Sunday, August 10, 2014

10 for 10 Picture Books To Open Your Heart

It's August 10th, which means it's time to share some of our most beloved picture books of the year! Picture Book 10 for 10 is finally here!

The celebration is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning.  They do so much work to get the word out about this event and I just want to thank them for their commitment to books! 

I really struggled to choose my theme this year for the Picture Book 10 for 10 in 2014!  In 2011, the theme I choose for my top 10 list was Picture Books for Teacher Workshops.  My 10 for 10 list last February included Nonfiction Books for Kid Writers.  I knew I wanted this year's August theme to revolve around an area that I had really been immersing myself in over the last year.

The topics of mindfulness, love, compassion, forgiveness, community, listening and presence have really been heavy with me.  Professionally, devouring books like Educating From the Heart, The Heart of Learning, The Way of Mindful Education and The Soul of Education this summer have all given me so much thoughtful inspiration and I'm itching to weave this in to working with teachers and children this coming year.

After pondering for awhile, I realized that all of these themes overlap and are woven together with golden threads.  So, I'm naming my collection of 10 for 10 Picture Books in 2014 ~ Books to Open Your Heart.  If we can all live with an open and compassionate heart, we will be mindful, forgiving, build community and listen with presence.

So, here we go. . .

1.  Flight School by Lita Judge

This poor little penguin dreams to fly in the worst way so he attends flight school.  His teachers and friends practice with him as much as they can, but sadly, he is a penguin, and upon his first real flight, he sinks to the bottom of the sea like a rock.  Seeing how brokenhearted he is, his teachers come up with a plan to help him fly.  The entire crew and the instructors rejoice seeing him accomplish his goal - a true sense of community that it took for penguin to fly!  The book ends with penguin bringing back another friend that wishes to learn to take flight - and ostrich.

These friends and teachers could have shunned the penguin, but instead, they opened their hearts to him and treated him with respect and how they would want to be treated.  Because of this, the penguin now is wanting to give back and help more friends achieve their dreams.

2. Sparky by Jenny Offill and Chris Appelhans

What attracted me to this book were the illustrations.  Colored pencil/water color with simple drawings hook me line and sinker with any picture book.

Told from a little girl's point of view, she shares her story of wanting a pet, but her mother says no every day for a month until her mother finally says she can have a pet as long as it doesn't need to be walked or bathed or fed (not thinking she'd find one.)  Well, she does.

So, she buys a sloth.

The sloth is named Sparky and frankly, he is a sloth.  He sleeps in a tree throughout the whole book. The little girl tries to get him to do things, but he fails.  She then tries to put on a talent show with Sparky to outshine her friend's pet who can do all kinds of tricks.  As predicted, the sloth does not perform any of the planned tricks and the audience walks away.

The ending is the heart warmer.  This dear little girl shows a love for this pet that you can feel, even though he is not the pet she wishes for.  If only we all loved each other even when they did not live up to our expectations.

3.  My Happy Life by Rose Lagercrantz

This little gem is actually a beginning chapter book, but it's filled with darling illustrations.  The main character, a five year old kindergarten girl, and she is just the happiest person in the world - her heart so full.  Starting kindergarten, meeting her best friend, and other happy memories are ones she remembers to recall whenever she feels sad.

Then hard things happen, losing her friend, not getting the pet she wants and losing her mom.  Dani's heart goes through many ups and downs in this treasure of a book and what it teaches is that we will have heartbreaks in our lives, but life goes on and there are still so many good things for us to rejoice in.  Always keep your heart happy.

Once you finish this book, you'll want to check out My Heart is Laughing, also by Rose Lagercrantz.

4.  Because Amelia Smiled by David Erza Stein

This is a story that demonstrates the ripple effect and how even a small act like smiling can spread kindness and love across the globe - and it just might even come back to you.  There is a ton of details in the illustrations for children to study and the book just radiates loving energy.

