This journal contains 10 creative writing activities aimed at 8 to 12-year-olds that can be used in conjunction with corresponding This Writer’s Life episodes on YouTube or explored on their own. I hope it’s of use to budding writers to explore story, language, and imagination, all things they might need right now.
I’m super thrilled to be offering a series of three creative writing workshops for kids at Makers Mess in Silver Lake here in LA! The coolest part? Each session is offered at two different times to fit your and your child’s schedule—Thursday afternoons or Saturday mornings!
One of my favorite things is helping kids express and develop their unique voices and imaginations, and that’s exactly the goal of these workshops for 8 to 12-year-olds! We’ll start with the beginning, of course, crafting a character and writing the scene that starts the engine of the story. In the other two sessions, we’ll write action and comparisons, we’ll revise, and participants will get to be inspired by one another and have some writing conferencing with me as the facilitator. At the close, kid writers will get to take away a Storymap, their story(!), and a special surprise to honor their creativity and accomplishment throughout the three sessions.
The first workshop? Thursday, March 12th or Saturday, March 14th.
Every episode peeks into some aspect of the writing process with tools, activities, guidance, and encouragement. Plus, each one features someone I know and admire who’ll offer a piece of advice from their own creative process! How cool is that?
My intention is to help kids develop their writing skills and confidence as they build their own writer’s life.
The most enormous thanks to Rippin Sindher for her brilliant and supportive directing and Michael J. Salter for beautiful graphics, art direction, and music because without them this project would just be an idea in my notebook.
You are cordially invited to subscribe, share this with young writers, parents, teachers, or librarians, and to please stay tuned!
One of the most meaningful parts of the last school year for me was being part of #kidsneedmentors. The program was started by two teachers and two authors: Kristin Couch and Kristen Picone and Ann Braden and Jarrett Lerner. It pairs authors with one classroom to mentor for one year.
I had the pleasure of being a mentor to a fifth grade classroom a couple of hours away from LA. To start things off, we had an introductory Skype and I sent them some copies of Zinnia and the Bees with goodies. After the teacher and I brainstormed via email and google doc, we figured out some neat ways to collaborate.
I wrote the class letters, which the teacher photocopied for every student. I sent the class two boxes of books. And my favorite thing was using Flipgrid! Students posted videos and I could post video responses—for example, in one they introduced themselves, in another they “booktalked” a book they liked, and in another they asked me a question about writing and I answered it. It was a lot like being in person and such a special way to communicate one-on-one from afar.
The other super neat thing was that I got to visit them twice. The first time was a surprise! The students had been reading and giving feedback on a work in progress of mine, so when I arrived, I read them another chapter. Then I did a writing workshop and as a goodbye, handed out pencils with inspirational sayings about writing. The second time I visited, they knew I was coming and I held one-on-one conferences about a piece of their writing—my absolute favorite thing!
Overall, the experience gave me insight into students and their writing, into what writing curriculums are like, and into the meaningful ways authors can engage with students to promote literacy, reading, writing, and to offer positive encouragement. I highly recommend being part of it. Plus, anything to support teachers is ace!
I’m super excited to be part of the very first NerDCamp in Southern California this summer! If you’re a teacher, librarian, or administrator in the area (or not in the area!), registration is open now for this very special July 19th “unconference” in Torrance.
It’s a free event where educators (and some lucky kidlit creators) come together to “learn and lead” about literacy in all subjects for all students.
Here’s a sampling of some of the authors and illustrators who will be there!
In addition to networking, sessions, and book signings, there are special events at Barnes & Noble Torrance as well for readers young and grown. You’ll find me there on Saturday, July 20th at 1pm for a talk, signing, and pom-pom yarnbombing craft. Andrea J. Loney and Tara Gilboy will be there presenting their books too!
This Saturday, the talented and inspiring Roda Ahmed and I will be presenting on our debut publishing experience followed by a Q&A at the SCBWI LA West San Gabriel Valley LitMingle. Perfect for those curious about what happens after the book deal—all are welcome!