Gifts to Inspire Young Writers + Giveaways

Sparkly pens, hard-bound journals, posters with writerly sayings,  and notebook apps are excellent gift ideas for kids who like to write. Here are five more ideas in case you find yourself wanting something a little different for the young writer in your life this holiday season.

For the aspiring poet:

poetry_mattersI read Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the Inside Out when I was gearing up to teach my first unit of study on poetry a decade ago.  (Little known fact: I disliked poetry as a kid since I didn’t enjoy dissecting poems for the meaning. Also, I thought poems had to rhyme and I wasn’t very good at rhyming.)  Reading Poetry Matters by Ralph Fletcher as an adult changed my perspective on poetry. It helped me realize the wonder, power, and beauty of writing poems.

Like all of Fletcher’s books for young writers, Poetry Matters occupied a prominent space in my classroom’s writing center.  I used to encourage my students who didn’t think poetry was for them to read Poetry Matters.  Fletcher’s words have a way of helping  reluctant poets find their poetic voice so they will enjoy poetry.  Further, it’s an excellent resource for kids who want to become more adept at writing poetry.

For the letter maven:

DrawYourOwnAlphabets_cover_4Like many kids, I spent a lot of time refining my handwriting when I was in middle school.  Nowadays, my handwriting has become messier since I do most of my work on a computer.  When I saw Draw Your Own Alphabets: Thirty Fonts to Scribble, Sketch, & Make Your Own by Tony Seddon I got excited since it’s all about the art of hand lettering. There’s something artistic about writing by hand, especially when you look at the samples Seddon offers in his book.  Furthermore:

“Anyone can select a typeface, change the point size, and add some color. With the style set, the type will be uniform and consistent. However, if you take the same piece of text and hand letter it, it’s unique. Hand letter it again next week, and again it’ll be equally unique. That’s what’s so great about hand lettering — it’s totally yours, and creatively speaking it will always belong to you” (Seddon, 2013, 6).

Any kid who likes art, doodling, and playing around with letters will love trying their hand at the alphabets in this book.  There are pages in the back of of the book where one can create their own fonts. Plus, the book contains guidance for digitizing the fonts you create.  (If you’re giving this book to a child, consider gifting it with the iFontMaker App.)

For one who likes to draw and write:

9780735338760Know a kid who likes Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid?  Does that same youngster like to write and draw?  If so, s/he will love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Writer’s Notebook.  There are actually three writer’s notebooks wrapped together, which include:

  • Your Best Ideas: lined pages
  • Make Your Own Comics: four blank panels for comics
  • Totally Awesome Drawings: blank pages for sketching

What better way to foster a love of the written word and drawings by giving a gift that allows a child to do both!

For storytellers:

kids-card-bookDo you know a kid who loves to make up stories? If so, The Storymatic Kids is a great gift.  First, a writer picks two yellow cards, which are character cards to discover  who will be in the story.  Once the child begins writing, s/he can grab two blue cards, which will make the story go in another direction.

For example:

  • The two yellow cards I picked: someone new to the neighborhood and collector of shiny things
    • That might be one character or two, depending on how I would want to write my story.
  • The two blue cards I picked: knock on the door at two in the morning and flower garden
    • Now it’s up to me to figure out how to use those cards to keep telling my story.

Another great use for The Storymatic Kids could be on long road trips.  I can envision using this box of cards to help make up oral stories around the car on long drives.

For the tech kid:

DotMany of today’s kids need inspiration to get out from behind their screens to experience the world. The notion that one has to be connected doesn’t just affect adults, it affects children too!  Dot, written by Randi Zuckerberg and illustrated by Joe Berger, is an inviting way to initiate a conversation about experiencing the real world and it it has to offer.

Too often, I’ve seen kids who say “I have nothing to write about” because they spend so much of their life playing video games, texting, and surfing the web. More often than not, kids who write well are the ones who have access to a variety of experiences and/or are close observers of the world around them.  If you know of a child who needs a push out of the virtual world and into the real world, then this is the book for him/her.  (Pair this book with a pocket-sized idea notebook and writing utensil so they can jot things to write about on-the-go!)

Giveaway Information

Want to win one of these items for the writer on your list? Here’s what you need to do to enter:

  • Since there are FIVE separate giveaways, I need to do five separate drawings so I can have five separate winners.  However, I don’t want to match anyone with something they don’t want. Therefore, unlike typical giveaways I host, please fill out the Google Form below to let me know which item(s) in which you’re interested.You may fill out the form once between today and Sunday, December 15th, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. EST.  The winners of each item will be announced at the bottom of this post by Tuesday, December 17th.
    • I will use a random number generator, based on the number of your entry in my spreadsheet, after you fill out the Google Form.
    • While you may leave a comment about this post, you will not be entered into the giveaway unless you fill out the Google Form.
  • Please be sure to leave your complete mailing address (home or school) in the Google Form so I can have your item shipped out to you in a timely manner.
    • NOTE: This giveaway is only open to readers in the United States.
  • Finally, a special thank you to Chronicle BooksRalph Fletcher, Jonesworks Inc., Princeton Architectural Press, and The Storymatic for contributing items to this giveaway for TWT readers.

Thank you to everyone who filled out the Google Form for this giveaway.  I used a random number generator to select the winners.  Here’s who will receive the items listed above.