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Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories

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The Newbery Award-winning author of Dead End in Norvelt shares advice for how to be the best brilliant writer in this funny and practical creative writing guide perfect for all kids who dream of seeing their name on the spine of a book. With the signature wit and humor that have garnered him legions of fans, Jack Gantos instructs young writers on using their "writing radar" The Newbery Award-winning author of Dead End in Norvelt shares advice for how to be the best brilliant writer in this funny and practical creative writing guide perfect for all kids who dream of seeing their name on the spine of a book. With the signature wit and humor that have garnered him legions of fans, Jack Gantos instructs young writers on using their "writing radar" to unearth story ideas from their everyday lives. Incorporating his own misadventures as a developing writer, Gantos inspires readers to build confidence and establish good writing habits as they create, revise, and perfect their stories. Pop-out text boxes highlight key tips, alongside Gantos's own illustrations, sample stories, and snippets from his childhood journals. More than just a how-to guide, Writing Radar is a celebration of the power of storytelling and an ode to the characters who--many unwittingly--inspired Gantos's own writing career.


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The Newbery Award-winning author of Dead End in Norvelt shares advice for how to be the best brilliant writer in this funny and practical creative writing guide perfect for all kids who dream of seeing their name on the spine of a book. With the signature wit and humor that have garnered him legions of fans, Jack Gantos instructs young writers on using their "writing radar" The Newbery Award-winning author of Dead End in Norvelt shares advice for how to be the best brilliant writer in this funny and practical creative writing guide perfect for all kids who dream of seeing their name on the spine of a book. With the signature wit and humor that have garnered him legions of fans, Jack Gantos instructs young writers on using their "writing radar" to unearth story ideas from their everyday lives. Incorporating his own misadventures as a developing writer, Gantos inspires readers to build confidence and establish good writing habits as they create, revise, and perfect their stories. Pop-out text boxes highlight key tips, alongside Gantos's own illustrations, sample stories, and snippets from his childhood journals. More than just a how-to guide, Writing Radar is a celebration of the power of storytelling and an ode to the characters who--many unwittingly--inspired Gantos's own writing career.

30 review for Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cassie Thomas

    Teachers: if you do not have this preordered DO IT NOW. This book has changed my whole attitude about inspiring students to be the writers they can be. Coming from Jack Gantos I knew it would be amazing, but he takes things to a whole new level. He's inspiring and hilarious. This is written for students, but it's an amazing teacher tool as well. He provides so much insight on how to pay attention to everything around you and how everything can be a potential story. He shares writing tips in ever Teachers: if you do not have this preordered DO IT NOW. This book has changed my whole attitude about inspiring students to be the writers they can be. Coming from Jack Gantos I knew it would be amazing, but he takes things to a whole new level. He's inspiring and hilarious. This is written for students, but it's an amazing teacher tool as well. He provides so much insight on how to pay attention to everything around you and how everything can be a potential story. He shares writing tips in every chapter, he draws little pictures that correlate with what he's talking about, he says he doesn't just stick to one writing journal, but with a small notebook, stickies, big notebook. It truly is a remarkable resource. Comes out late August and as a 5th grade teacher I can't recommend enough.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Scott Fillner

    A must have if you have students and you teach writing. I take that back...you will WANT to have it!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Kahn

    I waited on a line at AASL to score an autographed copy and began to read it with my eyes. I suddenly wondered if he narrated this and found that he had. Best read with the book in hand so as not to miss the fantastic illustrations. Really a must-purchase.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Margie

