Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Captain Sam and Eddie (a writing exercise)

Captain Sam swung his lantern three times. Moments later, a schooner emerged from the thick fog cloaking the harbor.

Eddie tugged his cap tighter over his head and clasped his hands together, trying to stop the trembling. "Will it take me home?" he asked.

Captain Sam bent to Eddie's level and looked him straight in the eye. "There's no tellin', lad. But it'll get ya closer."


Sam and Eddie

Sam is stuck in traffic.

Eddie wakes up from her nap and playfully hits Eddie with her softball cap. "I thought we were on the freeway," Eddie tells her sister.

"We are," Eddie answers, "but we are not free."


Sam and Eddie

"Sam? What a stupid name for an alligator," said Eddie, leaning over the railing of the Morgan County Zoo Everglades exhibit. "I bet you're not even real. You're probably just a stupid plastic fake. I bet if I poked you with this stick, you wouldn't even open your eyes. I bet if I kicked you with my tennis shoe, you wouldn't even open your mouth. I bet if I -"

"Gulp!" said Sam, then eased himself into the cool dark pond to digest his late afternoon meal in happy silence.


writing exercise

Eddie buckled Sam into her stroller and stretched a floppy sunhat over her head. “Hat,” he said.

Sam pulled the bonnet off. “No hat,” she said.

Eddie knelt to pick it up. He tied the straps snug under Sam’s chin. “On,” he said.

Sam reached up, yanked a little harder, and removed the hat again. “Off,” she said. This game was fun!


Two lines of dialogue, one gesture, and one item of clothing exercise

For this round of blogs, we are doing an exercise that is designed to focus on the importance of details and dialogue to a story. It's a fun exercise that I use with my writing students to quiet their inner censors (as there is no expected outcome), and to help them remember the importance of bringing the reader in to the story through dialogue. Here are the "rules" - using at least two lines of dialogue, one gesture, and one item of clothing, write a paragraph or two with Sam and Eddie as the main characters. And here is the result from my almost following those rules: "I'm outta here," said Sam, pulling her jacket on over her heavy sweatshirt. Eddie followed her out into the snow. "Where are you going Sam?" "Anywhere that mom isnt'! Get back inside, Eddie. You're shivering." "Not until I know you're okay." Sam hugged her baby brother and pushed him toward the door. "You be good, Eddie. Promise?" "Promise," he said. Sam reached into her pocket for the car keys and felt Eddie's lucky rabbit's foot still warm from the heat of his hand.


The YA Goddess

One of the blogs I frequent rather often is that of Teri Lesesne, the YA Goddess. It is a very apt name for this professor of children's lit. She is always on some ALA committee or another, attends every conference in the world ( or so it seems), and is so up to date on books it is almost scary. I also got the chance to meet her at NCTE this past November. Check her out: http://professornana.livejournal.com