Cover image for From reader to writer : teaching writing through classic children's books
From reader to writer : teaching writing through classic children's books
Ellis, Sarah.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Vancouver : Douglas & McIntyre, [2000]

Physical Description:
176 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
A Groundwood book.

Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
LB1576 .E54 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Encouraging young people to grab their ideas "as they fly by, " author Sarah Ellis presents a complete guide to inspiring children to discover the joys of creative writing. Photos.

Author Notes

Sarah Ellis is an acclaimed children's writer, librarian, speaker and journalist whose books for young readers have won every major children's award in Canada. She has Masters' degrees in library science and children's literature and has taught children's literature at universities across Canada, and in the United States, Europe and Japan. Sarah lives in Vancouver, British Columbia

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ellis is one of the best children's literature critics. Smart and funny, she writes without condescension or pedantry. Her prose is a delight: plain, witty, practical, wise. The focus here is on British classics, including works by Beatrix Potter, Lewis Carroll, Robert Louis Stevenson, and C. S. Lewis. She also writes about some contemporary Canadian writers, including Jean Little, Monica Hughes, and Paul Yee, and about U.S. writers Katherine Paterson, Susan Cooper, and Virginia Hamilton. With each classic book, there's a "sneak preview" (i.e., booktalk), a suggested read-aloud, exercises to help students and adult writers find their own stories, and a short annotated bibliography of related children's books. Ellis also talks about the writers' personal lives, including what they read as children, where they found their stories, and what they continue to say to us. Ellis does what she says ("Write as if you are talking"), and she makes you want to go back and read the books again. Librarians and teachers who talk books with young people will want this. So will those who write for children. --Hazel Rochman

School Library Journal Review

The title does not adequately describe the wealth of information and inspiration included here. Yes, the book will certainly be useful for creative-writing activities; however, librarians will be thrilled with the connections that can be made from the books cited and unique ways to introduce their authors, ranging from C. S. Lewis and Lewis Carroll to Katherine Paterson and Monica Hughes. Beginning with endpapers that illustrate "The Book Wide Web," Ellis invites her audience to "inspire reading, writing, and/or talking" about books. Each chapter focuses on a specific writer. Through anecdotes, the personalities and events that helped shape these authors' professional lives are revealed. Librarians will be able to use the information for booktalking. All of the activities can build toward writing projects, but they also create interest in the books. Be certain teachers know about this title; they will make good use of the variety of ideas.-Mary Lankford, Texas Education Agency, Austin (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introduction: On Learning to Writep. 9
How to Use This Bookp. 11
Islands of the Mind: Robert Louis Stevensonp. 14
Kin Stories: Jean Littlep. 25
Fairies in Our Midst: P.L. Traversp. 33
Clip and Write: Monica Hughesp. 43
Summers on the Lake: Arthur Ransomep. 53
Bird-Man of the Arctic and Other Imaginary Beings: Michael Kusugakp. 62
E.S.L.--Elvish as a Second Language: J.R.R. Tolkienp. 68
Write While You Sleep: Susan Cooperp. 78
Yours Affectionately: Beatrix Potterp. 87
Digging Up Stories: Paul Yeep. 102
A Bag of Tricks: Lewis Carrollp. 108
Book Breeding: Kit Pearsonp. 124
Piano Four Hands: C.S. Lewisp. 132
A Picture and a Thousand Words: Virginia Hamiltonp. 140
A Tale of Two Journals: Louisa May Alcott and L. M. Montgomeryp. 146
On the Outside Looking In: Katherine Patersonp. 159
Indexp. 169