WRITING FOR KIDS by Carol Lea Benjamin (Harper & Row: $3.95; 102 pp., ages 8 to 12). Children who can express themselves by writing will grow into communicators, possessing a skill vital to this information age. And what nicer way to be nudged than with this friendly text which has an anybody-can-do-it tone. Even adults learning to put thoughts on paper won't feel silly with this on their desks.
The author says she wants to help people enjoy writing whether for private or public eyes. No pressure, no competition. First, find a notebook, give it a title and start small. Even if it's just one sentence, write every day. Experiment with "strong, passionate" feelings by finishing phrases such as, I love it when . . . I cried when . . . It makes me laugh when . . . Memorize "two new lovable words a week," and in a few months you'll be surprised to see how smart and insightful you are. What a wonderful way to encourage reflection and to build self-esteem.
Everyone is full of stories but instead of waiting around for inspiration, borrow ideas from photos or dreams and, most important, write about what you know. "Write with detail. Write with clarity. Write with affection."