I treasure this final, fun step of writing: making sure my book reaches readers’ hands and hearts.
No matter the space, whether Real or Virtual, in the coming weeks and months I’ll be out-and-about, hand-delivering my book, S is for Story: A Writer’s Alphabet, to my readers and writers, of course, but also to teachers, librarians, parents and children’s book advocates.
“Here,” I’ll say, “this book is for you. It’s wrapped and ribboned and tied with a bow and shouts, when opened, ‘Writers are readers!’”
Be sure to return to this page often as I update my Real and Virtual Space appearances, signings, presentations and visits and upload my story’s Kodak Moments.
Out-and-About in Cyberspace
Writer-to-Writer: Over the Wires
Thanks to technology, I sat in my Chicago writing room and chatted writer-to-writer, over the wires, with the talented third and fifth graders of Wildwood, New Jersey’s Glenwood Avenue Elementary School!
How cool is that!
Each class had emailed me a question, which I then answered and posted on this Tour page.
Check back to read an original piece of writing (or three) from my S is for Story: A Writer’s Alphabet Glenwood Avenue Elementary School readers – and maybe – view a class photo (or six).
- Class 3A
What made you deviate from writing fiction books to the nonfiction selection, S is for Story: A Writer’s Alphabet?
I loved the IDEA of this book, to offer readers an A-to-Z tour of a writer’s life and process. I wanted to offer readers and writers everything I had wanted to know when I was six and longed to become a children’s book writer.
In many ways, the book is just like one of my school visits, wrapped and ribbon-ed and tied up with a bow, shouting, when opened, “Writers are readers!”
- Class 3B
Did anything in your life have an impact on writing this book?
Everything in my life impacted this book!
I write, I teach, I coach other writers, young and young-at-heart.
And every book I ever read, wrote, taught, shared, borrowed or heard, every author I ever met, read or studied, impacted this book too.
So much of what I know about writing and teaching writing I learned from taking books apart and reading like a writer.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not reading a book.
Even when I was young, I read biographies of writers, like my favorites, Louisa May Alcott and Robert Louis Stevenson, or looked up writers in my trusty set of World Books to learn more about their lives.
- Class 3C
How difficult was this book to write?
My fellow children’s book author Betsy Hearne once said, “Writers make choices. That’s what they do!”
And, boy, did I have choices to make!
Which lettered words should I choose?
What story should I tell?
How should I tell it?
Which authors’ words should I select?
Each time I had to choose, I though first about my purpose – to inform, inspire, ready and affirm, then next, about my audience – young writers K through 5.
I’m especially grateful for Ms. Jenny Vincent’s ’08 Fifth Graders at Chicago’s Louisa May Alcott School who helped me brainstorm my letter possibilities, reword the title and suggest children’s books and authors I might include.
- Class 5A
Did you consider using “Imagination” for the letter “I”?
I most certainly did, as did many of the Alcott School young writers, too, when they helped me brainstorm.
To my way of thinking, ideas spark a story, imagination fuels it.
- Class 5B
How did you get the idea for the cover of your book?
Well, that’s an excellent question and one I’ve wanted to ask too.
We need to ask it, though, of the book’s illustrator, the very talented Zachary Pullen.
His website is: www.zacharypullen.com
I think Zak’s flying boy, with his pen and notebook, perfectly captures the book’s spirit.
And, if I’m not mistaken, the model for that flying boy was Zak’s own son.
I bet you didn’t know that Zak painted his own portrait somewhere in our book. Can you find him? (Hint: think Hercules and Harry)
- Class 5C
What is your favorite character in any book that you have read?
Answering this question is as difficult as choosing my favorite book or author, favorite child or favorite student!
A tie would be the way to go, between Hans Christian Andersen’s Ugly Duckling and
William Steig’s Brave Irene.
I hope you know both books and both characters.
Whenever I’m stuck, or need to solve a problem, I re-read the picture book Brave Irene or visit the statute of Hans Christian Andersen and the Duckling in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, right by the Zoo.
Pretty soon, I’m on my way.
Don’t forget to check out my Young Writer Extras at
And, my book’s publisher, Sleeping Bear Press, created fun writing opportunities at http://www.gale.cengage.com/pdf/TeachersGuides/StoryGuide.pdf
S is for Story: A Writer’s Alphabet in the News!
Listen to Katie Davis talk about "S is for Story" at http://authorkatiedavis.blogspot.com/2009/09/learning-new-stuff-on-wtnh.html
Thanks to Cathy Barzen, the CPS MCLT Team Leader, Principal Marcey G. Reyes and Seward’s dedicated faculty for a morning of writing, reading and connecting, all in the service of their K-8 students at the Seward Communication Arts Academy in Chicago, IL.