Right after her wonderful novel Ella Enchanted came out, my daughters and I were lucky enough to meet the author, Gail Carson Levine, at the New York is Book Country Festival. My girls got their book signed, posed for a picture with the author, and truly felt as if they had met a star. I felt that way too, because Carson Levine is obviously a very kind, as well as talented person.
Now, a few years later, I’m the author of my own YA novel, and I was asked by the fab independent bookstore Aaron’s Books in Lititz to teach a writing workshop to teens during the bookstore’s exciting Kid Lit Festival, which they just held last weekend. Of course I went to the library to do a little preliminary research. Imagine my delight when I found on the shelves Carson Levine’s Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly (Collins, 2006). This is a wonderful book for kids who are interested in learning how to write fiction. Carson Levine’s warm and witty voice comes through on every page, gently guiding young writers to explore different aspects of writing, and ending each chapter with the positive message: “Save what you wrote” because everything that you do write has value.
Short chapters cover things like voice, getting started, getting unstuck, creating tension, humor. And each chapter has a bunch of enjoyable exercises that will send young writers off creating over and over again. The use of examples from her own literary struggles, and a good sprinkling of magical elements inspired by her own fiction, lighten the tone and make the reader feel as if she is sitting at the workshop table with the author, having some inspiring fun.
I think that this would make the perfect gift for the young writers in your life, whether they are in elementary school or high school. And for us slightly older kids, well, the energy in these pages feels infectious, reconnecting you with the joy and wonder of creating. Definitely check this one out. Magic!