Word After Word After Word. Patricia MacLachlan. 2010. HarperCollins. 128 pages.
Some things happen in fours. On the fourth day of the fourth month after the winter holiday vacation, a famous writer came to our fourth-grade class. Her name was Ms. Mirabel. She liked the Ms. a lot. She hissed "Ms." like Evie's cat, Looley, hissed. I looked over at Evie and she was smiling. She had thought of Looley, too.
Word After Word After Word is a book about how a group of kids respond to writing in the classroom. The focus is on a small group of friends: Lucy, Henry, Evie, Russell, and May. Each child has their own struggles: one has a mom with cancer, one has parents who are separated, one is still grieving the loss of a beloved dog, etc. One spring a visiting writer comes to their classroom. She's not there for one day--but for six weeks of instruction, of guidance. Ms. Mirabel tells Lucy, our narrator,
"You have a story in there, Lucy," she said, touching my head. "Or a character, a place, a poem, a moment in time. When you find it, you will write it. Word after word after word," she whispered." (20-21)Through the weeks, each child finds joy, finds comfort, finds relief in writing. Readers see what each child writes. Here is one of Lucy's poems:
Sadness isI'd also recommend Hate That Cat and Love That Dog--both by Sharon Creech.
A breath you take in
But can't let out
As hard as you try. (27)
© Becky Laney of Young Readers