This week, my fifth grader experienced her first bout of writer’s block…something that every good student must contend with at some point in their academic career–and one I know all too well. She was attempting to write a speech for school, but couldn’t quite get started. How do you motivate a kid who’d rather be doing anything but sit still? Perhaps that’s why Poppy’s Best Paper struck a chord with us. At a time in the year when kids have had just about enough of school work, this story follows the tale of a confident young rabbit who is certain she can crank out the best paper in her class, without even trying. But this smugness suddenly turns sour once Poppy, back at home, takes pencil in hand…and finds herself sharpening her pencil, locating lost toys…anything but writing. She can’t even get the attention of her best friend Lavender who doesn’t want to be interrupted while working on her own paper. Of course, Poppy learns the hard way that too much self-confidence can work against her when Lavender is rewarded for her efforts–and Poppy is not. Faced with the reality that maybe she has to work harder doesn’t come easily for our young heroine, but like so many life lessons learned, sometimes it takes a few times before the message sinks in. Much like Poppy, readers will find that the story’s satisfying ending was well worth the wait. A lesson in patience and determination, Poppy’s Best Paper is a tale that will resonate with both young and older kids, especially those who have difficulty accepting things that don’t come easily to them. And that’s something any writer can appreciate.
In a Nutshell: For any kid who’s experienced the anguish and frustration of not succeeding comes a book with a powerful message about taking your time and doing your best.