    When you hear something on a monthly or sometimes weekly basis for most of your life, it starts to not only take root, but to grow and flourish in your mind. As far back as I can remember my mom told me I was going to write a book. She was downright giddy when I was given the opportunity to be a teen reporter for our capital city newspaper. She saved every single article I wrote. Not once did she ever waver from this conviction of my becoming an author. My writing four to five hours for five to s When you hear something on a monthly or sometimes weekly basis for most of your life, it starts to not only take root, but to grow and flourish in your mind. As far back as I can remember my mom told me I was going to write a book. She was downright giddy when I was given the opportunity to be a teen reporter for our capital city newspaper. She saved every single article I wrote. Not once did she ever waver from this conviction of my becoming an author. My writing four to five hours for five to six days a week is not toward the publication of a book but thanks to my mom, I do write, drawing attention to the work of other authors and illustrators. What these people bring to children's literature is making our world, as a whole, better with every book. I feel honored and compelled to talk about them and their work. BUT (I can almost hear Mom laughing from heaven.) I read a book yesterday which made me want to rush out, buy a fountain pen, open up one of my collected journals and start writing...a book. Writing Radar: Using Your Journal To Snoop Out And Craft Stories (Farrar Straus Giroux, August 29, 2017) written and illustrated by Jack Gantos is one of the best titles on writing I have had the privilege to read. It's bursting with good, solid, doable advice on the art of writing. And it's loaded with hilarious moments...Jack Gantos's hilarious moments, which are unlike any other kind of funny. My full recommendation: http://librariansquest.blogspot.com/2...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ashleigh Rose

    Any kid who has even the slightest spark of desire to want to get into writing needs this book. Honestly it's great for adults, too! (Had me snooping all the great family Thanksgiving quotes into my own notebook.) Jack Gantos writes a book that is equal parts how-to be a writer, motivational kick in the pants, hilarious personal narrative, quirky illustration, and fun writing exercises. Not only is it a great intro to how to read in the genre of self-help, it's fast paced and written in the most Any kid who has even the slightest spark of desire to want to get into writing needs this book. Honestly it's great for adults, too! (Had me snooping all the great family Thanksgiving quotes into my own notebook.) Jack Gantos writes a book that is equal parts how-to be a writer, motivational kick in the pants, hilarious personal narrative, quirky illustration, and fun writing exercises. Not only is it a great intro to how to read in the genre of self-help, it's fast paced and written in the most kid friendly language. He dispels the ever-disempowering notion that "nothing interesting ever happens to me" by encouraging students to "snoop out" the world around them and write down anything that strikes them even if it isn't the perfect first sentence or ending or climax - it will be useful and handy sometime! I'm excited to recommend even parts of this book to students as we embark on our realistic fiction unit. If we'd had this book as kids - who knows where we'd all be now! I'm still excited to see where it takes me and my students...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Linda Epach

    "Writing Radar" by Jack Gantos is a humorous instructional guide showing younger writers exercises and suggestions designed to improve their creative writing skills. It encourages journaling and looking at everyday life and themselves to garner inspiration to create their stories. Something as simple as looking at scars or body parts for ideas, different areas of focus in a re-write, and writing examples are given in the book as well as cute illustrations. Kids who enjoy writing should enjoy the "Writing Radar" by Jack Gantos is a humorous instructional guide showing younger writers exercises and suggestions designed to improve their creative writing skills. It encourages journaling and looking at everyday life and themselves to garner inspiration to create their stories. Something as simple as looking at scars or body parts for ideas, different areas of focus in a re-write, and writing examples are given in the book as well as cute illustrations. Kids who enjoy writing should enjoy the helpful hints, while struggling writers may learn some things that will make writing less of a task.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marcia

    Jack Gantos shares the secrets to crafting great books (and he knows how--he has penned some great ones) for all budding authors. Infused with his highly funny personal stories and concrete ways for kids, or adults for that matter, to collect ideas and organize them into winning stories, this will be a great addition to the classroom. Jake believes in us, so we can believe in ourselves as writers. I've read every book he's written and been fortunate to hear him speak several times, so many of th Jack Gantos shares the secrets to crafting great books (and he knows how--he has penned some great ones) for all budding authors. Infused with his highly funny personal stories and concrete ways for kids, or adults for that matter, to collect ideas and organize them into winning stories, this will be a great addition to the classroom. Jake believes in us, so we can believe in ourselves as writers. I've read every book he's written and been fortunate to hear him speak several times, so many of the stories in the book were familiar. My one questions is why has the Pagoda family become the Deals???!!! I bet there is a funny explanation! Terrific book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karen Kline

