Storyworld: Create-A-Story Kits, created by John and Caitlin Matthews (Templar, $12.99, ages 9-12, 24 cards, 2011) Just the thing to help imaginations take flight, these clever kits immerse young writers in a make-believe place with a supply of ideas. Each kits contains 28 cards with prompts and pictures to create their own story. One side of a card gives a description of people, places, creatures or special objects that might inhabit that particular make-believe world, and the other provides a detailed picture of things they might find. Since its debut in 2010, four more kits have come out, each a delight and available for a bit less, $9.99 each. In Legends of the Sea, readers are asked to imagine what happened to a haunted wreck with a ghostly crew and to think about what adventures await a lucky sea horse who loves to play jokes. All of the kits come with a booklet detailing various games kids can play by themselves, with friends or parents. Also part of the series, Fairy Magic, Tales from the Haunted House and Christmas Tales.
Poem in Your Pocket for Young Poets, published in conjunction with The Academy of American Poets and selected by Bruno Navasky (Amulet Books, $12.95, ages 9-12, 232 pages, 2011) This charming little book by poetry teacher Navasky invites young writers to carry poems wherever they go. A poem, Navasky writes, is like "a little bird safe in its nest, it needs to stick its head up, needs a breath of fresh air now and then. It needs to play." So, he suggests, "carry it with you," but keep it safe in a pocket and once in a while "let it fly." Inside readers find a tablet of 100 removable poems by classic and contemporary poets, from Emily Dickinson to Naomi Shihab Nye. At their whim, readers can tear out any poem to read to themselves or share with others. The tablet is organized by 10 themes, each with inviting titles. Among them: "The Sweet Earth" about nature, "Where You Never Were" about the imagination, "There is Rain in Me" about the imagination and "They Loved Paperclips" about everyday things.