Resources for writers

I love the sounds and rhythms of words and how they can create a mood and convey emotions. I did a deep dive into this during my time at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where I studied books with emotionally detached main characters and incorporated insights from Robert Pinsky and Mary Oliver’s writings:

  • Rules for the Dance: A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse by Mary Oliver
  • A Poetry Handbook: A Prose Guide to Understanding and Writing Poetry by Mary Oliver
  • The Sounds of Poetry: A Brief Guide by Robert Pinsky

I am fascinated by the physical construction of picture books, the act of sitting together with someone and sharing a story of words and images, and how the words and pictures create a story that neither alone can tell. I also love that picture books have a way of reaching kids and adults in deep and complex ways. Some of my favorite reads about the beauty of picture books are:

  • Show Me a Story! Why Picture Books Matter: Conversations with 21 of the World’s Most Celebrated Illustrators compiled and edited by Leonard S. Marcus
  • Words About Pictures: The Narrative Art of Children’s Picture Books by Perry Nodelman
  • Worlds of Childhood: The Art and Craft of Writing for Children edited by William Zinsser
  • Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books by Uri Shulevitz

Some of my favorite reads about writing picture books are:

  • Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication by Ann Whitford Paul
  • How to Write a Children’s Picture Book series by Eve Heidi Bine-Stock

I love to teach writing. Here are some books that have inspired my teaching:

  • Writing Alone and with Others by Pat Schneider
  • Don’t Forget to Write for the Elementary Grades: 50 Enthralling and Effective Writing Lessons (ages 5 to 12) by 826 National, edited by Jennifer Traig
  • Don’t Forget to Write for the Secondary Grades: 50 Enthralling and Effective Writing Lessons (ages 11 and up) by 826 National, edited by Jennifer Traig
  • The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises from Poets Who Teach edited by Robin Behn & Chase Twichell

Writing friends and communities are so valuable. I exchange writing one-on-one with writing friends who live all over North America, and I also have a great group of writing friends in my hometown. Larger communities that help me stay connected to craft and the writing life are:

Resources for teachers, librarians & readers

This is the Boat that Ben Built

Teaching Guide

Fact Sheets:

Craft and Activity tie-ins