5.  The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

In this story many children will see themselves.  A boy who feels invisible in his classroom shares what it's like to not be noticed by his teacher and others in the class.  So, he eats by himself and spends time by himself at recess doing what he loves most - drawing.  The illustrator even depicted the feelings of being invisible by creating the drawings with Brian, the main character, in black and white and the rest of the story in color.

One day, a new boy, Justin, joins the class.  Because of his compassion for Brian, others begin to recognize his talents as an artist and he eventually is included by his peers.  

This book makes me think of the power just one person can make in someone else's life.

6.  Boot and Shoe by Marla Frazee

Two small pups sharing a home perform many of their daily tasks together.  During the day, one retreats to the front porch and the other to the back porch.  Eventually, a squirrels shakes up their routine and after chasing this critter, both dogs end up exhausted and at a loss of each other.  They search through rain, hunger and cold trying to find each other and finally, in the dark of night, they meet at their favorite tree to pee.  Joy unfolds.  

This is a story about how friends hold a piece of our hearts and when separated, we are broken, shaken and not ourselves.  Again, a joyful homecoming at the end.

7.  Love is Forever by Casey Rislov

A heartful story of Little Owl who has recently lost her grandfather.  All wise owls, her parents and brother owl attempt to make sense of the loss and face the reality of death.  Little Owl learns that the love of her family and friends (dragonfly, butterfly and snail) strengthen and heal each other when faced with loss.  Little Owl also learns a big lesson in that love is all around us in spirit and that her grandfather will always be with her, even after he is gone.

8.  The Grudge Keeper by Mara Rockliff

This sweet story reminds me of the days I used to have my 3rd graders write down their grievances and put them in a box.  A little ploy to reduce tattling. :-)

In this story, the villagers of Bonnieripple never hold grudges.  Instead they write them all down on snippets of paper and give them Cornelius, the Grudgekeeper.  How would you like that job?  Soon, Cornelius' house is filled to the roof with grudges!  A wind overtakes them and Cornelius is buried in the paper mountain.  As the villagers search for Cornelius in the mighty mess, they come together and renew friendships as their grudges seem to be forgotten.

A true example of loving thy neighbor.

9.  Gaston by Kelly DePucchio

This is one of those ugly ducklings accidentally switched at birth stories.  Two dog families, the Poodle family and the Bull dog family have new litters of pups.  Both families have one pup who does not quite fit in with the others.  One day, the families meet and it's obvious that there has been a mix up, so, with much apprehension, they decide to switch the pups back to their real families.  After much unhappiness in both families, they re-exchange them to their original families.  The families become friends and continue to meet up and teach each other the skills they each have - the poodles teach the bull dogs how to be tender and the bull dogs give the poodles some lessons on being tough.

This is a perfect story of how love grows in nurturing the ones we're with.

10.  Maple by Lori Nichols

This is a darling story of a little girl named Maple, whose parents planted a small Maple sapling, in her honor, when Maple was still in her mother's belly.  As Maple grew, so did the sapling, passing through the ups and downs of the seasons of life.  Maple found comfort in the tree by calling it her friend, singing to it, swayed around it and loved the tree. Although the tree was her dearest friend, she longed for a human friend to play with.  Soon, another sapling appeared and Maple learns that a sibling is coming soon as well.

This story shows the love of nature and how all things living are our friends and companions.

There are so many heart filled and compassion stories written to share with our children.  We need to continue to read literature that models this as well as be a model for compassion and love ourselves if we hope to create a loving and safe classroom and a world where love prevails.

Shari :-)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Why Teachers of Writing Should Be Writers (or Bloggers)

I wrote a post the other day that was a reflection of why I blog, after I almost quit.

Head on over and sneak a peak . . .

Reflection:  Why Should I Blog?

Let me know what you think!

Shari :-)

Monday, June 16, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I spend an abnormal amount of time reading on the weekends.  It's a priority.  Or a sickness.  I don't know.  Some may say to that I need to get a life, but, reading is a big part of my life.  So, there.

