The Write Way to Read

Did you know that November is National Novel Writing Month? With the weather getting chillier, it’s a great time to buckle down and get to work on putting that story in your head to paper. Need some inspiration? Would you rather just read? Either way, be sure to check out the titles below for some awesome stories about people who love to write and some tips for how you yourself can be an even better writer. For more information about National Novel Writing Month, take a look at the website for the nonprofit organization that started it all:

If you’re interested in finding more books about writing, search the catalog using keywords such as “juvenile fiction” for fiction books, “juvenile literature” for nonfiction books, and an additional term such as “authorship,” “writing,” or “writers.”

Detweiler, Katelyn
The Undoing of Thistle Tate. 2019 (Young Adult Fiction).
Thistle Tate has it made. At seventeen, she’s already the author of a bestselling series and has millions of fans. There’s only one problem: she didn’t actually write the books. As fans clamor for the final book in her series, Thistle’s guilt starts to unwind her relationships, career, and identity. With an insider’s look into the publishing world, this makes for a fascinating read.
[S. D486un]

Eaddy, Susan
Poppy’s Best Paper. 2015 (Picture Book).
When Poppy grows up, she is going to be a verrryyy famous writer. But despite what she thinks are her best efforts, the teacher never chooses her paper to read to the class! Will Poppy ever learn that it takes more than just saying you’re going to be a great writer in order to actually be one? Find out in this story that all ages will find relatable.
[SE. Ea22pobp]

Fletcher, Ralph
How to Write Your Life Story. 2007 (Nonfiction).
Not sure what to write about? Why not write about yourself! After all, you are the expert on you. This comprehensive book will guide you through telling your own story, proving that you don’t have to be famous to have a life that’s already worth reading about.
[S.808 F637h]

Gutman, Dan
My Weird Writing Tips. 2013 (Nonfiction).
From the bestselling author of the My Weird School series comes this hilarious guide to writing well. Full of genuinely useful tips and tricks as well as inspiring quotes from real authors, this is a book that will definitely encourage you to pick up a pencil and give you a few laughs along the way.
[S.808.042 G985m]

Kuipers, Alice
Polly Diamond and the Magic Book. 2018 (Young Readers Chapter Book).
For Polly Diamond, words really do have power. When she receives a magic book, everything that she writes down becomes reality! But what should she write about? Chocolate? A new TV? World peace? When things get out of hand, Polly learns what it means to choose her words carefully.
[S. K9577pdma]

López Ávila, Pilar
Ayobami and the Names of the Animals. 2017 (Picture Book).
Follow the story of little Ayobami, an African girl who dreams of learning to read and write. On her way to school, however, a series of dangerous animals threaten her until she promises to learn to write their names. Will she ever make it to school and achieve her dreams? Imaginative illustrations by Mar Azabal bring to life this beautiful story that teaches us that education is not always easy to obtain, but is a path to hope.
[S-Collection SE. L8811ay:E]

MacLachlan, Patricia
Someone Like Me. 2017 (Picture Book).
This semi-autobiographical picture book follows snippets of a child’s life as she grows up to become an author, showing that everyone has an interesting story to tell, and anyone can be a writer. Beautiful illustrations by Chris Sheban give this story a nostalgic feel.
[SE. M22so]

Ryan, Pam Muñoz
The Dreamer. 2010 (Biography: Chapter Book).
This fictionalized biography of the Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda comes from award-winning author Pam Muñoz Ryan. Follow the story of a deeply shy child as he goes on a journey of self-discovery that will allow him to grow up to change the world.
[S. R957d]

Van Draanen, Wendelin
The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones. 2016 (Middle Grade Novel).
Lincoln Jones has always preferred fiction to the messiness of real life. In his stories, he can make anything happen (or not happen), but when a fellow sixth grader named Kandi Kain starts badgering him about his stories, Lincoln may finally be forced to open up.
[S. V2871sel]

Wilde, Jen
Going Off Script. 2019 (Young Adult Fiction).
This contemporary romantic story follows seventeen-year-old Bex as she lands an internship at her favorite TV show. When she realizes her job involves little more than getting coffee, she decides to submit her own script, which is promptly stolen, reworked, and straight-washed by the head writer! Bex and her almost-girlfriend decide to take on the studio for the representation they deserve.
[S. W6443go]


