Thursday, August 13, 2015

16 Picture Books About Writing

The books on this list are all about writing! They are organized into four categories: What Writers Do (books about authorship and types of writing), Writing Your Name (books about kids learning to write their own names), Creative Writing (stories about the creative process of writing a story or essay), and Writing Implements (books starring pens and pencils as characters.)

What Writers Do

  • Written Anything Good Lately? by Susan Allen and Jane Lindaman, illustrated by Vicky Enright
    This alphabet book provides young readers with a great foundation in the many different types of writing they can do, from telling their autobiographies to giving directions to their houses. 
  • Author: A True Story by Helen Lester
    In this light-hearted picture book biography Helen Lester traces her writing career from the scribbles of toddlerhood through her struggle with "mirror writing" in school, and on toward adulthood, where she is the creator of beloved stories such as Hooway for Wodney Wat and Tacky the Penguin
  • If You Were a Writer by Joan Lowery Nixon, illustrated by Bruce Degen
    In this fictional story, Melia wants to be an author just like her mother. Though this book could use some modernizing (few authors, aside from possibly Kevin Henkes, work with typewriters these days), but the advice to show rather than tell and the family's enjoyment of words and wordplay still makes it a worthwhile read. 
  • What Do Authors Do? by Eileen Christelow
    This non-fiction picture book tells what writers do, from the beginning brainstorming stages of a story, all the way up through the publication phase. The informational text is accompanied by a fictional narrative told in comic book panels, in which two authors are inspired to write a story by a funny interaction between their pets.  

Writing Your Name

  • Yoko Writes Her Name by Rosemary Wells
    Yoko, a young Japanese cat, writes her name perfectly in Japanese, but she is teased by her classmates, who believe she is just scribbling and therefore won't be allowed to graduate from kindergarten. 
  • The Day of Ahmed’s Secret by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland, illustrated by Ted Lewin
    Ahmed hides the happy secret of his newfound ability all day while he travels the streets of Cairo delivering fuel to help his family earn money.
  • Write on, Carlos! by Stuart J. Murphy
    In this book from the I See I Learn series, Carlos wants to learn to write his name like his friends can. As Carlos's mother helps him identify each of the letters of his name, readers are also shown the letters on an alphabet strip at the bottom of the page, which reinforces their own letter knowledge. 
  • My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska
    When Yoon and her family move to the U.S. from Korea, it takes her a little while to accept how her name is written in English, and to want to write it herself. 

Creative Writing

  • Rocket Writes a Story by Tad Hills
    Rocket the dog wants to tell a story of his own, but finds himself dealing with writer's block until his friend the yellow bird encourages him to go out and gain some life experience. 
  • Poppy’s Best Paper by Susan Eaddy, illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
    A young rabbit named Poppy thinks she wants to be a writer when she grows up, but when it comes time to write papers for school, she becomes overconfident and rushes through her work. Finally, after getting into trouble for outbursts at school and at home, she finds a topic she is passionate about and hands in her very best paper. (I recently received a digital ARC of this book from Charlesbridge Publishing via NetGalley.) 
  • Arthur Writes a Story by Marc Brown
    When Arthur is given an assignment to write a story, he worries that the topic he chooses will be boring in comparison to what his classmates decide to write about. 
  • Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk
    Sam, a mouse who lives in a library, begins to write and illustrate his own stories and leave them for the kids who use the library to find. 

Writing Implements

  • The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Bruce Ingman
    A pencil begins to draw, and soon a whole world is born. Unfortunately, all the people and creatures created by the pencil soon begin to complain, and before too long, the pencil feels compelled to draw an eraser to rub them all out! 
  • The Obstinate Pen by Frank W. Dormer
    Horace's Uncle Flood knows just what he wants to write with his pen, but the pen has a mind of its own and instead writes silly insults directed at Uncle Flood himself! 
  • The Little Red Pen by Janet Stevens, illustrated by Susan Stevens Crummel
    The little red pen has lots of homework to correct, but neither the stapler, nor the eraser, nor the pushpin will help her in this school-centered retelling of The Little Red Hen. 
  • Little Red Writing by Joan Holub, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
    A little red pencil must make her way through the writing process while avoiding the Wolf 3000 pencil sharpener in this clever retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. 

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