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Born to Write

The Remarkable Lives of Six Famous Authors

by Charis Cotter

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list price: $24.95
also available: Paperback
published: 2009
publisher: Annick Press
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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Born to Write: The Remarkable Lives of Six Famous Authors

Have you ever wondered why writers write? Which writers, as children, “liked to sneak out the window at night to play?”

Charis Cotter’s Born to Write: The Remarkable Lives of Six Famous Authors is an enticing mix of book excerpts, family and life history and literary background of six influential authors: Lucy Maud Montgomery, Clive Staples Lewis, Elwyn Brooks White, Madeleine L’Engle, Phillip Pullman and Christopher Paul Curtis.

The layout of Born to Write is appealing and accessible to students in Grades 5 and older, as each of the six chapters are minibiographies. Each section includes background facts, book excerpts, archival and present day photos with fact boxes. Cotter researched further to expose the similarities between a wide variety of authors. The resulting ‘Echoes’ sidebars highlight comparable details of the authors’ life and their books in a fun way – for example, “Madeleine L’Engle and Christopher Paul Curtis both enjoyed the smell of books.” Cotter details how vivid childhood experiences, both joyous and tragic, truly affect the authors’ decisions later in their adult life, whether it is in their writing, or a life-altering decision.

This book is ideal for expanding a young reader’s knowledge of an author’s life history and their writing influences or introducing an unfamiliar author and encouraging a student to read any of the six authors’ books. A selected bibliography guides young readers to other resources detailing the writers’ lives. To learn more about Charis Cotter, visit her website at www.chariscotter.com.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2010. Vol.33 No.1.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Born to Write: The Remarkable Lives of Six Famous Authors

What were Lucy Maud Montgomery, C.S. Lewis, E.B. White, Madeleine L’Engle, Philip Pullman and Christopher Paul Curtis like as kids? Cotter explores how the childhoods of these authors helped mold the children’s stories that would later earn them success and stardom. Photos, a bibliography and an index accompany this insightful text.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2010.

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Our childhood experiences shape us into the adults we become. Born to Write tells the stories of how six extraordinary children transformed early struggles into spellbinding bedtime reading for kids around the world.

To ease the pain of being ostracized by her classmates, Madeleine L’Engle escaped to an invented world every night in her bedroom. Lucy Maud Montgomery lost her mother as a baby and her father appeared only sporadically throughout her life. And Philip Pullman, a seasoned traveler by age 10, used his long journeys by ship as inspiration for his remarkable novels.

In Born to Write, Charis Cotter chronicles the early lives of these and other much-loved children’s writers, including Christopher Paul Curtis, C.S. Lewis and E.B.White, revealing how each author’s achievements and losses, triumphs and tragedies, helped shape our most beloved books. Interspersed throughout are sidebars highlighting other well-known children’s authors, such as Hans Christian Andersen and Louisa May Alcott, whose works served as inspiration.

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Editorial Reviews

“… mature readers will gain the most enjoyment as they discover the backgrounds and inspirations of some of their favorite writers.”—School Library Journal, 12/09

“… accessible, thought-provoking, and fun to read.”—Booklist, 12/09

“… will intensely satisfy, not to mention inspire, the child who is already a reader and writer …”—Resource Links, 02/10

“… can be used to motivate children to dive into a good book or to spin their own tales.”—CM Magazine, 11/09

“Fascinating … intriguing … irresistible … will have young readers hoping that Cotter plans a series of books similar to this must-purchase and her earlier titles.”—VOYA, 04/10

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About the Author

Charis Cotter

Charis Cotter grew up beside a cemetery and has been living with ghosts ever since. She studied English in university and went to drama school in London, England. Her spooky, suspenseful novels—The Swallow, The Painting, and The Ghost Road—have won numerous awards and captivated readers of all ages. Charis has worked extensively in schools and her performances of Newfoundland ghost stories have thrilled audiences coast to coast. She lives in one of the most haunted parts of Newfoundland.
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