National Novel Writing Month

Not only is November the month of Thanksgiving, of bonfires, falling leaves, and a definite chill in the air – it is also known as National Novel Writing Month! What better time to cozy up inside and work on your creative writing skills than when the weather is becoming gray and cold? Or, help fuel a young one’s dreams of being a writer with some books about characters who decide to become authors themselves. When looking for books related to this topic, try searching subject terms like “authorship” and “creative writing” along with the subject terms “juvenile fiction” (fiction for young readers) or “juvenile literature” (non-fiction for young readers). For resources on writing books for children, try searching the subject term “authorship children’s literature.”

Online Resources

National Novel Writing Month website
This website describes the idea behind National Novel Writing month – it encourages anyone and everyone to write a 50,000 word novel by 11:59 pm on November 30. It is a non-profit organization that partners with educators, libraries, and communities to encourage writing and creativity. You can create an account to track your progress, find inspiration for writing, and be part of a community of writers.

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
This website gives tips on the best way to go about getting your children’s book published. It includes answers to frequently asked questions about children’s book publishing, how to prepare your manuscript for an editor, how to find the right publisher, and suggestions from a publishing editor.

Print Resources on Writing for Children

Fritz, Jean & Zinsser, William.
Worlds of Childhood: The Art and Craft of Writing for Children. 1990.
Six prominent children’s authors, including Maurice Sendak, Rosemary Wells, and Jack Prelutsky, agree that to enter the worlds that children inhabit, you must possess the magic word – honesty.
[SSHEL S Collection S.808.068 W893]

Harrison, Barbara & Maguire, Gregory.
Origins of Story: On Writing for Children. 1999.
In Origins of Story, notable writers for children consider how literature, memory, and moral passion serve the writers. Implicit in their essays is the realization that we have much to learn from literature that mirrors the lives of children.
[SSHEL S Collection and the Center for Children’s Books S. 808.068 Or4]

Picture Books and Early Readers

Auch, Mary Jane.
The Plot Chickens. 2009.
Henrietta the chicken loves to read so much that she decides to write a book herself, but first no one will publish a book written by a chicken, and then, when she publishes it herself and it gets a terrible review in “The Corn Book,” Henrietta is devastated.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. Au22pl]

Brown, Marc.
Arthur Writes a Story. 1996.
The class homework assignment is to write a story, and everyone seems to be writing about something interesting…except Arthur. Will he find something he cares to write about or will his story be a big mess?
[SSHEL S Collection SE. B8143aw]

Hills, Tad.
Rocket Writes a Story. 2012.
Rocket loves books and he wants to make his own, but he can’t think of a story. Encouraged by a little yellow bird to look closely at the world around him for inspiration, Rocket sets out on a journey.
[SSHEL S Collection SE. H559r]

Hobbie, Holly.
Fanny & Annabelle. 2009.
Fanny decides to make her very own picture book, starring her homemade doll, Annabelle.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. H652fa]

Kirk, Daniel.
Library Mouse. 2007.
Sam, a shy but creative mouse who lives in a library, decides to write and illustrate his own stories which he places on the shelves with the other library books but when children find the tales, they all want to meet the author.
[SSHEL S Collection SE. K634li]

Kirk, Daniel.
Library Mouse: A Friend’s Tale. 2009.
Sam, the shy mouse that lives in the library and likes to write books, collaborates with a boy in the library’s Authors and Illustrators Club.
[SSHEL S Collection SE. K634lib]

Rylant, Cynthia.
Mr. Putter & Tabby Write a Book. 2004.
During a big snow, Mr. Putter decides to write a mystery novel, but what he ends up with is entirely different.
[SSHEL S Collection SE. R983mpw]

Intermediate and YA

Butler, Dori Hillestad.
Tank Talbott’s Guide to Girls. 2006.
Tank’s three stepsisters will be sharing his cramped house for the summer vacation. Plus he needs a math tutor and must fill a notebook with his writing — just to pass fifth grade! But he comes up with a guide to girls that is sure to be a hit.
[SSHEL S Collection S. B976ta]

