Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Doing & Learning
Be a Better Writer

Be a Better Writer

Fall 2016 Doing & Learning
Ages: 10 - 16 yrs.
Author: Steve Peha
ISBN: 978-0-9972831-0-5
Hardcover Price: $19.95

At first glance, a 348-page book about writing appears daunting. While it's written to a perfect age and audience (when teaching the importance of strong communication skills, the earlier the better), the book's thickness alone seems like a hard sell. This is a group, after all, with very real demands on their time.

However, the husband-and-wife authors have organized Be a Better Writer to be manageable in small bites. It functions efficiently as a reference tool, as well as an in-depth instructional aid that can hone in on specific skills.

The layout and detailed contents section make it easy to narrow subject matter down. Specific genre writing, such as fiction, journalism, or essay, are in their own easy-to-find sections, as are specific writing skills. For instance, if punctuation isn't a concern, but writing stronger sentences is, jump straight to Chapter 7. There are a generous supply of solid writing samples to illustrate the points made in each chapter, as well as a great set of writing prompts and activities to help readers put into practice what they've learned.

The breadth of the material is impressive. Not every reader is going to be interested, for instance, in writing short stories or screenplays - but there are detailed sections for those who are. As well as sections on idea-forming, pitches, stronger word use; how to use voice effectively, set mood, create memorable language; the list goes on.

There are detailed chapters on paper and essay writing, which include practical tips on how to begin, organizing thoughts, and proceeding methodically to an end. Often, the greatest challenge of any writing task is the blank page. These authors dismiss the fear, and replace it with friendly, easy-to-manage steps.

The book also includes several interviews with professional writers about their styles and work habits, and how they began their careers. There's plenty to offer all students at all levels - whether they want to pursue a career in writing, or write stronger papers, or just communicate better in general. The message throughout the book is that writing isn't so hard - anyone can do it, and anyone can get better.

This is a well-written, well-organized book on writing with effective skill-building tools that can benefit all levels of writers ages ten and up.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

Look for this product at:
Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc.

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