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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

An exquisite corpse?

September 30, 2009

Lots of people know the work of Jon Scieszka, Katherine Paterson, and illustrator Chris Van Dusen. But last weekend at the National Book Festival, a group of well known writers for children and young adults discussed their Exquisite Corpse.

It's not as bad as it sounds. This Corpse is actually based on an old game in which a story is written or picture drawn by multiple creators — each without having any control over the previous entry. It's similar to the old campfire game where people tell a story together one line at a time.

Anyway, Jon Scieszka and a host of well known authors and illustrators in a presentation moderated by NCBLA President, Mary Brigid Barrett, launched the first-ever (at least to my knowledge!) national Exquisite Corpse.

The Exquisite Corpse will involve a wide range of amazing authors and illustrators. You're bound to know many of the contributors!

Jon Scieszka read the first chapter from which other writers will develop their chapter. You can now read it online and see how it was illustrated at a special website hosted by the Library of Congress,

Every two weeks a new chapter will be posted. And the first one is a hoot — with plenty for those who follow to chomp into.

And now kids from kindergarten to grade 12 can be inspired by the Equisite Corpse authors and illustrators to do their own writing — in a writing challenge called the Exquisite Prompt, hosted by Reading Rockets and

This should be a lot of fun for readers and writers of all ages. So stayed tuned — and be sure to check out the ever evolving Exquisite Corpse Adventure at the Library of Congress website!


While surfing through the material for The Exquisite Corpse Prompt, I found some material related to teaching specific literary terms. Now I can't find it. Is it on the Reading Rockets site? I thought it was directly tied to the Exquisite Corpse Adventure. Help!

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"You may have tangible wealth untold. Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be — I had a mother who read to me." — Strickland Gillilan