Write for Kids – How to Get Started

May 10, 2016 by  
Filed under Writing for Children

write for kids

Have you been thinking of creating your own stories for children, but you just don’t know how to get started?

Then here are some tips to help you start your own career as a published children’s author:

1. Join your local chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Authors & Illustrators (SCBWI) and then start attending some of this chapter’s regular events.

Just go online to www.scbwi.org to learn more about this wonderful organization for anyone interested in children’s publishing.

2. Take a field trip to your local book store or library and read all the children’s books you can.

Be sure to read some of the most current books for children on the market.

Children’s publishing has changed over the years and you need to know the types of books for children that are being published today.

There are also different genres of books for children, so be sure to read books in the genre or genres that you wish to write.

For example, if you want to write picture books, read picture books.

If you want to write middle grade novels, read middle grade novels.

If you want to write nonfiction books for children, read a wide variety of nonfiction books from many different children’s educational publishers.

3. Take a writing course that is specifically for children’s writing.

Writing for kids is much different from writing for grown ups, so you need to take a class or workshop that will address all the elements of writing and publishing FOR CHILDREN.

Try to find a class or workshop taught by a published children’s author and/or editor.

4. Join or start a local critique group for children’s writers.

Be sure the group includes at least one or two published children’s authors.

Otherwise, the group will be little more than “the blind leading the blind.”

5. Submit your stories and articles to publishers.

You’ll never get published if you don’t send in your manuscripts.

It can be scary at first.

But you’ll soon realize that rejections are just part of the process.

6. Be persistent.

Don’t give up.

It can take a while to break in with any of the children’s markets.

But keep trying.

If you keep writing, keep learning, and keep submitting, eventually you’ll sell one of your children’s stories or articles.

Now…just get started!

Try it!


The Working Writer’s Coach
www.workingwriterscoach.com

What are Primary Sources?

January 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Writing for Children

(written by Sandman, cat and writing buddy of Nancy I. Sanders)

cat

Everyone wants primary sources in their nonfiction and even references for facts in their fiction these days.

What’s a cat gonna do?

I tried hiding in a bag and never dealing with it, but then I got too hungry for tunafish tacos so I had to come out.

So I decided to try a new tactic. I’d hunt those primary sources down and pounce on ‘em! First plan of attack was to sneak around the house, hide behind the couch, and jump out at any unsuspecting spider crawling by.

But that didn’t get me very many primary sources.

What are primary sources anyhow?

I looked up the definition of primary sources in my cat-dictionary and discovered they are:

Autobiographies: Whenever a cool cat writes a book or article about her own life, it counts as a primary source.

Diaries: My cat friend, Pitterpat, keeps a diary and in it she chronicles every detail about Devin and Derby, the two Rat terriers who live next door. Pitterpat knows those little yappers are up to evil designs and she’s determined to prove it! Diaries are a primary source.

More primary sources include

• letters people actually wrote

• artifacts, buildings and landmarks that were actually there during the era

• e-mails, interviews, photographs, official documents

• and speeches people actually spoke

But how do you FIND primary sources? I’ve tried digging in the dirt in every single potted plant in our house, pulling out all the tissues and reaching in the bottom of a tissue box, and shredding every paper that comes out of the printer, but that only got me in trouble!

So then I tried a new tactic. I already had a pile of picture books and books for kittens on my topic. This time, however, I went to my library and borrowed every book on my topic written for mature cats. These books have FOOTNOTES. (I think they should call them pawprints.) And these books list many many primary sources in the back where they cite those pawprints…I mean footnotes.

Plus these books have PHOTOGRAPHS and PAINTINGS from the actual era of my topic. I looked in the back for the places who own those primary sources and made a note to contact them and find out what kind of permissions they give to cats who want to use them. (Like me.) And when I contact them I’ll find out if it’s free to use them or if I have to pay them to use it. Plus they’ll tell me how I can get the right resolution to use on my website or in my article or book.

Then I went online and googled my topic. I didn’t look at Wikipedia like I normally do. (Okay, okay, I know that’s a no-no for research but it’s handy!) Instead, I read articles that looked official on my topic that were posted by museums and universities and national archives. I looked at THEIR footnotes to see where they got their primary sources. Plus, a lot of them have digitized primary sources such as diaries and ancient autobiographies and paintings and images of artifacts. So I checked on each of their pages for “rights and permissions” and details about how I can use the information from their sites. I even e-mailed the contact e-mails and asked people about rights and permissions, just to cover my bases.

