My Weird Writing Tips by Dan Gutman, Illustrated by Jim Paillot, 2013.
Author of the My Weird School series, Dan Gutman, has put together a kid-friendly guide to writing and sounding less like a "dumbhead."
His honest and humorous voice keeps his writing lively. Section headers like: "You're going to hate this part," "How not to bore people to death," and "Kill the adjectives!" grab readers' attention. Kids will be happy to see familiar characters from the My Weird School books, A.J. and Andrea (drawn by Jim Paillot), comment on Gutman's suggestions and snark back and forth.
Gutman's guide gives suggestions for writing stories and non-fiction, from finding ideas to writing in proper form. He encourages kids that anyone can write a story, even if they are themselves very boring. Using the setting of "your mouth" and the character of a germ, he walks readers through building a story from scratch. He then reveals his "secrets" of revising and perfecting it. In a fun and gentle way, he shows kids how to improve their writing, talking about grammar, punctuation and spelling errors, but never comes off like a grammar textbook. Along the way he inserts short quotations by literary greats such as Kurt Vonnegut, James Michner, Toni Morrison and William Safire.
Young writers will enjoy learning from Gutman's accessible writing guide.