten-year-old Polly, for whom she creates a family in which one brother fights for the North and the other for the South. Parallels with Amanda's life find their way into Polly's diary as both girls face growing up in ways they had not expected.

Pak, Soyung. Dear Juno. Illus. by Susan Kathleen Hartung. Viking, 1999. Gr. K-2
Even though he cannot read the letter from his grandmother in Korea, Juno knows she would like a letter in return and “writes” pictures to her that he is certain she will understand.

Pulver, Robin. Thank You, Miss Doover. Illus. by Stephanie Roth Sisson. Holiday House, 2010. Gr. 2-4
Poor teacher! Although she gives many tips for writing a thank-you letter and defines words students ask for and expects appropriate revisions, she doesn't quite get the letters she hoped for. The letters in the story are written by Jack, who thinks he's incorporating what she asks for every time he revises. Lots of humor--some probably too subtle for early primary. Great play on words on the last page that will have everyone groaning.

Sandin, Joan. Coyote School News. Henry Holt, 2003. Gr. 4-6
In 1938, fourth-grader Monchi Ramirez relates the experiences of the students in his one-room school near the Arizona-Mexico border. Everyone helps to write and publish their monthly newspaper (reproduced in the text).

Winnick, Karen. Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers. Boyds Mills, 1998. Gr. 1-3
Based on the story of Grace Bedell, the little girl who wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln, suggesting that he grow a beard, and his response. Reproductions of the letters written by Grace and Lincoln are appended.

Woodruff, Elvira. Dear Napoleon, I Know You’re Dead, But....Holiday House, 1992. Gr. 4-6
As a school assignment, Marty writes to Napoleon and, to his great surprise, receives a letter in return! He soon begins to receive letters from other great people in history, but who is behind this mystery?

WRITING A STORY...CREATING A BOOK

Christelow, Eileen. What Do Illustrators Do? Clarion, 1999.
Two illustrators, each working on “dummy” copies of Jack and the Beanstalk, go through their creative processes of making decisions about the style of art for their respective books. Lots of bookmaking vocabulary. Picture book.

Christelow, Eileen. What Do Authors Do? Clarion, 1995.
Two authors go through the process of getting ideas for a story, researching additional information, writing, revision, and finally having their books published. Picture book.

Fletcher, Ralph. A Writer’s Notebook: Unlocking the Writer within You. Avon, 1996. Gr. 5 and above
A practical guide for keeping a writer’s notebook and the types of items one might include. See also these other titles by Fletcher that offer advice to student writers: Live Writing: Breathing Life into Your Words (Avon, 1999), How Writers Work: Finding a Process That Works for You (HarperTrophy, 2000) and How to Write Your Life Story (HarperCollins, 2007).

Hanlon, Abby. Ralph Tells a Story. Two Lions, 2012. Gr. 1-3
Ralph never seems to be able to get started when it's time to write even though his teacher constantly reminds the class that "stories are everywhere." When he recalls how his classmates ask questions when he talks about an event, he uses that strategy to start writing. Writing tips included. Good book for writer's workshop.

Hershenhorn, Esther. S Is for Story: A Writer's Alphabet. Illus. by Zachary Pullen. Sleeping Bear Press, 2011. Gr. 4-6
Genres, styles, strategies, tools, and process are discussed in this alphabet book through poems for each letter of the alphabet and accompanying explanatory text. Quotes from well-known children's book authors talking about their work are scattered throughout.

Hills, Tad. Rocket Writes a Story. Schwartz & Wade, 2012. Gr. K-3
Because he loves books so much, Rocket wants to write his own, but can't think of an idea. As he sets out, really noticing the world around him, a story unfolds. Good model for young writers.

Leedy, Loreen. Look at My Book: How Kids Can Write & Illustrate Terrific Books. Holiday House, 2004.
A boy, a girl, and a dog, each interested in writing a different type of piece get advice about the writing process and simple directions for illustrating, designing, and binding their books. Picture book.

Levine, Gail Carson. Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly. HarperCollins, 2006. Gr. 5 & above
Author of Newbery Honor Book Ella Enchanted offers advice to young writers about getting ideas, creating characters, writing dialogue, and much more. Exercises to jump start writing are included.

Nixon, Joan Lowery. If You Were a Writer. Illus. by Bruce Degen. Four Winds, 1988; Aladdin paperback, 1995.
Melia wants to be a writer like her mother and wonders what writers do. In a fairly detailed description, her mother discusses how words create pictures, how to create characters and problems to solve, and how to make the plot interesting. Picture book fiction.

