Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Celebrating the Reader-Writer Connection with S is for Story

Find out about our TeachingAuthors Book Giveaway running all this week!  Click here for details on how to enter for a chance to win your own autographed copy of S is for Story: A Writer’s Alphabet. And be sure to try out the related Writing Workout at the end of this post.

Now here's the second in our series of Q&A posts related to Esther Hershenhorn’s newest book, S is for Story: A Writer’s Alphabet, an A-to-Z journey through a writer’s life and process.

Can you share with our readers, Esther, how being a TeachingAuthor informed your book?

My Inner Child wasn’t the only one keeping me company while I brainstormed, grew, and wrote S is for Story: A Writer’s Alphabet.

The Teachers in me, plural (former fifth grade and writing) couldn’t sit still, checking off subjects each insisted I include.
For instance, elements of narrative, such as character and plot.
The Four Kinds of Writing, from Persuasive to Descriptive.
What about Word Choice?
Don’t forget Voice.
Remind young writers: mechanics are important.

The Author in me seconded the Teachers, before promptly adding a few Musts of her own. 
Introduce Journals.
Recommend Notebooks.
Share Writer’s Tips.
Share the glory and the fun.
Let writers know the need for revision and drafts.
Inspire writers with stories of success.

It was the Children’s Book Author in me, though, who helped me reach my story’s heart.
I’d personally learned my craft by reading, studying, typing out, and taking apart children’s books, across all formats in a multitude of genres.
I still read as a writer.
I still write as a reader.
All of me celebrates the Reader-Writer Connection.

What better way to Show, Don’t Tell as well as support my chosen content than to reference children’s books, their authors, their characters?
What better way to affirm today’s young writers than to let them know: they are not alone?
E.B. White’s eight drafts of Charlotte’s Web.
Dr. Seuss’ 1 ½ year-long revision of The Cat in the Hat.
Christopher Paul Curtis’ surprising Writer’s Journey.
Beatrix Potter’s letter-writing.
Sid Fleischman’s magic.
My book’s sidebars teem with All Things Children’s Book.
Each double-page spread offers a treasured author’s words.
Andrew Clements’ words close the double-page B spread.
“I don’t know a single writer who wasn’t a reader first.”

•    Zachary Pullen’s singular, compelling S is for Story: A Writer’s Alphabet’s illustrations reflect his respect for young writers and writing.  Visit Zak’s website to learn more about his work and other books.
•    My website offers Young Writers Extras – opportunities to write, read and discover, at home, in school, or at the library.
•    Visit my website’s newest page, Tour, to learn the What, When and Where of my out-and-about book events, signings, school visits, conference engagements, writer presentations, teacher workshops and upcoming October-through November Blog Tour.
•    Click here for Sleeping Bear Press’ Teacher’s Guide to S is for Story: A Writer’s Alphabet.

Writing Workout

Writers are readers! Readers are writers!

Reading biographies of children’s book writers helps you learn how other writers kept on working to learn and hone their craft, no matter their disappointments, doubts, and early failures.

Check out these writer biographies:

Jen Bryant: A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams
Sid Fleischman: Trouble at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West
Karen Hesse: The Young Hans Christian Andersen
Kathleen Krull: 
   The Boy on Fairfeld Street: How Ted Geisel Grew Up to Become Dr. Seuss
   The Road to Oz: Twists, Turns, Bumps, and Triumphs in the Life of L. Frank Baum
Mark Nobleman: Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman
Yona Zedia McDonough: Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott

[Note: book images used with permission.]

1 comment:

Tara said...

I love the concept of S is for Story. I'll have to check it out.