There has not been a lot of time to read out here in SoCal. We are spending tons of time with family: the purpose of the visit--and then trying to do some shopping and, oh yeah, sleeping. But we did come back to the hotel for a couple of hours this afternoon which gave me just enough time to complete SPILLING INK: A YOUNG WRITER'S HANDBOOK by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter (Roaring Brook 2010). What an absolute treasure! It made me want to run out and find a group of kids and share tips and chapters and then write, write, write.
Basic tips about writing and more advanced ideas for more nuanced writing are equally accessible in this book (with some terrific illustrations by Matt Phelan, too). How to begin, how not to get lost, how to find the ending, how to develop characters: there is no stone left unturned. This is a book I intend to share often with my own grad students and with those groups to whom I speak about great books. EVERY teacher who wishes to help young writers needs to buy this book, read this book, use this book in the classroom.
Now, we are off to the rehearsal dinner (at Red Robin, and there is a story behind the choice of this location). Tomorrow is the wedding, so I doubt I will find much time to post. I will post some of the video of my great niece and great nephew as time permits. Family time: it can be the best and the worst of times all at the same time.