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Comprehensive Character Description

In order to create the world of a story for a reader, it’s necessary to engage in character development.  Writers must make characters come alive in their minds if they’re going to create a movie in their readers minds.  However, for many students, developing realistic characters becomes challenging.  Many students have trouble weaving meaningful character descriptions (i.e., that go beyond physical characteristics) throughout their stories.

Enter Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey from Darkness Into Light, an exquisite family story written by Tim Tingle and illustrated by Karen Clarkson.  (For more about the book, check out American Indians in Children’s Literature, which is a blog that has written two comprehensive posts about this text.)  The character descriptions Tingle writes about Mawmaw, the main character’s grandmother, are exquisite.

Here are three excerpts from Saltypie, which the publisher, Cinco Puntos Press, provided for me to share with you.  Click on each image so you can read the words.

A review copy of Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey from Darkness Into Light, which was released in bookstores last week, was provided by Cinco Puntos Press.

Stacey Shubitz View All

I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.

I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).

2 thoughts on “Comprehensive Character Description Leave a comment

  1. Thanks for this post about characterization. Something I’ve been noticing is often writers include a piece of characterization that doesn’t “quite fit” the character. As the story unfolds, that piece is often integral to the character’s motivation.


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