{The Scribbler} The Perfect Gift for Aspiring Young Writers!

I decided to retire Word Count Wednesdays because I don't often bother to post it.
I still like talking about writing, though, and decided to merge WCW into The Scribbler,
which can be for any writing topics I wish to talk about.

What makes a good holiday gift idea for an aspiring young writer?
You want to foster the love of writing, but what gifts will be memorable?
What will keep the child's interest, both now and in the future?
What will s/he remember later on in life?

I was thinking about this topic recently because I was talking to someone whose daughter wants to be a writer.  The girl reminds me so much of herself when I was her age.  I mentioned some gift ideas that I would love to have myself as a child!

I truly believe that if you foster a child's interest in WHATEVER s/he loves and show an interest, that child will cultivate it and grow up believing that dreams are possible.

The signs your child might be a writer?

-Does s/he play outside and create a unique world?
I used to wield this long gray pipe and use it as a sceptor capable of harnessing wind.  I would bring it in the house when no one was looking and hide it in my room.   This woman's daughter brought a branch "sword" into the house on the sly.

-Does s/he get annoyed when playing dolls/etc. with other people because they don't "follow the story?"
My friends and my sister HATED playing Barbie with me growing up.  I would get so mad if they didn't want to play by the rules of the story in my head.  I didn't understand...couldn't comprehend...the "normal" way kids play because my head was so full of my own world.  This young girl is the same way!

-Do teachers compliment the child's writing skills?
This is an important one.  When I was in first grade, we had a mandatory writing assignment for the school literary magazine.  My story was really short, and not great:

The clown was sad.  
It was his birthday.  
A girl knocked on the door.  
The clown was happy. 
The End.

I kid you not.  I still have the lit mag.   I thought it was the greatest thing ever, though, and I went around writing one paragraph stories thinking I was a genius. (And I totally loved mermaids even then.  One of those stories was called "How Fishes Came To Be" and was about how something happened to the mermaids and turned them into fish.  Another was about a girl who met a boy "mermaid" and they became friends.)
That was the year I knew I loved writing.  I even got a certificate from my teacher for my writing skills. (I'm sure we all got something, but I don't remember, lol!)  In second grade, I was excited to do the lit mag again and sad when I realized it no longer existed.  That was also the year I learned the word "author" and knew that's what I wanted to be when I grew up.

In seventh grade, I had a teacher who complimented this one story that had a twist, because it was about these two bad little sisters who, at the end of the story, you find out are two dogs, and not little girls.  My teacher kept complimenting the surprise element, which made me love books with surprise twists.  She also was a strong reason that I continued to love writing so much.  That support system!

I was so excited to hear that the girl's second grade teacher is already complimenting her writing skills, and that her mom does as well.  Hearing that so frequently will do wonders for her.  She's going to keep writing to hear those kind words again, and it will only make her more confident over the years as her skills grow.

Great Gift Ideas:
-Create your own book!
It's easier than ever for kids to write their own books with kits such as Illustory and Create Your Own Books!  This was the first gift idea I recommended.

I remember having a Cabbage Patch Kid and seeing some sort of mail-in-offer to fill in a survey with our names, likes, etc., and send it in for a hardcover book that told our story. I still have that book somewhere.  Oh, how I begged for it!  And how I loved that doll.  Carleen Clea was her name, I believe.  I didn't have the heart to change it from what the Patch gave her.

I also loved my American Girl doll, which I got when I was almost too old for dolls.  But it was one where I could choose what she looked like, and she came with blank books so I could tell her story.  I thought that was so super cool!

Since I loved writing books about my dolls, I would have loved a book kit to cherish!

-Books About Writing
One of my favorite writers when I was growing up was Gail Carson Levine.  ELLA ENCHANTED fascinated me.  It was the first time I really understood that there was more than one way to tell a fairy tale.  Plus, Cinderella and the Prince knew one another beforehand!  This plus the movie EVER AFTER with Drew Barrymore are what hooked me into fairy tale retellings for life!

I was a little too old by the time Levine published WRITING MAGIC: Creating Stories That Fly, though I still bought a copy.  I would absolutely recommend a copy of this for any aspiring young writer!  There are even great exercises that let kids stretch their imaginations and come up with new ideas when writing, not to mention a look at the fundamentals that make a good story.  This is absolutely a book to be treasured!

-Story Cubes
Turn writing into a game!  I saw Rory's Story Cubes in my local Barnes and Noble recently, and thought they were adorable!  Not to mention fun.  The best way to keep kids interested in their hobbies is to make things fun.  If they're bored or feel like they have to do something, they'll lose interest.

Story Cubes can be played with friends and family members, or on one's own when writing "for real!"

Plus, they're small and portable, and great to bring along on long car rides.

-Staples Such as Notebooks and Pens
I always LOVED getting notebooks and pens as gifts.  Heck, I still do!

I often see Kooky pens at A.C. Moore's and Hallmark, and sometimes buy them even now.  Pens with cute designs or pencils with interesting erasers are unique and fun, too.  I always save the most interesting writing instruments for special occasions.  When I was younger, I collected sets of Lisa Frank pens and wrote with them most frequently.  (Does Lisa Frank even still exist? IDK!)

Fun notebooks with cute designs are inspirational, too.  I'd rather pick up something with a design over a plain cover notebook any day, and I'm sure kids will, too!

If you give kids something special now to encourage their skills, they'll remember it later on in life, whether they want to be writers, painters, doctors, etc.  Find that special gift that unlocks their imagination and lets them learn more about their passions.

I know I still remember those moments growing up, and they will, too!


  1. I absolutely ADORE this post. I think it might be my most favorite post of yours EVER. I loved your little anecdotes to illustrate how you were as a kid and the overall behaviors to watch for in kid writers.

    And sooooo many AWESOME gift ideas! I would have LOVED these as a kid!

    I'm going to share this post on my facebook as well as tweet it! Loved it so much!!!

    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

    1. Thank you so much, Lauren! Your words make me smile so much. This is one of my favorite posts, too. I'm so glad you liked it! *hugs*


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