Monday, October 19, 2015

Thumbs Up for Another Kate Messner Book That Helps Us Walk the Walk

KateMessner is the first to admit: writing with her students made her a mentor – and – a far better teacher.
Her newest Stenhouse book, 59 Reasons toWrite, offers teachers 59 Mini-lessons  - plus Q & A's, prompts, daily warm-ups and assignments, to help them become mentors and better teachers, too.
Walking the walk is suddenly doable – for all writers, classroom teachers or not.

An outgrowth of her online summer writing camp Teachers Write, the book’s purposefully designed to get us writing every day, whether on our own or as part of a group.
Chapters move from getting started to organizing our time and stories, through narrative elements such as characters, point of view, voice, mood, setting, plot and pacing, nonfiction and fiction needs and poetry to writer’s block, revising, critiquing and reflection.
Everything we ask of our students Kate and her “faculty” of award-winning authors ask of us.

It’s the luminous 52+ faculty members who both teach and inspire, underscoring how, when it comes to writing, we’re all in this together. 
Again, walking the walk is suddenly doable, thanks to this insightful, comprehensive, hands-on text.
And who wouldn’t want to learn from talents such as Linda Urban, Donna Gephart, Jo Knowles, Shutta Crum, Jenny Meyerhoff and Barb Rosenstock, just to name a few?

I was especially taken with the honest Q + A – The Best of the Q-And-A Wednesday sessions from the online summer camp.
Again, notables truthfully responded to a host of questions, including those about intimidation, making and finding writing time, connecting with our characters, handling point of view, the passage of time and too much description.

Tools, short-cuts, exercises.  The list of writing aids goes on and on.  Think Writer’s Notebooks, three-column brainstorming, outlining, world building, selecting and using mentor texts. 

“Write,” Kate tells her readers, “because you have things to say – arguments to make, stories to tell, poems to share – and no one else in the world has your unique voice with which to say them.  And do it,” she adds, “for the young writers you hope to inspire.  In making time for your own writing, you’ll be crossing a barrier, joining them as real, vulnerable members of a community of writers.”

"Amen!" I say, along with "Thank you, Kate!"
59 Reasons to Write is a terrific follow-up to Real Revision, offering yet another valuable writing book for those of us lucky enough to be “TeachingAuthors” and writers.

Enjoy, learn and write!  
Esther Hershenhorn


Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for this review, Esther. Our library has 3 copies and they're all checked out! I'm on hold waiting my turn to read this book.

Wild About Words said...

Esther, you're write, er, right. It's a great book. I use it with my creative writing students. And I always, ALWAYS write alongside my students. It's more fun that way!

Esther Hershenhorn said...

There's a reason why there's a wait for this book at your library, Marti.
As Donna says,"it's a great book!"
It's what I call a WIN-WIN-WIN effort - for teachers who write, for the students they teach, for the community of writers they become.