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]


Please Read My Diary!

People have kept journals for a myriad of reasons: during frightening times of war, as a way to record travels and exploration, or just to lament about school and crushes. Journals and diaries are particularly important during times of trouble because they provide historical evidence for major historic events. But daily journals kept during times of peace also provide information for what life was like for the average person. This list features books written in a notebook or diary format, from the silly to the serious. Some are written as fictional stories and others are copied from actual diaries and memories. Perhaps these honest tales will inspire you to write down your own.

When searching for books in a diary format, try searching the subject phrases “juvenile literature” or “juvenile fiction” with subject phrases like “diaries,” “personal narratives,” and “children’s diaries.”

Picture Books

Cronin, Doreen.
Diary of a Fly. 2007.
A young fly discovers, day by day, that there is a lot to learn about being an insect, including the dangers of flypaper and that heroes come in all shapes and sizes.
[SSHEL S Collection S.E. C881di]

French, Jackie.
Diary of a Baby Wombat. 2010.
Through a week of diary entries, a wombat describes his life of sleeping, playing, and helping his mother look for a bigger hole in which to make their home.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. F888d2010]

Beginner and Intermediate Nonfiction

Columbus, Christopher.
The Log of Christopher Columbus’ First Voyage to America in the Year 1492. 1989.
Presents the log of Christopher Columbus as copied out in brief by his companion, Bartholomew Las Casas, relating the day-to-day drama of a long sea voyage into the unknown.
[SSHEL S Collection SB.C726C1]

Carter, E.J.
The Lewis and Clark Journals. 2003.
Provides a history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, including excerpts from journals that Lewis and Clark kept during the journey, and describes how historical documents such as these can be restored and preserved.
[SSHEL S Collection S.917.804 C245l]

Li, Judith L.
Ellie’s Log: Exploring the Forest Where the Great Tree Fell. 2013.
With help from her parents, a forest manager and a wildlife biologist, and in the company of new friend Ricky, eleven-year-old Ellie fills a field notebook with sketches and notes about nature in the woods near her home. Includes suggestions on how to keep a field notebook. A teacher’s guide is available online.
[SSHEL S Collection S.577 L6121e]

Middle Grade

Moss, Marissa.
Amelia’s 5th-Grade Notebook. 2003.
Amelia uses her diary to record the great events in her life during the year which she spent in the fifth grade.
[SSHEL S Collection S.M855a5]

Campbell, L.A.
Cartboy Goes to Camp. 2014.
Filled with photos, drawings, and timelines, Hal’s journal chronicles his hilarious adventures at Camp Jamestown — where nothing has changed in 400 years.
[SSHEL S Collection S. C1531ca]

Fanelli, Sara.
Dear Diary. 2000.
Peek between these droll pages for the hand-lettered story of one very strange day in the life of just about everyone and everything in sight. This unusual title is an oddball assortment of diary writers who tell all in a quirky, colorful picture-book collage with a touch of attitude.
[SSHEL S Collection S.F2131d]

Platt, Richard.
Pirate Diary: The Journal of Jake Carpenter. 2001.
The fictional diary of a nine-year-old boy who, in 1716 sets off from North Carolina to become a sailor, but ends up a pirate instead.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. S.P697p]

Teens and Young Adult

Kinney, Jeff.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley’s Journal. 2007.
Greg records his sixth grade experiences in a middle school where he and his best friend, Rowley, undersized weaklings amid boys who need to shave twice daily, hope just to survive, but when Rowley grows more popular, Greg must take drastic measures to save their friendship.
[SSHEL S Collection S. K623di]

Russell, Rachel
Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life. 2009.
Fourteen-year-old Nikki Maxwell writes in her diary of her struggle to be popular at her exclusive new private school, then of finding her place after she gives up on being part of the elite group.
[SSHEL S Collection S. R917d]

Rennison, Louise.
Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson. 2000.
Presents the humorous journal of a year in the life of a fourteen-year-old British girl who tries to reduce the size of her nose, stop her mad cat from terrorizing the neighborhood animals, and win the love of handsome hunk Robbie.
[SSHEL S Collection S. R2952a2000]

Evans, Zoe.
Revenge of the Titan. 2012.
Preparing for a first competition with the Grizzlies only to learn from mean girl Clementine Prescott that her popularity has tanked, Maddy harbors suspicions that her new secret friend, Katie Parker, may be responsible.
[SSHEL S Collection S. Ev151r]

Nonfiction Teens and Young Adult

Al-Windawi, Thura.
Thura’s Diary: My Life in Wartime Iraq. 2004.
Nineteen-year-old Thura al-Windawi kept a diary during the conflict in Iraq, saying that it was her way of “controlling the chaos.” The diary, which documents the days leading up to the bombings, the war itself, and the lawless aftermath, puts a personal face on life in Baghdad.
[SSHEL S Collection SB. A316t]

Roubickova, Eva.
We’re Alive and Life Goes on: A Theresienstadt Diary. 1998.
Presents the diary entries of a young woman living in the Jewish ghetto of Theresienstadt, a model concentration camp designed by the Nazis to show to the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations.
[SSHEL S Collection SB. R853w:E]

Greenberg, Judith E.
Journal of a Revolutionary War Woman. 1996.
Entries from the journal of Mary Titus Post written during the American Revolution are presented with background information to help explain their historical context.
[SSHEL S Collection SB.P8572G]