In 2015 I invited participants to READ and REFLECT with me. In 2016 I asked that participants THINK like a reader. With 2017 was the invitation to OBSESS over words, and last year in 2018 I emphasized the strong START, strong END companionship.
Today, I share a set of books whose words carry more weight than their combined space on the page. These are lines and phrases whose implications are deep and moving and revealing and affirming. These words, like those you’ll write in your own story, have the power to reach readers, change readers, stay with readers.
These words and these stories have stayed with me.
A LIFE’S WORK TAKING ROOT IN MANY OTHERS’ LIVES
Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise and Paola Escobar
START: It is 1921. Pura Teresa Belpré leaves her home in San Juan for a visit to New York. Words travel with her: stories her abuela taught her.
END: The seeds she has planter, the roots that grew into shoots into the open air of possibility, have become a lush landscape into which she steps, as though she has never left.
Born Bad by C K Smouha and Stephen Smith
START: Wolf wasn’t happy being Wolf. When he looked in the mirror, he looked bad, and when he looked bad, he felt bad, and when he felt bad, he acted bad.
END: “I feel good!”
Super Satya Saves the Day by Raakhee Mirchandani and Tim Palin
START: It was a loud day, on a loud street, in the very loud town of Hoboken.
END: But she knew her day was super because she was… Super Satya!
Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel and Shane W. Evans
START: Greet the sun, bold and bright! Tiny hands up!
END: As one we say, “HANDS UP!”
Finn's Feather by Rachel Noble and Zoey Abbott
START: On the first day of spring, Finn opened the front door and discovered a feather on his doorstep.
END: The feather was no longer white. No longer perfect. But it was still amazing.
My Heart by Corinna Luyken
START: My heart is a window
END: Closed or open… I get to decide
Iver and Ellsworth by Casey W. Robinson and Melissa Larson
START: Ellsworth is a rooftop bear. Underneath him, a factory hums and a man bustles. The man’s name is Iver. Iver and Ellsworth are good friends.
END: “Good.” Iver nods. “Very good.”
Honeysmoke: A Story of Finding Your Color by Monique Fields and Yesenia Moises
START: Simone wants a color.
END: The next day she sees her color written in the clouds, in the tree leaves, and on the grass, and she writes it on her schoolwork, on the classroom window, and in chalk on the playground.
The Bell Rang by James E. Ransome
START: The bell rings, and no sun in the sky.
END: Free like the birds. Free like Moses. No more bells.
The Real Boat by Victoria Semykina and Marina Aromshtam
START: A paper boat was sailing in a pond.
END: At last, he was a real boat.
END: At last, he was a real boat.
Matthew is giving away a 30 minute Skype session on a topic of your choosing. Brainstorm story ideas. Critique a manuscript. Build a strategy for expanding your social media presence. Develop a personalized recommended reading list to support your writing and story developing. You name it. To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must be registered by March 4, comment on each post, consistently read mentor texts, and enter the Rafflecopter drawing at the conclusion of ReFoReMo.
Matthew Winner is an elementary school librarian living in Howard County, Maryland. He is the host of The Children's Book Podcast, a weekly podcast featuring insightful and sincere interviews with authors, illustrators, and everyone involved in taking a book from drawing board to bookshelf. In 2013 Matthew was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker and was invited to the White House as part of the Champions of Change program. Matthew currently teaches library media at Swansfield Elementary School in Columbia, Maryland. Visit Matthew online at www.matthewcwinner.com/blog or on Twitter at @MatthewWinner.