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Word After Word After Word
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Word After Word After Word

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  1,075 ratings  ·  293 reviews
Every school day feels the same for fourth graders Lucy and Henry and Evie and Russell and May. Then Ms. Mirabel comes to their class—bringing magical words and a whole new way of seeing and understanding.

From beloved author Patricia MacLachlan comes an honest, inspiring story about what is real and what is unreal, and about the ways that writing can change our lives and c
Audiobook, 1 page
Published May 18th 2010 by Katherine Tegen Books
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This book on writing, aimed at elementary-schoolers, opens with a quote from Joan Didion:
I write to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.
While I wouldn't say I disagree with this sentiment -- those are valid reasons to write and things I'm sure most writers get out of the process -- it does not speak to me. It is not why I write and does not typify the sort of things I prefer to read. Which is probably why neither Didion nor
In the hands of a lesser author, this story about a published author who visits a classroom to teach the children about writing could have turned into a self-congratulatory work about how wonderful said author and her writing is. Thank goodness, Patricia MacLachlan did not take this delightful book in that direction.

I enjoyed watching the children discover writing as a method of sharing their lives and expressing their feelings. Although the book is brief, I felt that I grew to know each child a
Lisa Vegan
This short children’s novel took less time to read than it would have to read 3 or 4 children’s picture books.

I should have loved this book. It has: a group of fourth grade students, girls & boys who are close friends, who have some genuinely difficult challenges in their lives, who are introspective and thoughtful. A pair of teachers, one in particular who is there to teach creative writing, and the kids’ writing about their lives, their writing appearing as part of the book. Musings about
First thought: These are not the words of 4th graders.

But I liked it anyway.

Henry, Russell, May, Evie, and Lucy are enjoying classroom visits with an author, Ms. Mirabel, who encourages and inspires student storytelling through writing: You have a story in you.... Words will whisper in your ear.... You will know....

What I appreciated about the story:
> Lucy's feeling of sadness over her mother's cancer, and her inability to write anything without that sadness creeping in
> Russell's optimi
In an author's note at the end of the book, Ms. MacLachlan explains that she wrote this small novel in answer to requests about what it is like to be a writer. She says she appears in the book both as her child-self and as her adult author self. This sweet little book allows us to spend six weeks in a fourth grade classroom while the well-known author, Ms. Mirabel, leads the class in a writing seminar. We see how a little group of five friends responds to Ms. Mirabel's writing assignments and to ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I think this would have made a better story had it been longer, more fleshed out. The story focuses on a group of 4th-graders who are being taught how to write by a real writer, Ms. Mirabel. Each of the characters in the book discovers something about themselves through writing. I did appreciate MacLachlan's crafting of this tale--no words wasted, every word counted. She says a lot in a few words. I also liked some of the poems in the book. My favorite is the one by Russell at the end, which sum ...more
Over the weekend, I received the unexpected present from a friend of Word After Word After Word by Patricia MacLachlan. My friend said the book looked like it belonged to me. In that the book is about writing, stories, and how words can change lives, I’d have to agree with her. :-)

Every day feels the same for fourth-graders in Miss Cash’s writing class. Then along comes a visiting author who encourages students to see their lives in terms of words. First, there is Evie, whose parents have been s
Fourth grade was dull until the author-in-residence arrived. Ms. Mirabel brings a love of words and writing as well as her ready laugh to the class. Through the course of several months, she inspires five fourth graders to write, express themselves, and by doing that change their lives. The five characters are many for a book this slim, but through their writing they become very distinct. One of the greatest pleasures in the book is the poetry included throughout, giving us a clear understanding ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah W
Patricia MacLachlan's book about writing and what it means to be a writer takes the form of a fourth grade glass where a well-known writer becomes a guest teacher for creative writing. Lucy, Henry, May, Evie and Russell all leave pieces of their writing and their hearts in this book. Russell writes a poem from his dog who died. Evie is dealing with her parents' separation; May's parents are adopting a new child. Henry writes to save everything to memory. All Lucy can find to write is sadness. Th ...more
This book is about the power of words and poetry. A fourth grade class is visited by a poet and the kids learn how they can express their own experiences through the written word. It is a beautiful story. Although I think it presents a rather idyllic classroom setting, the characters are touching and inspiring nonetheless.
What a wonderful book on the impact writing can have in a life. Every 4th grade child should have a teacher like Ms. Mirabel!

Many commentors have remarked that the voices of the children aren't true to the typical 4th grader, and I would agree with that. Sixth grade would have been more true to the voices. Another thought I kept having throughout was, no way would Henry be friends with a bunch of girls and vice versa. But if you can read around this little detail the insight contained in this l
This book made a lot more sense to me when I read the afterword, which maybe should have been first. It is the Newbery Award winner's answer to the questions about why she writes and how she comes up with her ideas and what writing means to her. As such, it is inspired. Without that purpose it is sort of a mixed up book. The text is really big, but the reading level is higher then the text would indicate, and the children talk in ways real children don't. They are less real children then ways of ...more
Michelle McBeth
A well known author, Ms. Mirabel, comes to a fourth grade classroom. She shares her love of writing with the students and inspires them to write. A group of five children gather under the lilac tree at Henry's house and talk about life which inspires their writing. The kids are all going through emotional times. One's mother is recovering from cancer. Another's parents have split up. Another is expecting a new baby in her home. The children write and share their inspiring poems during class time ...more
Jennifer Spiegel
This book is not for everyone. Or maybe it is.