Prelutsky, Jack. Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry: How to Write a Poem. HarperCollins, 2008.
Prelutsky shares his creative process with aspiring young poets by allowing them to peek into his mind and see how he uses "imagination to turn ideas into poems." Each personal narrative is followed by a poem inspired by the event. He has also interspersed 20 writing tips throughout. Sidebars and a glossary define poetic terms. Prelutsky concludes with10 "poemstarts" of two or three lines for writers to complete who are having trouble getting started.

Spinelli, Eileen. The Best Story. Illus. by Anne Wilsdorf. Dial, 2008. Gr. 1-3
When an aspiring writer wants to enter a “Best Story” contest, she discovers that she needs help with ideas. Her father, brother, aunt, and cousin all have different thoughts about what makes a good story, but none of their ideas seem quite right. When her mother suggests she write what’s in her heart, she finally has a story. Picture book fiction.

Stevens, Janet. From Pictures to Words: A Book about Making a Book. Holiday House, 1995.
Appearing as herself in the book, Stevens, with the “help” of three characters (a rhino, a cat, and a koala) takes readers through the processes of writing, editing, making a dummy, and creating the final art for a book. Picture book.

Wong, Janet. You Have to Write. Illus. by Teresa Flavin. McElderry, 2002.
In a picture book format, Wong uses a free verse text to offer reluctant writers a you-can-do-it message, starting with getting ideas and moving to word choice and writing multiple drafts until it is the best piece possible.

AUTOBIOGRAPHIES OF CHILDREN’S BOOK AUTHORS
Author’s stories inspire their work. Not only do their autobiographies discuss “where they get their ideas,” but they also often include the influence of reading in their lives and their writing processes.

Ada, Alma Flor.  Under the Royal Palms: A Childhood in Cuba.  Atheneum, 1998.

Ancona, George.  Then & Now.  Scholastic, 1996.

Bauer, Marion Dane.  A Writer’s Story.  Clarion, 1995.

Berenstain, Stan & Jan.  Down a Sunny Dirt Road.  Random House, 2002.

Brown, Margaret Wise. (Adapt. by Joan Blos).  The Days Before Now.  Ilus. Thomas B. Allen. Simon & Schuster, 1994.

Bruchac, Joseph.  Bowman’s Store: A Journey to Myself.  Lee & Low, 2001.

Bryan, Ashley.  Ashley Bryan: Words to My Life’s Song.  Atheneum, 2009.

Carle, Eric.  Flora and Tiger: 19 Very Short Stories from My Life.  Philomel, 1997.

Cleary, Beverly.  A Girl from Yamhill: A Memoir.  Morrow, 1988.  (See also My Own Two Feet)

Crutcher, Chris.  King of the Mild Frontier.  Greenwillow, 2003.

Dahl, Roald.  Boy.  Jonathan Cape, 1984.  (See also Going Solo)

dePaola, Tomie.  26 Fairmount Avenue.  Putnam, 1999. (See also: Here We All Are; On My Way; What a Year!; Things Will Never Be the Same; I’m Still Scared; and Why? The War Years)

Emberley, Ed, Rebecca & Michael.  Three: An Emberley Family Sketchbook.  Little, Brown, 1998.

Fleischman, Sid.  The Abracadabra Kid: A Writer’s Life.  Greenwillow, 1996.

Fritz, Jean.  Homecoming: My Own Story.  Putnam, 1982.  (See also China Homecoming)

Gantos, Jack.  Hole in My Life.  Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2002.

George, Jean Craighead.  The Tarantula in My Purse and 172 Other Wild Pets.  HarperCollins, 1996.

Giff, Patricia Reilly.  Don’t Tell the Girls: A Family Memoir.  Holiday House, 2005.

Hopkins, Lee Bennett.  Been to Yesterday: Poems of a Life.  Boyds Mills, 1995.

Joyce, William.  The World of William Joyce Scrapbook.  HarperCollins, 1997.

Kehret, Peg.  Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio.  Albert Whitman, 1996.

Kehret, Peg.  Five Pages a Day: A Writer’s Journey.  Albert Whitman, 2002.

King-Smith, Dick.  Chewing the Cud: An Extraordinary Life Remembered by the Author of Babe: The Gallant Pig.  Knopf, 2002.

Lester, Helen.  Author: A True Story.  Houghton Mifflin, 1997.

Lewin, Ted.  I Was a Teenage Professional Wrestler.  Orchard, 1993.

Little, Jean.  Little by Little: A Writer’s Education.  Viking, 1988.  (See also Stars Come Out Within)

Lobel, Anita.  No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War.  Greenwillow, 1998.

Lowry, Lois.  Looking Back: A Book of Memories.  Houghton Mifflin, 1998.

Lyon, George Ella.  A Sign.  Ill. by Chris Soentpiet. Orchard, 1998.

