This week, in addition to working on the rewrite of my Nunavik manuscript, I have been reading my students' picture book texts. As we've discussed in class, there is probably nothing harder to write than the text for a picture book. That's because every word counts. And as I admitted to my students, the assignment I gave them -- to write a picture book text -- is something I have nevertried myself.

So this week, I have learned a lot from my students. I thought that in today's blog entry, I'd tell you a little about the work one of them did for her assignment. (Don't worry, I checked with her first and she said it was fine to write about her here.) At the beginning of last week, Helen L showed me the first draft of her picture book text -- it was the story of a child who didn't want to share his chocolate. I told her the story felt "too teachy" and kind of bleak. When I sent her off to do her re-write, I told her to be more playful with her story, to have more fun with it.

Well, Helen's story turned out to be one of the best in the class... and she really succeeded in making it fun. In the latest version, the protagonist travels to a chocolate kingdom. One of my favourite parts was when he gets hungry and considers eating a chocolate doorknob! Helen's success with her story is a result of courage and hard work -- and playing with ideas. 

So Helen and the other students in her class have taught me something this week... or reminded me of something I already knew.... either way, I'm feeling very privileged that I get to work with bright young people engaged in creative tasks. One thing I forgot to ask Helen is how many rewrites she did before handing in her assignment... Helen, if you're reading this, can you tell us? Hopefully it's a high number, and will serve to encourage the rest of us as we revise away. 

Speaking of which, it's nearly seven and I'm still revising. Looks to me like this manuscript will be ready to go by some time next week. Then I have a week off for March break -- and when I get home from that, I'll be getting the notes for the second book I have coming out in fall 2009. Exciting, don't you think? Have a great weekend wherever you are. Have fun, feel inspired, rest up a little if you can, and be safe. Talk to you next week!