Cabot, Meg.
Forever Princess. 2009.
Although she has recently completed a 400-page romance novel, Princess Mia, in her last month of high school, has yet to pick a college, find a prom dress, or decide if her boyfriend J.P. is really The One.
[SSHEL S Collection S. C1121pril]

Clements, Andrew.
A School Story. 2001.
After twelve-year-old Natalie writes a wonderful novel, her friend Zoe helps her devise a scheme to get it accepted at the publishing house where Natalie’s mother works as an editor.
[SSHEL S Collection S. C5914s]

Creech, Sharon.
Love That Dog. 2001.
Slowly Jack learns the pleasures of writing poetry as Miss Stretchberry encourages him to tell his own story through verse. What emerges is a moving and memorable story about a boy and his dog and his growing passion for poetry.
[SSHEL S Collection S. C861l 2001]

Haddix, Margaret Peterson.
Dexter the Tough. 2007.
A sympathetic teacher and her writing assignment help fourth-grader Dexter deal with being the new kid in school after he punches a kid on the first day.
[SSHEL S Collection and the Center for Children’s Books S. H1172de]

MacLachlan, Patricia.
Word After Word After Word. 2010.
Every school day feels the same for fourth graders Lucy and Henry and Evie and Russell and May. Then Ms. Mirabel comes to their class — bringing magical words and a whole new way of seeing and understanding.
[SSHEL S Collection S. M22wo]

Russell, Ching Yeung.
Tofu Quilt. 2009.
Growing up in 1960s Hong Kong, a young girl dreams of becoming a writer in spite of conventional limits placed on her by society and family.
[SSHEL S Collection and the Center for Children’s Books S. R912t]

Selfors, Suzanne.
Mad Love. 2011.
When her famous romance-novelist mother is secretly hospitalized in an expensive mental facility, sixteen-year-old Alice tries to fulfill her mother’s contract with her publisher by writing a love story — with the help of Cupid.
[SSHEL S Collection S. Se486m]

Service, Pamela F.
Escape From Planet Yastol. 2011.
Eleven-year-old Joshua Higgins’ prize-winning science fiction novel draws the attention of sinister blue aliens who capture Josh and his sister Maggie and take them to the planet Yastrol, the setting of his novel.
[SSHEL S Collection S. Se69e]

Snyder, Zilpha Keatley.
The Bronze Pen. 2008.
With her father’s failing health and the family’s shaky finances, twelve-year-old Audrey’s dreams of becoming a writer seem very impractical until she is given a peculiar bronze pen that appears to have unusual powers.
[SSHEL S Collection and the Center for Children’s Books S. Sn92br]


Fletcher, Ralph J.
Guy-Write: What Every Guy Writer Needs to Know. 2012.
It’s no secret that many guys dread writing assignments. But writing doesn’t have to be “boring nerd-work.” Writing is about power; it’s about fun; it’s about spoofs, humor, sports, blood, farts, superheroes, giant monsters tearing down the city, and serious subjects, too.
[The Center for Children’s Books S.808.068 F6372g]

Harrison, David.
Writing Stories: Fantastic Fiction from Start to Finish. 2004.
Inspiration and guidance for gathering story ideas, writing story outlines, revising, and all the secrets good writers use to make their stories shine. Everything young writers needs to know to improve their stories: how to start a story, suggestions to help with plot, character, voice, and setting, how to end a story, and questions to ask when the story is done to help make revisions.
[SSHEL S Collection and SSHEL Oak Street S.808.3 H245w]

Mazer, Anne; Potter, Ellen.
Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook. 2010.
After receiving letters from fans asking for writing advice, accomplished authors Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter joined together to create this guidebook for young writers. The authors mix inspirational anecdotes with practical guidance on how to find a voice, develop characters and plot, make revisions, and overcome writer’s block. Fun writing prompts will help young writers jump-start their own projects, and encouragement throughout will keep them at work.
[The Center for Children’s Books S. 808.3 M457s]

Myers, Walter Dean.
Just Write: Here’s How. 2012.
An award-winning author guides readers through the writing process, and includes examples from his own works, outlines for writing fiction and nonfiction, and excerpted pages from the author’s writing notebooks.
[SSHEL S Collection and the Center for Children’s Books S.808.02 M992j]