Friday, February 26, 2010

Little Writers

February 2004 - Tootsie Roll, Age 1 1/2

February 2010 - Curly Jones, Age 2 1/2

Writing has been a part of my kids' lives from the time they were (are) very little.  Books and stories and words are just a natural part of our days every day.  Curly Jones is starting to recognize "ABC"s on the pages of books (although she thinks they all say her name) and has long repeated the familiar parts of stories that we read together.  Her current favorites are The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Napping House.

Tootsie Roll is seven now, and I find her curled up with chapter books up in her loft bed or snuggled in random places around the house.  She has always been a reader and a writer.  When she was little, I used to tell her bedtime stories about a little girl who looked just like her but whose name was Amy Jamie.  Amy Jamie would draw things on her "magic doodle" and the jump into the pictures and have her adventures. 

When we didn't have time to tell those stories (they got kind of long), we improvised by telling stories about another one of our favorite made up characters, Frank Pickle.  Frank Pickle stories, as a rule, could only be three sentences long and always started the same way, like:

Once upon a time, there was a man named Frank Pickle. 
He wanted a hamster but the pet store was out.
So he bought a snake and got over it.

Once upon a time, there was a man named Frank Pickle.
He sent a Valentine to the girl he loved but she didn't send one back.
Oh well.

Lol... poor Frank Pickle had a lot of bad luck.  Sometimes he had good luck, but that wasn't nearly as much fun.  We would crack each other up with Frank Pickle stories.  Every now and then, we still do.  I'm sure Curly Jones will put her own spin on Frank Pickle, or we'll come up with our own bedtime story characters.

Tootsie Roll does a lot of creative writing now and I'm always amazed at the way she looks at things.  She thinks it's cool that I'm working on a book and she wants to illustrate it.  :) 

I never thought about writing much until I was in fifth grade and my teacher, Mrs. Ritts, told me I could write.  She encouraged me all the time and three years later when my younger sister had her, she pulled out pieces of my writing to use as an example in class.  I never forgot that, and although I haven't tried to publish before and this is my first serious effort, I have always written and always felt like a writer.  I try to encourage my students at school in the same way, in whatever areas they excel or enjoy.  Eric Carle says in his video "Eric Carle, Picture Writer" that his kindergarten teacher told his mom that he was talented and should be an artist and she enrolled him in art classes after that.

Who encouraged your dream, whether it be writing or something else?


roxy said...

Great post, Lindsey. Your kids are sure lucky. Those sound like some wonderful stories. Not only are you teaching them to love story lines and reading, you're making lovely memories with them as well. Good job, Mom!

P.S. I saw two books with prologues at the store today. Nicholas Sparks always uses a prologue.:)

roxy said...

P.P.S. I meant to say this first of all. Those babies are gorgeous!

Summer said...

That's a really good question, not one I've ever really thought about. I guess I inspired myself? I've always been a reader, as has my whole family. I suppose writing my own stories to read came naturally out of that. I can't even remember why I decided to pick up that pen the first time and write that story, but once I did, I haven't stopped since. And I was 9, so your Tootsie Roll doesn't have much longer to go!

Ann Elle Altman said...

I can't really say who has motivated me...I think eventually the stories kept running amok in my mind and I had to write them before they wronged me.

Love the pics of your kids. So cute.


sarahjayne smythe said...

Thank you so much for this. My own kids were read to and wrote growing up, and all of them reaped the rewards of loving that. But so many kids get to me in high school not having ever been exposed to words in any real form or fashion. You are giving your kids a great gift.

Tara said...

Your kids will thank you later :) I've always read to mine, or ade up stories. My son (8) wrote his first short story a couple weeks back, which I posted on my blog. It was a knock off of a children's book, but I loved it. He often tells me he wants to be a writer when he grows up :)

My mother gave me the love of books, without doubt. She always read to me, encouraged me to read. My favorite picture from childhood: I'm about 6-7 and my dad is lying next to me in my bed, eyes closed, mouth open, obviously snoring away, while I have a book high above my head reading HIM to sleep, lol.

My 8th grade English teacher loved my writing, praised it all the time, and encouraged me at every corner.

Shelley Sly said...

Awww your kids are a-dor-able!! And I love the idea of the Amy Jamie and Frank Pickle stories.

I started writing on my own, when I was in kindergarten. I was always a reader, encouraged by my mom to read chapter books at an early age, and I think because I loved reading so much, I wanted to make my own books. I never lost that dream.

