One of the new books we got the other day is Been There, Done That: School Dazed, edited by Mike Winchell. The premise of the book is that writers can pull materials for stories from the things that happened to them at school. Several popular children’s authors including Bruce Coville, Meg Medina, Wendy Mass and Bruce Hale contributed to the book. First, the author tells the story of what actually happened to them, then shares a fictional story that they wrote based on that factual story. Some of the fictional stories are almost exactly the same as the factual, and some are wildly different. All of them are excellent examples of how authors use the things that really happened as the jumping-off point for creating stories.
Right now, I’m planning for a library writer’s club for kids that will debut in November. I think this is an excellent book for showing kids that all of their experiences are grist for the mill, and that if you didn’t like how things turned out in real life, you have the power to rewrite them—at least on paper. I will definitely be recommending this to writers and short story enthusiasts.