Author: Mac Barnett
Illustrator: Adam Rex
Publication Date: September 6th, 2016
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
GoodReads Summary: You may think you know how this book was made, but you don't. Sure, the author wrote many drafts, and the illustrator took a long time creating the art, but then what? How'd it get into your hands? Well, open the cover and read through these pages to find out. Just beware of the pirates and angry tiger.
New York Times best-selling creators Mac Barnett and Adam Rex reveal the nitty gritty process of making a book . . . with a few unexpected twists along the way! Budding writers and artists will laugh at the mix of reality and the absurd as the story makes its way to a shelf, and a reader.
What I Think: How a book becomes a book is not an easy process to explain! Mac's description along with Adam's illustrations make this a fun and entertaining way to get a glimpse to the behind-the-scenes side of publishing a book. I especially love this for kids who most likely will only see the pretty, polished up book sitting on the shelf of a bookstore, library or at home. The more I write, the more I understand about the writing process (not that it's all clear to me...but I learn a little more every time I sit down to write) and it's important for kids to see that they go through the writing process just like published authors do.
I've done a PB 10 X 10 post on books to get started with writing workshop before and I would definitely add this and Maggie Tokuda-Hall's Also An Octopus to the list. Students could create a list of what they do with a writing piece to take it through publication and then think about what Mac and Adam share in How This Book Was Made. It could even go into a venn diagram and you could compare and contrast what's similar and what's different. I really like that they make mention of how an editor is kind of like a teacher. Here's the line, "She is like a teacher, only she works in a skyscraper and is always eating fancy lunches." So funny! Which leads me to my next point...
This is also an incredibly perfect book for looking at voice and hyperbole and silliness in writing. You could actually type up this whole book and present it to older students as a piece of writing and then read them the picture book with the illustrations. Students of any age are sure to love this book and hopefully they'll find some solace in the pages...that writing doesn't just come easily to anyone.
Snatch of Text:
"The first draft of this book was not so good.
Neither was the second draft.
Or the third.
Or the twelfth.
But writing lots of drafts is a useful part of the writing process.
For instance, when the tiger came back for revenge because I beat him
in arm wrestling, I burned these drafts and scared him away."Writing Prompt: Describe a situation that you were recently part of and add in some hyperbole to add some voice and silliness to it. Start with a personal narrative idea and see where stretching the truth a bit takes you.