What: Turn Not Pale, Beloved Snail is a writing book aimed at children. Jackson is an experienced YA adult writer, but this is less about writing for children than it is about being a kid who likes to write.
Who: While this is a great book for the nascent writer in your family, any writer will benefit from Jackson’s insight into what hooks a reader as well as her examinations of her own work.
Why: This book is full of joy in writing, a spirit so strong it can’t help but inform your own.
When: Read this with your kids if they’re thinking about writing. Or read it if you’re thinking about writing something aimed at kids and want to remind yourself what the reading experience is like for them.
Where and how: Read with a pen in hand, if only to jot down the many fiction recommendations Jackson makes (or if you forget, they’re all collected in an appendix.) It’s a reading list that shaped my own middle-grade reading, leading me to L.M. Boston and Tove Jansson, among others. Try the exercises as you go.