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Any Questions? by Marie-Louise Gay

Any Questions?

by Marie-Louise Gay

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Where do stories come from? How are books made? Some curious children have burning questions about where to begin to create a story. This picture book gives those children the answers they have been searching for using a fictional dialogue between children and author. This story-within-a-story shows how ideas can come out of nowhere begging to be written on the page of a fresh story. The children literally become a part of the story and have all their questions answered and their imagination rattled. What makes this story so neat? It is written completely in Spanish. ( )
  dmrunn31916 | Nov 11, 2017 |
I think this is now my favorite book by Marie-Louise Gay. It begins with Gay talking about her curiosity as a child and how, now as a writer, she encounters the endless curiosity of children who read her books. Most children, and adults, are interested in how a story begins. “Where do you get your ideas?” Gay answers this beautifully. Doodling, collecting words, playing with pictures, being inspired by colors, gathering ideas, considering characters, observing, listening… Bit by bit, her stories grow. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.

In the middle of this book, Gay creates the story of The Shy Young Giant. It evolves organically from messing around with ideas. Gay makes it very clear that a sense of exploration, playful persistence, openness, risk-taking, and knowing when to abandon an idea are key. She also subtly demonstrates that editing is essential.

What’s wonderful about this book is how Gay demonstrates the inventive mind in the act of creation. Creation is messy, imprecise, and cannot be forced or scheduled. It blooms in stops and starts. It needs to be fed, and encouraged, and gently nurtured. The creator needs to be relentlessly confident and yet, at the same time, critical enough to push for improvement.

The book ends with two full pages of common questions Marie-Louise Gay has been asked by children.

This book would be a fabulous introduction to an author study of Marie-Louise Gay. It would also be helpful to introduce any picture book author and would be great to kick off literacy week. This is definitely a book every school library should have. It would also make a wonderful gift for any child who wants to be an author someday. ( )
  Bonnie_Ferrante | Jul 10, 2016 |
A delightful metafictional exploration of the creative process and sources of inspiration. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
I love the endless questions children pose, and it was clever of the author to create a book this whimsical in answer to many of them! Not only was the book a lovely description of the writing process, the importance of trying out new ideas, and the hard work of creation, but the gentle giant story was sweet and thoughtful, a perfect complement.
Curricular connections: I enjoy sharing picture books with older grades and this would be a wonderful book to share with sixth graders in anticipation of a creative writing lesson. Read the story and have students consider their own creative process. How do they work through writer's block? How can a change of color/scenery alter the perspective of a story?
  tona.iwen | Feb 8, 2015 |
This is a picture book about creativity and "writing-idea generation" for children--or apparently so. It actually seems more suited to zealous primary-school writing teachers. Like so many picture books these days, the book lacks a story. Furthermore, with its many speech bubbles from characters both animal and human, it would not work well as a read-aloud. I'm very fond of Gay's Stella series, which whimsically illuminates the questions, worries, and concerns of very young children. However, for me, this book fell short. I can't imagine liking this book if I were a kid; indeed, the kid in me didn't like it one bit. Disappointing ( )
  fountainoverflows | Dec 24, 2014 |
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Answers many of the questions the author receives from children on writing, including where she gets her ideas, how she learned to draw, and how many books she can write in one day.

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