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MEET WENDY ORR – Featured Author

This month our featured author is Wendy Orr, writer of Nim’s Island and many other fabulous titles.

Wendy is generously donating one of her books as a prize in our current FREE writing competition.

So make sure you get your entries in for your chance to win. (Competition closes 30th June.)


I started school in France, so learned to read and write in French. One night just before we moved back to Canada, my parents left two ‘Dick and Jane’ readers by my bed. I woke up and read them, and then realized they were in English.

I can still remember the huge thrill of mastering a whole story, and in my own language, and I think that’s why I started writing stories almost immediately.

I also had great models in my parents: my mother read us classic children’s literature for bedtime stories until I was about twelve, and any time we were in the car, my dad used to make up crazy stories about our dachshund’s great-great-great-grandfather, who had apparently invented or built pretty well everything we saw.

But the most truthful answer is that I don’t know why I became a writer – it’s just part of me.


Here’s a fabulous free writing activity from Wendy.

There are poems by Jess and Raven in the book.

Jess’s goodbye poem for Raven:

When Raven moved to Jenkins Creek

Her friends at home did wail and weep.

For those hills are far away

From the flat lands where we stay.

But when Raven bravely mountain climbs

She’ll think of friends from time to time.

So in our hearts we’ll always keep

Our dearest friend on her mountain peak.

Raven’s verse when she finally finds some food:

Cookies in my tummy,

Chocolate in my brain,

It’s really very funny

When you think you’re going insane.

ACTIVITY: Write a poem for Raven that describes what you think of her or her adventure.


Raven uses inukshuks to point the way to searchers on the mountain. These “are monuments made of unworked stones that are used by the Inuit for communication and survival. …An inukshuk can be small or large, a single rock, several rocks balanced on each other, round boulders or flat. Built from whatever stones are at hand, each one is unique. The arrangement of stones indicates the purpose of the marker. The directions of arms or legs could indicate the direction of an open channel for navigation, or a valley for passage through the mountains.” Read more at:   http://www.inukshukgallery.com/inukshuk.html


ACTIVITY: Collect some rocks to make your own inukshuk. You’ll have to experiment to see how to balance each rock. If you use small stones you can glue them for extra stability once you’ve got them in place.

The one on the left was bought from a gallery; the one on the right is one I saw on the beach in Vancouver.

Perhaps you could write a story about your inukshuk.

Thanks, Wendy for visiting Writing Classes For Kids.

Wendy’s new book, Rainbow Street Pets is out this month. Ask for it at your bookshop.



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Are you ever stuck for story ideas?

Here are where some of my best story ideas come from:

  • Things that have really happened to me or to people I know;
  • Memories of people, events or places;
  • People I see on trains and buses;
  • Conversations I overhear;
  • Newspaper articles;
  • Other books;
  • A picture in a magazine;
  • A place I have been to;
  • A smell, sound or feeling;
  • A problem or dilemma being faced by someone I know;
  • Playing with two words that don’t quite go together eg Flower attack;
  • Using the last line of a story I have written as the first line in a new piece of writing;
  • Thinking of a secret that someone might want to keep and what would happen if it was discovered
  • Imagining getting a letter or email from someone I have never met

If I’m still stuck, I think of a character/name and match them with an action to try and get me started.

For example:

  • Ashley fell
  • Ashley twisted
  • Ashley tumbled…
  • Ashley rocketed…
  • Ashley flew…
  • Ashley leapt…
  • Ashley shook…
  • Ashley dropped…
  • Ashley shivered…
  • Ashley bobbed…
  • Ashley soared…
  • Ashley is…

Then I ask myself:

  1. Why did this action happen to Ashley?
  2. Where did this action happen?
  3. When did this action happen?
  4. How did this action happen?
  5. What happens next?

I hope these suggestions help you to come up with great ideas for stories.

Don’t forget our ‘Belonging’ writing competition.

You could win great books by Wendy Orr and Amra Pajalic

Happy writing:)

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