cover image How to Write a Story

How to Write a Story

Kate Messner, illus. by Mark Siegel. Chronicle, $17.99 (36p) ISBN 978-1-452-15666-8

That muse of fire isn’t going to ascend all by herself, so Messner and Siegel, in their follow-up to How to Read a Story, walk readers through 10 steps of literary creation, starting with “search for an idea” and ending with “share your story.” The exemplar of this process is a brown-skinned girl who seems unstoppable in her determination to commit words to page. Messner offers realistic advice: not every idea may be “shiny,” “make the problem worse... until finally, your character thinks of something to do,” and revise again (and again): “Reading out loud helps.” The tale that results from the girl’s shiniest idea is an impressive one: a battle royale between a brave mermaid and a nasty sea monster, vividly illustrated in school notebook style by Siegel. Readers new to writing should find this accessible volume a smart choice to get the creative writing juices flowing. Ages 5–8. [em](July) [/em]