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As I've mentioned before, I've loved to write for a long, long time -- ever since I learned how, really! It wasn't always my dream to become a professional writer, but I did always want to write poems and stories, even if no one else ever read them.
I recently discovered some great books for young writer when I was browsing through our local library. (And, even though they are written for kids and teens, I still found them interesting and helpful as an adult!) If you have big dreams of becoming a published author someday... or if you just love to write... or even if you haven't written much before, but would like to try... I recommend reading these books, no matter what your age! :)
I found these first two books in the Young Adult section of our library. I believe that they are also appropriate for middle grade readers. (And adults!)
So, You Wanna be a Writer? : How to Write, Get Published, and Maybe Even Make it BIG!, by Vicki Hambleton and Cathleen Greenwood, 2001... Besides giving lots of practical advice about writing and getting published, this book also contains interviews with a few famous adult authors and ten young authors.Calliope and Faces, while Greenwood has been published in Cricket, Merlyn's Pen, and many other magazines.
Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook, by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter, illustrated by Matt Phelan, 2010... I really enjoyed this book! The authors give tons of helpful advice about various topics like "Getting Started", "Creating Main Characters", "Suspense", and "Writer's Block 9-1-1", all sprinkled with a healthy dose of humor. Throughout the book, you will find several "I Dare You" sections, where the authors provide bits of writing inspiration, then dare you to use those ideas.
Both of the authors have written many other books for kids, including The Salamander Room, The Oxboy, and The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes series (all by Mazer) and Pish Posh, SLOB, and the Olivia Kidney series (all by Potter). You can learn more about these authors at their websites: http://www.annemazerbooks.com/ and http://www.ellenpotter.com/ .
The following two books talk specifically about poetry. I found them in my library's Juvenile Fiction section, but as I mentioned above, I believe they are useful for teens and adults, as well.
Seeing the Blue Between: Advice and Inspiration for Young Poets, compiled by Paul B. Janeczko, 2002... Thirty-two established poets (Jane Yolen, Georgia Heard, Douglas Florian, and X.J. Kennedy, to name a few) contributed advice and examples of their own poetry for this book. I will admit that I didn't recognize the names of all the poets included in this compilation, but I was intrigued by what they each had to say. You can be sure I will be checking out more of their work in the future!
Janeczko has written several books of poetry, including Wing Nuts and Birds on a Wire, as well as many other books, fiction and nonfiction. He has also compiled many other poetry anthologies. To learn more about this author, check out his website.
Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the Inside Out, by Ralph Fletcher, 2002... This book offers advice on both "Lighting the Spark" and "Nurturing the Flame" when writing poetry. Along with his own words and poetry, Fletcher also provides 3 interviews with other poets, and several poems written by kids.
Fletcher has written several other books for young writers, including A Writer's Notebook: Unlocking the Writer Within You, Live Writing: Breathing Life Into Your Words, and How Writers Work: Finding a Process That Works for You. In addition, he has his own website where he offers Tips for Young Writers.
I also stumbled across two fun poet websites that provide advice for kids -- Kristine O'Connell George's Tips for Young Poets and Jack Prelutsky's How to Write a Funny Poem.