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21st Century Kids: Expressing Themselves on Paper

Mona Gilbert, Children's Librarian, Northridge Branch Library,
Young girl writing in her journal
“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive, who is you-er than you!”—Dr. Seuss

It is often assumed that in order to try something new, you must be an expert. For some, the thought of trying something new elicits feelings of inadequacy, and lacking specific skills becomes a barrier. Journaling is an endeavor where outside judgment has no role in the process. Moreover, the art of journaling integrates many abilities and skills. In journaling, there is no right or wrong approach for self-expression. In creating your personal journal you can use whatever method you want to record your feelings, thoughts, dreams, and wishes. Your journal is all about you, and, if you choose, for your eyes only.

“Don’t forget-no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.”—Charles de Lint

Journaling Resources

Here is a list of resources to start your own journaling journey wherever it takes you.

Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories
Gantos, Jack

How to Doodle Everywhere
Kamo, Nabako

How To Write A Journal
Minden, Cecilia, and Roth, Kate

Storytelling through Journaling

Journals and diaries are used in writing as a means to relay a story. This technique offers the reader an intimate view of the thoughts and feelings of the main character. Most kids are familiar with popular “Diary” books available today. The series Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney, sparked numerous fictional stories featuring characters documenting their lives with pictures and words. Here is a round-up of titles where journaling is central to the story.

This Journal Belongs to Ratchet
Cavanaugh, Nancy J.

It's All Good: Smiley Series, Book 1
Kalicky, Anne

Cici's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-in-Training
Chamblain, Joris

The Only Black Girls in Town
Colbert, Brandy

My Diary From the Edge of the World
Anderson, Jodi Lynn

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates
Pichon, Liz

Class Act
Craft, Jerry

Taylor Before and After
Englund, Jennie