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  1. 1. The Pennsylvania State University The Graduate SchoolCollege of Curriculum and Instruction e-Portfolio Writing for Children by Kristina Weingartner © 2011 Kristina Weingartner Master of Education November 2011
  2. 2. © Kristina Weingartner, 2011Copyright ©2011, Kristina Weingartner all rights reserved. The text linked to thisstatement and associated images may be shared in accordance with the fair-use provisionsof U.S. copyright law. Redistribution or republication on other terms, in any medium,requires consent of the author. You may link your web pages to anything on this sitewithout requesting permission.
  3. 3. To my family: without you I am nothing.
  4. 4. IndexPart One page 5How To Travel Through Time page 6Reflection page 7Disappear page 8Reflection page 9Green Eyes page 10Reflection page 11Scene from a Short Story page 12-13Reflection page 14Not a Girl page 15Reflection page 16Part Two page 17Comments to Classmates page 18Comments from Classmates page 19-20Philosophy of Children‟s Literature page 21Part Three page 22Author‟s Note page 23Biography page 24Blurbs page 25
  5. 5. Part One
  6. 6. How to Travel Through TimeBubble gum scented Bonne Bell lip glossTravel back to grade schoolPassing notes with my BFFGiggle and caffeine fueled sleepovers.Embrace the ambiguous scent of CK OneBack in high schoolKissing in the back seat of a carPlanning for prom night.Spritz the fragrance of Estee Lauder BeautifulTransported to your wedding dayRelive his first lookYour first moment as a wife.Enveloped in the scent of lavenderHear the first cry of your daughterSee her angelic newborn face for the first timeBreathe in motherhood.
  7. 7. „How To‟ Poem Reflection:I find that scent is the most primal of the senses. If I smell a scent I have not smelled inyears it will take me back to the last time I experienced it. I recently did smell CalvinKlein‟s Obsession again after many years and it was like time travel taking me back tomiddle school, when I wore the fragrance. The memories come pouring in, and it is alltriggered by a smell. It got me thinking about the important moments in a woman‟s lifeand the fragrances that might accompany those moments. It is the closest thing to timetravel we have.
  8. 8. DisappearI throw myself down on the bed in my tiny prison cell of a roomIt is dark and I have disappearedExcept that the pain is always thereI want to run awayCease to beWhere could I go where I would no longer have to be me?
  9. 9. Character Poem Reflection:This poem was inspired by my teenage years and the depression that I fell into during thattime. As writers we need to be authentic and access the truth of the human experience;some of the most raw, emotional times of my life were during my depression. I havesome journals that I kept from that time period and reading them is unnerving to this daybecause the desperation is so close to the surface. I accessed these feelings and memoriesfor this poem.
  10. 10. Green EyesHypnotic green eyes gaze at meWet pink nose rubs my armWhiskers tickle my faceSilky fur cradle against meLittle paws knead against my tummyMysterious engine rumbles to lifeLittle head rubs against my faceMy shoulders loosenThe crease in my forehead smooth‟s outI sigh
  11. 11. Cat Poem Reflection:I was feeling a complete lack of inspiration when I wrote this poem. I was reflecting onthe advice to write about the everyday; the experiences that we take for granted. I hadmy cat on my lap so I took the time to really observe and soak in the moment. It got methinking about what a miracle something as simple as a snuggle with a cat is and thesoothing effect it had on my body. Poetry is around us all the time but the secret is takingthe time to appreciate it.
