Tips for Writing Autobiographies with Kids
Monday’s book post featured lots of autobiographies. Telling one’s own story, no matter how many years you’ve lived, is a good idea. It doesn’t matter if you write it just for yourself or to share with others, exploring your life by writing it down is a great way to understand all sorts of things: what you really care about, unacknowledged blessings, the way out of confusion…the list can be quite long.
So in today’s post, I’ll provide ideas for getting kids to write about their lives. Pay attention to #1!
- Write one yourself. Like being a reader shows reading is fun and important, being a writer also demonstrates that writing about one’s life is worth doing.
- Use someone else’s autobiography as a model. Monday’s books offer a variety of approaches to telling one’s story. I’ve listed them by approach. Understanding that an autobiography does not need to be an entire life can make them seem less daunting.
Shortcut by Donald Crews
Some Birthday! by Patricia Polacco
When I Was Nine by James Stevenson
I Know Here by Laurel Croza, illustrated by Matt James
A Whole Year
The Year I Didn’t Go to School by Giselle Potter
A Life through Illustrations
Dia’s Story Cloth: The Hmong People’s Journey of Freedom by Dia Cha
Moving Toward a Goal
Tallchief: America’s Prima Ballerina by Maria Tallchief with Rosemary Wells
Dictated to Someone
Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper’s Daughter stories collected by Alan Govenar
- Write a song. Is your child music-minded? Maybe he could write a song. The chorus could emphasize what is most important in his life.
- Create a collage. Gather and arrange pictures, photos, and captions that highlight interests, dreams, accomplishments…
- Gather a life in a bag. This is like a collage, and may have photos as part of it, but it will also have objects—favorite things, lucky charms, prized memories…
- Create an ABC book. With a little ingenuity, your child can come up with pieces of her life that represent the letters of the alphabet: acrobatics, bulldogs, candy… Don’t forget illustrations!
- Draw a poster advertising a movie of your life. Key scenes, actors playing key roles, exciting moments…
- Create a timeline. Highlight 3-5 moments from each year, gathering data from people who knew your child in the early years.
There must be lots more ideas. What are ones you have tried? Please write them in the Comments Box!