McCloskey, Jane.  McCloskey: A Private Life in Words and Pictures.  Illus. by Robert McCloskey. Seapoint Books, 2011. (biography written by daughter)

Myers, Walter Dean.  Bad Boy: A Memoir.  HarperCollins, 2001.

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds.  How I Came to be a Writer.  Aladdin, 1987.

Nixon, Joan Lowery.  The Making of a Writer.  Delacorte, 2002.

Peet, Bill.  Bill Peet: An Autobiography.  Houghton Mifflin, 1989.

Ringgold, Faith; Freeman, Linda, & Roucher, Nancy.  Talking to Faith Ringgold.  Crown, 1996.

Rylant, Cynthia.  But I’ll Be Back Again.  Orchard, 1989.

Say, Allen.  Drawing from Memory.  Scholastic, 2011.

Scieszka, Jon.  Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing Up Scieszka.  Viking, 2008.

Sís, Peter.  The Wall: Growing Up behind the Iron Curtain.  Farrar Straus Giroux, 2007.

Small, David.  Stitches: A Memoir.  Norton, 2009.

Spinelli, Jerry.  Knots in My Yo-Yo String.  Knopf, 1998.

Steig, William.  When Everybody Wore a Hat.  HarperCollins, 2003.

Stevenson, James.  When I Was Nine.  Greenwillow, 1986.  (See also: Higher on the Door; July; Don’t You Know There’s a War On?; Fun/No Fun; I Had a Lot of Wishes; and I Meant to Tell You)

Stine, R.  It Came from Ohio! My Life as a Writer.  Parachute/Scholastic, 1997.

Willems, Mo.  Don't Pigeonhole Me!: Two Decades of the Mo Willems Sketchbook.  Disney, 2013.

Young, Ed.  The House Baba Built: An Artist's Childhood in China.  Little, Brown, 2011.

"The Author and You" series (published by Libraries Unlimited):
Ada, Alma Flor.  Alma Flor Ada and You (Vols. 1 & 2)
Aylesworth, Jim & Rotole, Jennifer K.  Jim Aylesworth and You.
Barner, Bob.  Bob Barner and You.
Buzzeo, Toni.  Toni Buzzeo and You.
Casanova, Mary.  Mary Casanova and You.
Hopkinson, Deborah.  Deborah Hopkinson and You.
Kurtz, Jane.  Jane Kurtz and You.
Martin, Jacqueline Briggs.  Jacqueline Briggs Martin and You.

"In My Own Words" series (published by Jullian Messner Publ.):
Byars, Betsy.  The Moon and I.
Peck, Richard.  Anonymously Yours.
Uchida, Yoshiko.  The Invisible Thread.
Yep, Laurence.  The Lost Garden.
Mohr, Nicholasa.  Growing Up inside the Sanctuary of My Imagination.

"Meet the Author" series (published by Richard C. Owen Publishers):
Aardema, Verna.  A Bookworm Who Hatched.
Adler, David A.  My Writing Day.
Ancona, George.  Self Portrait.
Arnosky, Jim.  Whole Days Outdoors.
Asch, Frank.  Frank Asch: One Man Show.
Bruchac, Joseph.  Seeing the Circle.
Bunting, Eve.  Once Upon a Time.
Cherry, Lynne.  Making a Difference in the World.
Ehlert, Lois.  Under My Nose.
Fleming, Denise.  Maker of Things.
Florian, Douglas.  See For Yourself.
Fritz, Jean.  Surprising Myself.
Goble, Paul.  Hau Kola Hello Friend.
Heller, Ruth.  Fine Lines.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett.  The Writing Bug.
Howe, James.  Playing with Words.
Hurwitz, Johanna.  A Dream Come True.
Kimmel, Eric A.  Tuning Up.
Kuskin, Karla.  Thoughts, Pictures and Words.
Locker, Thomas.  The Man Who Paints Nature.
London, Jonathan.  Tell Me a Story.
Lyon, George Ella.  A Wordful Child.
Mahy, Margaret.  My Mysterious World.
Martin, Rafe.  A Storyteller’s Story.
McKissack, Patricia.  Can You Imagine?
Numeroff, Laura.  If You Give an Author a Pencil.
Pallotta, Jerry.  Read a Zillion Books.
Polacco, Patricia.  Firetalking.
Pringle, Laurence.  Nature! Wild and Wonderful.
Rylant, Cynthia.  Best Wishes.
Simon, Seymour.  From Paper Airplanes to Outer Space.
Thaler, Mike.  Imagination.
Van Leeuwen, Jean.  Growing Ideas.
Wong, Janet S.  Before It Wriggles Away.
Yolen, Jane.  A Letter from Phoenix Farm.

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