Now one South Bend-based library is getting into helping kids create their first book:
A group of 10 budding young authors is hard at work in a conference room at the St. Joseph County Public Library on this day in early December.
They're participants in "Write YOUR Story," a free children's writing course taught each fall and spring by volunteer Julia Douthwaite. During weekly sessions over the course of a semester, the participants read several books, discuss the plots, jointly write a book as a group, then each write and illustrate their own storybook.
With kids publishing their own works left and right, and even an anthology of stories, this story is not so unusual any more. But it is still good to see the creative spirit encouraged at a young age.
"I like to write," says Micaela Honaker, a student at St. Adalbert School. She has written and illustrated a book about a pair of orphaned twins who are separated in childhood. "My favorite thing about it is the creativity of creating your own book," says Jehlin Houston, a sixth-grader who wrote a story about a young wizard who works at a pizza parlor.
As any writer will tell you, getting started is often the most difficult step, and some of the kids felt that ways as well. LaSalle Intermediate Academy Amelia Zwart said that it was sometimes hard to come up with a story idea. "But eventually, I'll just start writing, and then it happens." Her favorite part of writing her latest book was drawing the illustrations.
The group also collaborated on a retelling of Puss in Boots last fall. The kids jointly wrote and produced a 32-page picture book titled Nabiki and Ruby: An Outer Space Fairy Tale, including creating the characters and rewriting the story.
image by Alexandratx