National Novel Writing Month (also known as NaNoWriMo) isn’t until November, but the Youth Services department has a weekly program running every Friday afternoon in October and November to teach kids the skills they need to write their own novel. The program will be led by Youth Services Desk Assistant (and debut novelist) Mia P. Manansala, who will teach kids how to analyze the books they love to understand what makes a successful novel, how to turn a story spark into a fully realized story idea, how to create interesting characters and build conflict, how to outline a whole story, and much more.
And if you’re wondering: Is it even possible for a kid to write a novel? Do kids need creative writing in their life? The answer is yes and absolutely yes!
Creative writing has many benefits, such as:
- Improving organizational skills. To tell a coherent story, they need to learn how to lay out their ideas in an organized, logical way.
- Exercising imagination and creativity. These are connected to analytical thinking and problem solving–whenever they have to solve a plot problem, come up with alternative solutions to a conflict, or organize their thoughts and ideas, they’re learning to think outside the box when it comes to identifying, assessing, and handling issues.
- Boosting self-expression and self-confidence. Creative writing allows kids to have a voice as well as a safe place to explore their feelings. Things they’re not comfortable saying out loud can be worked out in their writing.
- Practicing communication and persuasion. Children who are not comfortable speaking up may enjoy the more meditative act of writing, where they have time to think through their arguments, point of view, general opinions, etc.
- Developing empathy. Studies show that reading teaches kids emotional intelligence and empathy, and the same goes for writing. The Youth Services department just released a book recommendation list for wonderful picture books and novels that teach empathy through fiction, so please check it out!