If You Were a Writer

Overview

Melia wants to be a writer just like her mom. She's not exactly sure what a writer does, though. She sees her mom staring at the typewriter and then she sees her opening up boxes of books. But what comes in between?
With some help from her mom, Melia begins to learn the tools of the trade. She learns how to make pictures with words, how to search for ideas, and, of course, how to start a story. Before she knows it, Melia's creating her own ...

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Overview

Melia wants to be a writer just like her mom. She's not exactly sure what a writer does, though. She sees her mom staring at the typewriter and then she sees her opening up boxes of books. But what comes in between?
With some help from her mom, Melia begins to learn the tools of the trade. She learns how to make pictures with words, how to search for ideas, and, of course, how to start a story. Before she knows it, Melia's creating her own spellbinding tales. Maybe she is a writer after all!

Melia tells her writer mother she'd like to be a writer too, and as the day progresses she receives many helpful suggestions.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When Melia begins to ask her mother questions about what she does, her mother has all the answers. ``A writer doesn't work just with a typewriter. A writer works with words. If you were a writer, you would think of words that make pictures.'' Later, Melia discovers that her mother asks, ``what if,'' when she sees a scene, how she might expand on the story ideas around her, how she gets readers to want to keep reading more, and how she begins with a character and a problem to solve, and then thinks of interesting ways for that to happen. The fundamentals of creative writing are passed along, even the adage to ``show, not tell'' the story, but much of this is wordy. And using the girl and her mother to stage a discussion still has all the trappings of didacticism. Degen's pictures lighten the atmosphere of learning, offering neighborhood scenes of a writer's life at home. The work, despite shortcomings, will be of value to readers, for it gives serious answers to the question of what a writer does. Ages 5-8. (September)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Melia, whose mother is a writer, decides that she might want to be one too. But what is it like to be a writer? How do you know what to write about, what words to choose, and how to shape the characters? To every question Melia asks, her mother provides some specifics but also says, "if you were a writer you'd know." Through Melia's own analysis and the dialogue with her mother, readers learn about the craft and life of a writer, including that wonderful moment when a box arrives with copies of the just published book. 1995 (orig.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3 Melia admires her mother, who is a writer, and wishes that she could write stories also. With encouragement and some helpful suggestions from her mother, she is soon on her way. Some of the practical tips include showing what is happening instead of telling about it; looking for ideas in everyday occurrences and asking ``what if''; inventing characters to solve a problem; and making a story interesting enough that people want to find out what happens next. Melia tries out the advice on her young siblings and discovers, to her delight, that it works. Bright, bouncy illustrations capture the enthusiasm of Melia, who begins to exercise her imagination so that she, too, can be a writer like her mother. This engaging picture book could show the way for other youngsters as well, making writing seem exciting and within their grasp. Sally R. Dow, Ossining Public Library, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689719004
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 3/28/1995
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 254,906
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 560L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Degen has illustrated all the Jesse Bear books. He is the author and illustrator of Jamberry, and the illustrator of the acclaimed Magic School Bus series. He has taught courses on art and the writing and illustrating of children's books to children and adults. Mr. Degen, his wife, and their two sons, Benjamin and Alexander, live in Connecticut in a renovated farmhouse with ducks on the pond, bats in the barn, and a family tree that Jesse Bear himself would love to climb.

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