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Fireflies: A Writer's Notebook

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Ideas are just like fireflies. You never know when they will flicker. But young writers will be ready with this powerful tool to help them catch those elusive firefly ideas. With practical tips, plenty of free space for creativity, and helpful "spark starters" to light the way, this journal will guide, encourage, and help bring their new ideas to life! A Writer's Notebook won The Mom's Choice Gold Award. The "Catching Fireflies" book app was named a Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2014 Book App and a Benjamin Franklin Gold Digital Award Honoree; it also earned another Mom's Choice Gold Award.

118 pages, Hardcover

First published November 28, 2013

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About the author

Coleen Murtagh Paratore

24 books218 followers
I majored in English at The College of Saint Rose, in Albany, and after two internships in advertising and public relations, decided to enter the communications field, which is a place where writers can write and make a living too. I got married three months after graduation (my husband Tony and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary next August ), and we moved to Connecticut. I worked at a large advertising/pr firm during the day and got my master's in English at Trinity College nights. When we moved back to the Albany, New York area a few years later, I took a job as a publicist for Russell Sage College in Troy and soon became Director of Communications for the Sage Colleges. Our son, Christopher, was born in 1989. Two years later I took out a small-business loan, left my "safe job" and founded Books Worth Writing, to develop and publish The Remembering Book, an heirloom-quality tribute to a loved one's life (created after losing my best friend to cancer and wanting to be sure the story of her life was remembered and celebrated). This book-product is now in its 3rd printing, 10,000 copies sold. Around that same time, I began teaching as an adjunct instructor in the English Department at Russell Sage, doing freelance public relations assignments for business and nonprofit clients, and leading public-speaking workshops for women. Our son, Connor, was born in 1992 and then our third son, Dylan, in 1994.
After Dylan was born, I hopped off the career train for a few years to chase after three boys under the age of 5. I wrote a song for each of my sons and sang their special songs to them as bedtime lullabies. I kept a journal (I have on and off since college), wrote poems, and "roasts" for friends' birthdays, planted a perennial garden, a vegetable garden, read tons of books, started a book club, cleared a walking trail in the woods behind our house…and with my three young sons in tow, I returned to my "library days."
We devoured books together, morning, noon and night. We'd fill an L.L. Bean sack full of picture books every week, snuggle up on the couch, and read, read, read. I didn't know it at the time, but in addition to it being enormously FUN, this was fabulous research. As I was devoting my best creative energy to my children and sharing my love of books with them, I was soaking in lessons in characterization and plot and structure and language... feeding my writer's voice in happy hibernation.
I still didn't know that I would write children's books, yet everything in my life was leading me on that path. Ironically, I'd meet former business colleagues out and about and they'd say, "you're writing children's books, right?" I can't tell you how many people asked me that. It wasn't my goal or my intention.
Breaking into this business was the hardest and longest race I've ever run. I wrote stories for four years before I felt the work was ready. And then, once my writing was of publishable quality, it took two years of submitting before I got a contract. 179 rejections later. You've got to want it badly. You've got to read, read, read, and write, write, write and revise, revise, revise, and listen to people who are wiser than you, and learn from your rejections, and take comments from editors very seriously, and be willing to catch the fireflies of inspiration before they fly off forgotten, and, most of all, you've got to BELIEVE in yourself. Believe, believe, believe.
Emerson said "nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." Write on.

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Displaying 1 - 11 of 11 reviews
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,736 reviews14.1k followers
November 23, 2013
A writing journal for the younger crowd, perfect gift for my grand-daughter who loves to write stories. Loved that the author compared the ideas around us to fireflies that spark our interests. Also helps the young writer find the things and places that interests them and offers ideas on where to find things to write about. Good gift for Christmas.

Profile Image for Lili.
332 reviews14 followers
June 23, 2014
*I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a review*

Oh where was this book when I was a teenager, I would have loved it! Using the imagery of fireflies and sparks, you know chasing your thoughts like fireflies in the dark, those little sparks of inspiration! With simple, yet inspiring prompts, this journal gently guides a writer through emotional responses and inspiration.