    The book is chock full of ideas for gathering inspiration for writing and turning those ideas into a well-polished story. It’s also full of clever little stories that help the reader analyze the ideas that Gantos suggests for taking your writing to the next level. These stories had me chuckling and laughing out loud. Run, don’t walk, to your nearest library and read this book! Thank me later!! If you like this book, you’ll also want to read Gantos’s other books including Dead End in Norvelt, the The book is chock full of ideas for gathering inspiration for writing and turning those ideas into a well-polished story. It’s also full of clever little stories that help the reader analyze the ideas that Gantos suggests for taking your writing to the next level. These stories had me chuckling and laughing out loud. Run, don’t walk, to your nearest library and read this book! Thank me later!! If you like this book, you’ll also want to read Gantos’s other books including Dead End in Norvelt, the Joey Pigza series and Rotten Ralph series. I’ve read all of these, and they are amazing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    JohnnyBear

    7 out of 10 Writing Radar is a book that teaches you a lot of tips about writing from a long-time author, Jack Gantos. He teaches you how to keep a writing journal, and he teaches you how to activate your writing radar. This book also shows a plethora of humorous example stories to keep you entertained throughout the advice. This was a pretty nice read because I want to become an author someday. I liked the advice about balancing action and emotional writing. I liked the sections about how to 7 out of 10 Writing Radar is a book that teaches you a lot of tips about writing from a long-time author, Jack Gantos. He teaches you how to keep a writing journal, and he teaches you how to activate your writing radar. This book also shows a plethora of humorous example stories to keep you entertained throughout the advice. This was a pretty nice read because I want to become an author someday. I liked the advice about balancing action and emotional writing. I liked the sections about how to write good suspense scenes. I also enjoyed some of the over-the-top silly stories the author included in this collection. I enjoyed this book. I found some parts to be a little boring though. I felt that it dragged on a little too long at some points. There is some really cool advice in this book, and I liked some of the pictures. I also really liked the story about his watch, (that was the best). Overall, pretty entertaining, perfect for young aspiring authors, like I was at the time of reading it. Great read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    In the fall of 2015, I briefly met Jack Gantos at the ALAN Workshop during an author signing. During that brief encounter I asked him to sign a book to "Spud Readers." He stopped and took out a small sticky note with a sly grin and began writing as he looked up at me and said something around the lines of, "Wow so are you saying your school's mascot is a potato? That is pretty funny. Spuds, huh?! I hope they like my book as much as I like their mascot's name." In those brief moments I saw a man In the fall of 2015, I briefly met Jack Gantos at the ALAN Workshop during an author signing. During that brief encounter I asked him to sign a book to "Spud Readers." He stopped and took out a small sticky note with a sly grin and began writing as he looked up at me and said something around the lines of, "Wow so are you saying your school's mascot is a potato? That is pretty funny. Spuds, huh?! I hope they like my book as much as I like their mascot's name." In those brief moments I saw a man who delights in the world, is inquisitive, and naturally funny. Little did I know at the time, his sticky notes were a piece of his writing process for snooping out stories! Writing Radars mixes great writing advice with classic Jack Gantos' storytelling to show readers how stories are all around us and how the world can offer us a great number of story ideas if we are listening carefully, and have ways of writing ideas down when they come to us! Gantos' uses a tiny wallet journal, pocket notepad, sticky notes and a larger journal to capture his thinking as he begins to craft his stories. Gantos' examples of how to utilize the world and your journal for stories is accessible and easy to follow. At one point he encourages the reader to find where their last name would be in the library and ask them to make a promise to themselves that they will write a book and get it published. From inspiring moments like this to concrete examples of how to craft stories and make them better, Jack has added yet another wonderful book about the power of stories and the need for us (the readers) to write our own! I can’t wait to share Jack’s book this fall as my students and I work on crafting our own stories!

  11. 4 out of 5

    ~Loaf Of Read ~

    This was such a great read and inspiration for writers of all ages. Plus... it was funny!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This propulsive writing guide is full of practical advice, helpful examples and hilarious personal anecdotes that will inspire both kid AND adult writers. Especially helpful are the sections on how to organize story structure and elements, and how to write focused drafts. My own writing journal got a kick in the pants today from Mr. Gantos's sound instruction. A must read for teachers, librarians and any wannabe author. This propulsive writing guide is full of practical advice, helpful examples and hilarious personal anecdotes that will inspire both kid AND adult writers. Especially helpful are the sections on how to organize story structure and elements, and how to write focused drafts. My own writing journal got a kick in the pants today from Mr. Gantos's sound instruction. A must read for teachers, librarians and any wannabe author.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Soraya Long