Mondays, I'm going to hook up with Book Journey's weekly meme to share a current book that is creating sparks in my thinking.  Skip on over there to share your own reading and also, to see what others are diving into.

It's hard to focus on just one book, however, Donalyn Miller's, Reading in the Wild, sequel to The Book Whisperer, is my top priority to digest and let marinate in my brain.  (If you have not read The Book Whisperer, read that first ~ it's a must-read.  The two go hand in hand.)

The coolest thing about Donalyn Miller is that she writes in such an authentic voice.  She's real.  

And, she is honest.  She begins this book admitting how she used to blame the upper-level teachers and schools when her former students lost their reading motivation.  After all, in The Book Whisperer, she claims that all, if not most, of her kids leave her room as passionate readers.  She felt that if only the teachers would give them class time to read, self-selection/choice in choosing their books and the teachers would also read and share their own passion of reading, the kids would read!  Obviously, teachers were not doing this is why kids quit reading, was her belief.

This is where reflection comes in and taking a good look at ourselves as educators. 

 Donalyn then realized that she herself was not creating "independent" readers.  When her kids left her room, Donalyn was not there to support, encourage, and find those perfect fit books for them.   She thought her kids could do this on their own - after all, they could while under her wing.  However, her kids had not internalized the life-long habits that they needed to remain readers WITHOUT this daily support.  Had Donalyn continued to believe that her kids' reading habits beyond her own classroom were not her fault, this book would never have came to be.

Donalyn shares ways to instill these life-long habits and make them stick.  She helps us understand how to:

*Get to the root of fake reading.
*Help readers find time for reading inside and outside of school.
*Become CONFIDENT in self-selecting reading material.
*Give readers time to talk about books in book communities.
*Develop reading plans.
*Discover reading preferences, authors and topics.

You think you already know this stuff.  You don't.  Donalyn branches off in helping us try out strategies beyond what we normally do. 

And then, shows us how to make it stick.

Why?  Why is this even important?  Why use our teaching time for this? 


"Children who love reading and see themselves as readers are the most successful in school and have the greatest opportunities in life."
"No matter what standards we implement or reading tests we administer, children who read the most will always outperform children who don't read much." 
Research supports this over and over.

"But, some kids just are not born readers," you say.  "You can't TEACH a kid to want to read."

Donalyn calls this a cop-out and that if we believe this in our heart and soul,  we are selling our students short.  This dismisses us, as teachers, as having responsibility for our creating readers that love to read. 

Ouch.  The truth hurts.

I'm half-way through the book.  I'm already scribbling notes all over the pages, stopping frequently to ponder, and writing in my own reader's notebook in how I might apply these new understandings, so this book will take some time.  I can't wait to dig deeper into Donalyn's thoughts and do some unlearning to make room for new learning.  I just love it when a book does that. 

Shari :-)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday Reading Round Up ~ June 8, 2014

Wow.  There is so much good reading out there online right now.  My biggest issue is finding time to dig in and really digest it all, figure out how to apply it in our work, and then to organize or save it to pull up at a later time when I need it.

I've decided to use two tools for archiving online reading to access at a later date: Evernote and Pinterest.  Pinterest will be my main tool as it's visual and I'm a visual person.

Another way for me to save these weekly readings is to round them up for a weekly blog post and tag them to seek them out later.  Not only is this good for me, but it's a way that I can share any mind shifting, thought provoking reading with others.  My hope is to start conversations, but even if that does not happen, at least some powerful words of others have seeped into the minds of teachers looking to always "do better".
"When you know better, you do better."  ~Maya Angelou

Here are some places I visited online this week that really got me thinking. . .

