Peg Kehret’s reminiscence about her writing career was filed in the Adult Biography section of the library but it actually seems pitched to younger readers. That isn’t surprising because most of Kehret’s work is in children’s literature. It is an encouraging book for an aspiring writer, with the classic Never-Give-Up message. But it’s somewhat dated as well because the society that shaped Kehret’s experience no longer exists. Instead of marrying a breadwinner, taking years out to raise children and collecting rejections for more years while you perfect your craft, today’s writer might churn out volumes of troll fantasy, publish it online and make her own millions while considering lucrative overtures from legacy publishers. Or not.
The process is still fraught with rejection and discouragement but Kehret maps a voyage of discovery about what she can do best and how she gains confidence as she grows into attempting full-length books. She entered a lot of 25-words-or-less contests and won an impressive amount. She experimented with noms de plume, survived polio, tended her father in his losing battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s, found inspiration in volunteer work with animal shelters and developed deeper empathy for her characters when school author visits took her to Oklahoma City immediately after the terrorist bombing.
As a newbie to the world of writing and publishing at age ten, Kehret learned valuable lessons about what grabs a reader’s attention with her Dog Newspaper and its very limited neighborhood run. The lessons stuck. She’s published more than 40 books and half-a-dozen plays and has solid basic advice to share in this slender volume that will give younger readers a look at what it takes to get your name on the cover of a book.
Five Pages a Day: A Writer’s Journey Peg Kehret | Albert Whitman & Company 2002