Drop Everything and Write! An Easy Breezy Guide for Kids Who Want to Write a Story by Linda Leopold Strauss [E & E Publishing] (out now).
I believe in full disclosure, so I need to preface this entry with letting you know I've known Linda for many years. How many? I don't quite remember, but I do know that when I decided to jump into the world of writing for children, it wasn't long after that I met her. (That means it's close to 15 years now). In fact, for a long while, she was the only other person who read my work. It was her encouragement that sustained me during those first years. She's very good at encouraging new writers and offering helpful, constructive criticism.
I've championed this book since its inception, and here's why:
Yes, there are other books out there about writing, but this one is aimed at middle grade writers. It's a step by step primer for young, budding writers. Parents can use this to encourage their child's interests and help them along. And teachers have a great resource for any student who comes up and asks for help with "writing a book."
But it's more than that. This book is an excellent starting point for any adult who wants to write for children. The book gives concrete examples of all those terms often thrown around by writers and editors -- characterization, plot, theme, voice, show, don't tell, and dialogue.
In addition, there are some great writing exercises for all ages.
I found one more thing about this book that I loved. As a former English and reading teacher, I found myself reviewing this book with great interest. Not only is it a book about writing, but I kept thinking, "This book would be great to teach literary elements and analysis with the kids." After all, it gives terrific and clear examples of all the elements, provides examples from novels they will (or should) have read, and gives them concise instructions on how to recognize and utilize these devices. What teacher wouldn't love that?
Take some time and check this book out. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at its easy-to-read style, and its many, many uses for kids and adults.