Coming up with ideas for books is a natural part of an author’s life. It can be as challenging as it is enjoyable. Children can also take part in this creative part of the writing process.
In a recent school visit to West Tualatin View Elementary near Portland, Oregon, I had a wonderful opportunity to talk with students in Mrs. Courtney Hauser’s third grade class. I was so impressed by all the students—they were curious, attentive and courteous. Students asked great questions and were eager to learn more about my work as an author. I was also impressed with Mrs. Hauser who was very thoughtful and helpful.
For the visit, I brought in copies of Gandhi for Kids, Nellie Bly and Investigative Journalism for Kids, and Earthrise, and gave brief overviews of each book.
I hoped to make the visit interactive, so each student received a worksheet along with a yellow “idea” booklet.
The worksheet was titled, Creating Book Ideas for Kids-Mahoney, and students could fill out the worksheet that used the “who, what, when, where, and why” formula for coming up with their own book ideas.
In addition, students were encouraged to illustrate the cover of their own yellow “idea” booklet.
Students could keep these booklets to jot down ideas for books they might have in the future. I mentioned that many writers often carry a small notebook or journal with them at all times to write down fresh ideas that pop up.
The idea for the booklet activity originated from the “Make a Great Ideas Box” activity in Nellie Bly and Investigative Journalism for Kids. For this activity, young readers learn about decorating a recycled box to store their own great ideas!