The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines teacher as one whose occupation is to instruct.

We know a teacher does much more than instruct.

A teacher inspires and motivates.
A teacher informs.
A teacher welcomes.
A teacher includes.
A teacher protects.
A teacher wipes eyes and noses.
A teacher—with a heart filled with compassion—comforts.
A teacher enlightens and expands a child’s view of the universe.
A teacher shapes our future.
A teacher is hope personified.

Thank you for all the many gifts you share with our children, especially the gift of yourself.

Know that you are our heroes.

Mary Bridget Barrett
Members of the NCBLA interact during a panel discussion at an event regarding progressive stories. Left to right: NCBLA President and Executive Director Mary Brigid Barrett, Vice President Steven Kellogg, Emeritus Member Susan Cooper, and Vice President Katherine Paterson.

The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance is an organization founded by young people’s authors and illustrators. In creating Empowering Young Writers it is our hope that we may be of service to you—elementary and middle school teachers—sharing thoughts and ideas on teaching writing to young people. We were inspired by our experiences working in classrooms with kids across the country. We were inspired by students’ writing, and students’ questions!

Are you famous? How much money do you make? Do you have a dog? If you get an idea in the bathtub, how do you write it down? Are you going to eat in the cafeteria? If you do, don’t eat the peanut butter; it tastes like sand.

But we are also asked questions about storytelling and writing:

How do you make a story funny? Or scary? How do you make characters like real kids? I don’t know what to write, how do you get ideas? How do you know the ending?

In Empowering Young Writers, we address those questions and much more. We offer thoughts, activities, and pragmatic information related to teaching young people how to write, and how to create a trusting atmosphere in your classroom that helps kids take risks. It takes courage to write; it takes determination and hard work to write well.

We hope Empowering Young Writers is both useful and enjoyable. If you have an idea on how we can make this site more helpful to you, please write to us at:

In teacher and poet Theodore Roethke’s book On Poetry and Craft, he states—

Teacher: one who carries on his education in public.

Teacher: one of the few professions that permit love.

How lucky are we who teach—we continue to learn, we continue to love.

With best wishes,

Mary Brigid Barrett

President and Executive Director
The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance


©2021 Mary Brigid Barrett; The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance