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Word After Word After Word
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Word After Word After Word

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  960 ratings  ·  275 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
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
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
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
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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
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
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.
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!
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
This book was an excellent,entertaining fiction tail to encourage kids to all be writers. I haven't seen anything like this before. The writer instead of teaching with a non fiction text, used fiction through the eyes of several 4th graders to explain what she knows about writing by having a famous children's author teach a 4th grade classroom for several weeks.

Touching and humorous, a must read, this book is for approx. 3-5th grade and deals with inspiring children to all write about their own
Brenna McEvitt
This was a wonderful way for Patricia MacLachlan to talk to her readers about writing. The hush and power of words comes through the character Ms. Maribel, and the struggle to create good writing comes through in the children, as they find their way as writers. Like MacLachlan says in her ending note, I too find myself able to connect with both the children and Ms. Maribel. The children struggle to find the right words, change their lives with writing, and put their experiences into poetry and s ...more
Destinee Sutton
When writing about good writing, is it pretentious to use quotations from your own books? Um, yes. Even if one of those books won the Newbery Medal, I believe it's still on the tacky side, Pat MacLachlan. Sorry.

Still, this is a neat little book about the power of writing, why we write, etc. As a jaded adult, I thought it was sickeningly precious, but if I had read it as a kid, I think I would've been inspired (probably inspired to write bad poetry, but still). It's always lovely read an author
Cara Farmer
Patricia Maclachlan writes words to where they have real life. It is like magic. I admire her work so greatly and always find myself getting teary during her stories purely from how beautifully it is written. This story deeply touched my heart. For me writing is something I take very seriously. I would have loved for this to happen to me as a student. I would love to use this in my class room one day and read these gorgeous words out loud to my students. This would be perfect for when I have to ...more
Ms. Mirabel is a local author who visits a fourth-grade class and teaches the students about writing. At first many of the students struggle, feeling that they don't have any ideas and don't have anything good and interesting to say. Ms. Mirabel teaches them about what is real, what is unreal, and about the power that words can have. Each of the children in the story allow the "words to whisper in their ears" and find their own voice in writing.

Cute story! Normally, I wouldn't consider Patricia
Fred Pollock
"'I, myself, write to change my life, to make it come out the way I want it to,' she said."

How does that statement change the lives of five fourth grade students? When Ms. Mirabel came to their class to teach about writing, all the students were eager to learn to start writing. However, for some it was easier than for others. Learn how each of their lives changed in this wonderful book. G.K.
Mrs. Cash's 4th graders aren't quite sure what to make of their visiting author, Ms. Mirabel, at first. But as she opens their eyes to the different ways to see and think and write, they begin to learn about themselves and their friends and family.

A sweet little book about the wonders of writing. I would have loved it even more if it had been a little bit longer so I could spend more time with the characters I grew rather attached to in the short time I spent with them. Patricia MacLachlan has a
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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.” 18 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.” 7 likes
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