    Writing Radar written by Newberry Medal Winner and New York Times Bestselling Author Jack Gantos writes an insightful book about tips and advice for new writers that have the passion to snoop out and craft great stories. Jack not only walks step by step about writing terminology and how to craft storytelling though gets into his personal life as a kid who decided he wanted to write and build the skills in the process of writing. While Gantos writes and tells his personal stories as a kid who dev Writing Radar written by Newberry Medal Winner and New York Times Bestselling Author Jack Gantos writes an insightful book about tips and advice for new writers that have the passion to snoop out and craft great stories. Jack not only walks step by step about writing terminology and how to craft storytelling though gets into his personal life as a kid who decided he wanted to write and build the skills in the process of writing. While Gantos writes and tells his personal stories as a kid who devoted his time to learn the craft and doodle hilarious joyful cartoons brings out Writing Radar to life especially as an accomplished winner and bestseller author. Gantos uses his critical knowledge to share with his target audience to draw them in to becoming great writers.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    As is often mentioned, Jack Gantos is a master storyteller. In this book, he clearly presents the basics of good storytelling outlined in any other instructional book about the writing process. Yet Gantos adds an important extra spice, his own desire to be an author and how he pursued it as a child. Reading how Gantos dreamed of seeing his own books on the library shelf as a child should inspire many other budding writers. My favorite part was where he shared how he came to write the Joey Pigza As is often mentioned, Jack Gantos is a master storyteller. In this book, he clearly presents the basics of good storytelling outlined in any other instructional book about the writing process. Yet Gantos adds an important extra spice, his own desire to be an author and how he pursued it as a child. Reading how Gantos dreamed of seeing his own books on the library shelf as a child should inspire many other budding writers. My favorite part was where he shared how he came to write the Joey Pigza books. More of my thoughts on this book available at my blog Pencil Tips Writing Workshop http://penciltipswritingworkshop.blog...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    Jack Gantos teaches middle grade students to use their "Writing Radar" in Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories. Jack outlines the following: always carrying a notebook with you, listening (spying) and taking notes, outside world and inside characters, trusting yourself, story maps, action and emotion, story structure and elements, and focused drafts. There's no real new information here; however, he sprinkles lots of examples of how each of these are used with h Jack Gantos teaches middle grade students to use their "Writing Radar" in Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories. Jack outlines the following: always carrying a notebook with you, listening (spying) and taking notes, outside world and inside characters, trusting yourself, story maps, action and emotion, story structure and elements, and focused drafts. There's no real new information here; however, he sprinkles lots of examples of how each of these are used with his own work samples and stories (some handwritten/drawn and some typed in text) and these are the REAL stars of this book! Jack Gantos knows how to paint a picture and how to make people giggle, that's for sure! Middle grade students aspiring to be authors will get some great information from this book and I would recommend this to middle grade teachers both for their classroom library and for tips on teaching writing for their students. Thank you, Macmillan Kids, for providing our #BookRoam group with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    "Don't be that writer who waits all day for the perfect first sentence," he advises, "or you will grow old while learning to hate yourself and writing." This from the guy who wrote, “School was finally out and I was standing on a picnic table in our backyard getting ready for a great summer vacation when my mother walked up to me and ruined it.” Now THAT's a first sentence. "Don't be that writer who waits all day for the perfect first sentence," he advises, "or you will grow old while learning to hate yourself and writing." This from the guy who wrote, “School was finally out and I was standing on a picnic table in our backyard getting ready for a great summer vacation when my mother walked up to me and ruined it.” Now THAT's a first sentence.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anita

