Vocabulary is one of the biggest challenges to writing a children’s story.
Just ask students in Sid Siddique’s Writing 12 class at Maple Ridge secondary who had to write a story, illustrate it, print it and put it together as part of a book in three months.
There were 20 students who took part in the term two project, a few were brought in strictly to illustrate the books.
Siddique says that getting the appropriate vocabulary for the appropriate age group is one of the biggest difficulties students faced because they are used to writing with a teenage, adolescent vocabulary and have to tone it down for the younger audience.
Marianne Kwon who wrote Let’s Go On A Feels Trip about not being ashamed to cry and letting your emotions out, said the most challenging for her was taking a heavy topic and condensing it into a short book that children can understand, including simple words and examples that children can relate to.
Alexis Jensen-Des Jardins, one of two students who wrote and illustrated the book Wish Upon a Star, about a little girl who soars through the clouds and takes a star with her when she returns home, echoed her teacher’s thoughts.
She said finding the vocabulary for a younger level and an appropriate message for younger kids was the most challenging for her and her partner Megan Charpentier.
Teresa Berry who wrote and illustrated Lucy’s Day Out about a cat who goes on an adventure when their owner is not home said that for her illustrating the book was the hardest including choosing of colours and formatting.
Angella Shin who wrote A Curious Adventure, a book about what the earth has to offer and being curious about the world, said coming up with an appropriate message or moral was the most difficult part of the process.
Other books: Johnny, by Naomi Gatehouse, about a boy who doesn’t appreciate his mother until she ends up in the hospital; The Beauty Within, by Madi Matthews, about judging people for what is on the inside; Family Business, by Aaron Penner, about being yourself no matter what other people tell you; James and his Tree, by Saharuethai Poonyakariyakorn, about taking time to learn and gain knowledge; The Earth is Our Only Home, by Harsh Oberoi, about the impacts humans have on the planet and how to be responsible for your actions; Shoes, by Jillian Jarin, about a boy who has no shoes who is jealous about a boy across the street who has lots until he finds out that the other boy is in a wheelchair; Open Your Eyes, by Rosemary Cathcart and Lindsay Foster, about a princess who is locked up in a tower because she is ugly until a servant shows her the beauty she has on the inside; Gerty the Greenthumb Gorilla, by Alayna Hucul and Claire O’Neil, about treating people with kindness and embracing our differences; Lisa the scared Orca, by Garrett Simmons and Kenzie Lang, about overcoming anxiety; and Bears New Friend, by Matthew Banister and Liam Selle, about a bear who is lonely but finds it difficult to make friends because other animals are scared of him and who discovers trust has to be earned.
The students were to read their books to students at Laity View elementary on Wednesday.
Siddique said that when students enter his class there is only one stipulation, “you come in prepared to write, write and write a bit more.”