Books Inspire Writing: Keep Learning Going Throughout the Summer

Summer is almost here, and if you’re like me, your TBR pile is growing. I’m looking forward to time. Time for reading. Time for writing. Time for learning. And I’m thinking about books to support my and students’ writing during that time.

When we read like writers, we find ideas and inspiration in books, and today I’m sharing some of my favorite titles.  In addition to the lists below, I’ve created a Google Doc and I invite you to add to and share it.

Books to spark ideas for writers of all ages

Many books that make great read aloud or read together choices for our students also work well to inspire writing ideas. Consider previewing or revisiting some of these books in the final weeks of school. Brainstorm writing ideas with your students and invite them to use these books as springboards for some fun summer writing. Low stakes writing opportunities abound with these titles.

Books to inspire writing about everyday happenings, familiar surroundings and ordinary events:

  1. Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street by Roni Schotter
  2. Every Friday by Dan Yaccario
  3. Fireflies by Julie Brinckloe
  4. Night in the Country by Cynthia Rylant
  5. Listen to the Rain by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
  6. Thundercake by Patricia Polacco
  7. All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan
  8. Knucklehead by Jon Scieszka
  9. Marshfield Dreams by Ralph Fletcher
  10. Tornado by Betsy Byars

Books to inspire book making, notebook keeping, journaling and scrapbooking:

  1. The Scraps Book by Lois Ehlert
  2. Max’s Logbook by Marissa Moss
  3. Amelia’s Notebook by Marissa Moss
  4. Look at My Book by Loreen Leedy
  5. Rocket Writes a Story by Tad Hills

Books to inspire writing about vacations:

  1. How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague
  2. Pictures from our Vacation by Lynne Rae Perkins
  3. Diary of a Wimp Kid, The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney
  4. The House Takes a Vacation by Jacqueline Davies
  5. Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe by Vera B. Williams

Books to inspire playing with words and ideas or just doodling and noodling.

  1. Ish by Peter H. Reynolds
  2. I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  3. Courage by Bernard Wabar
  4. Not A Box by Antoinette Portis

A book to inspire cookbook writing and illustrating:

  1. Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes by Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson

Books to spark ideas for adult writers

I have a number of favorites when I need a writing nudge. Here are a few more I plan to keep close this summer.

  1. Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  2. Textbook by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  3.  Still Writing by Dani Shapiro
  4. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
  5. 59 Reasons to Write by Kate Messner
  6. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
  7. The Right to Write by Julia Cameron

Here’s to a summer full of delightful books and enjoyable writing.



  • This giveaway is for a copy of Joy Write: Cultivating High-Impact, Low-Stakes Writing. Many thanks to Heinemann for donating a copy for one reader. (You must have a U.S. mailing address to win a copy of this book.)

  • For a chance to win this copy of Joy Write: Cultivating High-Impact, Low-Stakes Writing, please leave a comment about this or any blog post in this blog series by Sunday, May 7th at 12:00 p.m. EDT. Betsy Hubbard will use a random number generator to pick the winners whose name will be announced in the ICYMI blog post for this series on Monday, May 8th.

  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so Betsy can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win.  From there, our contact at Heinemann will ship your book out to you.  (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)

  • If you are the winner of the book, Betsy will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – JOY WRITE BOOK. Please respond to her e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.


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