Max Brand, a kindergarten teacher, shares his stack of touchstone texts for his classroom.  He explains his process for choosing these 15 books at the Choice Literacy site.  I've been thinking a lot about touchstone texts, mentor texts, anchor texts a lot lately and how these are defined differently.  Also, I've been collecting a stack of my own touchstone texts to share with teachers next year.  I'll be writing about them this summer. :-)

In another article from Choice Literacy, Jennifer Schwanke, writes about how kindergarten teachers can foster a love of literacy.  She tells a beautiful story of a kindergartener who was retained and had TWO literacy loving teachers.  These kinds of stories make me so happy.

I love Nerdy Book Club, and Jami Spauling has shared her book reading tradition in her family once summer hits, along with 10 fabulous ways to encourage your family to read all summer.  I'm wishing my kids were little so I could pile them in the car and live reading with them like Jami does.  But, I'm working on my 19 year old son and packing a book in his duffle bag when he leaves for work on his summer job - lots of time spent driving to the work site each week.  If you can believe it, he's reading. I'm so sneaky.

Stenhouse always has some cutting edge blog posts by authors hot off the press.  Mark your calendars for their Blogstitute 2014 which starts on June 17th.

Are you reading Donalyn Miller's book Reading in the Wild this summer?  It NEEDS to be in your summer book stack and then, as you are reading, you can hop on over to Reflect and Refine:  Building a Learning Community to join in the discussion of your thoughts on this book.  It's a cyber PD!  I know I'll be talking about this read!  Go buy the book at Amazon and then mark your calendar for talk!  What could be better than reading and talking about reading!

Make sure you digest this important article from The New York Times with the research on the importance of handwriting, written by Maria Konnikova.  It's so important for us to know why we do what we do in the classroom.  If you want to spend more time on handwriting, here is good reason.

And here is a little food for thought about how much it matters that we know about the history of education, especially when making technology decisions for our students ~ Dangerously Irrevelent is one of the top blogs in education and he is not afraid to speak his mind (or truth - as long as there is research to support it).

Finally, summer is a time for us to reflect and really take a deep look at ourselves in how we can cultivate an open heart and presence in not only our teaching, but in our lives.

Hope you have a wonderful week!  And, don't forget to rest!!

Shari :-)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Why I Love Poetry

"Mrs. Daniels. . . why DO you love poetry so much?" a fourth grade girl asks me after poetry workshop last week.  I was taken by surprise, never asked this by a child before. Did she ask it because she could sense my love for this genre or was she confused as to how someone could actually LOVE. . . well. . . words, thinking I was nuts.

I rested my hand on my chin and looked up at the ceiling.

"Hmmmmm. . . there's so much to say. How do I put it in to words for you?" I tell her.

I try the best I can, given a sliver of time to profess my love in a way a 9 year old can understand.

"It's the emotion of the words, the tug of the human heart that poetry brings to me.  And, I love how poets play with words.  They are artists in how they craft the perfect combination of words to create something so meaningful."

"Oh.... I get it," she says, "I love feeling strong emotions, too." She smiles and off she goes.  A  simple answer, yet enough to satisfy the mind of a curious child.

I gather up my notebook and poetry belongings and head back to my room.  Before I sit down at my desk, I open up my notebook and write down this question that was sending me on a journey of my own thoughts.

Why DO I love poetry so much?

I proclaim this to kids, but do I ever explain why poetry has this hold on me?  Probably not.  A crazy woman she is, they must think.

So, a poem flooded out of my pen right then and there, to explain why.

Poem Crazy

What's there to love about poetry?

What's there NOT to love?

The strong tug of emotions that pull at the heart
a calling to stop and feel
in a way that connects us to our humanness

Fine artistic crafting of words and phrases
painting a picture in the mind
an image seen before
but never dreamed possible
to gather the perfect
combination of words
to describe it

The shortness
perhaps a page long
maybe just a stanza
or even a couple lines
but. . . the meaning
packed in so tight
It's possible
to write a poem
in 5 minutes
with just a few words
You're a poet!

Poems neglect to give
everything (as books do)
so much left to
the reader
for one's own
of the words on the page
in a way
that speaks to us.

