You Have to Write

Overview

You have to write! It's a class assignment. But you have nothing to write about. All the other kids seem to have something to tell because they start in right away. What can you do? Stop and think. No one else can tell your stories — about your family, your dog or cat. No one else can tell how it was when your library book got soaked in the rain.
But what if you don't like what you write? There are all sorts of ways to change it, to make it better. Keep on playing with your ...

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Overview

You have to write! It's a class assignment. But you have nothing to write about. All the other kids seem to have something to tell because they start in right away. What can you do? Stop and think. No one else can tell your stories — about your family, your dog or cat. No one else can tell how it was when your library book got soaked in the rain.
But what if you don't like what you write? There are all sorts of ways to change it, to make it better. Keep on playing with your words, putting them together in different ways. You want whatever you write to be good. It will get better and better as you work on it.
This is an encouraging book, sympathetically illustrated by Teresa Flavin's charming pictures, for all young readers who worry when they're told to write something.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-This book's gentle but direct approach to creative writing may not appeal to all youngsters, but it may help some students to address some common struggles and to find their own voices. Through free-verse poetry, Wong targets a group of youngsters looking for good topics for a writing assignment. "You want it to be good, to make us cry or bust up laughing when the room is quiet." They are encouraged to look around, and not to be discouraged by the worldliness or experiences of others. "Wait. Did you forget who you are? Who else can say what you have seen? Who else can tell your stories-." A photo albumlike page shows a variety of pets, holidays, hobbies, vacations, and family outings that could be possible topics. "Reach inside. Write about the dark times. -Write about the bright times. -Take your mind for a walk back to this morning, back to yesterday-." Examples are given of parents fighting, a wet library book growing mildew, childhood fears of storms, and taking out the trash. For "Weave them together- half of Draft 1, a word from Draft 4, a whole line from number 5. Try. Because you have to write, and you want it to be good," the illustration shows each child laying out stretches of many drafts on the floor. The simple realistic gouache paintings are rather ordinary but appropriate for the "writing from life" philosophy that is espoused.-Adele Greenlee, Bethel College, St. Paul, MN Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Coming up with new ideas is a common dilemma of many a writer, from budding elementary-school essayists to experienced novelists. Wong (Apple Pie, Fourth of July, p. 583, etc.) offers each young reader a personal idea portfolio of sorts in this poetic exploration of potential subjects for writing topics. Her story, written in second-person free verse, focuses on four upper-elementary students struggling with a writing assignment. The narrator's encouraging voice urges the students to "Reach inside. Write about the dark times. . . . Write about the bright times." Wong gracefully conveys that each writer has a unique family, childhood, and fears that are a rich source of writing subjects. She also works in a couple of ideas about revisions: using multiple drafts and moving pages of text around physically on the floor. Two separate poems written in the voices of the two boys in the class are also included. Flavin (Fly High! The Story of Bessie Coleman, 2001, etc.) contributes gouache paintings that complement the text well, although some of the children in her illustrations hold their pens or pencils at rather odd angles. Elementary teachers will find this unusual combination of poetry and advice a useful introduction to creative-writing assignments. (Poetry. 8-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689834097
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 7/1/2002
  • Edition description: Repackage
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 121,863
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Janet S. Wong is the author of more than a dozen picture books and poetry collections. Her work includes Night Garden: Poems from the World of Dreams, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book, and Knock on Wood: Poems About Superstitions, both illustrated by Julie Paschkis, as well as Grump, a Charlotte Zolotow Award Highly Commended Book, illustrated by John Wallace. Janet lives with her family in Medina, Washington.

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