Thanks to Paper Tigers, publisher of my pal Dorina Gilmore, for this. This magazine offers a bundle of publishing opportunity for young creatives.

LETTERS ABOUT LITERATURE  4th grade & Up – A contest of the U.S. Library of Congress. Each year state winners have a chance to become national starss.

Outsiderof this contest, any age can reader can write to an author c/o Editorial Dept/ publisher name/ postal address.  

Practice & for 4th grae & up, plan to win the Library of Congress contest.

* Be a national star with your letter about literature *

Interested in your school district/library hosting a professional development workshop on Reader Response and Reflective Writing? Contact LAL national project director Catherine Gourley for more information at 570-675-3305 or via email at

FREE NOVEL WRITING NOTEBOOKS – helpful, for non-fiction too!

National Novel Writing Month has 3, free, downloadable notebooks!!!!  Elementary/Middle/ High School


WRITING SMARTS by Kerry Madden. I’ve followed her novels ever since she inspired us at the Hollins University program in writing for children. A fabulous author to know!

LOOK AT MY BOOK!  by Lauren Leedy. Multi-talented Florida artist shares tips for kids on writing & illustrating.     See Lauren’s FREE downloadable illustrating & writing process poster at:            


When our daughter was a baby on Florida’s beachy east coast, I found wisdom  for those new-parent days in our community memoir workshop.
Each week I asked older writers to travel back in time to their childhood.
We published the memories in books. This workshop  –  with some of the most special folks now gone – continues back there more than 17 years later. In November 2010 I  visited with one of the writers, who with her husband, presents to school groups on the black experience back in history.

( I hope you enjoy looking at their project,  FILLING THE GAP)

For the STORY STARTERS, find an old person* & ask away!
When they answer, ask follow up questions.
Be sure to plan in advance how to record their memories. If the questions prompt
your own memories then be the writer you are & run with it.
Resource books:
FAMILIES WRITING/ Writers Digest Books
LIKE IT WAS: Complete Guide to Writing Oral History & also THE STORY IN HISTORY/ Teachers & Writers Collaborative
What was your first kiss like?
Draw the floor plan of  the apartment or house where you lived,  when you were young, maybe about 7-10.
What food did you pretend not to eat, as a child?
What is/was your fanciest hat like?
Did you make a box in class to collect Valentine cards?
What older person scared you & why?
Which younger person scared you & why?
When you began cooking, what  food/meal did you make by yourself?
Did you ever take anything that wasn’t yours?  How did you do it? What happened after that?
How did the milk or ice get to your kitchen?
Describe your hiding place.
What poem (s) could you recite?
Write out the words – and sing – a song from your childhood.
Describe the first car you remember in your family.
Did you go to religious services? What were they like?
How many languages did you grow up hearing in your home?
Do you remember the first movie you saw in a movie theater?
Did you march in a parade as a child? What was that like?
How did you get medical care as a child?
Did you know anyone who got lost as a child?
Did you read? What did you read?
Who was your favorite relative & why?
What tree to do you rememeber?
Describe the first boat ride you remember.
Were you scared of the dark?
Did you try to smoke cigars or cigarettes & what was that like?
How far could your roam on your own from home?
Did you tell any Tall Tales or embroider the facts on “true stories” you told?
Where did you keep art supplies and what were they?
What were your boots like?
Can you remember a birthday present?
How did your family take care of a sore throat?
What special dessert did you like most?
Did you ever have your hair cut at home? What happened?
What was a vacation like for your family?
* old= you decide, but old is surely, anything over 79. if you are unlucky enough to not have any truly old people you can go to, someone in their 70s will have to fill in.

If these questions are  the sort that your family enjoys-

KNOW how to connect with the NATIONAL

& also state – such as FLORIDA-  HISTORY FAIRS & 


in writing for elementary, middle school and high school readers & writers, courtesy of the folks at  The Office of Light  with NaNoWriMo.

STORYTELL Tall Tales, Old Tales & more, told with panache by young storytellers


Make yourself into a moving VOKI from

MOVING STORY. Create a short story, draw a bit & send it off to your pal here. Thanks to the creative folks at Seven Stories !

THE ELEMENTS SONG – can you memorize it. Many thanks to the Bookshelves of Doom blog, by way of the Fuse #8 blog.

SING OUT! Thank you, Oberlin College



Children’s author of great talent,  noveist & biograpy writer,  Kerry Madden offers a zippy how-to for young writers, WRITING SMARTS.

If your house seems to collect young writers,  send them for a subscription, here:

The young scribes’ daily responses to  writing prompts will grab the attention of none other than

the mysterious author, N.E. Bode,  widely unseen,  creator of  the book-centric  ANYBODIES  world , involving a  young reader named Fern. This triology is illustrated by Peter Ferguson and is enormously popular wherever books are devoured.

from LOREEN LEEDY for young writers creating books!
Young writers & their families will want to take a look
at author Loreen Leedy’s many books. And this one,
even more so. It’s called
It’s all about creating a book.
More info plus this downloadable free poster is at
Loreen’s spiffy website:

So go, look, already!


