Friday, July 22, 2005

Look at My Book: How Kids Can Write & Illustrate Terrific Books

Leedy, Loreen. 2004. Look at my Book: How Kids Can Write & illustrate terrific books. New York: Holiday House. ISBN 0823415902 [Suggested Grade Levels 1-4]

Not only is this a great how-to book for children, Look at my book is also a great introduction to information literacy and writing for everyone. Leedy systematically presents all the steps needed to do research, write stories, or draw comic books. By presenting the information in such an appealing and accessible way, Leedy has simplified what many teachers try unsuccessfully to teach.

Leedy starts out with how to get ideas and moves on to brainstorming. The various tasks are defined and lists of tips are included for each task. Three different characters are introduced and followed throughout the text: a boy who wants to write an exciting story, a girl who wants to write about birds, and a dog who is basically comic relief, but who does contribute to the discussion of how to go about writing and executing the tasks involved. We are shown thought bubbles as the characters consider how to apply the information they receive and as result the writing process is very clearly defined.

Leedy covers every step in the writing process, from brainstorming to research, from genres to plot, setting, and characters. She also presents the importance of planning, rough drafts, and rough sketches. The final section of the book is on format and layout, with discussions about art, lettering, and binding. Whether read individually or by class, LOOK AT MY BOOK will provide just the confidence needed by students to undertake just about any writing task.

Invite children to make a book. Limit the scope to either informational or creative writing.
Working individually or as a group, let children go through the processes described in the book. Present their books to other students or other classes. Trade topics and do again. Compare and contrast the different tasks involved. Have fun.

Marshall, Pam. From idea to book. ISBN 0822522004
Stevens, Janet. From Pictures to Words: A Book About Making a Book. ISBN 0823411540

By Cay Geisler

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