Sunday, December 30, 2012
Creative Kids and a Happy New Year ARC Giveaway of Level 2
Never “write down” for children or teen readers. One of the major rules for authors, right? Recently I was reminded of just how sophisticated those young readers are.
I coordinate the Reflections creative arts competition at my daughter’s elementary school. Yes, I’ll admit it – I volunteered to coordinate a PTA program. (I hear you snickering, Kurt and Collette! And Heather Smith Meloche graciously accepted my request for her to serve as one of the judges.) This year’s theme was The Magic of a Moment, and the 5th grade teachers required all of their students to enter. Their assignment was to write a poem, essay, or short story, and one teacher even brought in a local poet, Alise Alousi, from InsideOut Literary Arts Project in Detroit to lead a workshop for the kids. (A huge thanks to Kristine Uyeda, writer-in-residence for InsideOut, and local author/teacher Barbara Rebbeck for also serving as judges!)
Alise began by sharing a poem with the class. The students readily identified various elements - similes, personification, alliteration. Later, when the students wrote their own poems, their teacher wouldn’t allow them to turn in their first draft, or their second, or third; she challenged them to dig deeper, to find fresh, unique images, to revise again and again. The kids set their poems aside, returned to them days later, rewrote, and after 3 weeks of this process, they turned in their final work.
As the coordinator, I had the privilege of reading their writing before it got sent to the judges.
“The breeze as cautious as a fawn”
“Fireworks decorated the sky like Christmas ornaments”
“It was like hitting dust”
The students wrote about common, special moments – a new puppy, a new sibling, a soccer goal, a dance recital – but they also wrote about art, fear, nature, life, death, our universe, and the feeling of being merely “a freckle” on the vast landscape of our world. The wisdom of ten-year-olds.
If you’re a teacher or a parent, you have plenty of opportunities to spend time with children and teens, but if not, I encourage you to make that one of your New Year’s goals. I guarantee you’ll be impressed by their deep thinking, and they’ll inspire you to write fuller and truer. In case you missed it, here’s a humorous essay from the NY Times Book Review from an author comparing her two writing groups – the one for adults and the one for 7-year-olds.
I wish you a 2013 filled with love, peace, and opportunities. And since this is a blog celebrating books and writing, let’s kick off the new year with a giveaway.
Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans. In this gripping exploration of a futuristic afterlife, a teen discovers that death is just the beginning.
I’ve followed the Presenting Lenore blog for the past year and was delighted to receive an ARC of her debut YA novel, Level 2, from publisher Simon and Schuster. Even more encouraging was this review by one of my favorite authors, Mary E. Pearson: “Absolutely gripping. My heart pounded on nearly every page. You won't be able to put it down.”
Indeed, Lenore’s novel is getting great reviews praising her world-building and multi-layered plot. The first few chapters present question after question that will keep you guessing and turning the pages.
Level 2 will be released in mid-January, but you can read it now by entering this giveaway. Leave a comment with your name and email. We'd also love to know about other 2013 debuts you’re looking forward to reading. Please comment by Friday, January 11th. This giveaway is for US and Canadian mailing addresses.
* YA Fusion has 294 followers! I'm not sure why round numbers have so much appeal, but we'd love to get to 300. If you're a new follower, please let us know in your comment and I'll give you an extra entry for the giveaway.
* We’ve been so busy that we neglected our What’s News section for many months. It’s updated now, so please take a look and celebrate our good news.
* On Tuesday, I’m sharing a super simple, quick writing tip over at Literary Rambles. Please stop by to help me wish Casey and Natalie a Happy New Year.