"Write like it matters, and it will." Libba Bray - Gemma Doyle Trilogy
Pen-A-Picture Day is a literary celebration held annually on October 7th. The purpose of this beautiful day is to connect children with their creative side by presenting the idea that the best stories come from the most ordinary places. Have you ever asked a child to write a story? What do they usually say?
Sierra has asked this of many students and has found that most reply with, "What do I write about?". That's when Pen-A-Picture was born. She had children bring their favorite picture into school, whatever they wanted, and write about it. Write about what happened that day and how it made them feel. What Sierra found is that the students would get excited and with a few prompts such as "What would've happened if a crocodile went with you?" or "What if the trees were made out of cotton candy?" they wrote wonderful creative stories from something seemingly ordinary. The question "What do I write about?" became "What if?".
"I love teaching the 'What If?' concept in elementary school, particularly the third grade. By then, most children develop this idea that there is nothing special about their life, that things are just ordinary. Teaching them the 'What If' concept gets them in touch with their imaginations again. That's part of what makes this a great exercise for middle grade and high school students as well." - Sierra Dougherty