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Breakfast on Mars and 37 Other Delectable Essays

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  170 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Breakfast on Mars and 37 Other Delectable Essays will inspire students to think differently about the much-feared assignment in elementary and middle schools around the country: essay writing.

Rebecca Stern's fifth-grade students were bored to death with essay writing, and the one thing Rebecca needed to inspire them—great examples appropriate for kids—was nowhere to be fou
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 24th 2014 by Square Fish (first published June 25th 2013)
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Jun 29, 2013 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 7-8
If you like good writing or teach writing, open up a tab to Breakfast on Mars: Your Favorite Authors Take a Stab at the Dreaded Essay Assignment.

The collection begins with a foreword from Margaret Cho, who admonishes teachers who have used writing as a form of punishment. She tells a story about how she first realized that words had power and introduces the anthology by saying that it's "a collection of essays by authors who understand that writing about ideas should be fun and real, not a drill
Reeka (BoundbyWords)
As seen on my blog:

Breakfast on Mars was a terrific idea for a book. It contained a little taste of genius from so many great authors: Ransom Riggs, Scott Westerfield and Ned Vizzini, to name a few. I absolutely loathed essay-writing in school, and cursed the day someone, somewhere, decided to make structured writing a thing. Talk about cruel and unusual punishment *le sigh*.

I wish this book was published while I was in grade school. Breakfast on Mars was compiled of 38 essays, written lik
Oct 29, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the following pages, you'll catch a glimpse of something most people have never seen in the wild. We've let essays out of their cages, and we've set them loose.

This book is a great idea, a collection of essays by professional writers responding to the prompts that are commonly assigned in schools to serve as examples for students frustrated by the confines of the requirements. Whether prompted with "Write about a time you helped make the world a better place" or "Compare and contrast two char
Melissa Mcavoy
Breakfast on Mars is a rare breed: an anthology of essays written for a tween audience. Bay Area native and teacher, Rebecca Stern recognized the difficulty of teaching children to write something they had no experience reading and so gathered nearly forty short essays, mostly written by authors children will recognize. In their range and variety they refute the idea that essays must be serious, structured and dull and offer a multitude of examples and jumping off points to inspire both student ...more
Jul 18, 2013 Emrys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 10-100yr olds
What a fabulous idea! The essay comes back with a bang, a hum, and a fantastic kind of flourish. There is a huge range but all are wonderfully composed. Funny, sad, pensive, revealing, and as delicious as a stack of pancakes. The authors here are professionals, and so of course they break all the rules. You won't find five concise paragraphs, or three citations to support each point, or the words "in conclusion" at the end of every page. Instead you'll get powerful anecdotes that span from intro ...more
Julia Erlanger
First, this book is exactly what I studied in college – creative nonfiction. Writing personal essays and memoirs, short nonfiction pieces that are creative and original, that grab you, make you think, play around and have fun, and don’t need to have fairies in them to do it.

Second, I would never have been this creative in grade school, and that’s what this book is for. Each essay is prefaced by the prompt it is responding too. The index at the back lists them by title, prompt, and type of essay
Jan 07, 2014 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"To properly introduce this book, you need a little bit of backstory.
Once upon a time, essays were exciting, and full of the author's exciting, new opinions. People would seek out essays and actually want to read them. Then the essay became the favorite tool of schools, and through generations the essay faded from the mass of honestly bad, blandly formulaic essays written by generations of bored schoolchildren.
In this fun book, a bunch of contemporary writers have tried to bring a little bit of
Se Young  Chun
This book isn't like other books of essays. At first when my teacher recommended it to me, I was a bit skeptical. However, it was actually enjoyable. It's a collection of essays that professional and famous writers wrote involving topics that are usually assigned to students. "Breakfast on Mars and 37 Other Delectable Essays" proves that essays can be funny and enjoyable to read. This book shows students that the stereotype of essays being "boring" and "difficult" is false. Some of my favorites ...more
Penny Peck
Aug 05, 2013 Penny Peck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-ya
Several authors (many YA authors) contributed to this ebullient collection of essays on a wide variety of subjects, perfect for middle and high schoolers. These are great examples of the types of essays students are required to write: persuasive, personal, how-to, and literary (there is an index in the back). Experience the truth about Sasquatch, what life was like for a kid before TV, and the joy of blueberry picking. Many of these are personal reminiscences by the authors, which may lead the r ...more
I liked the idea of this book (authors tackle dreaded essay questions like "Compare and contrast two characters from the same story" and "Write about a strong memory and what it means to you") more than I enjoyed the reality of reading it. The essay's are really uneven in quality; some are actually just not that interesting and others, while interesting, don't have much child appeal (like the lovely "Natural Light" by Sloane Crosley). In fact, a lot of the essays may appeal more to adults lookin ...more
Kadi Cook
Aug 28, 2013 Kadi Cook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This collection of essays is wonderful for exciting the chldren in my classroom when we write essays. I love that the structure of the essays are unusual and are not simply the tradtional 5-paragraph essays. The students feel like they can be more creative with their essays after reading the variety in this book. They also appreciate that their natural, creative style of writing an essay can be appreciated by the greater community, instead of having to write boring essays to fit inside a box. It ...more
Jun 30, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The essay is my favorite form of writing so this book was made for me. Billed as a guide to help school kids (or rather, "young essayists") write better essays, I found it to be full of great writing and good things to think about even though after a major birthday this summer I think I would be called a "middle-aged essayist" :) I love the advice and encouragement it gives to not just young people but to any of us who try to write, simply through the demonstration of good writing. Very recommen ...more
Mary Louise Sanchez
A creative way of showing 38 interesting short essays (persusive, personal,informative, graphic, and literary)written by favorite authors for children. Each essay starts with a prompt assigned to the author like: Analyse a character from a fairy tale; If you could steal one trait from an animal, what would it be and why?