So when my writing buddy, Nancy I. Sanders, was writing her book on Frederick Douglass for Kids, I gave her some tips and advice.

For example, I told her she could find this photograph of Frederick Douglass at the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs site.

It says: Rights Advisory: No Known Restrictions on Publication

I assured her she could be pretty safe using that photograph in any way, shape or form as long as she included the credit line with it.

What kind of credit line, she wanted to know. Yikes! Does a cat have to know everything?! I told her to dig around on the Library of Congress site to see what kind of credit line they say to use. I also told her to check in other books by the same publisher that she was writing for (or another current publisher who uses stuff from the Library of Congress) and see how they are citing the Library of Congress.

But then I told her she had to be careful about using this photo of Frederick Douglass from the Library of Congress because it did NOT include that same line about rights advisory. She’d have to try to find out who owned it and ask THEM for permission to use it and details about how that could be done.

Plus I told her to check out museums and historic sites on Frederick Douglass, so she did. She found out that places like the National Park Service would let her use their digital images for free on her website as long as she included the credit line they want. So she did! You can see how she did this and you’ll also see this awesome painting of Douglass that’s on her book’s website by clicking here. Plus, she found out she could use images for a cost in her book. They told her the steps to take and the fees it would involve. So she did!

I guess you could say working with primary sources is like hunting for ants. I can hear them marching behind the baseboard inside the wall, but I gotta figure out how to get them out here in the open where I can eat them. I’ve tried smearing tunafish next to a little nail hole. That worked for a little while. They came out by the hundreds! But then the pest control guy was called out to spray them. So now I gotta think about my next strategy.

The bottom line is that there is no specific strategy for hunting ants except for search and dig around and search and call or e-mail the people you gotta call. It’s the same for working with primary sources. It’s just what a cat’s gotta do.

For more information, tips, and techniques on research, visit the site of Sandman and his writing buddies at https://writingaccordingtohumphrey.wordpress.com/writers-notebook-worksheets/ or get Nancy’s how-to book for children’s writers, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career at http://yesyoucanlearn.wordpress.com

Want to learn how to write a children’s nonfiction book in just one month?

Register for this online audio workshop, below.

Find out more at www.writeachildrensnonfictionbook.com.

write a children's nonfiction book

 

For more informative and cat-chy articles by Nancy’s cats, please visit their website at:
https://writingaccordingtohumphrey.wordpress.com

Learn to Write for Educational Book Publishers and Book Packagers

January 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Writing for Children

Writing for educational book publishers and book packagers can be financially lucrative and a great source of ongoing work for freelancers.

These markets are expanding in today’s world of Common Core Standards and the subsequent emphasis on quality supplemental classroom nonfiction materials.

But this type of work is not for everyone, and breaking into educational publishing is somewhat different than publishing trade books.

write for book packagers and educational book publishers


In this workshop/teleclass, children’s author Melissa Abramovitz presents information on what educational book publishers and book packagers are, how to evaluate whether or not this type of publishing is for you, and what is involved in breaking into/writing for these markets.

In this workshop you will learn and discover:

• What educational publishers and book packagers are and how they differ

• How to evaluate whether or not this type of work is right for you

• Trends in educational publishing, with tips and information from educational book publishers and book packaging company insiders

• How to find educational book publishers and book packagers that work with freelancers

• How to put together a pitch/query/resume to use in seeking this type of book assignments

• What the advantages are of working for educational book publishers and packagers

• Answers to your questions about educational book publishing and book packagers

REGISTER HERE NOW to get immediate and unlimited access to the full audio and handouts for this workshop for only $20.00!

About Melissa Abramovitz

Melissa Abramovitz has published hundreds of nonfiction magazine articles, more than 45 educational series books for children and teens, numerous short stories and poems, two picture books, and a book for writers. Melissa graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in psychology and is also a graduate of The Institute of Children’s Literature. She is a member of SCBWI and The Working Writer’s Club. Her goals in 2016 are to find an agent to represent her in marketing several fiction and nonfiction picture books to publishers and to start writing the YA novel that’s been simmering in her brain for ten years. In her spare time, she buys cute clothes for her grandchildren, volunteers at a local animal shelter, and occasionally sleeps. Visit her website at www.melissaabramovitz.com

Good News for Children’s Writers

November 7, 2015 by  
Filed under Writing for Children

by Nancy I. Sanders

children reading

A week and a half ago, my husband Jeff and I packed our bags for Houston and headed to the airport early in the morning only to find out that the entire airport terminal was closed because of a bomb scare! Flashing lights. Police dogs. Helicopters. And crowds of people lugging suitcases standing at a “safe” distance. As we joined the crowd, workers informed us that a police dog had discovered a suspicious suitcase and given the signal for danger.

