MSU YAC Resources and Recommendations*

There are lots of sites, events, tools and books out there to help you keep writing and keep getting better as a writer. Below are a few favorites personally recommended by our YAC community—instructors, staff, parents and participants who have read, explored or participated in them. Click the links to find out more or visit your local library to check out one of these good books.

Sites and Online Tools
Books about Writing
Books to Read for Inspiration

Sites and Online Tools for Writing

For Middle Grade and up:

Nanowrimo Young Writers Program
The National Novel Writing Month Young Writers Program is not just for November. On their website, you will find pep talks, puzzles, ideas and information, all about writing. You can be a part of their community by signing up, tracking your word counts, and sharing your stories; monthly events challenge writers all year ‘round.
(Recommended by YAC workshop leaders)

826 Michigan (Ann Arbor)
826 centers all over the nation are helping students engage with writing in fresh and innovative ways, with tutoring, workshops, and school programs for all grade levels. They do their best work in person, behind the façade of the Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair shop, so check out their website to find the workshop schedule or another program that may work for you.
(Recommended by YAC community members)

For Teens and up:
Figment is an online writing community for teens where you can write, edit, share and publish on site; community groups, contests and other features both encourage and challenge young authors, as well as providing an opportunity to get your work out into the world.
(Recommended by YAC parent)

Books About Writing and Creativity

RipThePage writing_magic  CaffeineMindCreativeProcessNotABook





For Middle Grade and up:

Rip the Page! and Leap Write In! by Karen Benke
Rip the Page! is written for grades 4-6 and Leap Write In! for grades 6 and up, but both feature out-of-the-box exercises to get you started writing. Some activities are simple writing exercises, while others ask you to reshape, build on, or even rip up the book — all to get your brain moving and thinking creatively.
(Recommended by YAC booksellers)

Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine
This wonderful book by best-selling author Gail Carson Levine is a little bit of memoir combined with a lot of inspiration. Levine offers exercises and ideas for writing as well as good advice drawn from her years of experiences a published author. We love this one!
(Recommended by Elizabeth Spence, 2013 conference instructor)

For Teens and up:

Caffeine for the Creative Mind by Stefan Mumaw and Wendy Lee Oldfield
Originally written for adults in creative fields such as advertising, graphic design, and writing, this book has exercises and ideas that older teens may find inspiring. The dynamic text offers something new to boost your creative thinking on every page.
(Recommended by Kate Fedewa, YAC program director)

The Creative Process by Carol Burke and Molly Best Tinsley
This process-oriented writing guide takes a serious approach for those who are ready to think carefully about technique and development. Moving from inspirational prompts through analysis and modeling of character, setting, language, etc., Burke and Tinsley cover all aspects of writing.
(Recommended by Elizabeth Spence, 2013 conference instructor)

This Is Not a Book by Keri Smith
Keri Smith asks you to tear, build, write, draw, and color outside the lines throughout this not-yet-a-book. Be prepared to be challenged, to take creative and social risks, and possibly to lose this book all in the process of becoming more inspired as a writer and artist.
(Recommended by Kate Fedewa, YAC program director)

Books that Inspire Good Writing (Because They Are Good!)

For Middle Grade and up:

Want to see some fantastic worlds? Read…

Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill
The Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce
The Dalemark Quartet by Diana Wynne Jones
The Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas
The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander
The Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
(All above recommended by Merrie Haskell, 2013 Writer in Residence)

Looking for interesting times and places of the past? Read…

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
(Recommended by Merrie Haskell, 2013 Writer in Residence)
The Romeo and Juliet Code by Phoebe Stone
(Recommended by Elizabeth Spence, 2013 conference instructor)

In need of inspiring, adventurous heroes? Read…

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
Crown Duel and Wren to the Rescue by Sherwood Smith
(All above recommended by Merrie Haskell, 2013 Writer in Residence)


*Parents and students are reminded that recommendations are highly subjective and personal in nature; while we here at the YAC offer recommendations from our instructors, participants, and community members that may be useful to our young authors, not every book is right for every person. We encourage parents and children to explore books together and discover which books work for you.