  12. 12. Katie watched the raindrops slide down the window pane one by one. It was a gray,miserable day, the air felt heavy with moisture. Katie had no idea how long she had beensitting at the window staring into the distance; it could have been minutes or hours. Shewas waiting, waiting for something, anything, to happen.Her Mom and Dad were driving her sister, Ainsley to college for the semester. She hadbeen left at her Aunt Morgan‟s house to stay out of trouble and not interfere with herperfect sister‟s first day at her new school. Aunt Morgan‟s house was an enormousVictorian with three stories of innumerable rooms and hideaways. The doors were alwaysshut and locked; the house seemed to hold many ominous secrets. The house had a senseof foreboding about it; it smelled of must and peppermint. Katie could never see into thecorners of the rooms as her Aunt always had the curtains pulled closed. The lights weredim. Katie did not enjoy visiting her Aunt because there was nothing to do and her Auntwas always busy.Today, Aunt Morgan had gone out on one of her many mysterious errands and left Katieto fend for herself. Before she left she had told Katie to stay in the parlour and not gowandering; the rest of the rooms were off limits and she was to behave herself. Katie hadmeant to obey, but she was bored and there were three floors of house to explore. HerAunt would never know.Katie was familiar with the first floor of the house from her many visits with her Aunt, soshe decided to venture to the second floor. She slowly crept towards the staircase and,with trepidation, ascended the staircase. The second floor hallway was dark, dusty, dimlylit and absolutely silent. The floor boards creaked as she made her way slowly down thehallway. She went to the first door that she came to across from the landing, she reachedout her hand to open the large ornate door—it was locked! She went from door to doorand soon discovered that they were all locked. A feeling of frustration anddisappointment rushed through Katie; so much for some exploration anddiscovery. Maybe the third floor would be better.She made her way up to the third floor. It looked identical to the second. She tried thefirst door she came across only to discover it was locked as well. She saw some lightcoming through the key hole and bent down to look through. The room was filled withlavish furniture that would look fitting at a museum, a chandelier hanging from theceiling, antique collectables on every surface and tapestries on the walls. Clearly there ismore to her Aunt than what appeared. Katie longed to go in this room and touch all of thebeautiful objects she could barely see through the keyhole.
  13. 13. Katie was about to head back downstairs to wait for her family to return, when she hearda faint scratching sound coming from the last door at the end of the hall. Nervously, shewalks down the dingy hallway to the door and places her hand on the crystal doorknob. Not expecting success, she turns the knob, and the door opened.The room on the other side of the door was quite unlike the room she viewed through thekey hole. It was very plain and basic; it had a cot, a night stand, a dresser and a bare bulblight hanging from the ceiling. The walls were painted dull beige gray in contrast to thelavish wall hangings in the other room. Katie sighed and was about to dismiss the roomwhen she noticed a movement out of the corner of her eye on the dresser. Aunt Morgandid not have any pets, so what could it be? Katie walked to the dresser to investigate andsaw the movement again behind the dresser, this time she also catches a hint ofshimmer. Clearly it is not a mouse or a rat. She sees a glimpse of the mysteriousmovement disappearing behind a hole in the baseboard. Katie is astounded: what had shejust witnessed? This day was proving to be interesting after all. Katie put her fingers intothe hole in the baseboard and began to pull; the wood was dry and rotting so she was ableto it back completely. She had torn off a nice section when suddenly from behind her, herAunt Morgan said, “And what exactly do you think you‟re doing?”
  14. 14. Scene from a Fictional Story Reflection:The story about Katie was one that had been sitting with me for a while, kind of floatingaround in my consciousness. I had been freewriting some ideas about her character andher story. I see this story being an easy reader but it has to fester in my brain for a whilelonger yet. I don‟t know where it is going, the ideas are still brewing. Katie is a characterwho talks to me and tells me her story but it is not yet developed enough to work into afull novel.
  15. 15. Not a GirlDreams of secret sharing fadeThere will be no best friend across the hallYou are not a girlHopes of sisterhood are dashedNo days of girlhood bondingYou are not a girlSo sure my parents would not disappoint meOne brother too many and its clearYou are not a girl.
  16. 16. Not a Girl Poem:This poem was inspired by the assignment to write about a childhood disappointment. Itruly had a happy childhood but I was disappointed not to have a sister. At a certain age,I was convinced that they key to my happiness was a sister. When my Mom waspregnant with my younger brother, we did not find out the gender of the baby until hewas born, so I had a lot of time to stew… Scott or Sarah? As an adult, I can certainly seethe perks of being the only girl but at the time having two brothers seemed like thecruelest blow fate could through my way.
