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Five Books That Inspire Kids to Write

By Sheila Welch

For elementary students who are writing essays and fiction, these books might prove helpful as well as interesting for both children and parents.

officer buckle and gloriaOfficer Buckle and Gloria


OFFICER BUCKLE AND GLORIA by Peggy Rathmann is the irresistible tale of a sweet-natured cop who writes safety tips that he reads to the indifferent students at Napville School. When he gets a police dog, he’s thrilled to have his assemblies and his tips suddenly become popular. This classic picture book will introduce children in first through third grades to the concept of writing notes as reminders. But it will be best remembered for its wonderful characters, humor, and clever plot.




You have to write


YOU HAVE TO WRITE by Janet Wong, illustrated by Teresa Flavin, is done in a picture book format with vocabulary that’s accessible to readers as young as second grade. However, its clear, companionable tone will appeal to third through fifth graders who are struggling to handle a school assignment to write something even though they “hate to write.”


Similes and metaphors

SIMILES AND METAPHORS by Ann Heinrichs gives fourth and fifth graders a concise explanation of these figures of speech. It includes many examples that are commonly used in conversation. Knowing the tried and true expressions may peak children’s interest in using interesting similes and metaphors – both verbally and in their creative writing. 


word after word after wordReview it! Helping peers create their best work

REVIEW IT! HELPING PEERS CREATE THEIR BEST WORK by Kristin Fontichiaro, focuses on students enlisting help from other children to improve their writing. The layout and organization in this book are outstanding. It’s designed to look like a spiral notebook, with colorful note tags and clearly written sidebars that contribute interesting and helpful details. In just four, short chapters, young writers will be introduced to a valuable component of the revision process. While the material is intended for children in second through fifth grade, adults—both parents and teachers—will appreciate this informative book.


Word after word after word

In the short novel, WORD AFTER WORD AFTER WORD by Patricia MacLachlan, a group of fourth grade friends become inspired to write because an author comes to their school. This fictional Ms. Mirabel is much like the real author, who has visited numerous classrooms and written many books, including, SARAH PLAIN AND TALL, which won the Newbery. This gentle story will give budding writers a sense of the joy of creating fiction. It’s a good choice for a parent to read aloud at dinner time or for a child to read aloud on drives back and forth to after-school practices. You may find yourself and your third through fifth grade children writing word after word . . .

Sheila Kelly Welch is a mother, grandmother and retired teacher. She counts among her children’s fiction books LITTLE PRINCE KNOW-IT-ALL and A HORSE FOR ALL SEASONS. Sheila's novel, WAITING TO FORGET, has been selected by Bank Street College and Pennsylvania School Library Association for their lists of best-books-of-the-year. Her most recent stories, MESS-UP MOLLY and BIG CAT AND KITTEN, are published on-line by MeeGenius (