Books That Inspire Children to Write: Book GIVEAWAY

September 6, 2010

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Book of the week GIVEAWAY: Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes

Last week we highlighted 10 easy steps to introduce journal writing to children. Okay, no beating around the bush this week. As adults, most of us have unrealistic expectations of children. We hand them a journal and expect them to start writing. And even worse, we expect them to write lovely stories and beautiful memoirs. Let’s all admit it, children often don’t have a clue what we want them to write about. So why don’t we give them a little inspiration by reading the writing of some wonderfully talented authors:

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge is a young boy trying to find the answer to the question, “What is a memory?” This book is extremely touching.  When I read this book to teachers, there is not a dry eye left in the room by the time I am finished, including mine.

1. I begin journal writing every year by reading Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox. (preschool – third grade / public school and homeschool) After Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge helps Miss Nancy find her memory, I engage the children in a discussion about their own special memories.

“What is a memory?”

“Does this story make you think of any memories?”

2. Next, I invite the children to draw and write about a special memory.

This is one of MacGyver’s first journal entries in his kindergarten journal. After I read aloud Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, MacGyver decided to write about one of his special memories. We had just returned from a family beach vacation. At night Daddy and MacGyver would walk the beach with flashlights hunting for crabs. We have several scenes above. Daddy and MacGyver with their flashlights. MacGyver’s hand holding a crab. And a submarine. No they didn’t ride in a submarine.  I took dictation.

In his first grade journal, MacGyver wrote about a special day at the park with his cousin Sydni. MacGyver never tells me he doesn’t know what to write about. He knows his journal is a place where he writes about himself, things he likes, memories and things he learns. Each day I ask him what he’s going to write about. First we talk, then he draws and he finishes with his writing.

3. Throughout the year we read books that spark our own memories. Here are a few to get you started:

Who knew the actress Jamie Lee Curtis was so in touch with the feelings of young children.

Discussion Questions:

1. “What makes you feel silly, grumpy, angry, joyful, quiet . . . ?

2. “How have you changed since you were a baby? Do you have any special memories from when you were a baby?”

3. “What’s hard about being 4, 5, 6,  7 . . .? How are you changing now that you are 4, 5, 6, 7 . . .?”

Kevin Henkes is my favorite author! His stories show that he definitely knows children, parents and teachers! I love reading his books to children. They laugh while I read and then we discuss all of the memories that his stories spark.

Discussion Questions:

1. “Have you ever had anything you were attached to like Owen’s fuzzy blanket?”

2. “Have you ever had a friend like Wendell? Have you ever been bossy like Wendell?”

3. “Have you ever gotten a special gift like Lilly’s purple plastic purse?”

4.  “Are you the baby in your family? How do you think that makes your big brother/sister feel?”

Okay you get the idea, I pick books that are about every day life and then start a discussion about memories. Next, I invite the children to draw and write about their memories. Their journals truly become a memoir. These are both sweet stories about mothers and daughters. Miss Enigma, age 3, loves Come On, Rain!

Here are three more for you. I promise I’m going to stop now. No really I am! But it’s so hard to stop telling you about all of the books I love sharing with children. Just for the record, The Ghost Eye Tree, by Bill Martin Jr.and John Archambault, is one of my very favorite books to read aloud.

In honor of Jeannine’s favorite author, we’re GIVING away one copy of Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes

To enter this contest, just answer the following question in the comments section of this post.

Jamie Lee Curtis wrote It’s Hard to be Five. So tell us, what’s hard about being your age? Or even better tell us what you love about your age. (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.)

The Rules:

One entry per person, please.

No entries after 8:00 pm Central Time, Thursday, September 9, 2010

The winner must be a resident of The United States.

The winner will be selected at random and announced Friday, September 10, 2010. Check back it might be you!

