Good writing skills seem to be less and less common as kids of all ages type or text to communicate their thoughts. But, it’s a proven fact that the more children read, the better their writing skills. Here are some outstanding books to help initiate thought and motivate the reader to create by writing down his or her thoughts. All of these books are good for ages eight and up, except for the last book which is good for all ages.
I Love Words, by Francoize Boucher, is an activity book that encourages, in a very fun layout, writing, drawing and enjoying the creative process. There are poems to write, words to make up and define, secret codes to break and riddles to create and much, much more. So what are you waiting for? Get writing!
Create-A-Story Kit: StoryWorld, by John and Caitlin Matthews, is actually a series of cards with detailed and colorful pictures on one side. Just pouring over the pictures alone will surely bring stories to mind. But on the other side, you’ll find questions begging to be answered as your story begins to take shape. The newest thematic editions are “Fairy Magic”, “Tales From the Haunted House” and “Quests and Adventures”.
I always look for any Klutz published books because so many of them encourage creative writing. Write in White: Doodle Journal, by Karen Phillips, has a kid-friendly layout that will enthrall children to pick up the gel pen that’s included and begin creating.
Splat Art: Blops & Dribbles In Need of Your Scribbles, by Andrew Pinder, has another layout that after kids create the spectacular picture from an unusual shape, a story most likely will begin to formulate. The other thing I love about Klutz is the ability to motivate kids to read instructions in order to build the product inside the book.
Make Mummy: Shrink a Head and Other Useful Skills, by Pat Murphy, is filled with many items you can make by following the directions in the book. There’s even material to build a Sarcophagus, but you have to know how – which means following the step-by-step instructions.
Who Do You Think You Are? Be a Family Tree Detective, by Dan Waddell, is a great hands-on book to help youngsters understand the importance of genealogy. It helps them understand the importance of learning, reading and writing down moments and memories of loved ones now and long ago. There are fold-outs, a family tree to fill out and much more. This could just be the motivation for your child to become a genealogist!
The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: 14 Amazing Authors Tell the Tales, by Chris Van Allsburg, has some of this famous painter’s trade-mark intriguing and unusual illustrations along with an all-star cast of authors telling their own tales from their impressions of these pictures. But why not tell your own tale as well?
Little Treasures: Endearments from Around the World, by Jacqueline K. Ogburn, and illustrated by Chris Raschka, features words that children will identify with and showcases different languages and how they are written and their pronunciation. There are words from Germany, Ethiopia, Argentina, India and many more.
You Choose, by Pippa Goodhart, and illustrated by Nick Sharratt, is a fascinating book packed with colorful pictures with a subject on each 2-page spread for you to choose. What this book could actually do is initiate some thinking as choices are made and from there stories could be created. For instance, there are pages of travel, a type of home and even what type of job would you choose from the pictures.
The next three books all have the subject of people and houses from different places in the world. The geography of these locations will motivate all to write about where they live or possibly where they’d like to live. All three books open the world of thought and information.
If You Lived Here: Houses of the World, by Giles Laroche, shows houses of long ago and current lodgings with descriptions of house type, materials used, location in the world, the date of when it was built and other interesting facts. Chances are this book will bring about your own creative design and description. Some of these dwellings include a Pueblo in New Mexico, a Yurt in Mongolia and a Chalet in the Alps.
Mirror, by Jeannie Baker, is a cleverly packaged book that showcases two families living in two different locations in the world: Australia and Morocco. One side of the book has the Australian boy getting up in the morning and eating breakfast and then going on through his day. On the opposite side, the Moroccan boy does similar activities, but eating different food. It also demonstrates the different languages.
People Around the World, by Pat Jacobs, is a board book filled with small lift-the-flaps to learn about different regions by lifting the flaps and discovering what these people, in a certain location, do to make their food and how they live. Each section is a two-page spread which includes life in an African village and market day in the Middle East. By opening the world to youngsters, these books will surely motivate them to think and write.
And this last book is a great ending to my review tying reading and writing together: So You Want to be a Writer! How to Write, Get Published, and Maybe Even Make it Big!, by Vicki Hambleton and Cathleen Greenwood. This most informative book is filled with a step-by-step guide to inspire great writing. But to be a good writer, you must read, read, read. So what are you waiting for?