It’s a kids’ book, so there’s that. Though this is by the author of Sarah, Plain and Tall—and MacLachlan can write so nicely.

But this book is for the children of writers. If your child is already trying to figure out your oddities, why you exhale deeply and solemnly over random bits of dialogue or why you scramble frantically—downright embarrassingly—for post-it notes to jot down nonsense or song lyrics by Prince or Dusty Springfield, or why you ge
Sarah Rourke
I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy read and inspiring. It showed how powerful writing can be for anyone. The book also includes small passages to read as well as examples of student poetry, which I really liked! This is a powerful book to read and students and adults alike will enjoy it.

This would be a good book for grades 3-4 to independently read. I would recommend this book to students who are interested in writing and may want to one day write a book of their own, but really any stu
The tale of certain writing fourth-grade friends who embark on an expressive journey to reach their definition of the writing world. As they sharpen their understanding of words with a writer that brings them to a new light of themselves, you'll find a hidden meaning in your own life too. I find many fascinations in this book seeing how different people take the meaning of words into their own matter and incorporate them into their heart, word after word after word.
Loving, moving, rich book deep without a lot of fuss ...and brought me back to the sweetness of my childhood.
This. Was. The. Most. Wonderful. Book. Short, sweet, touching. I will be trying to fob it off on every third grader who asks for a recommendation. I think they'll be old enough to really get the emotions of the characters and since so many of them don't want to exert themselves, I can show them how big the print and margins are and lure them into a great story about the art and pleasure of writing. Am I sneaky or what?
Michelle Nero
Reread Aug. 2012: I will definitely give this book a 4th star. This is a true writer's workshop: allowing the time for students to explore and play with words. The author's note reminded me of the importance of a writer's story. And we are all writers.

Oct. 2011: I really love the concept of this book. Everyone has a story. A good read aloud when introducing writer's notebook.
Good story, but unrealistic characters...never have heard 4th graders talk/write/think like the kids in the book do (sharing so many feelings, etc). It would be great to gets kids so excited about writing though!
I found this difficult to read. I had to slow down and pay attention to every word. Yet still, the number of characters confused me and I couldn't keep everyone straight. Somebody had a dead dog, somebody had divorced parents, somebody had a mom with cancer, there were two babies involved and some other younger sibling, I think. I dunno. My mind was reeling. And then there was poetry! Ack!

I think, buried in there, if you read more closely or not as closely as me (one or the other, or both, there
My daughter and I read this together (she's 7) and we loved it. But I don't think Patricia MacLachlan has ever written anything that I don't love.
I don't know that it accomplished what it set out to accomplish, and it wasn't terribly interesting.
LOVED. On every level. And I cried..obvio.
"I, myself, write to change my life, to make it come out the way I want it to...But other people write for other reasons: to see more clearly what it is they are thinking about, what they may be afraid of. Sometimes writers write to solve a problem, to answer their own question. All these reasons are good reasons. And that is the most important thing I'll ever tell you."

—Ms. Mirabel, Word After Word After Word, PP. 18-19

I really was surprised by the depth of this book. It's not a very long st
Mary Ann
wonderful, truly wonderful book. can't wait to share it with families and classes. I think it will make a great read aloud. It reminds me of Love That Dog, in its emotional tone and connection to children. Kids really respond to Love That Dog. I'm guessing they'll love this as well.

Fourth graders Lucy and Henry and Evie and Russell and May meet every day under Henry’s huge lilac bush to talk about things. School’s boring, until Ms. Mirabel, a visiting poet, starts coming to their class to talk w
Each of the five children that the story focuses on has there own troubles, everything from a parent with cancer to resentment toward a soon to be adopted sibling. Ms. Mirabel reminds me of a teacher I had who taught me the power of words. She teaches the students about how writing can help a person cope with problems, express joy enabling the writer to retain a memory, and helping a person change. I especially related to Lucy who had such a hard time finding words to express herself, but disco ...more
Ok! I'm not a writer, but if I ever started it would be because of page 19. The author on her visit to class said "I, myself write to change my life, to make it come out the way I want it to,' she said. 'But other people write for other reasons: to see more closely what it is they are thinking about, what they may be afraid of. Sometimes writers write to solve a problem, to answer their own question All these are good reasons. And that is the most important thing I'll ever tell you. Maybe it is ...more
Today, the accelerated learning teacher at the kids' school encouraged me and the kiddos to read and to hear being read "high quality literature". She then recommended books that had won or been nominated to the Volunteer State Books (and a couple of other series). Nearly every book from the list I tried to find at the Main Library was checked-out; a couple with waiting lists. So off to the school library I went (most of theirs were checked out too!) to help the kids pick out books. This is the ...more
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Patricia MacLachlan is a bestselling U.S. children's author, best known for winning the 1986 Newbery Medal for her book Sarah, Plain and Tall.

For more information, please see
More about Patricia MacLachlan...
Sarah, Plain and Tall (Sarah, Plain and Tall, #1) Skylark (Sarah, Plain and Tall #2) Waiting for the Magic Caleb's Story (Sarah, Plain and Tall #3) All the Places to Love

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“You will have a story in there. . . or a character, a place, a poem, a moment in time. When you find it, you will write it. Word after word after word after word.” 20 likes
“Some words may make you happy, some may make you said. Maybe some will make you angry. What I hope. . . what I hope is that something will whisper in your ear.” 8 likes
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