Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What’s on YOUR plate for the Summer?

Every summer I’m tempted to enroll my Inner Child in my local library’s Summer Reading Program.
There’s always an enticing theme – the bi-centennial celebrationLincoln’s Birthday, the Olympics or a new museum exhibit, prescribed fun procedures and the deliciousness of sharing the book you read with a knowing volunteer up-close-and-personal.
The Blue Ribbons, the certificates, the book bags and occasional surprise guest readers all make for a satisfying summer.

This summer, the Chicago Public Library’s Kids Summer Reading Program gave my Inner Child (and me) pause.
I love the title – RAHM'S READERS; but I especially love the tag line – You Are What You Read.

Those are words a writer needs to think about.

A few weeks ago, at a local SCBWI-Illinois chapter program, SCBWI Executive Director and Founder Lin Oliver shared a Writer’s Truth she’d learned from none other than Judy Blume:  “Write the kind of book you like to read.”
How many times have I instructed my students: “Look at the books that line your shelves; look at the publisher names on each book’s spine. Those are the genres, the formats you’ll be writing and those are the publishers you’ll likely target.”

So, what’s on my plate this summer? 

Certainly the kind of books I write,
but also, the kind of books my students and writers write.
In other words,
a variety of children’s book formats – picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction, graphic novels,
a mix of genres, both adult and children’s – memoir, biography, politics and how-to,
and my Standard Summer Fare, a heaping serving of adult fiction.

I’ll be reading more than I’ll be writing, that’s for sure.
But since writers are readers, I’ll still be on task.

 Happy Summer!

Esther Hershenhorn

Writing Workout

What’s on YOUR plate for the Summer? 

Recently the U.S. Government instituted the What’s On My Plate program, reshaping and re-visioning the once-revered Food Pyramid to ensure we eat a balanced diet of essential nutrients.

Just for the fun of it, see if there’s balance to your Summer Reading selections.  Section the plate below by audience, or by format, or by genre, or by subject, then place your stacked titles accordingly.
 And, think about the kinds of books you write.  Was Judy Blume’s advice on target? Do you write what you read?


Anne Bromley said...

Thank you, Esther, for that poignant reminder, "Write the kind of book you like to read." It is a very lofty goal, indeed, one that will require ever more reading and writing. My summer plate will be filled with tasty morsels from among classic and contemporary picture books and middle grade novels as well as selected titles in eastern metaphysics - books that speak to heart and soul. I want to thank you for recommending WONDER by R.J. Palacio. This book was the first on my summer list, and already I feel almost full. Happy Summer Reading to you too!

Catch My Words said...

I usually read kids' books, but I find it interesting to hop outside the genre every now and then. Thanks for the article.