Gift Ideas for Aspiring Young Writers
Do you have a budding literary genius in your home? My daughter is an aspiring young writer. Or, she might be someday. For now, she just wants to do what I do, and "write stories online."
Although she may change her career choice later (kids are so fickle!), she is very serious about being a writer at the moment. So serious, in fact, that she said all she wants from Santa are "special work ink pens."
I fully believe in nurturing the dreams and aspirations of children. Therefore, this list is a collection of gifts that I believe any young writer would love to receive, for any occasion.
Even the smallest writer can appreciate how important it is to have their own desk. This functional piece of furniture is where magic happens for a writer—their own island in a stormy sea of distraction.
For my daughter, we started with a miniature "school desk" style that came with some storage under the seat. Now that she is older, we have been looking at thrift stores for a small writing desk that can be painted to match her room.
For children, storage is an essential feature. Open metal frame desks are sleek, but anything with drawers or shelves will help contain the clutter and provide secret places for those future manuscripts to grow.
Reference Books for Kids
All good writers need a dictionary and a thesaurus. These necessary tomes are built into phones and computers, but an office (even a corner-of-the-bedroom office) is not complete without a few tangible reference books.
A set of condensed encyclopedias or fact books could be useful too. Think "150 Facts About Baseball," or something to that effect. Whatever topics your child likes to read and write about.
There are plenty of "light" versions for younger readers. There are even illustrated editions for very young children. A rhyming dictionary would also be a nice addition for any child who enjoys poetry.
Miscellaneous Gift Ideas
Need more ideas? Here are a few more items that would make thoughtful gifts. Just adjust according to the age and individual preference of your child:
- File cart or cabinet with folders for organizing
- Cheap digital camera for your budding photo journalist
- Subscriptions to magazines such as "Stone Soup," which is written by children.
- Personalized tote bag or messenger bag for the writer who travels
- Lessons, workshops, or tutoring
Spelling and Grammar Charts for Easy Reference
Learning might be important, but you will rarely get a child to admit that it is "fun." Providing charts as gifts to help with their writing career, rather than to improve their grades, might actually encourage them to memorize the information with more enthusiasm.
If you can't find what you need, charts are fairly easy to make. Making them yourself also allows you to personalize them so that they look more like art, and less like school room décor. Here are some chart ideas that could be helpful:
- List of most commonly misspelled words
- Basic grammar parts
- Punctuation guides
- Synonyms for common words at-a-glance
These guides could also be printed, laminated and presented in a nice binder.
Biographies and How-To Books for Young Writers
Does your child want to be a fiction writer or a non-fiction writer? Maybe, like my daughter, they want to write nature articles for magazines.
Whatever their goal, they will need inspiration. There will be plenty of people over the years who will try to talk them out of being writers. Before you let anyone crash their dreams, make sure they are well armed with stories of people who were successful! Try to locate biographies of famous writers. These can be very powerful if they are the biographies of your child's favorite authors.
There also some great books on the market that serve as writer's handbooks for children. Books like Spilling Ink, for example, are basically junior versions of the type of books that we adult writers use to help us in times of trouble (and writer's block!).
Support Young Writers
As a parent, you are your child's first and biggest fan. Never let other people's negativity stop your child from pursuing their dreams.
Writer's Survival Kit
Rather than just give those special ink pens (or pencils), why not put together a kit? If you are already a writer, then you probably know exactly what items need to go in here.
You probably have a collection of your own that your children access whenever they want, but everyone likes their own personal stuff, such as:
- Pens (we finally get to those important pens!)
- Fun erasers
- Loose leaf paper
- Folders for storing finished works
- Printer ink
- Paper clips
This is a cute way of letting your kid know that you take him or her seriously. Having a business card is a way of declaring to the world that you are confidant about yourself.
When I changed addresses I had to have new business cards printed. I gave my daughter the remainder of my deck, and for awhile we were all presented with her "card" when we "hired" her.
For older kids, you may want to add a nice case too. Have it engraved!
You can find reasonable deals on simple business cards on places like Zazzle and Vistaprint. Or you can support a local printer.
Never underestimate the entrepreneurial spirit of children. You might think their cards are a make-believe accessory, but one day you could find your little scribbler is making a few extra dollars by writing unique thank-you notes for the kid next door.
Quotes About Writing
Some nice quotes for writers:
- "Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen." - Willa Cather
- "Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day." - Orson Scott Card
- "Writing is its own reward." - Henry Miller
- “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” -Toni Morrison
Personalized Mug for Writers
Your child may not be drinking coffee to stay motivated, but they may know that all good writers have a mug of something on their desks. Whether they use it for tea, soda, juice or hot chocolate, a mug is a must for your young writer.
Again, look to places like Zazzle for a customized mug. A nice motivational quote from a successful author will be something that can inspire your child for years to come. Even if they never drink coffee, they will need a place to store all of those special ink pens.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with a cheerful picture and your child's name either. While you are personalizing a mug, why not have a matching keychain and tote bag made too?
“When I say work I only mean writing. Everything else is just odd jobs.”— Margaret Laurence
Laptop or Other Device
For an older child (if they don't have one already) a laptop could make the perfect big-ticket gift this year. Its really never too early to learn those keyboarding skills they will use in school and on the job later on.
A small laptop need only have a program for writing (such as Wordpad). It doesn't even need to be connected to the internet.
If your child is a prolific writer, this can save money (and trees). Plus, all of their writing will be organized (hopefully) on the computer. Less mess! Just make sure that they have a removable flash drive to store copies of their files. It would terrible to have the computer crash and lose all of their stories, poems and journal entries.
Gifts For Young Writers
Do you think children should be encouraged to become writers?
Help Them Publish
If your child dreams of seeing their name in print, why not help them? This is a gift that could last a lifetime, and all it will take is a little of your time and patience.
You have several options, some of which may be more or less suitable for the type of work your child creates:
- Help them self-publish a storybook
- Help them start and maintain a creative writing blog
- Help them submit their writing to newspapers and magazines
- Help them find writing contests geared toward young writers
- Help them start their own online newsletter or paper focusing on topics of interest to local kids and/or parents
This could truly be the best gift you could give. Even if they only accumulate a few fans, or sell a book to just their relatives, seeing how hard work can pay off may give them the confidence they need to pursue their passion farther.