Part instructional, part inspirational, this writing primer is a good first stop for budding young scribes.

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SO, YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER?

HOW TO WRITE, GET PUBLISHED, AND MAYBE EVEN MAKE IT BIG!

Soup-to-nuts overview on all aspects of developing a writing career, from picking a genre to publicizing a finished work.

The thing that sets Hambleton and Greenwood’s upbeat how-to for aspiring young scribblers apart is its myriad interviews, not only of established professionals such as Wendelin Van Draanen and Todd Strasser, but of young writers who may not be as familiar. Additionally, the authors sample some of these young wordsmiths’ work, which, although it stops the narrative flow, gives readers both a taste of their material and the feeling that this is something that’s achievable. The tone of the book is positive and self-help-y, but the advice is straightforward and practical. It includes quizzes, writing exercises to loosen up the brain and a handy section on further resources as well as a (too) short glossary of terms that all professional writers should know. Because it’s aimed at word slingers of all types of material and genres, some which the authors define and explain, the information is by necessity somewhat general and superficial, and writers seeking to work in specific genres will have to do further research.

Part instructional, part inspirational, this writing primer is a good first stop for budding young scribes. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58270-359-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Beyond Words/Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers.

DON'T READ THIS BOOK BEFORE BED

THRILLS, CHILLS, AND HAUNTINGLY TRUE STORIES

A compendium of paranormal doings, natural horrors, and eerie wonders worldwide and (in several senses) beyond.

Maladroit title aside (“…in Bed” would make more sense, cautionwise), this collection of hauntings, cryptids, natural and historical mysteries, and general titillation (“Vampire bats might be coming for you!”) offers a broad array of reasons to stay wide awake. Arranged in no discernible order the 60-plus entries include ghostly sightings in the White House and various castles, body-burrowing guinea worms, the Nazca lines of Peru, Mothman and Nessie, the hastily abandoned city of Pripyat (which, thanks to the Chernobyl disaster, may be habitable again…in 24,000 years), monarch-butterfly migrations, and diverse rains of fish, frogs, fireballs, and unidentified slime. Each is presented in a busy whirl of narrative blocks, photos, graphics, side comments, and arbitrary “Fright-O-Meter” ratings (Paris’ “Creepy Catacombs” earn just a “4” out of 10 and black holes a “3,” but the aforementioned aerial amphibians a full “10”). The headers tend toward the lurid: “Jelly From Space,” “Zombie Ants,” “Mongolian Death Worm.” Claybourne sprinkles multiple-choice pop quizzes throughout for changes of pace.

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2841-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)

 

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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