Author Judy Blume

Childrens Author Clare Meeker speaks about Author Judy BloomIt was a love fest for Judy Blume at Town Hall in Seattle tonight. Seattle Arts and Lectures brought celebrity children’s book author Judy Blume who has a new novel for adults called In the Unlikely Event which is based on a true event from her childhood. It was a totally entertaining interview with Nancy Pearl and Judy who looks as young as ever and will forever be that courageous writer who wrote from the heart with great humor and taught us that nothing is taboo to write about when you have a good story to tell. 

I was fortunate enough to take the first small-group writing workshop Judy Blume ever gave at a writers conference in Key West, her winter home, a number of years ago. I had just left the practice of law to be home with my children and had published my first children’s book when I took her 4- day class. Here are a few of the pearls she gave us:

- Keep a notebook when you’re writing a book for snippets of information and character description
- Write from the heart. 
- Don’t think about the audience when the story is first being created, but you will need to later to get it published. 
- You can’t write the universal book. It only the specific story that will work. 
- Begin your story on the day when something different happens.
- Criticism should be honest but only helpful. 

Judy Blooms book. Author Clare Meeker


Writing Workshop at Whittier Elementary School

For many years, I have taught writing in the Seattle public schools as part of Seattle Arts and Lectures’ award-winning Writers in the Schools (WITS) program. I typically spend two months working in an elementary or middle grade school with one grade level guiding them through the process of writing a story from idea to finished book complete with a colorful cover and chopstick binding. This year, I worked with third grades at Whittier elementary.

Here is a blog post about Teaching Story Structure using one student’s work as an example:  

Clare Meeker Childrens Author and the Third graders at Whittier elementary
(Above: Ms. McGrath’s third grade class with their finished books)

Clare Meeker Children's author and the last day of the writing workshop when students share their finished stories.
(Above: The last day of the writing workshop when students share their finished stories.)


In-School Field Trip on Teamwork is a Winner

Clare Meeker in School field tripsA few months ago, I was contacted through my website by a PTA mom inviting me to do an In-school field trip on teamwork  for third graders at her daughter’s elementary school.
I was delighted to learn that Team Building was part of the third grade curriculum and that when she googled "Team building." my website came up.  

Together, we organized 3 teamwork-related activities for 110 third graders starting with a photo-illustrated slide show presenting 10 Tips on Teamwork based on my interviews with the Seattle Sounders FC coach and team for my children’s book, Soccer Dreams: Playing the Seattle Sounders FC Way. This included several volunteers from the audience who donned professional goalie gloves and dribbled a Fredy Montero-signed soccer ball to help demonstrate a basic teamwork strategy that the Sounders FC use, The Triangle Formation. 

For our next activity, we made soccer balls out of plastic bags and newspaper tied with nylon string. This, I explained, is the kind of ball that is used by kids all over the world to play soccer. No fancy shinguards. Even shoes are optional. All you need is a ball. 

Clare Meeker class in school field tripsOur third teamwork activity which took place in the classroom was a one hour writing and performance piece. Each student worked with a partner to create a Buddy Poem. First they interviewed each other to find out something they had in common - for example, they both like sports, or music. or video games. Then they created three stanzas, each coming up with every other line. I am always amazed how quickly they get engaged in the project and how excited they are to perform their poem in front of their classmates. Here is an example of a 3-some buddy poem from Ms. Shannon’s third grade class:   

We Are All A Little Crazy

I like to smack the ball in tennis. 
My imagination runs like paint over an open canvas. 
I like riding my horse through the meadows. 

We are all a little crazy.

I like to jump on my trampoline
My mind is like a gizmo where the wheels, gears and trinkets of my ideas are still turning.
I like to wash my horses in the rain in the barn. 

We are all a little crazy.

I love to play everything outside. 
My pencil flies across the paper as words are sewn together to create a beautiful story.
I love to ride across the jump cones in the rain int he wind. 

We are all a little crazy. 


Clare Meeker in school field trips are awesome fun.

Fun times with Clare Meeker, Children's Author and her in-school field trips

Here was a great note from Christine Strandell, Clyde Hill PTA: "Thank YOU for taking the time to come to our school two days in a row! You did a phenomenal job keeping the kids interested during the assembly yesterday. They truly had fun during the soccer ball activity too. I personally enjoyed your writing segment. I think the kids liked having the close contact with you; you made them feel special and their writing was also made special by you, which was evident by some of the writing I saw take shape and was shared. "

Fall 2014 Hugo House Class: Polishing Your Children’s Book Manuscript

Clare Meeker's Class "Polishing Your Children’s Book Manuscript" at Hugo HouseFall is a great time to pull out that manuscript draft and polish it up for submission to a publisher by the end of the year.  My six-week class will help you meet your goal in a nurturing and generative workshop environment. All genres are welcome, from picture book to young adult novels. The class will run on Thursday evenings from 7-9pm at Hugo House, a writers cooperative on Capital Hill in Seattle, starting September 18. Read more… 

You have a story in progress and maybe even a finished draft. How do you polish it for submission to a publisher? We’ll focus on strengthening story structure, dramatic tension, voice, and character development. Discover the right amount of detail and description to include for your target age group and the themes that will deepen your story and give it broader appeal. Students will submit one story in progress to the class and receive constructive feedback on their work from the instructor and classmates. For more information or to register, please contact Hugo House at 206-322-7030 or click here.

Clare Meeker Hugo House Class: Polishing Your Children’s Book Manuscript

Photo caption: Special guest Elizabeth George talked about Character Development in my Spring 2014 Hugo House Story Structure class. 


Welcome to my website!

Thank you for visiting my Web site. I create stories for children that help them connect with the world around them. Through my books, I share my excitement and curiosity about:

Through my writing workshops and In-School Field Trips in schools and libraries, children discover their own voice and create stronger stories using my three-problem approach to story structure. Please take a few moments to look around my website.


Clare reading "Passages" from the book Secret Histories