  17. 17. Part Two
  18. 18. Comment to: Kelly White Lesson: 5Workshop: 3Your poem evoked the images of going back to school. I think the fourth stanza wasparticularly effective because of the use of the senses and the sense of urgency that thefirst day of school creates. Due to the fact that there are so many emotions on the firstday of school I would enjoy the use of more the senses in the poem: How are theyfeeling? Are there sweaty palms? Are they excited or dreading the first day? It is auniversal experience so it is a great topic for a story or poem.Reflection:My observations were helpful because they encouraged the author to make her poemmore visual, to use more verbs in her piece and to play up the drama in her poem. Thepoem is written for children so the piece should play on emotions and experiences thatthey can relate to. The very things that I recommend to a classmate are considerations formy own work. I have to remember to include nouns and verbs in my own work insteadof the extraneous adjectives, adverbs and qualifiers. As I reflect on my peers work, I pickup tips for my own work.Comment to: Linda Neville Lesson: 4 Workshop: 3You are writing about making the perfect donut that takes years to perfect. I found yourpiece really interesting because it is so descriptive and takes the reader on a journeythrough the process; from waking up in the morning despite wanting to sleep in, toopening the door to the familiarity of the shop you have visited your whole life to thesatisfaction of creating the perfect donut. I could have used even more descriptionbecause I was trying to go step by step along with you and some of the terms wereforeign and I was unable to get a visual. I am not familiar with a proof-box and I am notsure what little square openings you were referring to. I have to say that I could almostsmell the donuts!Reflection:This critique was helpful because it showed the author where someone unfamiliar withher work would not be able to follow her piece. The author knows what they are talkingabout but it takes a peer to read through your draft and point out holes or areas wherefurther explanations are required for your reader. This was beneficial to me because itmade me realize how important a second, or third, opinion is for your draft. Peers cantighten your plot, suggest character improvements, point out areas that are lacking ordon‟t make sense; it is invaluable.
  19. 19. Comment from: Linda Neville Class: 5Workshop: 3I can see your character in "the tiny prison cell of a room". It is a moment of deep internalconflict. this person doesnt wish to be him/her anymore. There is a feeling of beingtrapped with no way out, no escape. They cannot resolve their problem because they haveto be who they are. We dont know what has caused this self-loathing but it is painful.The idea of running away and ceasing to be suggests ending a life. Looking in a mirrorand facing our true selves and what we are capable of is difficult.I dont get a sense of how old this person is perhaps some specific object could steer us orgive us a clue.I really like the last line, it ties everything together well.Reflection:I found this critique helpful because it gave me the viewpoint of the reader. The authorcan never really know how the reader will interpret their work unless she asks so it wasinteresting to discover how a reader interprets this poem. It was helpful to learn that thereader did not have a sense of the age of the character in the poem. I was pleased to seethat the overall theme and tone of the poem got across to the reader.Comment from: Cheyenna Eversoll Duggan Lesson: 7 Workshop: 3How mysterious! This story of a girl, bored and lonely at her Aunts house, seems like itwill be a fantasy story? Very nice start. Your setting is strong and Katie seems welldeveloped. You did say "Katie" a lot though. Could you find other ways to refer to her inthe story. Also, this paragraph:Her Mom and Dad were driving her sister, Ainsley to college for the semester. She hadbeen left at her Aunt Morgan’s house to stay out of trouble and not interfere with herperfect sister’s first day at her new school. Aunt Morgan’s house was an enormousVictorian with three stories of innumerable rooms and hideaways. The doors werealways shut and locked; the house held many secrets and was dark and creepy. The househad a sense of foreboding about it; it smelled of must and peppermint. Katie could neversee into the corners of the rooms as her Aunt always had the curtains pulled closed. Thelights were dim. Katie did not enjoy visiting her Aunt because there was nothing to doand her Aunt was always busy.
  20. 20. seemed like a lot of exposition to me. Could some of this be revealed later so it doesntinterrupt the flow? I enjoyed reading this! Will it be a short story or a novel?Reflection:This critique was beneficial to me because it made an observation that is true; I shouldhave saved some of this information for later. I revealed too much too soon. It isimportant to remember to show and not tell; I think I have a tendency to tell and notshow. I have to slow done and enjoy the ride as a writer. If I were to develop this storyinto any easy reader I would need to map it out and decide when to reveal what. I was atthe „get it down on paper‟ stage and it was flowing like crazy. That is what the second,third, fourth, etc. edit are for, I guess.
