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3 More picture books about writing



Look at My Book: Loreen Leedy, Holiday House, 2004

0503181706a_HDRSynopsis: A how-to for making a book. Shows how to plan, write, design and illustrate a book. Tips on creating characters, settings, revising, art supplies and binding a book.


I Like:

  • It’s a guide, not a story about writing or writers
  • Variety of “characters” are writing books, so in speech bubbles with see their thoughts and differences. The boy is writing an exciting story, the girl’s story is about birds, the dog’s story is about him.
  • Each chapter has tips and examples for fiction and non-fiction
  • Defines the vocabulary: genre, research, characters, setting, plan, storyboard, rough draft and sketches, revise, edit, format, layout
  • Shows the three character’s stories as they progress
  • Talks about style of book by showing different types of illustrations of a mouse
  • Tips about the art work

Caveat: resources at the end may be outdated


Max’s Words: Kate Banks, Boris Kulikov, Frances Foster Books 2006

0503181700_HDRSynopsis: Max has sibling who collect things and they won’t share with him, so he begins collecting words. His brothers think that’s funny. He collects lots of words and the brothers are interested, but still don’t want to trade their coins or stamps for words. Max begins arranging words to make a story.  Soon the brothers are helping pick words to tell the story. Eventually the brothers trade with him. He gives them words and they start another story!

I like that:

  • It shows how and where he collects them from-magazines, newspapers, dictionary, spoken words
  • It shows the variety he collects, small and big words
  • It shows the categories, such as food, colors
  • The illustrations show the words and the piles of words
  • It shows that the same words arranged differently make a big difference: A blue crocodile ate the green iguana. The blue iguana ate a green crocodile.
  • It shows how putting words together creates a thought
  • It is a great example of word collecting and the add a line to make a group story activity


The Best Story Ever: Eileen Spinelli, Anne Wilsdorf, Dial, 2008

0503181659a_HDRSynopsis: A girls sees a sign about a writing contest and wants to win the prize. But she has trouble starting her story. Her brother says stories have action. So she writes with LOTS of action, but she doesn’t like it. Dad says add humor. So she does that, but still not right. Aunt Jane says to make people cry. Her cousin suggests romance. So she reads it and they all want more of what they like in a story, but her mom says the best story comes from the heart. So she begins again and writes about her life. She turns it in and is happy-win or lose-because it’s her OWN story.

I like that:

  • It shows stories can come from the heart or what you know
  • It shows other elements of a story, like humor, action etc.
  • It shows editing, rewriting, starting over to get the best story

Author: Holly Niner

Holly Niner is the author of No More Noisy Nights illustrated by Guy Wolek, and The Day I Ran Away illustrated by Isabella Ongaro. She has had numerous stories published in children’s magazines, and her previous picture books were award winners. Mr. Worry: A Story about OCD, received the 2005 IBBY Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities Award, and I Can’t Stop: A Story about Tourette Syndrome, was the winner of the 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award and a 2005 Bank Street College of Education Best Book. Holly lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

2 thoughts on “3 More picture books about writing”

  1. I think The Best Story pretty much describes most adult writers’ journeys! lol…add this, now that, make it funny, etc.


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