I’m Writing a Story combines story and images to captivate and inspire young readers to write and illustrate their own stories. A collaboration between artwork and text, this whimsical book has a different voice on each page, with a scene that each “writer” imagines. The concept for the manuscript is based on Doretta Groenendyk’s experience working with children in schools and trying to inspire them to be creative in both their writing and drawing. The text is geared to four- to ten-year-olds, and is an excellent teaching tool for aspiring writers. An ideal elementary teacher’s resource, the book’s characters span cultures, genders, and ages.

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Imagine my story on a star-sprinkled ice. A whistle blows, an owl hoots. Our midnight hockey stirs up the snow and smells like frost.

REVIEW FROM CANADIAN MATERIALS, NOVEMBER 2011

I’m Writing a Story is a book about the endless possibilities open to young children when writing a story. The author gives various examples throughout the book about different story ideas. She touches on different topics, such as climbing trees, best friends, and superheroes.

When I write, it’s about a wind that’s a-blowing,
and they don’t know where they’re going,
two people floating away.

In my story there was a house in the water.
The floods rose too high,
the waves up and caught her.

The illustrations, done by the author, are colourfully detailed and will capture the children’s attention. These pictures help to enhance the imagination. Very young children will also enjoy these illustrations as they are very captivating. The pictures provide good visual clues which could spark children’s imagination and motivate them to try to write a story of their own or provide them with further inspiration to continue with their writing.

The story does not flow as well as other books in this category. Each page has new ideas which seem to be the start of a story of its own. The story does not really have a beginning, middle, and end – just a bunch of new beginnings. However, I would recommend this book as a resource for any elementary teacher to utilize as an aid for introducing young students to the wonders of using their imagination to create their own stories.

Recommended.

Lisa Case is an elementary/junior high teacher-librarian from Calgary, AB.

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