Writing Workshop with Kristen Kittscher

I have been so busy this summer that I haven’t been able to take the time I’d really like to write blogs showing what’s going on at our programs.  Here is a much-belated post I’ve been meaning to write about the wonderful kids’ writing workshop we recently had with middle grade mystery author Kristen Kittscher!

Kristen started the workshop by sharing a slideshow she made, showing pictures from her childhood, pictures of her current office, explaining her writing process and the process of getting a book published.  The kids learned a lot from this about the importance of writing and revising and the importance of being passionate enough to push forward with your project even through the ups and downs!  She also shared an excerpt from her next novel, a sequel to The Wig in the Window, putting Sophie Young and Grace Yang in a mystery set in a city like Pasadena and a parade much like the Rose Parade.  I can’t wait to read it when it comes out!

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Then the kids came up with a mystery together!  Kristen did a fun hands-on creativity exercise where the kids had to describe an unknown object and give it some kind of magical or possibly sinister capability!  She also walked them through the basics of what makes a good mystery:

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Here are the notes Kristen wrote down for the funny mystery the kids came up with together as a group:

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A few kids read their mystery stories they wrote in class–they were very funny!

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Kristen signed bookmarks to give away to the kids, and I had copies of her book for the kids to check out.  The library doesn’t sell books at our events (only when bookstores come here and do the selling) but we did have lots of copies of The Wig in the Window for kids to take home and read!

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Thanks again so much Kristen for sharing your insights about writing with these kids.  I think the kids came away with the inspiration to keep working on their own projects, and a better idea of what it takes to make your writing dreams come true!

AnnMarie Kolakowski

I'm a youth services librarian currently working at the Lamanda Park Branch Library while Central Library is closed for seismic repairs. I purchase juvenile fiction for grades 2-8, and some foreign languages. I do a lot of programs with school-age kids, including 3 regular book clubs (Windows and Mirrors, Read Around the World, and Lucha Libros), as well as writing workshops and STEAM/science programs. I also Infant/Toddler Storytimes and Preschool Storytimes, and outreach to local area preschools. I love what I do, working with kids of all ages to inspire them to learn and use their curiosity and imaginations. Outside of my work at the library, I am also the author of a book on creative writing activities for kids.

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