    If you happen to notice some kid skulking around your neighborhood or apartment complex, eavesdropping on conversations and scribbling in a black notebook, chances are that kid has read Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Scoop Out and Craft Great Stories by Jack Gantos. Multi-award winning author, creative writing professor of 20 years, and the only author who has ever made me choke with laughter on a sandwich while trying to drive and listen to his audio book, Jack Gantos has the street cred If you happen to notice some kid skulking around your neighborhood or apartment complex, eavesdropping on conversations and scribbling in a black notebook, chances are that kid has read Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Scoop Out and Craft Great Stories by Jack Gantos. Multi-award winning author, creative writing professor of 20 years, and the only author who has ever made me choke with laughter on a sandwich while trying to drive and listen to his audio book, Jack Gantos has the street cred to pull off this hilarious and inspirational writing manual. Aimed at middle graders, this is for anyone who interested in creative writing. Inspired by Harriet the Spy and the confidence that he could write better than the cheerful, flowery fluff that he found in his older sister’s stolen diary, a young Jack Gantos swore an oath to himself to write a book that would someday appear on the library shelf. He received encouragement from one Mrs. Hammer, a tough-minded librarian who had lost her two previous jobs because of “abusive behavior.” She supported his quest to write and encouraged him to put his writing on the shelf in the school library. Later, his English teacher gave him writing advice that he adheres to today. In this book, packed with practical suggestions, almost unbelievable anecdotes, and just the right balance of support and instruction, Gantos speaks directly to the reader. Kids will be inspired to take their own authorship oaths. Add this to your gift list for the aspiring writers in your life and be sure to include a notebook and a cool pen and pencil to go with it. This book goes on my worth-every-penny list, and I have already pre-ordered several copies for some of my tutoring students and one for me. (NetGalley provided an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emilee

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Summary Jack Gantos unlocks the secret of becoming a writer within the pages of this book. Instead of insisting that young authors have formal instruction in story construction, Gantos opens the eyes of the reader to the stories that surround us in our everyday life. As we observe what happens around us and (this is very important) actually write everything down that we think is interesting in a journal, Gantos promises we’ll have plenty of fodder for an action-packed, emotion-based story of a li Summary Jack Gantos unlocks the secret of becoming a writer within the pages of this book. Instead of insisting that young authors have formal instruction in story construction, Gantos opens the eyes of the reader to the stories that surround us in our everyday life. As we observe what happens around us and (this is very important) actually write everything down that we think is interesting in a journal, Gantos promises we’ll have plenty of fodder for an action-packed, emotion-based story of a lifetime. Other tools such as mapping, drafting, and editing are discussed, but the book clearly emphasizes honoring self, keeping promises, trying, working hard, and trusting your gut. Spiced with stories from Gantos’ childhood and career as an author, this is the only “how-to” book I’ve ever read cover-to-cover. Analysis As the author of over 15 published books for “readers of all ages,” Jack Gantos has years of personal experience combing his way through the ever-changing jungle of a writing career. This career began as a boy, and he writes from that perspective many times. Between this voice and the middle-school anecdotes, this book is a perfect reference book for aspiring young writers, but is helpful to all ages as well. I don’t think this would be of good use necessarily as a textbook in a classroom, but teachers could find practical ideas to help tease out would-be writers and stymie conversation about what makes quality literature. Ideally, this book would be given to the hesitant young author as a personal read at home. It’s fun, light, but chock full of useful tidbits and exercises to flesh out ideas into stories.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Devin

    I have a teacher librarian friend who always has a small notebook in his back pocket. I try ALL THE TIME to get him to tell me what he writes in it, but he never will. I want to keep a small notebook in my pocket so I can write everything down. I love books about writing, and this one, geared towards 4th graders on up to adults is no exception. Jack Gantos writes about his writing radar, which basically means he's always listening and is a master eavesdropper - one who doesn't forget to write dow I have a teacher librarian friend who always has a small notebook in his back pocket. I try ALL THE TIME to get him to tell me what he writes in it, but he never will. I want to keep a small notebook in my pocket so I can write everything down. I love books about writing, and this one, geared towards 4th graders on up to adults is no exception. Jack Gantos writes about his writing radar, which basically means he's always listening and is a master eavesdropper - one who doesn't forget to write down the snippets he overhears, "A lot of it is about romance. Hate is a word that everyone says the same way. On the other hand, everyone has their own special way of saying love." Jack Gantos also writes ideas in his journal that he comes up with on his own, "When you get a good idea write it down or you will lost it. In other words, don't put money in a pocket with a hole in it." He explains how a blank journal page can stop a writer in her tracks, but that you just have to write something down. He talks about the difficult work of editing and revising. And probably my favorite part was his retelling of how he found the Joey Pigza character. If you have a child who likes writing or you like writing, get this book. If you're a teacher who likes teaching writing, this would make a fantastic read aloud. 4th grade +

