Experimenting with fantasy, historical fiction, science fiction, or other genres, kids can write a new world that leaves COVID-19 behind—or address the pandemic head-on and go deep into emotions and experiences.
Writing can be an awesome escape. Kids can write about the past and the future and skip the present entirely. Whether they are creating a piece that is mainly fantasy, historical fiction, or science fiction, they can build a new world leaving COVID-19 behind—or address the pandemic head-on and go deep into their emotions and experiences. They can lean on genres such as realistic fiction and romance, or lighten the mood with comedy to explore thoughts and feelings.
But how does one teach kids to write for enjoyment? Some dynamite podcasts out there can help them become inspired, skilled writers.
For years, the Story Pirates podcast has been inspiring kids to write stories and turn them into sketch comedy. The writing on Story Pirates is absolute gold, and since its creation, many other kids’ podcasts have come onto the scene featuring authors who get kids excited about writing. Some on this list also feature kid lit authors talking about their writing experiences and what keeps them going. Others provide brainstorming activities to generate ideas or provide examples of how to write engaging material for podcasts. Covering comics, poetry, short stories, video games, and other creative forms, much of the kidcasts’ discussion results from listeners’ questions.
Kids Ask Authors “What is your #1 advice for young writers?”
Ages 5-12–Grace Lin, the author of numerous books including Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and A Big Mooncake for Little Star, hosts this podcast. Authors with diverse backgrounds answer kids’ questions about writing. In this episode, Susan Tan, author of the “Cilla-Lee Jenkins” books, answers the question “What is your number one advice for young writers?” and, with Lin, provides encouraging guidance on where to begin. The episode ends with a review of Cindy Baldwin’s novel Beginners Welcome, written and read by a listener named Ames. Other episodes include a short story, joke, or other audio nuggets from children.
Submit a question here, or submit a book review or an audio nugget here.
Buttons & Figs “Gorey Nonsense! With author Lori Mortensen”
Ages 5-8–Buttons & Figs is a witty, illuminating podcast about word play for kids. This episode focuses on the author Edward Gorey’s nonsensical writing and illustrations. He’s known for his dark, mysterious, and whimsical pen-and-ink drawings set in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Author Lori Mortensen, who writes informational books for children and recently wrote a picture book biography of Gorey, shares what it was like to write the book and provides tips for coming up with anagrams and word play. The kids from another podcast that recommends literature, Book Power for Kids, created anagrams for this episode modeling Gorey’s writing style.
Share your wordplay with Buttons & Figs here.
Story Seeds “Heroes and Queens”
Ages 6-12–Story Seeds is a collaborative effort in which children’s authors and kids write charming, creative short stories. Host Betsy Bird, librarian and “A Fuse #8 Production” blogger, does a clever job of crafting and narrating this episode, all about an electrifying cat heroine. Seven-year-old guest Cici and Aram Kim, author of No Kimchi for Me!, Let’s Go to Taekwondo!, and other books featuring cats, are a powerhouse team. A special note: Each episode is accompanied by an activity zine like this, with prompts based on the episode to help listeners write their own stories.
Submit a seed here.
Kids Listen Activity Podcast “This Week in the Multiverse: Video Games from Other Earths”
Ages 8-12–The Kids Listen Activity Podcast works like this: A member of Kids Listen, a network of podcast creators that make high-quality podcasts for kids, hosts an activity based on an episode from their podcast. In this episode, host S.G. Wilson provides ideas for world-tweaking, which is similar to world-building: You tweak today’s world a little bit to make something new. World-tweaking is an ideal concept for video games scripts or other formats that involve writing about new worlds; there’s also a printable activity link. Also, take a look at the story scavenger hunt, another promising activity for librarians.
Book Club for Kids “Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi”
Ages 8-12–Pre-coronavirus, a group of young readers from Ketcham Elementary School in Washington, D.C., spoke with from host Kitty Felde about Book 1 in the beloved “Amulet” fantasy graphic novel series. Actor Denny Collona reads a passage aloud in an animated, booming voice. Interviewed later, “Amulet” author Kazu Kibuishi shared his process of creating the graphic novels and why he thinks novels can bring calm during the pandemic. Felde expertly interweaves these strands into an episode packed with audio gems for librarians, teachers, and students, especially graphic novel aficionados.
Be on the podcast: click here.
Student Podcast Podcast “Episode 11: Vocabulary Podcasts: Going Deep on a Single Word”
Ages 10-13–Monica Brady-Myervo, the host of the Student Podcast Podcast and founder of Listenwise, a listening library of podcast episodes and lessons for the classroom, interviews teacher Mary Beth Stevens and her fifth grade students from Cambridge (WI) Elementary School, who created 15 podcasts. The students share their work and describe how they put the podcasts together. The one spotlighted here, “One Word at a Time,” goes deep into the etymology of certain words, and may prompt teachers or librarians to assign their own podcast lesson.
Student Podcast Challenge “The Art of the Interview”
Ages 13-17–This NPR-produced podcast is about creating podcasts. It assists teachers and students with making entries for NPR’s popular Student Podcast Challenge. The Challenge aims to amplify students’ voices, especially those who don’t feel as if they are being heard. This episode teaches how to write interview questions for a podcast. Listeners are taken inside the NPR newsroom to hear from the creators of the podcasts Code Switch and Throughline and learn what it takes to generate exemplary interview material and prepare and edit your work.
Write-Minded “Finding the Poetry of Your Story, featuring Elizabeth Acevedo”
Ages 14 and up–Hosts Brooke Warner, publisher of She Writes Press, and Grant Faulkner, executive director of National Novel Writing Month, reflect on the genre of poetry and where it stands. They interview Elizabeth Acevedo, a National Poetry Slam Champion and the National Book Award Winner for The Poet X, about her writing process and her latest book, Clap When You Land. Perfect for high schoolers in need of inspiration for telling their story in verse.
To link or embed this playlist to share with your students, click here: Kidcasts: Writing.
To add additional episodes, request to be a contributor to the link to the playlist.
Youth technology integration consultant Anne Bensfield helps libraries and schools implement new models for innovation.