Well…that was quite a start for our trip, but I’m happy to say that after an hour of investigation they opened the airport and we made it to Houston safe and sound without even missing our connecting flight.

Why were we going to Houston? To attend Pat Miller’s amazing conference for nonfiction children’s writers, NF4NF. I was honored to be part of the faculty.

And boy, am I glad I got to go. Not only was it THE BEST conference I’ve ever attended, I came away with a sense of more hope for us as children’s writers than I’ve had in years.

You see, in recent years when I’ve taught in writing conferences and critiqued manuscripts for children’s writers, when it comes to submitting our manuscripts, I’ve had to paint a bleak picture. Most publishers were requiring agents. The overwhelming process of submission seemed doubly intimidating if not even impossible.

But I am happy to report that is not the case any more! Right now in the children’s industry there are a significant number of big name publishers who have an open door policy for unsolicited submissions. So for those writers who don’t have agents, this is good, good news. In fact this is GREAT NEWS.

The catch is that you do have to do your homework first. Some only take picture book submissions and not children’s novels. Some only take unsolicited submissions if you’ve already been published. Some are very very specific about what they accept and what they don’t. So click on each link to see if it’s a fit for your manuscript. And if it is, then submit! Yay!!! And do a happy dance because this is a wonderful opportunity right now for YOU!

Here is the list of trade book publishers that Pat Miller, the fearless and amazing leader of the NF4NF conference, gave each of us:

TRADE BOOK PUBLISHERS THAT ACCEPT UNSOLICITED MANUSCRIPTS

Arthur A. Levine Books

Albert Whitman and Co.

Boyds Mills Press

Charlesbridge

Chronicle Books

Creston Books

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Holiday House Publishers

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Children

Ideals Publication

Kane Miller

Lee and Low

Peachtree Children’s Books

Isn’t that a great list? Now we have oodles of opportunity to submit our manuscripts in the trade book market!

About Nancy I. Sanders

Nancy I Sanders

Nancy I Sanders

Bestselling and award-winning children’s author of over 80 books, Nancy I. Sanders wants to help you experience success writing for kids! It’s hard work, yes, but it’s also lots of fun and very, very rewarding. Learn tips of the trade and secrets of success in her Yes! You Can series of how-to books for children’s writers. www.nancyisanders.com

Learn How to Write for Educational Book Publishers & Book Packagers

April 25, 2015 by  
Filed under Writing for Children

teleclassDo you write for children and want to increase your income by acquiring contracts and assignments from educational book publishers and book packagers?

Then this upcoming LIVE workshop/teleclass is for you!

About the Workshop/Teleclass

Writing for educational book publishers and book packagers can be financially lucrative and a great source of ongoing work for freelancers. These markets are expanding in today’s world of Common Core Standards and the subsequent emphasis on quality supplemental classroom nonfiction materials. But this type of work is not for everyone, and breaking into educational publishing is somewhat different than publishing trade books. In this workshop/teleclass I will present information on what educational book publishers and book packagers are, how to evaluate whether or not this type of publishing is for you, and what is involved in breaking into/writing for these markets.

In this workshop you will learn and discover:
• What educational publishers and book packagers are and how they differ
• How to evaluate whether or not this type of work is right for you
• Trends in educational publishing, with tips and information from educational book publishers and book packaging company insiders
• How to find educational book publishers and book packagers that work with freelancers
• How to put together a pitch/query/resume to use in seeking this type of book assignments
• What the advantages are of working for educational book publishers and packagers
• Answers to your questions about educational book publishing and book packagers

Date of Live Workshop/Telelcass: Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Time of Live Workshop/Teleclass: 2:00 p.m. Pacific (which is is 4:00 Central, 5:00 Eastern)
Cost: $10.00 for Working Writer’s Club Members; $20.00 for non club members
Note: If you can’t attend this live teleclass, no problem. Register now anyway and you’ll get the replay link the day after the teleclass. You can listen to the replay as often as you like.