And the rules. . .
not bound
by form and grammar
you are patrolled
by a teacher
who makes you
only write Haikus and
for which then
I'd hate poetry

A poem
takes my mind away
to a new place,
an interruption
to my hurried life
a small vacation
for my frazzled soul

Writing poetry
teaches me
to slow down
to pay attention
to wonder
and be curious
And then,
to write down the words
before they vanish forever.

Poetry causes me
to be present
with others,
with nature,
and in stillness
to hear the whispers
from the Universe.

But, mostly. . .
poetry just makes me happy
and fills my heart.

Lesson learned?  Share with your kids what your passions are and WHY you love them.  This shows that we are real.  Not only that, but you just might inspire the next lover of poetry.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Round Up of New Learning From OSU Literacy Collaborative PD

My head is spinning with new possibilities after my few days of professional development for intermediate literacy coaches at OSU. Twice a year, this PD takes place for as long as our school is affiliated with Literacy Collaborative.

I have to be honest in saying that I feel guilty that I'm the only one from my district that can attend this learning.  I'd love to bring a slew of teachers with me.  Especially to have conversation on the way home around how each topic relates to our own school.

Because of time constraints, I also do not have enough opportunities to share everything that I wish to share with teachers upon my return.  It's the middle of March.  Testing looms.  Then, the downside of spring fever hits.  The last thing to add to a teacher's plate, at this point in the year, is more PD.

So, I'm trying something new and sharing my new learning through technology and through study groups or in working side by side with teachers who are interested in a topic.  To start with, I'm listing my ten topics of new learning in hopes that it stirs some interest in fellow teachers to dig in a little deeper with me.  Our own learning can expand in countless ways in working together.

1.  Reading and study of the book, Transforming School Culture, by Anthony Muhammad

This is a profound book that begs to be studied by all who live in the education world.  Jason Hillman, the director at OSU Literacy Collaborative presented parts of this book and challenged us to see ourselves throughout.  When Jason was a principal in Wyoming, he used this book as a book study for his entire staff and he transformed his school.  The book can be purchased as an online workshop for staff at Solution Tree.

2.  Graphic Novels

I have to admit, I've not been a fan of graphic novels. Well, my perception has shifted.  We did some exploring of this genre and had discussion of whether it can even qualify as a genre.  It's more of a form of writing as graphic novels can be in any genre (memoir, fantasy, narrative, etc.)  The depth of thinking while reading a graphic novel is immense and can not be overlooked.  We read the GN, March by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell.  Wow, is all I can say.

3.  Author talks

We had a Skype author talk with Andrew Aydin, one of the authors of March.  I was reminded of the power of real authors talking to kids. Andrew is such an inspiration and mentor to people of all ages to find your passion and follow your dream.

4.  Evaluation and Data Use by Wendy Vaulton, senior researcher at Leslie Univeristy

We skyped with Wendy about forming essential questions from examining our data and how to develop a process for this.  I know I will share this process with our grade levels and our literacy team when we analyze our data for next year.

5.  Curriculum planning and creating a writing unit of study from the Common Core Standards

Wendy Sheets, Literacy  Collaborative trainer, presented us with a process for creating a standards based unit of study in writing.  She modeled her persuasive unit and then we worked in groups to create a nonfiction unit of study.  I have to say, that I love doing this work.  I will be writing more about this in a post later this week.

6.  Close Reading

Sherry Kinzel prompted us to explore close reading.  Close reading is a new buzz word in literacy and there are many definitions and variations out there about what it really is.  We read articles and dug into research to find out as much about it as we could (This was homework.). Then were organized into two groups:  defendants of close reading and persecutors of it. We had a mock trial to help us (as a juror) come up with a verdict of it as a practice for use within our literacy framework.