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED. You welcome to leave a comment we love to read all of your messages! :)

Life with Jeannine

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne September 6, 2010 at 4:17 pm

This is a great list of books – I’m familiar with (and share your appreciation for) almost all of them! The few I’m not I’m going to have to go find, because they’re in great company! I’m going to cheat the question a little bit, and tell you what (I think) is hard about being 1 (my son’s first birthday is this week). It’s hard being 1 when you are so aware of what’s going on in the world around you, and so desperately want to be part of it, but haven’t totally figured out how to communicate and move around in it!

Brandy September 6, 2010 at 7:48 pm

What’s hard about being my age (32) is knowing more now than I did back when and looking back thinking, “What was I thinking?” Of course, this is exactly the same reason I love being my age too (or any age that is older than I was)…because I can look back and think “I will never do that again” or “Now I understand!” The older I get, the more perspective I have. The books in this post are wonderful…I love “The Relatives Came.”

Tiffany September 7, 2010 at 11:38 am

Visiting from the homeschool hop! Great list of books!!!! I’ll have to check some of them out for the kids from the library!

Robin September 7, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Thank you for sharing the book list. I am writing them all down to read to my children.

Zandi September 7, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Hi!!! What a great blog! I’m so impressed! Love the book suggestions too!! Will check in more often. :)

Bonnie Bindig September 7, 2010 at 6:27 pm

What’s hard about being 43? I would have to say looking at friends who have grown children already or are becoming grandparents! What I love about being 43? Knowing that my children keep me young and with six of them ages 11, 10, 8.5, 6.5, 5, and 3.5 I am enjoying each minute with them and am grateful to be able to homeschool them!

maryanne September 8, 2010 at 7:46 am

So far 30 is a happy age. I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished so far, and grateful to not have health problems. I have a great husband and three gorgeous children. The one thing that is a bit difficult is having many of my friends from college not understand why I would choose to be a mom instead of pursuing a career right now…

Alice September 8, 2010 at 2:07 pm

I’m 36 and there’s honestly not much that’s hard about it! I get to do what I want when I want, I have great kids, a great husband and I like pretty much everything we do. I am right where I want to be!

Anthy September 8, 2010 at 2:31 pm

What’s hard about my age is that I am still working toward getting established in my career, and we want to have more kids but feel we need to wait until we are more settled. What’s great about my age is that I’m in good health, I’m independent, and I found the love of my life.

Dawn September 8, 2010 at 5:08 pm

it hard to actually say 40! everytime i answer the question of how old i am my immediate next thought is “did i just say that?” crazy!!!!!!

Ellie September 9, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Thanks for this extensive list of suggestions. I’ll bring this list with me to the library!

Laura September 9, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Whats hard about my age (27) nothing really – except sometimes I feel that people look at me differently because I am a young stay-at-home mother with two kids who is homeschooling – they think WHY in the world am I choosing this? What I like about my age is the fact that I am a young mom and I am able to have fun with my kids and get down and play and “explore” with them.

Lucille September 11, 2010 at 1:35 pm

hi! from ‘Homeschool for Free’ and ‘Learning Without Borders’. Yes, I had a little ‘blanky’ that helped me go to sleep. It’s feeling the smoothness of the texture between my thumb and fingers that is so calming. (not a good sight for a grown-up..ha ha!)

We have many of the titles you like and also ‘I’m Gonna Like Me’ CD and book by Jamie Lee Curtis :-) “I’m gonna like me ’cause I’m loved and I know it, and liking myself is the best way to show it.”

Natalie September 11, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Thank you for joining my What My Child Is Reading linky and sharing your thoughts. I am 41 now, and it’s a great age. I don’t regret having my child (an only by choice) late in life, and I enjoy rediscovering the wonders of the world with her.

Holly September 12, 2010 at 7:39 am

Thanks for the suggestions! We’re doing journals now, but these books will definitely help.

Janelle September 12, 2010 at 10:13 pm

I love Kevin Henkes, too. We had the pleasure of meeting him this spring at a book signing. He seems like a very nice and quiet sort of man. I noticed that you have several of his older books listed. What do you think of his more recent works? (Stopped by via WMCIR, by the way.)

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