Certainly, kids can be authors!

Dear Readers,

I had lunch the other day with a colleague who told me of her interest in doing research about an obscure and forgotten author from long ago who wrote and published a novel at the age of twelve. How fascinating, I thought, that this young girl was inspired and determined to submit her manuscript to a publisher in the 1920s, a time when few children could call themselves published authors.

But what kind of support exists today for young scribblers? Perhaps not surprisingly, it all begins with you, whether you are a parent, aunt, uncle, teacher, librarian, or adult friend of a child, all of you can make a difference by encouraging children to read and write. You can also let children know about online resources devoted to helping young authors develop their writing and illustration skills. For example, I discovered Scribblitt.com, which is a terrific website where kids can use free online tools to write and illustrate their own stories; they also have the option of collaborating with other kids and writers using cloud-based technology. Furthermore, you can help children to develop their writing skills by proofreading their stories and offering them helpful advice about spelling, character development, narrative structure, and so on.

Another way for children to get inspired about reading and writing is to check the websites of their favourite authors, which are generally chock-full of activities and information about children’s writers and illustrators. To wit, I had the great pleasure of recently meeting and interviewing Jill Bryant, a Canadian writer who specializes in children’s nonfiction, when she was visiting the University of Alberta and meeting with numerous groups of children, inspiring them to read and write. Her website, Jillbryant.ca, has some excellent teacher resources that encourage students in grades four to eight to write about their role models, using her books about real entrepreneurs, athletes, and designers for inspiration. When you begin looking at author websites and other online resources (e.g., directories, readers’ advisory services, webcasts, etc.) for information about writing children’s books, it becomes readily apparent that there is a plethora of writing support tools for budding young authors.

Enjoy the summer issue, and please take note that we have also included a review in French of a French language book for children. We are delighted to announce that the Deakin Review will continue to review books in French as our resources permit.

Happy reading!

Robert Desmarais
Managing Editor

Click here to watch the interview with Jill Bryant.