Showing posts with label Janie Reinart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Janie Reinart. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

ReFoReMo Mini-Monthly Writing Challenge: Writing Stories About Words

By Janie Reinart

... I loved only words: I would raise up cathedrals of words 
beneath the blue gaze of the word sky
I would build for thousands of years.
~Jean-Paul Sartre

We love our words. We build stories word by word. But have you ever written a story about words? That is your challenge. Build a story about words beneath the blue gaze of the word sky. 

By Jen Bryant

One of my favorite picture books is A River of Words. This biography about poet 
William Carlos Williams tells how Willie's words gave him freedom and peace. The end pages are full of his poetry.

"Like the other boys in Rutherford, New Jersey, Willie Williams loved to play baseball and to race his friends up and down the street. But when the other boys went inside, Willie stayed outside. Climbing over the fence in his back yard, he wandered alone through the woods and fields."

By Peter H. Reynolds
This story sounds like all of us who keep word journals. This story is a "celebration of finding your own words -- and the impact you can have when you share them with the world."

"Some collect bugs. Others collect baseball cards. Some people collect comic books. 
And Jerome? What did he collect? Jerome collected words."

By Melanie Florence

What would happen if someone stole your words? When a little girl comes home from school and asks her grandpa how to say a word in his Cree language, he is sad because he doesn't remember the words. He tells her his words were stolen from him. The grandfather then tells the tale of being taken to a residential school when he was a boy.  

"She came home from school today. Skipping and dancing. Humming a song under her breath. Clutching a dream catcher she had made from odds and ends. Bits of string. Plastic beads. And brightly colored feathers. Her glossy braids danced against her shoulders. Swaying with her. Black as a raven's wing."

By Rebeca Van Dyke

Lexi is a strong cowgirl. She protects baby letters as they grow. And ties shorter words together to make longer words. She herds words into sentences and corrals them to tell a story. Then letters start disappearing. The "D" disappears from her bandana leaving Lexi with a banana.  

"Lexi was the best wrangler west of the Mississippi, and everyone knew it. She wore a tall hat, fancy boots, and a bandana."

From nonfiction biographies to dictionaries, have fun building stories about words. Did you notice all the mentor texts have WORD in their titles? Raise up your own cathedral and build your stories... for a thousand years. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

ReFoReMo Mini-Monthly Writing Challenge: Comfort And Joy

By Janie Reinart

"Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable."
~ by Louisa May Alcott 

Books lift our spirits, bring us joy, and comfort us in times of trouble. Favorite stories are like good friends. These book friends are there when we need them. The challenge this month is to find your favorite picture book and use it as a mentor text to write a story that lifts your spirits. 

I would like to share some of my favorite book friends with you. My first selection is a Hoot & Olive Story. 

Brave Enough for Two by Jonathan D. Voss is a story of a loving friendship between a little girl and her beloved stuffie. Olive likes her adventures in books, while Hoot likes the rollicking kind outdoors. Olive isn't sure if she's brave enough for the activities Hoot has picked. But when her dearest friend gets hurt, Olive discovers not only is she brave, she is brave enough for two. 

"One day Hoot said, "I've made something special for you. But it could be a small bit scary and a slightly bigger bit adventurous."

"You know I don't like adventures," said Olive. "I'm not brave like you."

By Jo Empson

My second selection Rabbityness by Jo Empson was nominated for 8 awards. An interview with the author said, "Jo is never happier than when she is swept away in storytelling - in all its aspects - whether it be writing, illustrating or just reading a favorite picture book (which she still does every night!)." 

Rabbit enjoys doing rabbity things, and un-rabbity things! Rabbit suddenly disappears. No one knows where he has gone. His friends are desolate. But, as it turns out, Rabbit has left behind some very special gifts for them, to help them discover their own unrabbity talents! 

"Rabbit also liked doing unrabbity things.He liked painting...and making music.
 It made him so happy, all the other rabbits caught his happiness. He filled the woods with color and music."

By Cynthia Rylant

My last selection is The Dreamer by Cynthia Rylant. This creation story imagines God as a young artist all alone quietly making what he imagines. My favorite lines are:

"He moved among these living creatures and--like all young artists--felt such joy and love for his creation that he thought he might explode with happiness. He wanted to tell someone what he had done, to show someone his beautiful heavens and earth and water and grass and moving creatures, and he looked 
all around him but the world was empty of anyone who might listen and understand. Someone with ears to hear and eyes to see. Someone who was 
an artist as wellSo he worked all night long. And by morning he had made a new artist in his own image...The world began filling up with artists...The first young artist, still a dreamer, has always called them his children."

