Creative Writing for Beginning Readers: Imaginary Friends

On July 1st, we had a program for early elementary school kids from ages 5-8 years old to encourage them to do creative writing.  Miss AnnMarie prepared the materials and Mr. Nick did a wonderful job presenting it.  Mr. Nick read two books: The Adventures of Beekle, The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat, and Inside This Book (are three books) by Barney Saltzberg.

Adventures of Beekle

 Inside This Book

Inspired by Dan Santat’s island of imaginary friends, we had an island set up with pictures of imaginary friends that the children could “adopt,” and fill out an adoption certificate:



Dan Santat’s book won the Caldecott medal and seemed like a perfect picture book to use to inspire kids to use their imaginations! The Barney Saltzberg book is just as deserving of high praise and critical acclaim; it has a really creative format, with several children narrating stories using a series of smaller and smaller books:


So, inspired by Barney Saltzberg’s creative format for Inside This Book, children were given a chance to create their own “multi-book” using notebooks that we had pre-cut to contain a smaller “book” inside of them. They could tell a story from multiple points of view, such as their own point of view and their imaginary friend’s.

Kids needed a lot of help getting story ideas but really got into telling their imaginary friends’ stories. Fairies were a favorite choice among the kids.

Here is what the samples I created look like:



It’s really easy to cut out a few pages from the center of a cheap notebook to be smaller in dimensions than the rest of the book, and therefore be an additional “book.” Hope the kids got to take their books home and fill them out some more!

Our next workshop will be August 5th, and the theme will be fairytales! Stay tuned. If you’d like to register you may do so by calling 626-744-4066 option 4.

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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