Advice with several sites that are reputable for young writers who want to send in their work, with thanks to author Pegi Deitz Shea

SMORIES!  from the UK

Once upon a time, and not so very long ago, across the sea, on a long Land Rover trip , the idea for SMORIES was born.

You write an original story. You find out that a child who trusts you with good cause,  loves it. That child records the story in a lively fashion, for other children. You upload it here, at a site run by creative parents,  Lisa Swerling & Ralph Lazar.


A short video clip for the film, “Library of the Early Mind” about the art of making picture books

The Picture Book Junkies Tell them I sent you.

Tara Lazar

PAGES to decorate – Color, embellish, make into posters, with thanks to artist/author Elizabeth O. Dulemba


Thanks to  April Weyland

CREATIVE MINDS & HOW THEY WORK – Author interviews, including Neil Gaiman. Thank you,  Anderson’s  Bookshop.

FOR Go-Go Juice in your writing world :


The creator of KOALA LOU, POSSUM MAGIC & other treasures confides she gets maybe 4 book ideas a year & quails at the thought of telling a picture book story in 750 words. Her  heart-felt  words are to write from the heart, with your real reader in mind, and be sharp about language.

Many thanks to teacher Ann Danford, for telling me about Mem Fox after you enjoyed her appearance at a conference you attended.  I can’t believe there was a time when I didn’t know about  her & her books. Shows you how much there is yet to uncover. Such as –

THE WAY TO WRITE for CHILDREN: An Introduction to the Craft of Writing Children’s Literature by an Award-Winning Author

by Joan Aiken

This is the  guide, of  all the  fine examples out there, that I send folks to first. BUT also look for Mem Fox’s

book for adults Reading Magic & then all her books for children, beginning with Koala Lou. A teacher who

took her workshop once, Ann Danford, introduced me to the joys of reading Mem Fox years ago & I’ve been a devoted fan since.

New to me but highly regarded by the Tufts Literacy Project are these two:

Awakening the Heart by Georgia Heard, and the Potato Hill Poetry Handbook by Andrew Green.

And hundreds of South Georgia & North Florida children have soared in their writing & reading skills with this, from Florida State Unveristy: Runaway with Words: A Short Course on Poetry and How to Take It with You (textbook), Anhinga, 1998. The talent behind this is Joann Gardner.

And also for kids, here’s a treasure chest of resources:

GEARED  adults who love reading & writing:

On Writing by Stephen King

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharpe

Radios by Jerome Stern

Touch Magic and also, Take Joy, each by our national treasure, Jane Yolen

Steering the Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin

If You Want to Write by Brenda Uleland

Not Quite Feathers Yet: A Beginner’s Guide to the Poetic Life by Lola Haskins

YOUNG WRITERS who are widely read may enjoy parts of some of the above titles, which are all intended for adults.

One more title specifically for young writers but a joy for adults who write:

How I Became A Writer and Oggie Learned to Drive by Janet Taylor Lisle

“People think getting published is the main part about being a writer.

THEY’RE WRONG.  A lot more comes into it, like how great it is to sit

down and write a story out of your own head…”

A novel whose teen character has to babysit his younger brother & doing so, discovers that….

If you aren’t  writing, you need a prescription of writing PROMPTS.  I took these for 30 days & they boosted me.  Block out the 30 days, write anecdotes, vignettes, whole stories that surprise you:

Creatives with caution genes

If it turns out that you know an artist or writer who is low-key,

in the spotlight dept. share

To inspire you, here’s a mini-course in picture books, courtesy of the folks at Picturing Books

No excuses to not be creating, department:

1892, Berea, Kentucky, James Bond:

“…the clouds also bring life and hope, ..the lightning purifies the atmosphere, ..shadow and darkness prepare for sunshine and growth…”

From a commencement address given by a former slave, whose grandson would become legislator, civil rights activist and professor, Julian Bond.

No excuses moment # 2 : paint your way to an idea

a box of watercolor paints, to writer M.R. Street,  Blue Rock Rescue, for sharing this site

No excuses moment # 3:  fix a great plate of food for a pal

from The New York Public Library


Attics, closets & back rooms towering with treasures, for research & writing ideas.




PARENTS, TEACHERS & just regular FOLKS –

Look here for a trustworthy evaluation of Websites about children and families. It’s  from

TUFTS UNIVERSITY & is  recommended by David Elkind, author of THE HURRIED CHILD  & also, ALL GROWN UP and NO PLACE to GO.

copyright Jan Godown