Working Writer’s Club non-members, Register for the LIVE teleclass here: REGISTER

Members of the club, LOGIN and register here: REGISTER

melissa

About the Instructor

Melissa Abramovitz has been a freelance writer/author for 30 years and specializes in writing nonfiction magazine articles and books for all age groups. She regularly works with several educational book publishers and book packagers. Melissa is the author of hundreds of magazine articles, more than 40 educational books for children and teenagers, numerous poems and short stories, several children’s picture books, and a book for writers titled A Treasure Trove of Opportunity: How to Write and Sell Articles for Children’s Magazines. She graduated from the University of California San Diego with a degree in psychology and is also a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. She is a member of SCBWI, NABE, and The Working Writer’s Club. Visit Melissa’s website at www.melissaabramovitz.com

Teaching Personification with Picture Books – This Week’s Teaching Tip by Amy M. O’Quinn

April 2, 2015 by  
Filed under Writing for Children

Can a little house on a hill smile happily while watching the sun and moon and stars all through the changing seasons?

Can a little train engine talk herself into pulling a bunch of heavy cars up a steep hill by repeating, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can?”

Can letters of the alphabet race to the top of the coconut tree?

Sure they can—if the writer uses a literary technique called personification!

WHAT IS PERSONIFICATION
Personification means giving human traits (qualities, feelings, actions or characteristics) directly to a non-living object. For example, the trees were dancing with the wind, the pot of soup bubbled merrily on the stove or the sun peeked over the hill. Obviously, trees can’t really dance, pots can’t be merry, and the sun doesn’t have eyes to peek over the hill. But what great descriptions for a reader to picture in his mind!

WHY DO WRITERS USE PERSONIFICATION
Many times an author will use this literary technique to add more fun, drama, sparkle, excitement, or interest to a story or to convey a certain mood. And because we are people, it is easier for us to relate to the object or to an idea that is being personified because we understand and identify with the human attributes that are being portrayed.

WHY TEACH PERSONIFICATION
It’s all about exposure! We expect a person with a well-rounded education to be able to recognize the most common elements on the periodic table or name the capitals of major countries. So should he have a basic working knowledge of common literary terms or techniques such as personification, onomatopoeia, oxymoron, anthropomorphism, alliteration, etc. You can find the definitions of all these terms and more at MrBrainman. But learning these things can be a gradual process, and we can begin exposing our children to the terms and techniques while enjoying a good book together.

HOW TO TEACH ABOUT PERSONIFICATION
Parents can easily introduce the technique of personification when it occurs in picture books. Just have the child identify things that a non-living object simply cannot do. An object cannot act or feel like a real person—so that’s called personification. This is a great activity and one that can be handled naturally when talking about what can be real and what is pretend. The child probably won’t remember the term “personification” after just one introduction, but a base of knowledge is being built one term at a time. Again, it’s all about exposure! And I can almost guarantee that even a very young child will recognize when an inanimate object has been given human qualities! Children find such things to be very silly—and very fun!

PICTURE BOOKS THAT CAN BE USED TO TEACH PERSONIFICATION
Virginia Lee Burton was a master at using personification in her picture books. Who can possibly forget The Little House, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, or Katy and the Big Snow? Watty Piper’s The Little Engine That Could and Don Freeman’s Corduroy books are also classics in this technique. But there are many other picture books as well that can be used for teaching about personification.

Below is a great starting list. So check out these titles, and discover the fun of personification in picture books!

The Barn by Debbie Atwell
Best Loved Doll by Rebecca Caudill
The Caboose Who Got Loose by Bill Peet
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr.
Corduroy books by Don Freeman
Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field
Jennifer and Josephine by Bill Peet
Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde H. Swift & Lynd Ward
Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky
Maybelle the Cable Car by Virginia Lee Burton
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
Raggedy Ann Stories by Johnny Gruelle
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling
Smokey by Bill Peet
The Tree That Would Not Die by Ellen Levine
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

********

Amy M. O’Quinn is a pastor’s wife and former schoolteacher-turned-homeschool mom of six. She is also a freelance writer who enjoys jotting down ideas around the fringes of family life. She specializes in non-fiction, and her work has been published in various educational and children’s magazines. She is also a product/curriculum/book reviewer for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, a regular columnist for TEACH Magazine, and a member of SCBWI. The O’Quinns live on the family farm in rural south Georgia. You can find Amy at her new writing site/blog, amyoquinn.com. Or visit her personal blog, Ponderings From Picket Fence Cottage.

