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My Pencil and Me

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  101 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Sara Varon's My Pencil and Me is a playful picture book that’s perfect for young artists, writers, and makers—especially if they struggle with confidence or writer's block.

Sara loves to draw and tell stories, but sometimes it can be difficult to get started. What if she doesn't have any good ideas or her drawings turn out terrible?!

Lucky for Sara, she has a friend who is a
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published September 29th 2020 by First Second
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  101 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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I received an ARC through NetGalley from First Second. This picture book tells a fun story of Sara and her pencil. It guides the reader through the steps in the story making process and how to use your imagination. A graphic novel format for young readers, ages 4-7. My son loved the real pictures of Sara, her pencil and her dog Sweet Pea at the end of the book. It blew my son away when he saw the illustrations come to life with her actual image working at her writing desk.
Jul 10, 2020 rated it liked it
I received an electronic ARC from First Second Books through NetGalley.
Humorous story about the book creation process. Sara talks with her dog and her pencil along with imaginary friends to create a story. She's stuck for an idea so pencil offers advice and tips. Together they create the book we're reading and offer young readers fun along the way.
Varon's illustrations capture the process and offer readers the chance to see behind the scenes of making a book.
Jul 19, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a cute, but not terribly exciting picture book/graphic novel about an artist trying to come up with something to draw. It shows how she relies on her pencil, who gives her good advice.

Good to get kids started on being creative, and they would probably enjoy this little story about being creative, and having fun with it.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love a good meta picture book, and Sara Varon's latest, My Pencil and Me, fits that bill wonderfully. Sara herself stars in this story, along with her dog, Sweet Pea, and her special pencil. Not sure what to draw, Sara turns to Pencil for advice, and Pencil is ready and willing to guide her! What unfolds is an entertaining romp through the creative process, where Pencil encourages Sara to "go around and collect ideas", and "draw recent adventures". Deciding on the setting of a baseball game sh ...more
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Deep inside Sara is a budding artist and author. She adores telling stories and delights in creating drawings. But... deep inside of Sara resides a niggly, negative old doubt telling her that perhaps her ideas aren't good enough and just maybe her illustrations might be a flop. Oh my!

Her faithful dog companion reminds her that anytime she is stuck and can't get her story started her magic pencil is always there to bail her out.

"My pencil always gives me great advice!"

Her pencil mentors her th
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Sara Varon, First Second, & Netgalley for access to this free e-arc.

Y'all, Sara Varon is just lovely. Her books always make me feel so good because they're so incredibly genuine. In this book, Sara is having a hard time coming up with what she should write her next book about, so she turns to her friends Sweet Pea and Pencil to help her figure it out.

Not only is this filled with the usual adorable, home-y feel of every Sara Varon book, but I think it would be really encouraging for kid
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Quarantining with mom who likes to hang onto items and in family home with tons of relics. Stumbled upon a box labeled: pencils and found a treasure trove of odds and ends. Chalk pencils, sketch pencil, rotring pen (dad did blueprints and art and drawing). Two pencils, surprisingly show up on the opening pages of Varon’s book (Green Kimberly pencil and one made in Britain). And now, thanks to reading her new title, given an extra burst of inspiration to create what you know.

Loved the spread near
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
A interesting book, a story in a story, which is all about creativity, being imaginative, don't be afraid of just trying and write and draw a good story. I think this can be perfect in class for introducting a writing activity. Some children just freeze in front of those and are afraid of making mistake so they just don't do anything. This show how we go with the story, create, have fun, and it also present some of the important part of a narrative story, the frame it has. Good potential and wel ...more
J.D. DeHart
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sara Varon has written and illustrated a charming picture book that is just perfect for young authors. Varon’s illustrations are wonderful, as always, and I loved how she encouraged revision and included real pictures.

The book is yet another lovely entry from the author of New Shoes and Robot Dreams. Highly recommended for personal libraries, as well as for classroom and school library shelves.

Many thanks to publisher First Second for an advance review copy, from which I am pleased to offer this
Jun 11, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a cute story about writing a story. The illustrations are great (although I noticed that Varon made themselves a righty but in the picture at the end they are a lefty). This would be a great starting off story to encourage children to write, and illustrate, their own stories. It definitely simplifies the publishing process but I think the point is to jus get children to create their own stories. #Netgalley
I love Sara Varon! Her newest graphic novel takes us on a very "meta" adventure with her and her pencil creating a story, with setting, characters and conflict. This book will be a fun mentor-text for teachers and students to use in discussing their own creative writing process. Succinct and funny, Varon really gets the "point" across (pun intended) about writing, encouraging us to see it as fun and engaging, including visual elements and to give it a try! ...more
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! In My Pencil and Me, we follow the artist as she, step by step, makes up a story with the help of her dog and trusty pencil. All the while we learn about how to come up with ideas, how to tell a story and, very briefly, the life cycle of a published book.