7.  Using Technology Within the Literacy Framework by Primary Literacy Collaborative Trainer, David Hensinger

David walked us through steps of analyzing and evaluating an app for adoption within a school. First, is has to be usable in many contexts and in with multiple content areas.  Second, it needs to be a tool for student use, a tool for teacher use, and tool for coach/admin use.  It needs to be free or at a low cost.  It needs to be EASY to learn.  The app should be able to have some form of communication with others that demonstrate their evidence of learning.

He then shared with us the app, SonicPics, that met these characteristics and modeled many ways the app could be used for literacy and other contents.

8.  Study Groups by David Hensinger

Study groups are basically what the term implies.  David started off asking us if we were spread thin in our positions.  I believe every professional who works in education is spread thin - whether a teacher, principal or coach.  He walked us through a process to form study groups with staff members to create an environment of inquiry and problem solving that can happen on it's own, with a coach facilitating how it might look and then encouraging teachers to form study groups independently.

9.  Best Books of 2013 for Intermediate Readers by Lisa Patrick, OSU Professor of Children's Lit.

Lisa  Patrick does not disappoint.  She has shared with us her best books of discovery every year at our PD.  Her energy and love of literature is contagious as I always want to run right our to Barnes and Noble and fill my suitcase before leaving for home.  She shared her process of determining these books and tells of the countless hours it takes to finalize her list.  I'm sharing it with you here.

10.  Finally, the theme of our PD: We are Superheroes and We All Have Super Powers

I was thinking this might be a perfect theme for our staff and kids for the month of April - testing month.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to fill our bulletin boards with "Super Power" things when we see it? Perhaps, a third grader read his first chapter book.  Or, maybe a fourth grader writes a poem with figurative language that we can all learn from.  Maybe a class creates a persuasive letter together for a social cause.  Not to mention, the ways we can give our kids super powers in preparing them for the state tests.  Capes will be necessary.  I can't wait to brainstorm some ideas for this with teachers.

There you have it.  We only had two and a half days of PD, but wow, the PD that to share with my colleagues is immense.  Thank you so much, Sherry and Wendy for creating an environment for so much learning to happen.

Each of these topics deserves a separate post in more depth, so please stay tuned. Until then, if any topic grabs your attention, please let me know as I'd love to explore it together with you!
Shari :-)


Sunday, February 23, 2014

#10for10 Nonfiction Books for Kid Writers

I participated in the #pb10for10 (started by Mandy Robeck and Cathy Mere) in the past and had found so many picture books from other teachers that were new and inspiring to add to my own collection. Mine own post actually ended up being #pb11for11 as I was a day late.  You can see this list here.  So, I thought I'd gather up a list of nonfiction books that are must haves for our classrooms.

I remember the days roaming the library as a youngster in elementary school.  Not a “reader” yet that had learned the deliciousness of getting lost in a fictional tale, I sought out books that would teach me ways to create.  I craved to write, but there was not a lot of guidance out there to give me an idea on what writers do.  So, my the only writing consisted of my diary.  Thank goodness, we've come a long way since the 1970's!

Even though there are now writing books to inspire young writers, most of our classrooms do not house books of this fashion in our classroom independent library bins.  Perhaps we are not sure what is “kid-friendly” and what is strictly for adults.  Could it be that we can't find the right books?  

The market is flooded with writing books for kids, but many consist of imagine-you-are-invisible-type prompts or journal-entry writing ideas and do not really help young writers understand how to find real, authentic ideas to write about.  Real writers do not write from prompts. The last thing I'd want to write about is what it would be like to be stuck in a snow globe.  Ughh. . .  

Kids need strategies for writing in real life.

Well, here are 10 books that focus on writing for kids.  These are your students that already know they are writers and they want to be authors one day, and I'm thinking that if their passion for writing is real, they will teach themselves, with the help of a few books.  These are books for the writer themselves, to learn more about being a better writer.  

It's time we created a bin just for them.