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kate Olson

    Required purchase for teachers of any type of writing, as well as for aspiring writers of all ages! Thanks to Farrar, Strauss Giroux for the advance review copy of this title - all opinions are my own. Gantos is a proven master storyteller and has finally brought his tips to our future storytellers in an incredibly accessible and fun format. This book alternates between writing tips and Gantos' stories of his childhood and ones he has written to explain his writing style. Teachers can use this Required purchase for teachers of any type of writing, as well as for aspiring writers of all ages! Thanks to Farrar, Strauss Giroux for the advance review copy of this title - all opinions are my own. Gantos is a proven master storyteller and has finally brought his tips to our future storytellers in an incredibly accessible and fun format. This book alternates between writing tips and Gantos' stories of his childhood and ones he has written to explain his writing style. Teachers can use this book as both a hilarious read aloud, and also as a teaching tool for students working to refine their journaling and creative writing skills. For middle grade readers who read the book independently, it serves as a great all-in-one guide to making the most of their journal and provides a tried and true method for improving writing. There are explicit steps to follow and an excellent method of how to work through different drafts of a work as well as writing exercises to complete at the end of the book. VERDICT: Required purchase for teachers and classrooms and highly recommended as a purchase for motivated middle grade writers to work through on their own. You'll definitely want to provide a journal and fun pen to go along with it, though!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah Crain

    Geared towards middle grade readers, Writing Radar is an easy to follow "how to" guide for story writing. Written by a popular author who writes middle grade books himself, the tips and instructions seem pretty straightforward and easy to follow. In school students learn the steps of writing, so in that regard there's nothing new here. Everybody knows a story needs a beginning, middle, and an end. It needs characters, a setting, action, and resolution. However, what is new is this author's appro Geared towards middle grade readers, Writing Radar is an easy to follow "how to" guide for story writing. Written by a popular author who writes middle grade books himself, the tips and instructions seem pretty straightforward and easy to follow. In school students learn the steps of writing, so in that regard there's nothing new here. Everybody knows a story needs a beginning, middle, and an end. It needs characters, a setting, action, and resolution. However, what is new is this author's approach to gathering ideas and then putting them all together. Upon reading this book, young would be writers will be able to pick up some great ideas for brainstorming exciting story concepts and then turn them into well written and entertaining pieces of writing. Young or old, if you're looking for some writing pointers to help you on your way to literary greatness I'd say check out Jack's book. The combination of clever illustrations, interesting diagrams, and unique pointers make this a truly fun writer's manual of sorts. The fact that the author includes a couple of his own hilarious stories for reference is simply icing on the cake. Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the early review opportunity.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jo-ann Walsh

    Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own. Writing Radar is a must-have book for teaching writing, especially to middle grade students. In this book, author Jack Gantos shows children how to use their “writing radar” to find stories in their everyday lives. Stories can be found in the classroom, at the dinner table, and around your neighborhood. Gantos uses his own experience, stories, drawings, and journal entries to help young writers devel Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own. Writing Radar is a must-have book for teaching writing, especially to middle grade students. In this book, author Jack Gantos shows children how to use their “writing radar” to find stories in their everyday lives. Stories can be found in the classroom, at the dinner table, and around your neighborhood. Gantos uses his own experience, stories, drawings, and journal entries to help young writers develop their writing craft. He includes lists of key words that students can refer to to help with getting ideas for using action and emotion in their stories. He clearly breaks down the basic storytelling elements and provides ideas, such as story mapping, to help improve children’s writing. Every chapter contains writing tips to make children think about their writing. I love how Jack Gantos talks about the “layers of the story” and uses that comparison to make revisions to his writing, focusing on one area at a time. Jack Gantos’ friendly and down to earth writing style in Writing Radar will inspire and excite children about using journals to develop their craft of writing! I loved this book so much that I immediately purchased it for my classroom!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    WRITING RADAR by Newbery Award winner Jack Gantos is a highly entertaining introduction to creative writing tips and techniques. Gantos intersperses his Writing Tips with drawings and humorous stories based on ideas from one of his own 200 journals. Some key advice for young writers? Importance of reading; Be a good listener; Action and emotions are both important; Inspiration (try story starter maps) and good writing habits (which he outlines) are a team. Having been a creative writing prof WRITING RADAR by Newbery Award winner Jack Gantos is a highly entertaining introduction to creative writing tips and techniques. Gantos intersperses his Writing Tips with drawings and humorous stories based on ideas from one of his own 200 journals. Some key advice for young writers? Importance of reading; Be a good listener; Action and emotions are both important; Inspiration (try story starter maps) and good writing habits (which he outlines) are a team. Having been a creative writing professor for 20 years, visited over a thousand schools, and published picture books, novels and short stories across ages from preschool to high school, Gantos is an ideal mentor and WRITING RADAR received starred reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal ("A must for aspiring writers"). The last suggests this title for grades 4 through 8, but writers of all ages (including teachers and librarians) will eagerly reach for blank paper and be enamored with Gantos' suggestions and stories. As he says about reading, "when I finish the last page that book remains the same, but I am changed forever."

