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Poppy by Avi

One of my little strategies for helping kids see that even adult writers have
to do a TON of revising is to read a book kids really, really connect with,
then share quotes from that author, and ask the kids.....If_____(say AVI) has
to spend a YEAR rewriting and rewriting and rewriting his stories to get them
to say what he wants them to say and how he wants to say it, what makes US
think we can do it in a day or two?

I read the book Poppy to the kids which is an amazing story in so many
ways.....then I share that AVI quote in which he says it takes him a year to write a
story.....this seems to resonate with kids...hey, if a story this good took
that long, and we REALLY are hooked into his books, then maybe it is OK to
admit I have some things that could be revised in my own stories.

I tell them....."Do you REALLY believe at age 10 you are already a stronger
writer than AVI is, who is probably now in his 60's?" which seems to convince
them of the need...and then we talked a little bit about the crafting of the
story and how the story might have looked BEFORE it was revised....we are only
GUESSING as to the possible changes, of course, but the discussion makes the

For example, AVI does a wonderful thing in several places in the story where
he alternates paragraphs between Mr. Ocax's (the evil owl) POV and Poppy's
(the sweet innocent mouse) POV...Because he keeps it to a single paragraph going
back and forth and back and forth, it makes it obvious what he is doing here,
and it builds tension in those parts of the story....the kids like I
challenge them to experiment with alternating POV.....

I say all this to say that teacher modeling is important as has already been
mentioned, and using strong literary models and connecting it to a REAL author
kids connect with will help also....

Robert A. Redmond Teacher/Writer
"Inspiring Change One Student Writer at a Time"