Book advocate Colby Sharp presents more than forty beloved, award-winning, diverse and bestselling authors and illustrators in a creative challenge!
Colby Sharp invited more than forty authors and illustrators to provide story starters for each other; photos, drawings, poems, prose, or anything they could dream up. When they received their prompts, they responded by transforming these seeds into any form of creative work they wanted to share.
The result is a stunning collection of words, art, poetry, and stories by some of our most celebrated children book creators. A section of extra story starters by every contributor provides fresh inspiration for readers to create works of their own. Here is an innovative book that offers something for every kind of reader and creator!
With contributions by Sherman Alexie, Tom Angleberger, Jessixa Bagley, Tracey Baptiste, Sophie Blackall, Lisa Brown, Peter Brown, Lauren Castillo, Kate DiCamillo, Margarita Engle, Deborah Freedman, Adam Gidwitz, Chris Grabenstein, Jennifer L. Holm, Victoria Jamieson, Travis Jonker, Jess Keating, Laurie Keller, Jarret J. Krosoczka, Kirby Larson, Minh Lê, Grace Lin, Kate Messner, Daniel Nayeri, Naomi Shihab Nye, Debbie Ohi, R.J. Palacio, Linda Sue Park, Dav Pilkey, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Jewell Parker Rhodes, Dan Santat, Gary Schmidt, John Schu, Colby Sharp, Bob Shea, Liesl Shurtliff, Lemony Snicket, Laurel Snyder, Javaka Steptoe, Mariko Tamaki, Linda Urban, Frank Viva, and Kat Yeh.
Potentially Sensitive Areas: None
Booklist (March 1, 2018 (Vol. 114, No. 13))
Grades 4-6. This experiment is the brainchild of Sharp, educator and cofounder of the Nerdy Book Club, among other online book-related endeavors. Wanting to show both young people and teachers how the creative process begins and blossoms, Sharp asked authors and illustrators to send him story prompts and then respond to the prompts of fellow participants. The result is a fanciful, often unexpected, sometimes uneven mix of stories, artwork, and poetry. Andrea Davis Pinkney’s prompt is a photo of a difficult-to-discern animal. Linda Sue Park decides it’s a fox and writes an evocative poem about a fox and a trap. And then writes a note telling readers she knows it’s not a fox but that’s what sparked her imagination—and after all, that’s how creativity begins. Kate DiCamillo, Lemony Snicket, Grace Lin, Sophie Blackall, and Sherman Alexie are just some of the well-known names who participate. There’s plenty here to ignite kids’ imaginations and provide both laughs and food for thought. In the final pages, the participants offer prompts directly to the readers.
Kirkus Reviews (December 15, 2017)
A guide that encourages young writers to experiment and create. Well-known writers and illustrators here collaborate on a volume of writing prompts and the stories that result. Sharp invited contributors to submit creative prompts (“poems, photographs, drawings, anything”), and then each contributor used another’s prompt to create something—a story, a poem, a comic, an illustration. The experiment in “the way ideas can be story seeds that take root and blossom” must have been fun for the creators, but the fruits of their play have not yielded a collection that’s particularly useful to young writers. Many of the prompts are silly or vague, and the resulting stories, poems, and illustrations are, for the most part, lacking in substance. Kate DiCamillo leads off with a solid idea—using overheard dialogue for a short story told in dialogue. But Lemony Snicket’s response feels dashed off, a flip story likely to fall flat with readers. John Schu’s prompt, “My school librarian turned into a fly on the fifth day of fourth grade,” might sound Kafka-esque, but Sherman Alexie’s resultant poem feels like so much free association rather than a constructed work. A proliferation of exclamation points seemingly intended to boost enthusiasm may further act as a turnoff. An earnest attempt, but readers will find both better guides to creative writing and better short stories, poems, etc., elsewhere. (contributor biographies, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)
About the Editor
Colby Sharp is a co-founder of the online community Nerdy Book Club and its off-shoot conference, Nerd Camp, two popular monthly Twitter chats, #Titletalk, #SharpSchu, and The Yarn, a podcast about bookmaking and the creative process.
His website is www.mrcolbysharp.com.
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