The Story of a Story

Holiday House/Neal Porter. Nov. 2021. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823444915.
K-Gr 4–This poetic narrative, with quiet, thoughtful illustrations, depicts a young boy in winter trying to find the right words to start a story. Voiced in the second person, the sequence of events will feel utterly familiar to writers of any age and especially reassuring to new, young ones as they watch how finding ideas takes time and focus. Uncluttered spaces between text lines and illustrated elements within the boy’s room match the purposeful pauses from the task at hand: the boy gets a snack, reads other stories, and doodles as he waits for words to come.The white, gold, and blue-toned colors lightly infuse the careful, penned outlines of the spare walls, crumpled papers, and cheerful, pensive expressions flitting across the boy’s face as he thinks. Inspiration strikes unexpectedly, as a small form flits outside the boy’s snowy window, echoing how, little by little, authors’ words can piece together a tale experienced or imagined from their own point of view. Hopkinson’s words gently encourage readers to remember that this craft takes patience, but also how there is something remarkable about finding your unique voice.
VERDICT A comforting read for anyone who writes and a precise, essential “hook” book for elementary writing lessons, this book will ease young scribes into their next story.

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