Fireflies: A Writer’s Notebook by Coleen Murtagh Paratore


Fireflies: A Writer’s Notebook by Coleen Murtagh Paratore (Little Pickle Press, July 2014) is a delightful full-color journal for the aspiring writer.

Filled with writing prompts and ideas, Fireflies is compared to a jar full of fireflies for you to watch for “sparks.” I loved this analogy. Although I am primarily a nonfiction writer (i.e., educational materials and summaries, book reviews, personal essays about my homeschooling experience, and so forth), I too find that brainstorming ideas helps “spark” even more ideas.

Fireflies gives writing prompts on about half of the page. The other pages are a combination of both lined and unlined pages for writing ideas down. I love how there was a variety of different pages to choose from for writing ideas. It is helpful to have writing prompts, but it is the open space and the gorgeous layout that makes this a book that creative writers will love to doodle in!

Note: I received a digital review copy of this book for review consideration.

Poetry Matters by Ralph Fletcher


When I was young, I wanted to write. I wish I’d found a book like Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the Inside Out by Ralph Fletcher (HarperCollins, 2002). In this book, Fletcher writes for kids, directly focusing on what poetry is and what young writers can do to learn to write it. I loved his basic approach to teaching writing as finding the “spark” inside of you and then nurturing it. I’ll talk briefly about these two sections in his book.Continue Reading

Aimless Love by Billy Collins

I have been struggling to write this post for a week now. I really like reading poetry but I feel a little clueless as to how to talk about it! Here is my attempt.

I love Billy Collins’ poetry, so I can honestly say I was delighted to receive a digital copy for review consideration. Aimless Love is a collection of poems centered around love, poetry, and death or dying. From the first poem (“Reader”) to the last (a tribute to the victims of September 11), Collins has a casual but careful way of capturing life and love.Continue Reading

Good Prose by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd

Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd (Random House, January 2013) is a volume about what makes nonfiction great. Using their own experiences as a writer of nonfiction (Tracy Kidder, bestselling author) and an editor of creative nonfiction (Richard Todd, Atlantic editor), the two friends provide a compelling tale of what makes good writing good, and what makes a good writer a good writer, covering everything from how to begin and how to structure a narrative to the more complicated specifics of memoirs, essays, style, and writing as job in today’s society.Continue Reading