cover image Been There, Done That: Writing Stories from Real Life

Been There, Done That: Writing Stories from Real Life

Edited by Mike Winchell. Grosset & Dunlap, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-448-48672-7

In this fiction/nonfiction hybrid, 20 authors including Gary D. Schmidt, Margarita Engle, and Linda Sue Park pair accounts of real-life moments in their lives with fictional counterparts they inspired. Some of the fictional stories unfold faithfully, such as Lisa Yee’s tales about a cruel prank in which one girl hides in a closet while her two friends talk about her, both ending on uneasy, thought-provoking notes. Others veer wildly from reality to invention: Nathan Hale’s hilarious graphic treatment of his siblings’ childhood terrorization of their younger sister translates into a darkly comedic story that begins with nefarious men stealing Easter loot from orphans. And Karen Cushman applies a historical prism to her husband’s childhood in San Diego to create a tale about a family forever changed by the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Winchell’s introductions to each section help organize the stories, which are grouped into thematic categories revolving around topics like guilt, peer pressure, and change. These multifaceted, parallel stories reveal not only how ideas become fiction but also how the spark of creativity evolves into a polished product. Ages 10–up. Agent: Brianne Johnson, Writers House. (Nov.)