The Children's Book Compass

A New Patricia MacLachlan Book

Posted on: January 23, 2011

Word After Word After Word by Patricia MacLachlan.  (2010).  128 pages.  HarperCollins.  Grades 3-5.  Novel.

Author visits to my classroom spark my students’ writing.  This short novel, Word After Word After Word, tells the story of a fourth grade class that enjoys an author in residence for six weeks.  The story focuses on five students’ discovery of the value of writing to their lives and how they  come to think of themselves as writers.  The children ask the author why she writes.  She answers,

“I, myself, write to change my life, to make it come out the way I want it to… But other people write for other reasons; to see more closely what it is they are thinking about, what they may be afraid of.  Sometimes writers write to solve a problem, to answer their own question.”

As the story unfolds the children begin to write about what matters deeply to them, to answer questions they are concerned with and to try out solutions to their problems.  They discover words are to savor.  Their poems are included in the chapters as they explore how writing is essential to knowing themselves. MacLachlan, a Newbery Award winner, has a talent for making us care about her characters.  This story goes to the heart of why we write.    Read this aloud to your children to awaken their inner writer.

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