I really wish this would have been around when I was younger. I have always been a writer, but more geared towards research and opinion oriented forms of expression. Asked to write about an emotion and my brain would shut down, I still have problems with it! This journal can have a dual function, it can be a great way to inspire young writers to explore their style of writing, and it can be a good therapeutic tool allowing young writers to express themselves privately and with prompts.

I also really liked how open and non-invasive the writing prompts are, things like 'What are your most powerful memories?', 'What are you Curious About?', and an exploration on senses and emotions allow a writer to be expressive without feeling pressured.

The design of this journal is quite lovely as well, with bright colors, inspiring quotes, and pretty stars decorating the pages, it is visually pleasing.
Profile Image for Cas H..
417 reviews3 followers
June 19, 2014
Fireflies journal by Coleen Paratore is a wonderful journal that any girl would love to have. I have two girls, ages 9 and 13 and they would love to have this journal. I, as an adult, would love to have this journal too. Writing a journal can be hard sometimes and it is nice to have a little direction in your writing. Coleen provides that direction.
I received a free copy of this e-book in return for my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
84 reviews8 followers
September 6, 2014
'Ideas can surprise you like fireflies on a dark summer night, but sometimes it seems like all of the fireflies are hiding…' Collen Murtach Paratore

Fireflies A Writer’s Notebook shares a lovely, reassuring message with writers: I respect you and I believe in you and your ability to write something special.

Inspiring quotes from familiar authors, useful writing tips, intriguing prompts and though-provoking questions are sure to encourage young writers and motivate them to think and write with confidence. Lined and blank pages, in pastel colors offer room to brainstorm, outline, doodle, list, write, explain, recall or reminisce. We especially enjoyed the quotes from Jane Yolen, Karen Cushman, Jacqueline Woodson, Kate DiCamillo and Stephen King.

For a preteen or older child who loves to write, Fireflies A Writer’s Notebook will be a lovely gift, providing a cherished place to express thoughts, ideas, memories, reflections and stories.

I received a review copy of this book. It is my pleasure to share my thoughts about it.

Profile Image for Brandy .
132 reviews14 followers
December 12, 2014
Sometimes you need a little help getting started with writing. For some it comes easily, the ideas flood in, but for many the first sentence or the starting idea is just hard. Fireflies is a writing book for kids, laid out like a journal and filled with writing prompts. There is plenty of blank space to record experiences and ideas. These pages are interspersed with insightful quotes and inspiring sentence starters. The illustrations and pages are in color making for a very fun, kid friendly book. However, I would say that this design feature is likely to appeal more to girls. I am reviewing this book for net galley and the opinions presented here are my own. I recommend this book for kids who have a hard time with writing, or as a tool to inspire kids to explore new creative space.
Profile Image for Dolores.
178 reviews5 followers
August 12, 2016
What a great tool for ferreting out the "sparks" that we don't even know we already have. I know at least 6 little girls that I would like to buy this for right now...and I'll probably buy myself a copy. I have one little boy in my class who has the makings of an excellent writer, but I think he would see this as too feminine and be embarrassed to use it.
Profile Image for Sara Diane.
725 reviews27 followers
December 14, 2014
I got this through NetGalley to preview.

A delightful tool for the young writer, to help encourage that spark of creativity in all of us. While I only got it on Kindle, it seems like it would be a beautiful book (which helps to get those creative juices going as well).

I would recommend this for any young writer who might need a little bit of encouragement or just a nod in the right direction.
Profile Image for Melissa.
1,203 reviews11 followers
July 29, 2014
I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

What a great writing tool for children. This is a great boom to give kids to spark their creative side. Love the idea of firefly writing it is so simple. This could be used as a basic way to introduce school age children to write. Think this will come in handy in my kids schoolwork!
Profile Image for Zelie.
Author 2 books8 followers
May 5, 2014
A must-have for a writer. It helps you to fight your writer block. Though personally, I prefer to create it by myself :P
3,224 reviews27 followers
March 8, 2018
Awesome writing prompt book! I am so getting a copy for myself and some friends and family members who enjoy journaling!

I received a Kindle arc from Edelweiss in exchange for a fair review.
Displaying 1 - 11 of 11 reviews

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