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tamara

    Dead End in Norvelt made me laugh until I cried and fall a little in love with Jack Gantos. When I learned a more about him, it cemented the deal. There’s nothing better than a living, breathing Character, and Jack Gantos fits that bill. In Writing Radar, Jack Gantos weaves wise writing advice together with stories like only he can tell to create a one-of-a-kind how-to for kids on crafting stories for readers. Writing Radar will engage and inspire middle grade writers to make their stories all t Dead End in Norvelt made me laugh until I cried and fall a little in love with Jack Gantos. When I learned a more about him, it cemented the deal. There’s nothing better than a living, breathing Character, and Jack Gantos fits that bill. In Writing Radar, Jack Gantos weaves wise writing advice together with stories like only he can tell to create a one-of-a-kind how-to for kids on crafting stories for readers. Writing Radar will engage and inspire middle grade writers to make their stories all they can be. Jack Gantos doesn't sugar coat the work polishing a story for an audience requires, but is ingenious in showing young writers that it’s worth it. Even as a seasoned teacher of writing, I took notes and marked passages throughout. Where I often get lost in the weeds, Gantos maps out a clear path for young authors eager to do the real work of writing. I will teach writing with more confidence, as I remind kids, “Remember what Jack Gantos said…” If you, like me, crave to know more about Jack Gantos, the Character, I suggest his 2012 Newbery Acceptance speech and Jarrett Krosoczka's TED Talk, "How a boy became an artist," in which Jack Gantos has a pivotal cameo.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    Dec 12-13, 2017 The first of what is sure to be a long list of "if I didn't work at a library, I never would have read this" books. I added it to our collection last week and promptly set it aside so that I could take a closer look at it when I had time. After flipping through it, I checked it out and took it home for myself. It's a genius little book with plenty of humor mixed in. It's basically a look at one author's attempt at the writing life. Which... Every writer can never get enough of. Wi Dec 12-13, 2017 The first of what is sure to be a long list of "if I didn't work at a library, I never would have read this" books. I added it to our collection last week and promptly set it aside so that I could take a closer look at it when I had time. After flipping through it, I checked it out and took it home for myself. It's a genius little book with plenty of humor mixed in. It's basically a look at one author's attempt at the writing life. Which... Every writer can never get enough of. With awards and numerous books to his name, Gantos is definitely worth paying attention to! This book is straightforward, practical, and to the point. Only a few things made me squirm and that was mainly because they confronted me with a question I've been asking myself. Namely: How much material am I allowed to use from the things I overhear and see going on around me? Gantos isn't shy about collecting material from the world around him and seems even less shy about using it. Is there a line? Whatever the case... I'm excited about incorporating some of his strategies into the way I get words on the page and keep going back to them to make them better than they were.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*

