Friday, May 18, 2018

Fact Friday: Writing Radar by Jack Gantos

Writing Radar: using your journal to snoop out and craft great stories by Jack Gantos. 204 p. Farrar Straus & Giroux, August, 2017. 9780374304560. (Own)

I love hosting authors, be it for the day or an hour while on a book tour.  Students are highly interested to hear about the creation of their favorite books - from idea through publication and sometimes beyond (I'm looking at you, Sarah Weeks). I especially love the look on my students' faces when our author talks about revision. Kenneth Oppel shared a slide with a photo of the revisions for This Dark Endeavor that stood several feet high. They were gobsmacked. Students don't like to revise. Many seem to think that authors write a finished product on the first go-round, despite the fact that their teachers and I tell them they don't. As I look around the audience, I see students casting furtive glances at their LA teachers, who are usually nodding in agreement. It's nice to have back up. Reading this book or having your students read this book is the next best thing to having an author come in-person. 

And what an author he is! I have read and adored much of Jack Gantos' work. I have also heard him speak on several occasions and stood on lines for autographs where he greets each person as though he has know them forever. It truly is remarkable. He also draws a cartoon with his autograph.

Writing Radar is a master class in creative writing. It is conversational yet structured, often laugh-out-loud funny and quite practical. It's great to hand to your budding writers or to use in creative writing class. It really is a must purchase for any school or classroom library along with the audiobook, which the author narrates. In fact, read the book with both your ears and eyes simultaneously. That way, you don't miss out on Gantos' many illustrations and you actually get to hear the maestro instruct.

Writing Radar: using your journal to snoop out and craft great stories by Jack Gantos. Unabridged audiobook on 3 compact disks. 3.5 hours. Read by the author. Macmillan Audio, August, 2017. 9781427291219. (own)

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