My Writer Girl
Today, seven year old A woke me up when her alarm rang. Then, she went into the kitchen and started working on a story while I made breakfast. She wrote while she ate. She wrote while I got the other girls dressed. She wouldn't stop writing. Ten minutes before we were supposed to walk out the door for school, I reminded her to get dressed. She had just one more sentence to write. Nine minutes to go: one more sentence to write. Eight minutes to go: she finally went to her room to get dressed and do her hair, telling me that the story is finished and that I need to type it today.*
It's a cute story--What Creature is Babysitting Anna? with lots of repetition.**
She has a big plan for this story. Her illustrations will be photographs that she takes with her digital camera. (Does anyone have a dinosaur mask I can borrow?!) When her class had a traveling stuffed lion last year, she dressed him up and posed him in front of the house by the snow, on her sister's high chair, reading a book, in bed under the covers...and other cute lion places. Then, she put those pictures into PowerPoint and made a Valentine for each kid in her class -- from the lion.
So, her inspiration for the art in her book comes from that. It also comes from a very cute book we read last night, Dougal the Garbage Dump Bear (Kane/Miller Press). The story is about a bear who is neglected by his owner and winds up in the dump. He has great adventures in the dump and makes lots of friends and learns that sometimes bad luck is the best kind of luck to have. It is VERY cute, among my top ten picture book reads of the year.
The story is cute, but what makes this book spectacular is the art. The author, who found Dougal in the dump where he used to work, took pictures of Dougal and friends doing cute things (like sitting on a bench and feeding ducks). The photos are laid out scrapbook style to tell Dougal's story.
I leave you with a few thoughts:
1) Why is it that my seven year old is more disciplined about her writing than I am?
2) Is it legal or ethical to collaborate with one's minor child on a manuscript?
3) Check out my review of Dougal the Garbage Dump Bear at YA Books Central.
* In case you were wondering, this story is not homework. She is really into her writing right now. She wrote a story about 18 Monkeys Sitting in a Tree (her teacher calls them the 18 monkeys) and read it to the class. Anyone who writes a story on their own time and reads it to the class earns the right to sit in the author's chair during DEAR time. A HUGE deal to the kids -- or at least to the three monkeys who have written stories.) She also brings home her free time writing folder to continue work on her stories, which are very cute!
**I love her stories! They always fit common patterns we all learn when writing...the three events, counting down, or a repetitive line. If I may pat myself and hubby on the back for a moment...I can tell she's a child who has been read to a lot! :-)