 

Teaching “Main Idea” Through Picture Books by Renee Kirchner

April 2, 2015 by  
Filed under Writing for Children

Renee Kirchner
by Renee Kirchner
Teaching Tips Contributing Editor

 

Learning how to identify the main idea and supporting details is an important reading skill that children must develop. It helps them to create meaning as they read. Teachers can use a variety of strategies to explain main idea. Basically, the main idea is the main reason the story was written. For example, the main reason for going to an amusement park is to ride the rides and have fun. A child might eat some yummy food like cotton candy or hot dogs at the amusement park, but that wasn’t the main reason for going.

Every story has a main idea. Sometimes the main idea can be found in the first sentence of the story and sometimes it is found in the middle of a story. Tell children to think of the 5 W’s, who, what, when, where, and why to help them look for the main idea. All stories have supporting details that are related to the main idea. There could be just a few supporting details or many.

There are many fine examples of picture books that you can use to main idea. Read some of the stories listed below and ask children to try to tell you the main idea. It might be helpful for children to have a visual. Draw a daisy on the board and put the main idea of a story into the center of the flower and write the supporting details on the petals. Ask them to do the same when choosing the main idea from other stories.

Picture books to teach main idea:
Thanksgiving is Here! By Diane Goode
August 2003, HarperCollins Publishers

Main idea: The main idea in this story is that a grandmother and a grandfather are hosting a warm family gathering.

Supporting Details:
1) A stray dog shows up to the party (but tell children that the story is not about a dog). 2) One of the guests brings a gift to the host and hostess of the Thanksgiving dinner.
The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
March, 1990 Harcourt Children’s Books

Main Idea: The Kapok Tree is important to many rain forest animals because it is their home.

Supporting Details:
A man falls asleep while trying to chop down the tree.
A butterfly whispers in his ear.
The rain forest has three layers: a canopy, an understory, and a forest floor.
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
September 1996, HarperCollins Publishers

Main Idea: The little mouse, Chrysanthemum, loves her name.

Supporting Details:
The students in class all have short names
The students tease Chrysanthemum about her name
The teacher is named after a flower too.

 

Teaching Cause and Effect with Picture Books by Renee Kirchner

April 2, 2015 by  
Filed under Writing for Children

Cause and effect relationships are a basic part of the teacher curriculum for elementary aged children. Young children need to learn the basics of cause and effect to understand how the world works. Simply put, cause and effect is a relationship where one thing causes something else to happen. For example, if we play in the mud, we will get dirty. Playing in the mud is the “cause,” and getting dirty is the “effect.”

Picture books can be a useful tool for teaching the concept of cause and effect. Rather than listening to a lecture, children can enjoy a story and learn something at the same time. Before reading a picture book to your children, tell them to listen for key words such as, because, so, if…then, as a result of, etc. These types of words can usually be found in a story that has a cause and effect relationship.

There are three basic types of cause and effect relationships: stated cause and effect relationships, unstated cause and effect relationships, and reciprocal cause and effect relationships. For each type of cause and effect relationship, there are picture books to teach the concept. Here are some great examples to use with your students:

I. Stated Cause and Effect Relationship (it is clearly stated in the story).

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

Each time a young bunny imagines running away from home, his mother is right behind him. If he becomes a fish, the mother will become a fisherman so she can catch him. The mother rabbit loves her bunny so much that she will follow him no matter where he goes.

II. Unstated Cause and Effect Relationship (children will have to read between the lines)

Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens

This is the story of a lazy bear and a clever hare. They are putting in a garden and the hare is doing all of the work. The clever hare tricks the bear into choosing either the tops or bottoms of the plants they harvest. When the bear chooses the tops of the plants, the hare plants carrots and other root vegetables. When the bear chooses bottoms, the hare plants lettuce, and other vegetables that grow above the ground. This book teaches that if you are lazy you will not reap any rewards. Children will have to read between the lines because the cause and effect relationship is not spelled out.

Legend of the Persian Carpet by Tomie de Paola

When a precious jewel is stolen from the palace of King Balash, he is very upset. He loved to go into the room in the palace with the jewel because it was filled with light. Many people try unsuccessfully to solve his problem until a peasant boy is able to help him.

III. Reciprocal Cause and Effect Relationship (One effect will cause a second effect and so on).

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

This is a classic cause and effect story where one actions leads to another action and then another. If you give a mouse a cookie, he will need a glass of milk to go with it. The story gets sillier and sillier before it circles back around to the beginning again. It ends on the same note that it began with the mouse asking for a cookie.