I invite you to the challenge. Find your favorite picture book and write a story that lifts your spirits. Heed the advice of my book friends:

Be brave enough.

Help others catch your happiness. Fill the woods with color, music, and your words.

Dream. Feel joy and love for your creations. Remember who's child you are.

Friday, March 13, 2020

ReFoReMo Day 10: Author Janie Reinart Finds the Right Words

By Janie Reinart

"The difference between the right word
and the almost right word
is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."
~Mark Twain

Don't you love words that grab you? These authors pick just the right words. I tell students to use $100 words instead of ten cent ones. Start a journal of spectacular words to inspire your own writing.

By Hayley Barrett

"She made fast friends with stars that shone as if punched into the black with a whalebone needle."

By Lea Lyon & A. LaFaye

"Born with the beat in my feet, I jive to Daddy's jazz and sway to Mama's symphonies. 
As musical notes start to float, I rise to my toes, ready to fly."

By Miranda Paul

The point of a pin.
Then it divides...
Our story begins."

By Susannah Buhrman-Deever


                        (I warn of airborne storms
                         but save myself
                         with vocal stealth.)"

By Monica Kulling
"The ground grew nothing but thistles and dust. Dust buried tractors, killed cattle, and billowed into blizzards that turned day into night."

Which picture books have you found that feature spectacular words?

Janie is giving away a copy of Word Painting: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively by Rebecca McClanahan to one lucky winner! To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must be registered by March 2, comment on each post, consistently read mentor texts, and enter the Rafflecopter drawing at the conclusion of ReFoReMo.

Janie Reinart
Janie Reinart is the ReFoReMo Facebook Group Moderator and a blog contributor.  A fellow with the National Writing Project, educator, author, poet and musical storyteller, Janie seeks ways of giving emerging writers of all ages a voice. It is her mission to help others enjoy the sheer joy of writing and she practices this through her posts on the GROG blog. A proud mother of a veteran, Janie had the honor of collecting stories for the anthology, Love You More Than You Know: Mothers’ Stories About Sending Their Sons and Daughters to War. Janie’s picture bookUntil Water Makes Mud: A Story of Refugee Children (Blue Whale Press) debuts summer 2020.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Wait a Minute Mr. Postman-monthly challenge

By Janie Reinart

I can't believe that 2016 marked the 30 year anniversary of the book, The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. This darling interactive book has removable letters from different fairy tale characters in addition to the story text. My youngest daughter remembers this book fondly. Can you guess what your challenge is? Get your pen ready to write a story using the epistolary formant.

By Troy Cummings
This adoption story is told through letters by the dog, himself. Arfy is homeless and approaches everyone on Butternut Street. The surprise ending is very satisfying.

Dear People at Yellow House, 
Woof! Can I be your dog? I am potty trained and have my own squeaky bone.
Also: I love to play! I see you have a cat, but I am willing to work with you.
Whoooooos a good dog? I am !!!
P.S. I know every house on Butternut Street, but I asked you first.

By Josh Funk

George and Blaise are pen pals, and they write letters to each other about everything. There’s just one thing that the two friends don’t know: George is a human, while Blaise is a dragon! What will happen when they finally meet?

Hello, students!
Our poetry and pen pal projects 
   this year are combined.
Upon your desks you'll see the pen pals
   that you've been assigned.
Please make sure the letters that you 
   write are all in rhyme.
Now open up your envelopes because
   it's pen pal time!

By Irene Latham

After she comes across a postcard, Agnes, a giant Pacific octopus, strikes up a correspondence with various other creatures below―and above―the waves. Readers will delight in this unlikely introduction to the octopus life cycle.

One day in the deep dark beneath the pier, an octopus found a large jar. She knew it would make the perfect home. But something was blocking her way. 

Dear Nobody,
Mom said I'm not allowed to call you a monster, even though that's what you are.So I'm writing it instead. MONSTER. Things were great until you came along.
Your nothing,

By Adam Rex

Ox is in love! A simple ox professes his love for the glamorous gazelle who thinks she doesn't like him. Or does she?

Dear Gazelle, 

For some time now I have wanted to write a letter to say how much I admire you. You are so graceful and fine. Even when you are running from tigers you are like a ballerina who is running from tigers. 

I think that what I am trying to say is that I love you.

So no matter if you are writing to a pet or a princess--see where the story leads you. I'm sure the Jolly Postman would be happy to deliver the mail. Happy writing. Be sure to mention your favorite story told in letters in the comments.