What Would You Write a Book About?

What Would You Write a Book About?

Do you enjoy storytelling? Do you like hearing your family member’s stories about growing up? Do you like telling your friends and family stories, whether real or make believe?

In “An 8-Year-Old Wrote a Book and Hid It on a Library Shelf. It’s a Hit.,” Alyssa Lukpat writes about an elementary schooler who wanted to share his story with the world:

During his Christmas break, Dillon Helbig, an 8-year-old boy from Boise, Idaho, wrote a book that he wanted everyone to read.

He had spent a long time on it — four days to be exact — and filled 81 pages of an empty journal with a richly illustrated tale about how he gets transported back in time after a star atop his Christmas tree explodes.

But he did not have a book deal. (He’s only in second grade, after all.) So when his grandmother took him to the Lake Hazel branch of the Ada Community Library in Boise at the end of December, he slipped the sole copy of his book onto a shelf containing fiction titles.

“I had to sneak past the librarians,” said Dillon, who says “li-berry” instead of “library.”

Over the next month, a series of circumstances made the book one of the library’s most sought-after titles and also inspired children in Boise to write their own stories.

The book, “The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis” by the author “Dillon His Self,” had drawn so much attention by the end of January that 56 people were on the waiting list to check it out, said Alex Hartman, the manager of the library branch.

If every person kept the book for four weeks, the maximum borrowing time, the last person on the list would have to wait more than four years to read Dillon’s tale.

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

  • What is your reaction to the article? Would you like to read Dillon’s book?

  • Have you ever shared a story, either through spoken word or in writing, with a big audience? If so, what was the story? What was it like to share it with so many people? If not, would you ever want to?

  • If you were to write your own book, what would you write about? What genre would you choose? Who would be the main characters and what would be the themes? What would be the central conflict? Write a back cover blurb, or summary, of your imagined book.

  • Do you think more libraries should accept books written by children and teenagers? Why or why not?

Want more writing prompts? You can find all of our questions in our Student Opinion column. Teachers, check out this guide to learn how you can incorporate them into your classroom.

Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.