This was cute and funny and I am a fan of any book that leaves so much room to be used for library programming and/or getting kids to make books of their own!
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a fun book that illustrates the creative process of writing. I think it would be great for elementary school teachers to read this during their writing lessons, as it shows the process of coming up with an idea, creating the characters, and developing the plot. I loved how in the end, there were pictures of the real author and dog, and how the illustrations were placed over real pictures.

I received an electronic ARC of this book thanks to NetGalley and First Second.
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was just so cute. The author is working on her new book, but she doesn’t know what to draw. So she asks her pencil for help. This book is both a look at what goes into creating a graphic story, and also the imaginary characters who help people every day. I loved that the author threw in a real picture of her and her dog drawing in the middle of the story. This is so very clever and very well done. A five star read!
Sep 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

My Pencil and Me was a very short and sweet story, it could defiently be used to introduce young kids to the art of writing a story. She also tackles the complex task of overcoming that anxiety and just creating your story. Give up on that unreachable idea of perfection. An imperfect finished story is always better, than a perfect unfinished story.

Becky B
Struggling to start a new book, Sara Varon gets help on how to write a story from a special pencil and her dog Sweat Pea.

Varon has found a clever and unique way to present the story writing process in a way kids can understand. She keeps to the basics, but makes the story quite entertaining. Recommended for budding authors and writing classes for littles.

I received an ARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Oct 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Loving the illustrator, I was super excited to preview this new book given to my by NetGalley. However, I didn't like it as much as her previous work like New Shoes. The illustrations are all color which most children will enjoy. Idea of the story is a starting point for many teachers at school, so they will probably enjoy this a shared reading for their young students that are working on writing. ...more
Nov 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I will devour anything Sara Varon creates. This was a simple, joy filled book that takes a fun look at how the author/artist tackles her creative blocks. Sara’s dog, Sweet Pea, made a big appearance, which was adorable. Including a two page spread of a picture of her working at her drawing desk in real life, next to Sweet Pea was a great touch. As a big time fan of her work, this book was a treat, but it may not be the most compelling picture book for the little ones it’s intended for.
Aysha Imran
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks to Netgally and publisher for ARC of this book.
A very cute story about writing a story.In this book writer takes you to his journey of finding inspiration with her dog and ger trusted pencil.
This book can be very useful when we are discussing creative writer in schools.
This books explains the process of how to find inspiration and use imagination to create an interesting story.How to overcome the hurdles and reach to an end.
The best part was the last one where we meet writer and his writi
Jul 12, 2020 rated it liked it
A very cute look at how Varon creates a story - overcoming fears it might be bad, and just having fun with it.

When her special pencil breaks, she must figure out how to finish the story for her book.

The illustrations are very cute, and remind me of the Disney show Teacher's Pet. Also, Sweet Pea, her dog is adorable.
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Go ahead and buy an extra copy of this one! Kids, parents, and teachers will fall in love with this playfully honest look at the writing process. Simple yet profound for the way it directly addresses the emotional arch involved when writing. Illustrations are phenomenonal and will grab older readers too!
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
With thanks to NetGalley and First Second for an early copy in return for an honest review.

A short and sweet story that I can definitely see incorporating into a narrative writing unit in lower elementary classes. Really enjoy the graphic novel format and the actual photographs at the end...the variety is a great teaching opportunity for different elements of text.
Jess Smiley
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An imaginative glimpse into the mind and creative process of an author/illustrator told through clear, playful writing and whimsical illustrations by one of my family’s favorite creators, Sara Varon (Hold Hands, New Shoes, Robot Dreams).
Erin Decker
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was so cute. I absolutely loved the art and the insertion of the author-illustrator into the story. I think this is a great read aloud for kids when you are working on writing fiction skills and the process of publishing a book.
Heidi Doyle
Dec 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Sara Varon tries to write, but she needs the help of her pencil to take her on adventures. With funny illustrations and a delightful plot, My Pencil and Me is sure to make kids laugh and perhaps even inspire a few to write their own crazy stories.
Jan 16, 2021 rated it liked it
A graphic/picture book hybrid. A bit of a mess with a LOT going on, Sara and her pencil are trying to create some drawings. Things happen - she loses the pencil, it breaks, lots of little martian-esque creatures are invading her space. A bit confusing
Ann Haefele
Feb 17, 2021 rated it liked it
Good to use when starting a writing unit or just for kids who love to write. Graphic novel style lets kids know that stories need settings, conflict , and imagination. Fun to see a photo at the end of the book of the author at her writing desk ( with her dog) that ties into the story.
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s, 2020
*reviewed from uncorrected egalley* #netgalley

short graphic story (not quite a graphic novel and not quite a picture book?) for aspiring writers and artists, and fans of Sara Varon.
Note: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
Ms. Yingling
Jun 18, 2020 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Netgalley

I was hoping for a graphic novel, but this seemed more like a picture book about the creative process. This would be a good choice for elementary school.
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