Recommended Reads:

A Book About Brothers, Love, and Growing Up

A Book About Brothers, Love, and Growing Up

What stands out most about As Brave as You, by Jason Reynolds, is that the main character, Genie, is a well-drawn adolescent—a quirky, innocent, curious boy who is stretching into himself. Genie keeps a pocket list of questions and observations that are interspersed...

An Important Novel about Overcoming Trauma

An Important Novel about Overcoming Trauma

I’ve been sitting on this book for a while, because I could not find words to accurately describe it. And even now, the only ones I can come up with are lovely, jarring, and hopeful. They might seem like contradictory terms to use, but that’s because Speak, by Laurie...

A Lyrical Memoir About Growing Up a Black Female

A Lyrical Memoir About Growing Up a Black Female

I’m a big fan of bell hooks’s poetry, and when I found one of her memoirs on a recommended reading list for good memoirs, I immediately marked it down on my reading list. I love memoirs that are told with poetic language and simplicity, and hooks’s has both. bone...

An Invaluable Book About Story Construction

An Invaluable Book About Story Construction

I know there’s a lot of debate about whether or not a writer should brainstorm a story in the first place. But let’s put that debate aside, for now, because this resource might be the one to convince you that it’s actually worth your time to plan out a story before...

A Sweet Story About a Hard Time in History

A Sweet Story About a Hard Time in History

We’ve been reading, reading, reading in the Toalson home, and two of my boys have just finished Unbound, by Ann E Burg, a short middle grade novel written in verse. I read it a couple of months ago, and this allowed us to have conversations about the subject matter,...

A Guide to Writing Better Personal Essays

A Guide to Writing Better Personal Essays

Crafting the Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Nonfiction, by Dinty W. Moore, is about exactly what the title suggests—writing personal essays. Moore takes his readers through the many different kinds of personal essays—including memoir...

11 Great Read-Alouds to Share With Your Family

11 Great Read-Alouds to Share With Your Family

Reading has multiple benefits for children, including building vocabulary, fostering a love of language, and teaching them empathy. But what about reading aloud to children? I get asked all the time whether parents should still read aloud to their children, even if...

A Comprehensive Guide to Writing a Fiction Series

A Comprehensive Guide to Writing a Fiction Series

Writing the Fiction Series: The Complete Guide for Novels and Novellas, by Karen S. Wiesner, was a book specifically about the techniques and best practices we should use when creating a fiction series. Trilogies, quartets and series aren’t really books that you can...

13 Books Perfect for a Reluctant Reader

13 Books Perfect for a Reluctant Reader

My 6-year-old is reluctant reader. This summer, I aim to change that, so I’ve put some fun fantasies, lots of animal books, and some entertaining, danger-filled stories on his summer reading list. Here’s a look at the books he’ll be reading. 1. Maybe a Fox, by Kathi...

A Helpful Resource for Successfully Revising Manuscripts

A Helpful Resource for Successfully Revising Manuscripts

Thanks, But This Isn't for Us: A (Sort of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing is Being Rejected, by Jessica Page Morrell, is a book about all the things writers do that turn off not only potential agents and editors but also readers. Morrell is an independent...

Writing resources

  • On Story
  • On Writing (general)
    • Wired for Story, by Lisa Cron
      Great book on the science of the brain and how to craft well-told stories that will appeal to the storytelling side of the brain. I got this book years ago but still pull it out every now and then to refresh my memory.
    • Steering the Craft, by Ursula Le Guin
      This one’s not so much a technique kind of book as it is a book reminding writers of their obligation to their readers. Some of her ideas are a bit old-fashioned, but most of them are still valuable today.
    • The Fire in Fiction, by Donald Maass
      Another great one on creating books that appeal to readers. Again, I always read these kinds with a grain of salt–because my goals are a bit different, but we all want readers, so I think we can always find value in the suggestions offered, even if we don’t become hardcore users of them.