    Gantos, Jack Writing Radar, 203 pages. NON-FICTION. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2017. $18. Language G (no swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: G. Perhaps you imagine writing advice from a Newbery award winner for young adult writers might be a dull read. Well you would imagine wrong! Jack Gantos has crafted an easily accessible and entertaining read, probably based off his many writing presentations for youth. This book is a must read for anyone aspiring to write stories. There are line drawings and h Gantos, Jack Writing Radar, 203 pages. NON-FICTION. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2017. $18. Language G (no swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: G. Perhaps you imagine writing advice from a Newbery award winner for young adult writers might be a dull read. Well you would imagine wrong! Jack Gantos has crafted an easily accessible and entertaining read, probably based off his many writing presentations for youth. This book is a must read for anyone aspiring to write stories. There are line drawings and highlighted writing tips for easy reference. Interspersed throughout are Gantos’ unique life stories, which are highly entertaining. Gantos’ mother should be awarded some kind of medal, since it’s a wonder they both survived his formative years. This book makes me want to go out and buy a writer’s journal, start snooping on my neighbors, and begin documenting any body scars. Teachers of writing should also grab a copy of this book. EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Michelle in the Middle https://kissthebook.blogspot.com/2018...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I LOVE Jack Gantos' style of writing, his humor, his entertaining way of telling a story. This book reveals his secrets on how to be a great writer and to find stories in the everyday things around you. For any great story there has got to be 1 characters 2 setting 3 problem 4 rising action 5 crisis 6 resolution/solving the problem and to make a story great, a double ending: a physical ending and an emotional ending. His stories incorporate all of these traits. He gives tips on taking notes on t I LOVE Jack Gantos' style of writing, his humor, his entertaining way of telling a story. This book reveals his secrets on how to be a great writer and to find stories in the everyday things around you. For any great story there has got to be 1 characters 2 setting 3 problem 4 rising action 5 crisis 6 resolution/solving the problem and to make a story great, a double ending: a physical ending and an emotional ending. His stories incorporate all of these traits. He gives tips on taking notes on the world around you and creating stories not necessarily from the beginning, but building on ideas and themes and working backwards, sideways, upside down and all ways in between. I enjoyed this book and it makes me want to keep a journal and write a story. Who knows? Maybe my book will become a best seller too!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Fans of author Jack Gantos will enjoy this writing how-to book, packed with all sorts of advice, exercises, and examples for how to become a better writer. Because he weaves in personal anecdotes and tells stories about his own writing experiences, some more successful than others, in his own distinctive voice, readers will be drawn into the book quickly and not even realize their reading a book about writing at times. There were many times that I laughed out loud at the antics Gantos describes Fans of author Jack Gantos will enjoy this writing how-to book, packed with all sorts of advice, exercises, and examples for how to become a better writer. Because he weaves in personal anecdotes and tells stories about his own writing experiences, some more successful than others, in his own distinctive voice, readers will be drawn into the book quickly and not even realize their reading a book about writing at times. There were many times that I laughed out loud at the antics Gantos describes here, but there were other passages that touched my heart and made me wonder about how he managed to survive his childhood intact. But as he points out here, those scars are the makings of future stories. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn how to become a writer or anyone who is stuck or lacking for inspiration for story ideas.

  29. 5 out of 5

    StorySchmoozingBkReviews

    As a writing professor and published author of over 50 books, bestselling author Jack Gantos knows what he's talking about when it come to writing. In this newest book, Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories, Gantos really gives valuable information on the best way to use a journal to find and keep track of all the quirky, weird, and wonderful events of daily life. While geared towards young children to teens, Writing Radar can be adaptable for adult writers too! As a writing professor and published author of over 50 books, bestselling author Jack Gantos knows what he's talking about when it come to writing. In this newest book, Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories, Gantos really gives valuable information on the best way to use a journal to find and keep track of all the quirky, weird, and wonderful events of daily life. While geared towards young children to teens, Writing Radar can be adaptable for adult writers too! With lots of examples, stories from his own personal writing journey, and a breakdown of the writing process in a simplistic way, Writing Radar is an essential guide for any aspiring writer. Recommended for grades 4 and up!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book! "Every painful moment in life is a story waiting to be told." What a great writing resource/ inspiration for intermediate- aged writers! I can easily see this book fitting into writing mini lessons in classrooms. What a great read aloud it would make as students sit around to listen to Jack's experiences/advice and then head back to try his tips with their own writing! His own personal stories add enjoyment and motivation to a rat Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book! "Every painful moment in life is a story waiting to be told." What a great writing resource/ inspiration for intermediate- aged writers! I can easily see this book fitting into writing mini lessons in classrooms. What a great read aloud it would make as students sit around to listen to Jack's experiences/advice and then head back to try his tips with their own writing! His own personal stories add enjoyment and motivation to a rather difficult task for many students. Jack Gantos provides advice for writers that is engaging, interactive, and realistic to apply! This book will definitely be added to our school's new book room!

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