Monthly Archives: May 2014

Smile (A Maya Angelou InkStart)


Hello Inksters!

Today’s InkStart remembers writer Maya Angelou (1928-2014). People all over the world read Maya Angelou’s poetry and autobiographies. Maya Angelou gave the world such a gift every time she wrote. She shared her writing and her ideas through her art. And she shared her smile.

Maya Angelou on Sesame Street

Maya Angelou on Sesame Street

When she was a little girl, one lesson Maya Angelou learned is that a smile can be a gift. She wrote that she “learned that I could be a giver simply by bringing a smile to another person.”  She also once said, “If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love.”

Smiles are powerful, lovely gifts. Just think about how you feel when someone smiles at you. Makes you want to smile, too, right?

Now let’s spend some time writing about our smiles:

What makes you smile?

How do you feel when you smile?

Do you have different kinds of smiles?

Where are you when you are smiling?

What are you doing while you are smiling?

Be descriptive. Really describe your smile and everything that is happening to make you smile. Try to use most or all of your senses (hearing, seeing, tasting, touching, smelling) when writing about smiles.

Can a smile smell or happen because of a smell? Sure! I know I smile every time I smell buttermilk pecan pie baking in the oven. Yummy!

After you put your ideas about smiles on paper, take some time to draw a picture that illustrates — gives a picture to — what you wrote.

And remember to share your writing and illustrations here at Inktopia Kids by commenting or emailing

Here’s to smiles and to wonderful writing!

To read some of Maya Angelou’s beautiful poetry, pick up a copy of Life Doesn’t Frighten Me and Poetry for Young People: Maya Angelou.




Ink This!


Picture This!

This week’s Inkspiration features this painting by New York artist Natalie del Villar.

Look carefully at this painting. Soak it in. Then open your writing journal and see where this painting, your pencil, and your imagination all lead.

Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas:

  • What do you see in the painting? Describe it.
  • What is happening in this painting? Tell us.
  • Imagine what the girl’s voice sounds like. Then write in that voice.
  • Imagine what the eye’s voice sounds like. Then write in that voice.
  • Complete this story: “The eye tapped the girl on the shoulder. She turned around and …”

Wanna share your imaginings with the rest of the Inktopia Kids community? Then remember to comment to this post. Or write us at

Parents: For more of Natalie del Villar’s amazing work, visit her website:

Writing Home


Hello Inksters!

Welcome to the first of many InkStarts — writing questions, “ink-in-the-blanks”, pictures, sounds, fun words and phrases — that will give you fun reasons to write.

Gather paper — loose leaf, gathered in a binder, bound in a notebook, lined, unlined, small, large, a napkin, a post-it note, a brown paper grocery bag — and pens, pencils, or markers. Find a space where you like to write and settle in.

Now, Inktopia Kids’ FIRST INKSTART EVER!!!

An Ink-in-the-Blank:

When I think of home, I think of __________________.

Write down as many ideas for that blank as you can. Remember, the blank is as long and can hold as many words as you want it to. It can hold words and pictures too, so go ahead and illustrate your writing.

Here are some ideas to keep you going:

  • Fill in the blank by using your five senses: hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, smelling
  • How does home make you feel?
  • Imagine your home as completely full — what people and things would the home hold?
  • How do you feel when you are away from home?

Feel free to shape your words and pictures any way you wish. Your writing might just turn into a story, a poem, a letter, a list… Whatever you write, the goal is to help other kids feel and understand what home is to you when they read your writing.

Enjoy. And, until next time, remember: Write where you are!


Welcome to Inktopia Kids!


Hello Inksters!

Do you love to write? Love reading? Love playing with words? Then Inktopia Kids is the right place for you!

Welcome to Inktopia Kids, a community where you can write, share your writing, read writing from other young writers, and find inspiration. Inktopia Kids helps you find fun ways to write where you are.

So if you’re looking for inspiration to fill your journal, or a fun way to share your writing with other young readers, or if you’d like to learn about fun ways to keep writing during your summer vacation, then become an Inkster. All you have to do is follow this blog.

We look forward to your frequent visits to Inktopia!