I had great fun creating my newest book, S is for Story: A Writer’s Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Press, ’09) – especially once I focused on my book’s purpose. The purpose was offering Young Writers an A-to-Z journey through a writer’s process and life.
Choosing my book’s twenty-six words took time and thought. The possibilities were endless.
First and foremost, though, like all writers, I had to think about my readers. What words would they expect to find in my book? Maybe alphabet and book, for starters. What words would they want to find? Maybe journal and notebook. What words would they need to find? Maybe plot, character and revision.
Fortunately, I had the help of fifth graders at the Louisa May Alcott School in Lincoln Park in my hometown of Chicago, where I’m sometimes known as The Author Lady.
I’m forever grateful for the M word they gave me.
M? Ah, M’s for Magic.
Writing’s simply that.
What if?, suppose.
Stir words you chose.
Pull stories from your hat.
I’ve spent the past year visiting schools, often helping students create their own meaningful alphabet books – about their classrooms, their schools, their families, their lives.
The writers Wow!-ed me non-stop.
It’s funny how Life works out.
Long long ago, before the Internet and ePublishing, before cellular cameras and Snapfish, I’d written my very first children’s book, a photo album, actually, to celebrate my son’s First Birthday, and guess what it was? An alphabet book!
Titled The A to Z of Me, I actually sold the book in a universally-usable format to a publisher of gift books. It was eventually returned due to the high cost of manufacturing.
My grown son and I recently paged through the book, laughing at the images of his Favorite Things and People: Aunt Judy, school bus, the Cookie Monster, toes and Volkswagens!
ARTIST DATE ACTIVITY:
Now it’s your turn to create a variation of that book!
Make a date with your Young Writer to visit a chosen destination and describe the location alphabetically!
Travel your home, your backyard, your street, your neighborhood, your city or town even, alphabetically capturing the people and/or the places and/or the things you both observe.
Bio: Esther Hershenhorn is a former teacher, a mom, and a writer who currently writes children’s picture books and middle grade fiction.
Melissa’s Note: I love Esther’s book S is for Story and share more about it here. The ABC photo book is such a wonderful idea — I can’t wait to do it with my own Young Writers! Thank you so much, Esther, for the inspiration and history on how you created S is for Story!
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