Writing Maniac: How I Grew Up to Be a Writer (and You Can, Too!)


96 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 1-55138-121-4
DDC 808'.042




Susannah D. Ketchum, a former teacher-librarian at the Bishop Strachan
School in Toronto, serves on the Southern Ontario Library Services


The author of many award-winning books for children, Sheree Fitch now
gives us Writing Maniac, a book that will encourage children to
experiment with writing. The book’s three main sections—How I Grew
Up to Be a Writer; Ideas Here, There, and Everywhere; and Being a
Writing Maniac—all consist of short word snapshots of incidents,
related in the present tense, that sparked a poem or, in some way,
influenced her writing. Each incident is followed by a past-tense
passage, presented in script, in which Fitch expands on the episode and
then connects it to her writing. In one appealing example, Fitch, who
does not like waiting, is standing in line with her son Justin, waiting
to ride the bumper cars. She remembers a teacher who told her, “You
can write about something you don’t like.” By the time she is
actually driving one of the cars, Fitch has enough ideas for a whole

At the end of each section, Fitch includes “The Write Stuff,” a
list of suggestions to help young readers become writers. She also uses
marginalia to recommend writing activities and to reinforce her message
with a few pithy words. These snippets will probably appeal to many
young readers and will make the content of the book even more

Following the text is a glossary, “So, What’s a Metaphor? A List of
Writing Words,” and “Read and Read and Read...,” a sampling of
titles and authors Fitch loves. The text is enlivened with many
black-and-white photographs; most are self-explanatory, but some cry out
for a caption.

Fitch has brought to Writing Maniac the same energy, enthusiasm, and
sense of humor that inform her other books. “Long after the lights are
out for the night, I hear those words collide and boomerang back again.
I do not understand all of the words, but I feel their magic.”

Sheree Fitch enthusiasts of all ages will find Writing Maniac
thoroughly enjoyable, and teachers will find it an excellent source of
many creative-writing strategies. Highly recommended.


Fitch, Sheree., “Writing Maniac: How I Grew Up to Be a Writer (and You Can, Too!),” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/21495.