1.  Spilling Ink:  A Young Writer's Handbook by Ellen Potter and Anne Mazer

Authors,  Ellen Potter and Anne Mazer, put together a perfect resource for those wanna-be writers, giving them inspiring advice that they wish THEY had when they were young.  Honestly, I think that if someone picked up this book to read and was not planning on writing, they probably will want to be before to get to the end!

Look At My Book is perfect for those writers that need step-by-step directions about how to create a story, giving kids some good strategies for ideas and then how to put it all together in a published book. As a "maker", I like the publishing component of this book.  It's very easy to to understand and follow.

Ralph Fletcher's books absolutely, positively, must be a part of a collection of books for kids on writing. I have a teacher friend that reads this book aloud to his class when beginning writer's notebooks in the classroom to help students understand what notebooks really are.  It helps them understand that they own their notebooks and how writers don't have special "writing skills", they just pay attention to the world. Fletcher's other books to add to the collection are How Writers Work, Live Writing, and  Poetry Matters.

4.  Dude Diaries by Micky Gill

The Dude Diaries series intrigues me.  These books are the kinds of books that one sneaks off the shelves and hides away with. They nudge the writer to put down your secrets.  As a young writer, being able to put down thoughts that I could not tell anyone else was liberating.  

These books will get filled up with writing.  A teacher could suggest to her class that anyone could add their writing to the Dude Diaries for others to read (audience acceptable content only - kids would need guidance on this). Talk to your class about the possibilities for these books.

5.  Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine

Newberry Honor author, Gail Levin, shares her secrets with kids on how she creates stories that kids love.  She give strategies for ideas, writing craft suggestions, and even offers advice for when you are stuck as a writer.

This book is for the young poets.  I've had fourth graders tell me they love and collect poems at home. Some tell me that poems come right out of them from nowhere!  Once kids fall in love with writing poetry, they crave to get better at it.  This book is filled with poems from wonderful authors, what poetry means to them and their advice to young poets.  If you are going to buy this book on Amazon, make sure you partner it up with Janeczko's other book about poetry, The Place My Words Are Looking For:  What Poets Say About and Through Their Work.

7.  Show, Don't Tell!:  Secrets of Writing by Josephine Nobisso and illustrated by Eva Montanari

This is a picture book that writers will sit with and admire the illustrative art work.  Throughout the book, advice to writers about how to "show and not tell" is woven in.  This craft is a tricky one for kids to understand, but once they do, they use it and their writing changes dramatically.  It's one of those hybrid genres as it's really a narrative and nonfiction combined.  Kids love teaching books with a story.

8.  Amelia's Notebooks by Marissa Moss

I don't think you could create a quality collection of books about writing for kids without including Amelia's Notebooks.  I, myself, sit with these and get lost in them.  And, it's impossible to NOT be inspired to write something in your own writer's notebook in Amelia style after spending some time with them.  This series just keeps growing, just as our own writer's notebook collections grow.  Again, not non-fiction, but, they need to be included.  Make sure you check out Marissa Moss' book, Max's Logbook, as well.

9.  How I Came To Be A Writer by Phyllis R. Naylor

Adding some biographies about authors and how they came to be writers is also important in adding this collection. Phyllis Naylor (author of Shiloh) has not written a how-to book, but instead a book that speaks of how hard it is to be a writer.  She writes about her challenges and how she did not give up on her dream to be an author.

10.  Once Upon A Slime by Andy Griffiths

Andy Griffiths writes a book filled with ideas for getting writing going along with telling about his own writing journey.  He has cool illustrations kids will love and snippets from his books.  He teaches other things writers do such as map-making, and even gives his writers quizzes to learn more about themselves.  He teaches how to write for many different audiences, meaning many types of kids.

Griffiths is rather humorous and for writers that like to write goofy things, this is the perfect writing book for them.

Hopefully, this list will inspire you to get started with a new bin for your wanna-be writers.  I know that I would have snuck these books home with me if I'd have had access to them as a young girl.

If you know of other books to add to this list, please share!!

Shari :-)