“Guy-Write: What Every Guy Writer Needs to Know by Ralph Fletcher;” Henry Holt/Christy Ottaviano Books ($15.99).

This book is a must-have for any guy who wants to be a writer. Fletcher, the author of great memoirs “Fig Pudding” and “Marshfield Dreams: When I Was a Kid,” starts out noting the bias at school against topics boys may want to write about (weapons, gore, gross stuff, etc.) and encourages guys not to get discouraged. He even includes a marvelous poem titled “Weed Hunter” by a Michigan first-grader whose poem was excluded from a class anthology because he used the word “weapon” in the poem, as in “My weapon is a shovel.” (Teachers may want to take note if they have similar “don’t-use-the-word-weapon in homework assignment” policies.)

Then he lays out all kinds of pointers about how to be at the top of your game in amusing chapters with many examples of good writing. Writing topics include humor, “Riding the Vomit Comet: Writing About Disgusting Stuff”; this chapter includes an interview with Jon Scieszka and a hilarious example of writing that is both gross AND funny), gory stuff, superheroes and fantasy. The sports chapter includes an interview with Robert Lipsyte (and this helpful pointer: Don’t include a complete play-by-play unless you want to bore your readers). There’s also a great chapter about writing scary stories, including an interview with Robert San Souci. He wraps up noting how important it is for would-be writers to read, read, read.

This is a great book both for aspiring young writers and for teachers who may want to help them along.

– Jean Westmoore


Make some holiday crafts at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, 180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda, from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays beginning next week. Cost is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors; and $2.50 for children ages 2 to 12. For more information, visit or call 693-1885.


For centuries, people have debated whether William Shakespeare wrote all of the plays and poems that bear his name. Many people have wondered: How did Shakespeare’s humble origins produce such a genius? Some think that only a wealthy and highly educated person could write such great works. Some believe that others might have written many of the works thought to be by Shakespeare. But there is no proof that others wrote Shakespeare’s plays and poems.

– Time Book of Why