Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Great Books That Inspire Writing

Building on my last post about books that inspire reading, here are some of my favorite books that celebrate and/or support writing, for children and adults:

The Best Story by Eileen Spinelli

Author: A True Story, by Helen Lester

Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook, by Ellen Potter and Anne Mazer

Ish by Peter H. Reynolds

The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Amelia’s Notebook by Marissa Moss

Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street

And here are some of my favorite adult books about writing:

On writing in general…

The Well Fed Writer & The Well Fed Self-Publisher, by Peter Bowerman

Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg

Bird by Bird, Anne LaMott

One Continuous Mistake: Four Noble Truths for Writers, Gail Sher

On Writing, Steven King

On writing for kids…

Writing Children’s Books for Dummies, Lisa Rojany Buccieri & Peter Economy

How to Write a Children’s Picture Book – Volumes 1 – 4, Eve Heidi Bine-Stock

How To Write A Children’s Book And Get It Published, Barbara Seuling

The Idiot’s Guide To Children’s Book Publishing, Harold Underdown

The Business of Writing for Children, Aaron Shepard

It’s a Bunny-Eat-Bunny World: A Writer’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving in Today’s Competitive Children’s Book Market, Olga Litowinsky

The Giblin Guide to Writing Children’s Books, James Cross Giblin

Take Joy, Jane Yolen

Picture Writing,  Anastasia Suen

Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories for Children, Nancy Lamb

Writing Fiction for Children: Stories Only You Can Tell, Judy Morris.

Writing for Children and Teenagers, Lee Wyndham

You Can Write Children’s Books, Tracey Dils

Gates of Excellence: On Reading and Writing Books for Children, Katherine Paterson

On Writing for Children and Other People, Julius Lester

Creating Characters Kids Will Love, Elaine Marie Alphin

What are your favorite books that celebrate and inspire writing?


6 Responses to “Great Books That Inspire Writing”
  1. Beth says:

    First of all, thank you for mentioning The Phantom Tollbooth — I was trying to remember that title when I was in the bookstore the other day, knowing that you’d cited it before. Now I can head back to the bookstore with an entire list of wonderful sounding books. (Oh dear. That may not be such a good idea…)

    Have you ever encountered Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk (New York, Abrams, 2007)? It’s a picture book about, yes, a mouse in a library — a mouse who loves to write, and who develops a working relationship with a little boy who loves to draw, and sparks a creativity project for all the kids in the library. I stumbled upon it one day in the bookstore, and I love it. I think you’d love it, too.

  2. Emma says:

    Dear Beth,
    Thanks for the comment, and no – I wasn’t aware of Library Mouse – I’ll definitely give it a look-see!
    Thanks also for your careful proofreading 🙂 and for all the generous shout-outs you’ve been giving me and the course on your own blog.
    Warmest wishes for a peaceful and graceful holiday… I won’t say merry, since I know you are grieving, but I certainly wish you peace and grace.

  3. Joanna says:

    The Phantom Tollbooth is the only one I have read (and reread), so I emailed the list to our librarian to see if we had any others, and I was able to read “A True Story” by Helen Lester yesterday, a very sweet autobiography. We have a superb budget for the school library so our librarian asked me if I wanted her to purchase any for the school, thus I was able to suggest a number from your list that I felt would be a joy for others not just me, then added a bunch of JAC books as well, as we possess none at present :). Teachers are not that forthcoming with suggestions so I always send in a long list of ideas (having helped set up the library for five years I have a vested interest in its success).
    I love new book ideas. Thank you.


  4. Beth says:

    Joanna — the idea of a library with a superb budget, and a librarian who is eager to purchase good quality books, is music to my ears! (I worked in the acquisitions department of a college library for over 20 years.) Both the kids and the teachers will benefit from your influence for years to come.

    Emma — thank you so much for your kind and caring words. I’m doing a lot of reflection on the word “grace” as it is a word that has come up more than once in people’s descriptions of what my mother was like, and your wish for peace and grace over this season truly touched my heart. I wish you peace, love, joy — and grace — throughout the season and in the year ahead.

  5. Joanna says:

    Beth, isn’t it an awesome job to be able to buy and promote books and reading? we are lucky ladies. Our school has been very blessed by a director who totally sees and promotes the central value of the library (she retires next week so I am hoping the new director will share her perception). Blessings on you

  6. Beth says:

    Emma — in the process of coping with and working through my own grief, I’ve been thinking about how one helps kids deal with grief, through reading and writing. I’m reading and writing my way through the various griefs in my life, that’s been my pattern over the years, and I’ve begun to realize that both those avenues are good ways to help kids deal with their griefs as well. So, naturally, I’ve written about it, in this blog post —

    Just wanted to share.

    Wishing you grace and peace,


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