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Sunday, January 31, 2010

There are several different ways to write for kids. I guess it all depends on what you feel most comfortable with...and that makes it work for you and the reader. I have been experimenting with free verse in my writing. For example: Karen Hesse has written her book, "Out of the Dust", in free verse. There are no paragraphs or chapters, but rather topical sections. Personally I think this type of writing flows, is easy to read, and is very economical with words, as is poetry.
Here's an excerpt from "Out of the Dust".
"First Rain,
Sunday night,
I stretch my legs in my iron bed
under the roof.
I place a wet cloth over my nose to keep
rom breathing dust
and wipe the grime tracing from around my mouth,..."

This is the story of a family in Dust Bowl Oklahoma in the 1930's. I feel strongly that for kids who don't find it easy to read conventional books, this type of writing encourages them to pick up a book and read. And in this case, they're learning some history about the 1930's dust bowl experience.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I've heard a few people say they were slightly disappointed in Patricia MacLachlan's latest book, "Edward's Eyes". Patricia has a gift for getting into the mind of a child, feeling his or her emotions, and then expressing them in poetic words. I think all writers change their writing style over time. Patricia is no different.
Here's a quote from "Edward's Eyes": "I smiled. The door opened behind me, and everyone came out and down the yard to the water. And then, for Edward, because he had once said he wanted it, Jack sent off a rocket. It went high in the sky over the water, a big dandelion of light. Albert and I watched the sparks fall back to the water. Then it was quiet again."
Her characters are intelligent, sensitive, vulnerable young people. They "see" a lot in their worlds. This, I think, is important for young people to read and understand: that it is entirely human to be sensitive and vulnerable; to be hurt and survive. Great stuff.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kids Books

The face of book publishing is changing. One thing that doesn't change - a good story is a good story, no matter what format it takes.

I'm going to take a look at some books for kids and just tell you what I think. I received my doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts. I've taught and written about children's books for years. I'd like to share some of what I've learned with you.

I'll be posting my thoughts on kids books that I've read. Hope you'll tell me what you think as well.
Kath Fearing