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Writing Maniac: How I Grew up to Be a Writer (and You Can Too!)

by Sheree Fitch

The message in this book is clear. Award-winning author Sheree Fitch loves to play with words! Not only does she play with them in her books of nonsense poetry, but she also uses words to inspire young would-be writers to do the same in this publication. Using a high-energy tone and colloquial language, Fitch describes the factors in her life that influence her writing: interactions with family members and special teachers while she was growing up as well as daily experiences that fuel her imagination. Fitch describes in detail how these experiences, many of them with her own children or with students whose classrooms she’s visited, have resulted in published poems.

In addition to demonstrating her own writing process, Fitch repeatedly encourages readers to “read, read, read” and “write, write, write” if they plan to become a writing maniac like her. This advice will no doubt please teachers, as will the many themes for writing suggested in the mini-sidebars and in the last section of the book. While imaginative, these suggestions fall flat in terms of inspiring young readers to write. Children not only need to be given ideas, they need to be guided through a process to develop them. It might have been more helpful if the book had been organized differently with each enthusiastic chapter acting as a springboard followed by available blank lines for writing, instead of providing many pages of lines at the end of the book. (This idea works beautifully in Sarah Ellis’s book The Young Writer’s Companion.)

Fitch ends her book with an extensive glossary, which explains and gives examples of figures of speech, forms of writing, parts of speech, and forms of poetry. She also lists some of her favourite Canadian authors, which is a fitting end to this book about writing.


Reviewer: Etta Kaner

Publisher: Pembroke Publishers


Price: $14.95

Page Count: 96 pp

Format: Paper

ISBN: 1-55138-121-4

Released: Sept.

Issue Date: 2000-11


Age Range: ages 8–12