Majors, founder of YARN, the Young Adult Review Network, an online journal of YA essays, poetry and short stories, offers a series of essays on writing for aspiring writers. Essentially a memoir, the volume is earnest and practical in tone, covering every angle of writing, from buying a planner and revising to finding an audience and learning from mistakes. More philosophical concerns include what to do for a living before hitting the big time, deciding whether writing is a hobby or a job, and dealing with hating friends who find success before you do. Finally, for those committed to publishing, helpful advice is offered on dealing with agents, editors and publishers, discovering the right journals and finding inspiration. The best advice of all is to write for pleasure, even if the ultimate goal is publication. Clearly, Majors knows what she’s talking about, and readers will recognize they’re getting advice from someone who knows. However, considering that the author says, “I prefer to think of this book as therapy for writers,” it’s not always clear if this is really therapy for herself or for aspiring newbies already becoming intimidated and discouraged by the whole process.
An upbeat and honest guide for teens already considering writing careers.
(Nonfiction. 13 & up)
Pitamic bites off more than she can chew with this instructional art volume, but its core projects will excite in the right context. Twelve pieces of fine art inspire two art projects apiece. Matisse’s The Snail opens the Color section; after history and analysis, there’s one project arranging multicolored tissue-paper squares and one project adding hue to white paint to create stripes of value gradation. These creative endeavors exploring value, shade, texture and various media will exhilarate young artists—but only with at best semi-successful results, as they require an adult dedicated to both advance material procurement and doing the artwork along with the child. Otherwise, complex instructions plus a frequent requirement to draw or trace realistically will cause frustration. Much of the text is above children’s heads, errors of terminology and reproduction detract and the links between the famous pieces and the projects are imprecise. However, an involved adult and an enterprising child aged seven to ten will find many of the projects fabulously challenging and rewarding. Art In Action 2 (ISBN: 978-0-7641-441-7) publishes simultaneously. (artist biographies, glossary, location of originals) (Nonfiction. Adults)
Just add water (and a little paper, some crayons and pencils) for instant and inspiring art projects.
This third art-education book by Prince is a deep well of resources for experienced teachers who want to supplement their existing curriculum or for a caregiver who is in search of a meaningful project to share with a child. Prince touches upon such topics as how to define art, how pervasive visual communication is in our world, and how vital it is that we become “bilingual” in the language of art. She also discusses the benefits of having students keep portfolios and the importance of honest criticism and praise when critiquing children's artwork. Included is a concise and user-friendly overview of various elements and principles of art, such as contrast, texture and composition, as well as a beautifully simple discussion about color, including definitions of hue, value and intensity, and primary, complementary and tertiary colors. There are more than 65 easy-to-follow projects neatly divided into the activities' environments: lessons for an afternoon in the city, the park, at the art museum or at home. The author even includes a referenced cross-index that lists the specific principles and elements taught in each project. Most lessons are, by design, suited for children as well as adults, and the supplies required are generally inexpensive and easily obtainable. Photographs and illustrations of the projects and principles add a visual dimension.
Though not for the rank amateur, a handy resource for artistically minded teens and adults who work with children.
(Nonfiction. 14 & up)