Notebooks Galore! (Or...'Oh, How I Need to Write!')

     I must apologize for the limited time I have to devote to blogging.  I have so much to think about and I love to think through writing, but somehow most of what I write doesn't end up here.  Maybe I'm too picky?  In any event, I thought I'd share something joyful from this week.

     I was in the of my favorite places, and naturally, a notebook was by my side.  I wasn't writing in it; it was just sitting there on the floor as I was leaned back, eyes closed, soaking in steam...relaxing.  In barges my son, Max.  Upon seeing the notebook (it was an old one, from several years ago), he blurts out, "Oh, I want a notebook like that one."
    "You have a gillion notebooks.  Didn't you just get three new ones in your Christmas stocking?"
    "Yes, but none like that, with a bird on the cover.  I want to write about birds!"

     How interesting that this eight year old is motivated to write by the cover of a journal.  I guess the clever one I picked up at the dollar store for Christmas ("Brilliant Ideas") had lost its luster or Max had run smack out of brilliant ideas at the moment.  When I emerged from the bath, we looked around for several of his notebooks and perused some of his writing.  The time it takes to give a look, share a bit of response, laugh or question is minimal, yet, those moments of bonding over a child's writing, really listening, are so key to the making of a passionate writer.  Of course, the modeling he sees from me and the myriad of notebooks at the ready, spread throughout the house, do their part, as well. 
Max read his poem "Holidays" at our family's Thanksgiving table. 

     Moral:  Materials matter!  If you're trying to encourage writers, make a wide range of materials available in as many places as possible.  You never know what will strike a writer's fancy and motivate him/her to pick up a pencil.
   And, of course, response, genuine response, matters more than just about anything!
Best to you and your readers & writers!
-Janiel (and Max)


  1. Excellent! Catherine's 3rd grade teacher had the kids decorate their journals, and she was all about duct tape at the time. It turned out really cool. Loved that it became HER notebook, not just a plain old notebook. She still has it.

  2. Gotta' love duct tape! Max decorated that pink one in the picture with fish and owl stickers. He has so many; we found another tonight and got a chuckle out of the bookmark he'd placed in it--a plastic back scratcher! He got the complete set of Calvin and Hobbes for Christmas so now he's writing: 'Max and Hobbes.' What a hoot! I love it!


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