I am eyebrow deep in a week of school visits and having tons of fun!
Here's what the kids get to do:
The program is for 4th grade (although I think it could easily be done with 5th or 6th grade too.)
They begin with visits from an author, an illustrator, and an author/illustrator who talk about the creative spark (basically where they get their ideas from) and show and tell a little bit about how they work.
Then each child is given a notebook/journal to draft his or her story in. Over the next two weeks or so, the kids work on their stories in selected class periods and as much as they want on their own.
Then I come in right at the point where they're all getting stuck and aren't sure what to do :) We talk about the elements of story - what things you need to make a story work - character, setting, problem/goal etc. - and what you can do to get your story going again if it has stalled out.
A week after my visit, a professional editor comes in to help them edit their stories.
This is followed by a book cover designer who teaches them basics of making an attention-grabbing cover.
Finally a marketing specialist comes in and talks to them about various ways to market books.
Illustrations are created on separate pages so they can be easily put into the finished book, which will be handmade by each child.
They finish the whole spring project with a book fair to which parents and all the rest of the students in the school are invited. Each book is displayed for everyone to view and read.
Doesn't that just sound amazing? I wish my school had had a program like that when I was in 4th grade (or ever!)! I think it's such a valuable experience for the kids to get that much hands-on learning from professionals in the field of writing and publishing, and to have the opportunity to create and display their own work. They come away from the experience feeling that writing and illustrating are possibilities, not just pipe dreams, and that has to be a boost to their creative spirits.
So please, go forth and spread the word! :)
Now then, grab a donut! It's time for everybody's favorite Wednesday feature, Would You Read It!
This week's pitch comes to us from Jarm, a freelance writer for Women & Children. She has been published three times in Thriving Family Magazine. Her passion is to make the Bible and history come alive for children. Feel free to check out her blog.
Here is her pitch:
Working Title: Waiting For An Idea
Age/Genre: PB (ages 6-11)
The Pitch: Jerry is waiting for an idea to come. He walks his dog, swings in his backyard, and even goes inside for milk and cookies. hoping to coax one into his head. But, alas, it's not until he opens Aunt Polly's gift that an idea... well... an avalanche of ideas, spill forth!
So what do you think? Would You Read It? YES, MAYBE or NO?
If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest. If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Jarm improve her pitch. Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome. (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful. I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)
Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks! For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above. There are openings in August, so you have time to polish :) for a chance for it to be read by editor Erin Molta!
Jarm is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!
And I am off to another day of school visiting :)