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The Way to Write for Children: An Introduction to the Craft of Writing Children's Literature Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031220048X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312200480
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 0.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 118 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
A friendly warning to readers: Even though "The Way to Write for Children" is very precise about what SHOULD NOT be in children's books, it is quite the opposite about what SHOULD be in them.
On the very first page of the text, Joan Aiken bluntly informs readers that "there is no _one_ way in which to write for children." In another chapter, she explains the futility of dividing child readers into age groups and trying to target a single age. Throughout the book, she gives examples of what she considers poor children's literature--and not without good reason.
Aiken is not a writing teacher who says, "Do this and this and this, but not that." She is more like a mentor whose gut instinct about these matters is so finely developed that she can tell what will work and what will not, even though she may not be able to explain why. Yet she does try! Those who like their writing manuals well organized into clean-cut sections and subsections will not appreciate her attempts, but those who understand that she is truly sincere may dig deeper and find unexpected treasure.
You'll enjoy this book more if you have read as much children's literature as Aiken has and are familiar with the authors and titles that she liberally "name drops" throughout the text. I bought my copy three years ago and understood about 10% of it. Then I started studying some of the books she used as examples: "Daddy-Long-Legs", "Poems of Childhood", "The Chronicles of Narnia", "The Hobbit", "I Am the Cheese", etc. With that, her words took on new life for me.
I can compare reading "The Way to Write for Children" to listening to a wise and remarkable friend speak--but not lecture--about children's literature. It is definitely not writing school, but the education I receive is superior.
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By A Customer on April 15 2001
Format: Paperback
I bought this book based on the five-star reader review from December 2000 and I was sorely disappointed and wishing I'd saved my $10 plus shipping! This book is outdated, sketchy (barely touches on YA novels) and very British. Her writing examples rely heavily on Dickens and the like, which didn't exactly bring me up to speed on the last 20 years of children's literature. I'm still searching for a good guide to writing children's fiction that is in print!
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Format: Paperback
Beautifully written and full of real insight, this astonishing little book will do more for the creative flow of aspiring writers than most books in the field. Its focus is on children's writing, and it offers the wisdom of an outstanding and very succesful author. Her love of children's writing is contagious, her advice is sound, and this excellent help will inspire many generations to come. In a league of its own.
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Format: Paperback
gee, I bought this book to help me learn to write for children, not to be talked down to by the author...which is what happened. A shoddy, simplistic, overly "this is how I believe it to be" approach that lacks the the clarity and educational value I was looking for when I purchased it. Dated examples and poor type face and formatting doesn't help. I'd avoid this one.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Just my cup of tea. March 21 2002
By "kaia_espina" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A friendly warning to readers: Even though "The Way to Write for Children" is very precise about what SHOULD NOT be in children's books, it is quite the opposite about what SHOULD be in them.
On the very first page of the text, Joan Aiken bluntly informs readers that "there is no _one_ way in which to write for children." In another chapter, she explains the futility of dividing child readers into age groups and trying to target a single age. Throughout the book, she gives examples of what she considers poor children's literature--and not without good reason.
Aiken is not a writing teacher who says, "Do this and this and this, but not that." She is more like a mentor whose gut instinct about these matters is so finely developed that she can tell what will work and what will not, even though she may not be able to explain why. Yet she does try! Those who like their writing manuals well organized into clean-cut sections and subsections will not appreciate her attempts, but those who understand that she is truly sincere may dig deeper and find unexpected treasure.
You'll enjoy this book more if you have read as much children's literature as Aiken has and are familiar with the authors and titles that she liberally "name drops" throughout the text. I bought my copy three years ago and understood about 10% of it. Then I started studying some of the books she used as examples: "Daddy-Long-Legs", "Poems of Childhood", "The Chronicles of Narnia", "The Hobbit", "I Am the Cheese", etc. With that, her words took on new life for me.
I can compare reading "The Way to Write for Children" to listening to a wise and remarkable friend speak--but not lecture--about children's literature. It is definitely not writing school, but the education I receive is superior.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
a rare treat for writers Dec 12 2000
By Mark Siegel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Beautifully written and full of real insight, this astonishing little book will do more for the creative flow of aspiring writers than most books in the field. Its focus is on children's writing, and it offers the wisdom of an outstanding and very succesful author. Her love of children's writing is contagious, her advice is sound, and this excellent help will inspire many generations to come. In a league of its own.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent book March 11 2008
By ann denton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Having only recently been a child, I found this to be a wonderful book. It explain how children's books differ from adult books and elaborates on different types of children's books. This is not a book of how to write and use grammar; it rather explains how to tell a story. This advice is amazingly accurate and was more helpful to me than several other books I have read. The book is brief but well-well written and reads smoothly to the end.
Good Information Aug. 24 2010
By Zoraida Cespedes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has useful info. Although it was written in the 90's the information is still relevant today 2010.
19 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Misled by previous review April 15 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I bought this book based on the five-star reader review from December 2000 and I was sorely disappointed and wishing I'd saved my $10 plus shipping! This book is outdated, sketchy (barely touches on YA novels) and very British. Her writing examples rely heavily on Dickens and the like, which didn't exactly bring me up to speed on the last 20 years of children's literature. I'm still searching for a good guide to writing children's fiction that is in print!

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