Melissa Stewart: Teaching Kids the Craft of Writing Nonfiction
So I have edited an anthology called Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep, and the subtitle of this book is “50 Award-Winning Children’s Book Authors Share the Secret of Engaging Writing.” And so this is 50 top authors in the nonfiction world, children’s nonfiction world, who are writing about their writing process and the things that are critical to the way that they write, how their passions, their fears, fuel their writing, how they choose their topics, how they focus their topics, how they make their writing their own, how they bring a piece of themselves to their writing.
So there could be five biographies of a certain person, but each one is different because the person creating it is different and they’re each bringing their own sensibility and their own life experience, their own lived experience to that book. And I think when children have an opportunity to do that too, I think so many times children will do their research and then they’ll just dive into writing.
But there’s a critical step in between where they need to synthesize. They need to assimilate their research and make their own personal meaning. What I always tell students in writing workshops is to read through your research and put it through your body to think about it with your mind and think about it with your heart and what is it that resonates with you? What about this person is specifically exciting to you? What about this topic? Are you dying to share with other people? And then focus in on that and that will make writing more engaging.