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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Kid Konnection: Inspiring Kids to Write

November is an exciting month for writers with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) going on and Le Salon du Livre Event in Montreal. So I am highlighting books to encourage our young ones to write. The first is a fun book about creative writing and the second is one written by a ten-year-old girl!


Be a Writing Superstar by Joel A. Sutherland (Rated: C)
Scholastic Canada
ISBN: 978-0545980005
Published Sept 1, 2010
Paperback, 112 pages
Ages 9-12

Okay, where was this book when I was a kid? I have always loved reading and writing (I published my first book Daughter of Mine in 2008) and this would have been the perfect book for me during my childhood when reading and writing were my solitary activities and I dreamed of someday writing a book. While my friends spoke of soap operas and games, I was reading books well beyond my reading level.

But the beauty of Sutherland’s book is that it appeals to both boys and girls and to both the secret writing kid and the one who would rather surf the Internet than pick up a book, let alone write. Sutherland has a great sense of humour and he knows kids. The book has short chapters interspersed with funny cartoons. It contains fun writing games (teachers could use the advice in this book for their reluctant reader/writer students) and how-to chapters on brainstorming, writing like a wizard, or a superhero or even an alien. How’s that to get kids imagining and writing? He even shows kids how to bind their book once it’s finished and how to host their own book launch, which I thought was fantastic!

And, of course, Sutherland’s love of books and reading comes across loud and clear. No surprise since he is a reference librarian and an author. There are convincing chapters that encourage kids to read a wide variety of genres with a suggested reading list at the end of each. He also includes the interviews of twenty-one Canadian authors such as Robert Munsch and Gordon Korman (my favorite as a kid) and calls them 5 Silly Questions With… They are hilarious and the authors’ answers give us insight into their own sense of humour. Sutherland even shows you how to interview your favorite author.

For the kid who loves to read and dreams of writing his own book, Be a Writing Superstar will be inspirational and may even help to kick start the beginning of a promising new career. For every other kid, it’s a fun book that will make them discover and hopefully explore the joys of reading and writing.

Disclosure: Thanks to Nicole Kritikos from Scholastic Canada for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.


Sewing a Friendship by Natalie Tinti (Rated: C)
Tintinatie
ISBN: 978-0984262519
Published DEc 11, 2009
Paperback,  88 pages
Ages 7-10

This book is written and illustrated by ten-year-old Natalie Tinti, a girl with a bright and very colourful imagination. Tinti creates a fantasy world where the wind speaks and little seven-year-old girls sew and together produce a fantastic outfit for a fashion show. The theme is centered on the value of friendship, and we are introduced to four unique girls who befriend Kiki, “the meanest girl on the planet” to include her on their team as they prepare for the show.

As a writer myself, I was impressed with Tinti’s ability to create unique characters, from their talents and traits to their distinctive clothes. I especially liked Meeka, the girl who loves math and solving problems. Tinti also brought to life a girly, fun world that I am certain will appeal to young girls. My nine-year-old daughter read this book too and liked it although I think the story was young for her as she is already in the middle-grade level books with older characters.  Finally, the original Manga-like drawings are colourful and detailed and match the fantasy world the author created.

There were times when I felt the story was disjointed and a more thorough editing was needed to correct the overall flow of the book and the verb tenses. Otherwise, this is a cute book and story and will appeal to girls between the ages of 5 to 8. I must add that I admire this young writer’s ability to use the elements of story writing (characterization, plot, resolution, etc.) and her bright illustrations to create a unique children’s book. Congratulations, Natalie!

Disclosure: Thanks to Natalie Tinti and ReviewTheBook.com for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

Every Saturday, Booking Mama hosts a feature called Kid Konnection—a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, visit Booking Mama.

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4 comments :

  1. I think the writing book sounds fantastic! My son only had a few teachers who really worked with the students on their writing - I think the schools in the US are doing a poor job in that area.

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  2. Wow! What cool books. I'm not a writer and it's hard for me to imagine writing a book when I was 10 years old. Just amazing! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Thanks so much for the review of my book -- I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it! My main goal was to make reading and writing fun for kids of all types, so the positive feedback I've been receiving has been very rewarding. The world needs more writers!

    I'm blown away that a 10-year-old wrote and illustrated a published book. Way to go, Natalie!

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  4. Be a Writing Superstar sounds like the perfect book for my son. I'm putting it on our wish list right now.

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Thank you for commenting! I appreciate your feedback.

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