  21. 21. Philosophy of Children‟s LiteratureMy philosophy on children‟s literature has not changed a great deal during the course, butit has evolved. I still believe that a good book is a good book and will be enjoyed by all,regardless of age. I believe that literature should not be „dumbed down‟ for a youngeraudience. I believe that young adult and adult titles are inseparable, and that children‟sliterature is a genre on its own. Young adult titles are read by adults and vice versa. Itgoes back to the idea that if it is a good book it will be enjoyed by all.I think that I could see myself writing for an older audience now. I had envisionedmyself writing picture books, yet now I see myself writing easy readers or chapter books.This change has come about because illustrations are so crucial to the picture book that Ido not believe that the words and pictures can be separated in the authoring process. Thewords do not seem to be enough. Picture books are my favourite form of children‟sliterature but the art is integral to the form; I find I cannot write a picture bookindependent of illustrations, and the author has no input in the art. The author who doesnot illustrate has more control of their world in a novel. This reflects in my work becausemy stories and poems tend to geared towards an older audience, and I use a vocabularythat is not aimed at the preschool set.Writing children‟s literature has impacted my philosophy of the form, because it gives mea new appreciation of the complexity and work that goes into each piece. There is anidea that children‟s literature is not at the level of adult literature. If I ever believed that, Idon‟t anymore. Children‟s literature requires the same amount of thought, dedication andcommitment as adult‟s literature. The quality must be the same; children are intelligentand know when they are being patronized. The experiences in children‟s stories must beauthentic and children must be able to relate to them. Author‟s must go into their ownexperiences and find the inner pain and anguish and paint it on the page for children tolaugh at or commiserate with. It is so much more than I had imagined.Books give us a slice of humanity that makes living more bearable, funny and emphatic.Writers have to take all of the possible life experiences and condense them into a fewpages of enlightenment. Quite a task! I think what always motivated me to write is mypassion for reading. If we can create books that make children want to read then we havebeen successful. My philosophy of children‟s literature is that books are meant to be readand a love of literature is the most important gift you can pass on to a child.
  22. 22. Part Three
  23. 23. Author‟s NoteWriting has always been something I have had a love/hate relationship with; I love thefinished result but I hate getting there. Every time I have a writing assignment or asudden inspiration to write I have a feeling of dread, a need to escape. The process ispainful and unpleasant. When I have finished a piece I feel accomplished and I amimpressed with myself; it is always worth the strife. Why does writing have to be sodifficult? This course was encouraging because it taught me that other writers experiencethe same feelings of incompetence, frustration and, even, depression when going throughthe process. I always tell myself that J.K. Rowling was turned down repeatedly before apublisher accepted Harry Potter. If J. K. Rowling had to deal with rejection, then I guessso can I.
  24. 24. BiographyKristina Weingartner was born in Hamilton, Ontario where she currently resides with herfiancé and their three cats. She is an Occasional Teacher for the Halton District SchoolBoard and is finishing up her Master‟s degree in Children‟s Literature. Kristina loves totravel and take photographs of the scenery. She is an avid reader with a vast collection ofpicture books. Kristina will be married during the Spring of 2012 in Santorini, Greece.
  25. 25. BlurbsKristina Weingartner charms with her endearing tales inspired by her love and passion forchildren’s literature. – Casey Scholl, Hamilton, ON.A writer with a voice that will resonate with children and young adults alike, KristinaWeingartner’s fun and whimsical tales will be enjoyed for years to come. – Margaret Brown,Hamilton, ON.Inspiration comes in the simplest of forms for Ms. Weingartner, from a simple stoke of her cat’sback to the smell of CK One, her words inspire us to appreciate the uncomplicated. – ScottWeingartner, Hamilton, ON.Wow!!! I’m blown away by Kristina’s wonderful poetry. – Janet Conway, Stoney Creek, ONKristina takes us on a journey of artistic growth, one I surely hope I will have the privilege ofbeing a part of in the future. – Stewart Currie, North York, ON