The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash by Trinka Hakes Noble

Jimmy and his class go on a field trip to a farm. The children think the field trip is very dull until Jimmy pulls out his boa constrictor and then all kinds of chaos ensues.

Picture books can be used very effectively in the classroom to teach a number of reading skills. Once you start studying picture books there is no end to the classroom uses you will find for them.

Teaching “Main Idea” Through Picture Books by Renee Kirchner

July 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Writing for Children

Renee Kirchner
by Renee Kirchner
Teaching Tips Contributing Editor

Learning how to identify the main idea and supporting details is an important reading skill that children must develop. It helps them to create meaning as they read. Teachers can use a variety of strategies to explain main idea. Basically, the main idea is the main reason the story was written. For example, the main reason for going to an amusement park is to ride the rides and have fun. A child might eat some yummy food like cotton candy or hot dogs at the amusement park, but that wasn’t the main reason for going.

Every story has a main idea. Sometimes the main idea can be found in the first sentence of the story and sometimes it is found in the middle of a story. Tell children to think of the 5 W’s, who, what, when, where, and why to help them look for the main idea. All stories have supporting details that are related to the main idea. There could be just a few supporting details or many.

There are many fine examples of picture books that you can use to main idea. Read some of the stories listed below and ask children to try to tell you the main idea. It might be helpful for children to have a visual. Draw a daisy on the board and put the main idea of a story into the center of the flower and write the supporting details on the petals. Ask them to do the same when choosing the main idea from other stories.

Picture books to teach main idea:
Thanksgiving is Here! By Diane Goode
August 2003, HarperCollins Publishers

Main idea: The main idea in this story is that a grandmother and a grandfather are hosting a warm family gathering.

Supporting Details:
1) A stray dog shows up to the party (but tell children that the story is not about a dog). 2) One of the guests brings a gift to the host and hostess of the Thanksgiving dinner.
The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
March, 1990Harcourt Children’s Books

Main Idea: The Kapok Tree is important to many rain forest animals because it is their home.

Supporting Details:
A man falls asleep while trying to chop down the tree.
A butterfly whispers in his ear.
The rain forest has three layers: a canopy, an understory, and a forest floor.
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
September 1996, HarperCollins Publishers

Main Idea: The little mouse, Chrysanthemum, loves her name.

Supporting Details:
The students in class all have short names
The students tease Chrysanthemum about her name
The teacher is named after a flower too.

 

Teaching Metaphors

June 28, 2014 by  
Filed under Writing for Children

metaphorby Renee Kirchner, Teaching Tips Contributing Editor

Metaphors talk about one thing as if it were another. They are not introduced with the words “like” or “as”, but make direct comparisons. Here are a few examples:

His shirt was a flag, flying in the breeze.
Her eyes were jewels, sparkling in the sun.
The ocean is a playground for scuba divers.
A song is a poem set to music.

Metaphors can compare something unfamiliar with something familiar to give you a frame of reference.

The surface of the moon is a snowy yard with footprint craters.
The bottom of the ocean is a dark cave.
A kiwi is a fuzzy lime.
A resume is a report card for adults.

A metaphor comparison is not literal. You can’t always take the meaning directly. Here are some examples:

His room was a pigpen. (This means his room is messy, not that pigs live in it.)
The harvest moon was a pumpkin. (This means the moon was round and orange, not made out of pumpkin.)
Her teeth were pearls. (This means her teeth were white like pearls, not that each tooth was actually a pearl.)
The baby’s cheeks were two rosy apples. (This means the baby’s cheeks are round and red, not really apples.)

Writers use metaphors to make their writing colorful and you can to. Give it a try.

Life is a Roller Coaster Sometimes!An Exercise in Writing Metaphors: Complete the sentences to make your own metaphors.

1. The moon is a _____________________________________________.

2. Freckles are ________________ when they spread across your face.

3. His arms were _________________ as they lifted the heavy chair.

4. The stars are ______________ as they twinkle in the night sky.

5. The storm was a ______________ as it clawed against my window.

6. The freshly mowed lawn was a ___________________________.

7. The noisy children were __________________ as they raced through the museum.

8. I was a ___________________ as I tiptoed across the wooden floor.

9. The river was a _________________ as it twisted and turned down the mountain.

10. His cheeks were __________________ as he chewed the giant wad of bubble gum.

 

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