Teachers have a handy source to help teach students how a great essay looks. The index lists the titles/authors of the essays under their essay types and also lists the essay pro
Sep 02, 2013 Tanja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always wanted something like this, to pull out when primary school teachers ask me whether I have persuasive (or any other type of) essay they could use as a prompt with their students. This is a brilliant collection of essays, with a super user friendly index that lists the essays by essay type as well as by prompt. And yes, I can just see how this book will get students excited about writing, just as the editors intended to!
Jan 01, 2014 Runa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved the idea of this book--showing kids that essays don't have to be boring. I just wish the types of essays shown here would actually be accepted by teachers. These were so good, but I bet if any one of them were turned in, they would be nitpicked for first person pronouns and informal language and breaking essay conventions, and that just makes me sad. (That said, my favorite essay by far was the one in Donkey Kong's point of view. Hilarious!)
Apr 14, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, nf-humor
Nice little collection of different styles of essays, on topics as varied as life before television, showering with spider or penguin etiquette. Fun to flip around in, or there's a handy index in the back to choose by essay type or essay prompt. If I was an English teacher, this is what I'd hand my students.
Dec 25, 2013 Aimee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a classroom lifesaver. It contains essays written by authors like Wendy Mass that address prompts that students would typically encounter in middle school and high school. I have used it in my classroom and my 8th graders responded well to the essays. It's just so convenient to have well-written, engaging mentor texts when teaching the essay.
Tammy Ward
Jun 23, 2013 Tammy Ward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great collection of essays, mostly personal but there are a few informative and persuasive. Essays are perfect length for short read-alouds. I will use some for mentor text and imitating author's craft.
Stephanie Tournas
Surprisingly fun and readable short essays from established authors. Includes persuasive, informative, literary and illustrated essays. Should be a great resource for students interested in examples to help get a feel for the variety of writing possible for this genre.
Kim Baccellia
Dec 03, 2013 Kim Baccellia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since I'm now teaching my 12 year old how to write persuasive essays, this is the perfect book to show how essays don't have to be boring! So many fun alternate ways to write an essay.
Mr. Hutchinson
Jun 25, 2013 Mr. Hutchinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching, guys-write
Certainly a book to share with a language arts teacher and one I will push on students who claim "they don't like to write."
Feb 10, 2014 Annie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If only I read this before my essay-writing days were over...
Karen Stelter Otto
An interesting book on writing essays of all modes. Great resource for teachers to use to show students that an essay can be interesting and have the creative elements that a short story has.
Jun 30, 2013 jmjester rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essay-collection
#bookday Can't wait for this to come out in paperback so we can buy class sets for school. So much to discuss in here for fledgling writers.
Oct 21, 2013 Betsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One Sentence Review: Unique and useful all at the same time (which is hardly something you can say for most books out there).
Apr 25, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great idea for a book, and it had a very impressive list of contributors. Some essays were more successful than others, but overall, very enjoyable.
Ah Essays, a student’s arch-enemy; the bane of their existence. The most boring of boring school assignments. Students are forever being given assignments on social/community issues like - “Many people believe that television violence has a negative effect on society because it promotes violence. Do you agree or disagree?” – or – “According to some people, elderly drivers should be required to reapply for their driving licenses because with age comes diminished vision, hearing, and reaction time ...more
Very fun stories, but I question the function and audience. The introduction presents this book as a set of examples an adult may provide a teen to inspire their essay-writing abilities. However, half of the essays in the book are personal memoirs - fun to read, but maybe not entirely appropriate for school assignments. The rest are kind of jokey, tongue-in-cheek take-offs of familiar essay topics.I guess the implied intent is to help young writers not hate their essay assignments, but I don't t ...more
Adult Reader Reaction: Teens will recognize this all-star collection of authors they love to read. How much of the book they read is a big question for me. Although billed as YA nonfiction, the Special Note to teachers suggests that this is more for classroom use. Reading the introduction (which is indirect voice) and the essays themselves confirm that. It is a book you would use to illustrate a specific type of writing, but not one you're likely to see a teens read of their own choice.

Pros: Pop
Teresa Osgood
Sep 11, 2014 Teresa Osgood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This title caught my eye as I browsed the MG shelves. Essays? Do kids read essays? Well, they should read these. Each author has taken a standard, dull prompt, and written something interesting. Kids care about these topics: Sasquatch, Donkey Kong, penguins, how to be invisible . . . Some essays discuss creativity directly, but I could feel it all the way through. I read a couple of essays out loud to my kids, and they read more on their own.

My only quibble with this book was its shelving. I th
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