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Summary: Well-known and beloved young adult authors and illustrators celebrate essay as a writing style by demonstrating the variety of formats and essay can take. This is an anthology of essays for teens and adults.
Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book, remedial reader
Recommended Age: read together: 13 and Up; read yourself: 13 and Up
Young Reader Reaction: This is an anthology every creative writer, no matter what level, should keep on hand. This collection by Rebecca Stern and Brad Wolfe will inspire even the laziest of us to pick up a pen. The essays range in topics from character analyses to graphic essays, personal narratives and how-to guides, each work varying in length, format, voice, tense, and topic, proving that essays take no standard form, and certainly are not limited to the five paragraph format taught in junior high. Having the author’s biography gives readers a chance to connect to the author and see similarities they may have. This book is very inspiring, teen- and adult- friendly.
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: Popular authors and a variety of essay styles introduce readers to the art of writing in its many forms.
Cons: For all its push to encourage essays, the book doesn't do enough to define what kinds of essays their are (i.e., purpose), other than a label at the top of the first page of each essay.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow for your classroom. The book illustrates essay styles and is not one you read for fun, or cover to cover.
Educational Themes: This isn't a cover-to-cover read. That said, it is an excellent tool for introducing essays and for offering writing prompts.
Notes: A Reading Tub® volunteer submitted this review. She borrowed the book from their local library. This book was a 2013 Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Award (Cybils) finalist in the Nonfiction YA category. This review is not intended to represent the opinions of the Cybils.
Literary Categories: Nonfiction - anthology, essay, young adult
Date(s) Reviewed: February 2014, July 2015
Other Reviews: No Critics Reviews found at the time of this review. See reader feedback at barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com.