The young writers started showing up in little bursts. Shyly, then entered the room. They brought tiny handmade books, notebooks, and special pens. We met in the center of the room with markers and a big piece of paper. While more writers showed up, we drew settings– purple waves, lollip pop trees, thoughtful owls.
Then I asked them what a setting was– and what makes them special. I read Dogteam by Gary Paulsen and we drank in the glowing moon and reflecting snow, the dogs dancing through the trees. I read a scene from my upcoming book The Order of the Trees where Cedar and her friend are in a secret woodland spot and listening to the nighttime orchestra of insects and animals. I asked them what their special place is– imaginary or real. To close their eyes and picture the details.
Now make it! We painted, drew, brainstormed. Ideas swirled over little heads. The art bloomed from their fingers.
Then we pushed away the art and I said what if only you could see the art? What if you had to describe it for anyone else to see it? So we started writing and scribing and the creativity positively vibrated the room. We needed more time!
All the kids ended up sharing their creative works. We had stories about a lost and brave fish, stories about a rainbow as a character, a magical rock, and fairies in a forest.
Later I received an email that said one little girl continued writing in the grocery store cart while her mom piled food around her. This is why I write with and for kids!