Dangerous With a Pen said...

LOL Tootsie Roll just told me this one:

Once upon a time there was a man named Frank Pickle. His favorite color was green. His girlfriend's favorite color was blue. They broke up. THE END

krislincour said...

Dangerous won't toot her own horn, so I'll toot it for her. She taught herself to read at age 4, and we went as a family to the public library every week. She acted as her younger sister's teacher and decided she wanted to teach for real early on in elementary school.
Some of my favorite pics are of Dangerous being read to on her nana's lap, her reading to infant Tootsie Roll and later of Tootsie Roll reading to her baby sister Curly Jones.
What a great legacy.

Tiffany Neal said...

How cute!! I love that they're writing!

My oldest took a book out of my 4th graders library in my classroom and started copying it word for word. She said, "I'm learning to be a writer like you, mommy!"


Jemi Fraser said...

Gorgeous kids!! I love the Frank Pickle stories - working on being concise already :)

No one ever saw my writing until I found 2 crit buddies last year. We didn't have much writing in school. I only remember ever writing stories twice.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I just love, love, LOVE this!! My oldest loves to read and write, too, though at 13, music seems to be her passion. But it's hard to know--it's all a matter of creating, I guess. So I just sit back, waiting for the artist in her to blossom in whatever way it will.

And how cute is your little Curly Jones? My second child, 3 yrs old, is a blonde little curly top just like her and also loves to make up stories. How wonderful that you have something so special as Frank Pickle to share. It makes me want a Frank Pickle just for us :) Although, generally, my daughter's stories usually involve a princess and a witch. Perhaps we can call our princess Francine ;)

As for inspiration, I've always written--my mom is a writer, too. But it was my high school English teacher who told me I had a gift. It meant a lot to me, coming at a very discouraging, very insecure time in my life. I always thought I was a little weird & struggled to fit it. But it was Mrs. Metelko who first called me original, and that made all the difference.

Amie McCracken said...

Just found your blog and loving it!

I've always been a writer and reader too, but it was also my fifth grade teacher who I think pushed me forward. She had me enter a writing contest, I won a prize and she had a party in the classroom for it.

Dangerous With a Pen said...

Thanks, guys. :) (And thanks, Mom, for tooting my horn, lol! Glad your comments are working again).

It just makes my heart shine knowing that my kids love words and stories. :) I know you guys feel the same way.

Roxy - My Prologue Pal! If Nick Sparks can do it... ;)

Tara, that sounds like an adorable picture! And something I have seen many times when my husband puts TR to bed... lol...

Carol - You are welcome to share Frank Pickle. He can be quite the curmudgeon, though, with so much bad luck... tee hee...

roxy said...

I really like Frank Pickles! His stories are so funny. Your kids are going to have great personalities with Frank in their lives. I just read the scary incident you left on my blog. Made me worried. You are awesome prologue-pal.

JennyMac said...

What adorable pics! Love the post and the Frank Pickle short stories are great. My parents have been encouraging me before I even started school. So neat you are doing the same in your kids.

Kit Courteney said...

I don't think I was especially encouraged nor discouraged from writing. My mum used to tell me and my sister made up stories about Polly Pram. I don't remember any now, but I loved the idea of 'making stuff up' from being tiny.

I think I always 'just knew' that I could write. Sometimes it's rubbish, but not always!

Love your Frank Pickle stories!

Berlin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Christine Danek said...

They are so cute! Great post:)

The Rejection Queen said...

Oh my gosh, your girls are adorable! When I have kids they will not have meaningless toys...they will either read books and write.

E. Elle said...

My parents have been the driving force behind my being a writer. I've been writing since I was about two years old and when I started school and learned to actually write with letters and not scribbles, my teachers often shared the "she's very talented" sentiment at parent-teacher conferences. I don't know if I would be as happy doing anything else... but maybe I'll write about it!

Amy Holder said...

I love this post! Your kids are adorable!! The Nappy House and The Very Hungry Caterpillar are two of my favorite stories to read to little ones. And I think Frank Pickle is dying to be made into a picture book - too cute!

As for who encouraged my writing dreams, my parents always supported and nurtured my creativity and interest in writing. I was also lucky to have a few teachers who really encouraged my writing. I think it's so fabulous that you encourage your students... a teacher's words and encouragement truly last a lifetime. It's such an important job!