New Book Project (and this one is for TEACHERS!)

Confession: I am addicted to revision.  

The addition of shiny new scenes.
The rearranging of chapters.
The satisfying chopping of dead-weight paragraphs.
The lingering over words.
The liberal sticking of Post-It Notes.

What’s not to love? Revision has always been my favorite part of the writing process, and if you read this blog, you know that I talk about revision all the time.

Even so, I was taken a little off guard when I got an email a few months ago from the very friendly acquisitions editor at Stenhouse Publishers, asking if I might want to write a book for teachers.

Well…I was awfully busy with my family and my teaching job and my other books I was writing, but…  Did you say it could it be a book about revision?  A book about teaching kids how to revise?

It could, she said.  In fact, that would be great.

Could I talk about how I revise my own books and how I use those experiences to help my students revise their work in my 7th grade classroom? And could we bring in other authors who write for middle grade readers and share their stories, too, as author mentors?  And could we give teachers lots of hands-on revision activities?  Stuff they can bring right into the classroom to help kids revise all different kinds of writing?

Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes.

So I said yes. 

I don’t have a final title or publication date yet, but I was too excited not to share the news about this new project. I know that in some classrooms, "revision" amounts to correcting the spelling errors on a rough draft and then rewriting.  I understand that’s often a product of time constraints and test pressures, but I really believe that we can do better for our young writers.  I know there are lots of teachers out there who think so, too…teachers who want to help their kids revise in a more meaningful way, so they can create pieces that are detailed and vibrant, important and alive.  The kind of writing they can be proud of. 

I hope this book will help.

I’ll be working on it this summer, in between writing my books for kids and my usual hiking and ice-cream-eating.  If you are a teacher, I hope you’ll post comments with questions, things you might like to see included in a book about teaching revision. And if you’re one of my author friends who write for middle grade readers, I’d love it if you’d consider being one of our mentor authors in the book.  I’m putting together a list of interview questions about revision that I’ll pass along in an email soon.

53 Replies on “New Book Project (and this one is for TEACHERS!)

  1. Squeee!!! LOTS of great news from you lately, Kate!!

    I’m also a revision-aholic, and would be flattered to be a mentor author in your book, if you till need people.

  2. Congrats!

    I would love to see peer work discussed. That is always a tricky subject with me.
    Reading Countess (Tess Alfonsin)
    5th gr Reading/Writing Tchr

  3. Kate I am over the moon that you are writing this book. Please let me know when it becomes available and I will give a copy (I won’t gift it, but it will be a gift) to my local elementary school and another copy to my local middle school.

    That’s how strongly I feel about the importance of revision.

  4. This is fantastic news! I used to teach junior high English classes, so I know firsthand what a challenging experience you have in front of you. But I also know that you’re the right person for the task. 🙂

  5. It appears that I am going to be teaching two writing seminars and be the librarian at an international school (in our city in Brazil) beginning in August. I am extremely excited and feel like most of the last few years has been leading me toward this. BUT:

    I am going to be watching your every move. And copying you. 🙂 Thank you for leading the way.

  6. Congratulations! This is so cool.

    If you still need extra MG writers, I’d be happy to be a mentor author (it would be a lovely way of paying it forward for the writing books I devoured at that age!), but I’ll also understand and won’t be offended if you run out of space.

    What a great idea!

  7. Wonderful news, Kate! I don’t think I really encountered the concept of deep revision until late high school (except in novels about young writers, which were a lifeline). It’ll be terrific to have a book that helps teachers introduce the idea so much earlier.

  8. This is fantastic news

    This is great news. Being both a classroom teacher and established author gives you a particular credibility that I think will go far with our teaching peers. One of the reasons I like writing for my fellow teachers is that I feel I know their pain, so to speak. As exciting and inspiring as consultants, writers, university folk, and such are, they do not spend their days in schools as plain ol’ classroom teachers. I think there is something incredibly powerful to have the voice of someone who does both. And Stenhouse is a terrific publisher. I did one of my books for teachers with them and they were absolutely wonderful. If I ever did another professional book I’d do it with them in a heartbeat.

  9. Thank you, Melodye – This book’s intended for people who teach grades 4-8, give or take a year, so it would have fit in with your junior high kids perfectly!

  10. Re: This is fantastic news

    Thank you so much, Monica! I hope you’re right…that my being an active classroom teacher will lend an understanding to this book that might not otherwise be there. Goodness knows I understand things like needing more hours in the school day, so we’re even going to address things like finding the TIME to teach revision and let kids work on it.

  11. What a great project! Kids have the idea that our books spring forth whole from our foreheads. If you still have room for another writer, I’d be happy to contribute. I think I’ve published 50 (or more) midgrades…not sure.

  12. I would love your help – thank you! And did I see on a schedule somewhere that you will be at ALA? I’d love to say hi in person if our paths cross!

  13. I’m so glad you’re doing this.

    A while ago, my mother gave me box of stories I’d written in school–junior high though college. It amazed me that the teachers marked a good grade on it, then suggested I revise, but gave no clue what to focus on. I still recall being baffeled by the lack of suggestions. It actually made me feel more like a failure than I would have if it hadn’t been graded.

  14. Awesome!

    Love this book idea, Kate! I used one of your posts on revision last year with my writing workshop class because I had several students ask if the first draft could be a final draft if they spelled everything correctly. If you could have seen the looks of horror I got when I informed them, in my classroom, we do as many drafts as it takes and spelling was just one piece of the puzzle. Can’t wait to see this book!
    Katherine Sokolowski

  15. YaY!!!!! I love you and your writing and I love Stenhouse. It’s like Christmas come early for me! I am so excited for you and for all the teachers who are going to read your book and for the students in their classrooms who will benefit from it!!

    As I’m working this summer to plan for next year I will be thinking of what I want to know about revision and teaching revision and will email you.

    Thank you and congratulations!

  16. Kate, this is so exciting! It seems when I visit schools, great teachers find how to get kids to see beyond correcting to re-visioning a piece is one of the toughest challenges, so I expect this book will be adored. Not to mention by those of us not standing in front of classes who don’t mind some revision tips.

    And of course your next book will have to be about how you fit all the things you do into the day. You are an inspiration!

  17. All I can say is this book sounds right up my alley! I’ll use it to figure out why I have such a hard time revising. Wait, did I say, “revising?” I meant writing!

  18. I’ve heard lots of stories like yours – and also stories about young writers who turn in work, ready to revise, and get “good job!” written on the top and not much else. I hope this book will help get the conversation going!

  19. Re: YAY!!!

    I’d love your help, Sara – thank you! I’ll be sending an email just as soon as school winds down and I can think straight!

  20. Thanks, Jeannine! In truth, I’m still wondering how I’m going to get all this done, but I really couldn’t say no to this one. I’m sure it will all work out.

  21. I’d love your help, Lisa – thanks! I’ll send you an email with some questions to think about once the craziness of the end of the school is over.

  22. We’re arriving early Saturday morning & actually have a White House tour scheduled (I’m bringing my kids!) but if there’s any chance at all we can make it on time, we’ll buzz over for the tail end of your signing. If not, I hope I’ll catch up with you later on!

  23. This morning a discussion about the writing process and defining revision was started in the Teaching Writing group on English Companion Ning. How timely!