Getting engrossed in a compelling book is one of the greatest experiences anyone can have. A good story can transport the reader 500 years into the past or 5000 years into the future. Use the power of books as a starting point for your students’ essays with these writing prompts on books.
Prompt 1: Over the years several popular children’s books have been banned in the United States for a variety of reasons. Many of them are considered classics, such as Charlotte’s Web, Winnie-the-Pooh, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Green Eggs and Ham, and Where The Wild Things Are. Do you think there are any valid reasons to ban a book? Write an essay explaining why or why not.
Prompt 2: George R.R Martin, author of Game of Thrones, wrote “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” What lives have you, as a reader, lived and enjoyed the most? Write an essay giving two or three examples.
Prompt 3: Author Edmund Wilson said, “No two persons ever read the same book.” Write an essay explaining what he meant.
Prompt 4: Authors sometimes use unusual names for their characters in their books. In Barbara Kingsolver’s novel The Bean Trees, one of the characters is named Turtle. In Where The Heart Is, by Billie Letts, most of her characters have unusual names: Novalee Nation, Americus, Moses Whitecotton, Sister Husband and Forney Hull are just a few. Do you think having such unusual names in a book is a distraction or is it a plus? If you could pick an unusual name for a character, what would you pick and why did you choose that name? Describe what you are trying to tell your reader about your character with that name.
Prompt 5: Have you ever finished a book that made you want to tell everyone you know about how fantastic the book was? What was the name of the book and why did it give you that feeling? What was so special about the book that you wanted others to read it too?
Prompt 6: Find a young child’s picture book, one with no words, only pictures. Pick one page from the book and look at the picture. Write a story based on what is happening on that one page.
Prompt 7: Which do you prefer? A scary story that gives you goosebumps or a book that is silly and makes you laugh? Why?
Prompt 8: An author is taking suggestions for a new biography. Choose an author to base the new biography on and write a letter to the author explaining why he or she would make a good subject.
Prompt 9: Pick up a book at random (one you haven’t read yet) and look at the cover. What does the cover tell you about the book? Does the cover make it look interesting enough to make you want to read it? Does the cover have people on it? Can you tell which one is the main character of the story? Write a brief essay describing what you think the book is about based on the cover of the book.
Prompt 10: Write an essay about a book you were assigned to read in school that you really didn’t enjoy. Why didn’t you like it? Was it too predictable, too easy, too hard to understand? What could the author have done to make the book better?
Prompt 11: You are in charge of ordering three new books for the school library. One must by humorous, one scary and one must be a literary classic. How will you figure out the best books to order? Write an essay explaining what method you would use to choose the books.
Prompt 12: You get to be the author of a book about a brand new Superhero. What would your Superhero be named? What would his special powers be? Who would be his enemy and how would your Superhero save the day? Write an essay giving all of those answers plus what type of book you would write. Would it be funny, serious, scary?
Prompt 13: Mark Twain’s real name was Samuel Clemens. Dr. Seuss’s real name was Theodor Geisel. The author of the Harry Potter series used only her first initials along with her real last name (J K Rowling).Why would an author choose to use a pseudonym (also called a pen name)? Think of some reasons why an author would want to use a pseudonym and write an essay explaining your reasons.
Prompt 14: Pick up a favorite book and turn to page 7. Go to the 3rd line in the book and copy it down. Now write a story starting with that sentence!
Prompt 15: Choose one of your favorite authors. Write a letter telling why you like his/her work.
Prompt 16: You are given the task of picking one book that the entire planet is going to read. What book would you choose and why?
Prompt 17: Your class is creating a class cookbook. Write an essay about your favorite recipe and why it should be included in the cookbook.
Prompt 18: Pretend you are a character in your favorite book. Write an essay about who you are and why you are glad or sad to be that character.
Prompt 19: Have you ever read a book that was made into a movie? Did you enjoy the movie as much as you enjoyed the book? Why or why not?
Prompt 20: What is your favorite book? Write an advertisement that will convince your classmates to read it.