Inktopia Kids’ Notebook Challenge


Hi Inksters!

For this week’s Inkspiration, we are launching a summer writing challenge. From now until the end of August, we invited you to participate in Inktopia Kids’ first ever Notebook Challenge!

The theme is “My Inktopia Summer.”

20140821_112536Write in your notebook about anything about your summer — or an imagined summer:

  • Pick up a clean writer’s notebook. Any size, any shape, purchased or self-made.
  • Prepare to write! Fill those pages with words you find that you like or that you are curious about. Fill them with stories or lines of poetry. Fill them with comments about your day.
  • Illustrate your writing anyway you choose.

Check Inktopia Kids for inkspirations each Monday and Thursday for the rest of the summer to help you fill those journals with your creativity.

Enjoying creating your own Inktopias in those notebooks! And remember to spread the ink! Share pages with us by taking photos of the page and sending the image as a jpeg to We will post your Writer’s Notebook pages on our site. Help us fill our site with summer fun!


Add Texture as You Write



Hi Inksters!

Happy Summer! It’s been a long time. We hope you’re still writing where you are — every day.

In elementary school, I loved to write on crinkled paper. I would take a nice, neat piece of lined paper, crumple it up completely into a ball, then carefully uncrumple it. I would then take a pen and write on that uncrinkled paper. I loved the sound and feel of the pen on that textured paper.


Your Inkspiration is to find different textures to write on. Crumple up a page in your Writer’s Notebook. Go outside and find different leaves to tape into your Notebook. Then pay attention to how it feels to write on the leaves with sharpie. Write on scraps of fabric, slick wrapping paper, a piece of brown paper bag, or on a mirror or white board with a dry erase marker. Write with chalk on a sidewalk. Write a sentence or your favorite words on a shell or a smooth rock.

Use your writing to discover all the textures you can find. Have fun discovering new writing surfaces!

YA writers and older: visit next week to learn how you can move from writing on texture to creating texture in your writing.

Inktopia Kids Poetry Reading


Hi Inksters!

Recently, to round off two months of Inktopia Writing Club, young Inksters read their original writing to a full theater at the Holderness School . On this special night, Inksters provided intermission entertainment during the school’s annual Poetry Out Loud competition.

First up,  Claire reading “Hideout”. Click on the link to watch and listen!

Now, your turn: How would you describe your favorite place to hide out?


A little background: Every week in their club meetings, Inksters wrote new poems, stories, dialogue, and vignettes, played word games, and shared their writing with each other. They had a lot of material to choose from for their reading!

About reading in front of 300 people, most of whom were high school students, Claire (age 8), said, “They were all so nice. They clapped and came up to me to let me know how good my poem was.” Lucas, also age 8, said he was “so nervous. I couldn’t believe I was on the stage. But I did it!” And Cannon, age 11, is ready to do this again. “I’m excited about Spring,” Cannon shared, “because we’ll start up Writing Club again!”

Over the next few posts, we’ll feature more brave Inksters as they share their writing in front of a live audience. Maybe you’ll be inspired to write in response or to find a way to share one of your creations with an audience of 1 or 300!

Happy Listening and Watching!




Listen to the Stars



Stars Over Acadia Ipad 4 Wallpaper


Hello Inksters!

Just in case you didn’t hear, scientists last week confirmed that gravitational waves exist. They even recorded the sound of two black holes colliding! Listen here: Gravitational Waves

And learn more here: National Geographic

And here: The Guardian

Coincidentally, today’s guest inkspiration — a poem by Logan, age 11 — imagines the possibility of hearing the stars. What a surprise in that line — the idea of hearing something people normally spend time gazing, or looking, at. After reading the poem, we think about nighttime and the stars in a new way.

Here is Logan reading the poem:

Logan reading “Nighttime”

And here is the text of her poem:

It’s hard to listen in the daytime 
the sounds are jumbled- blended together 
If you hear a special sound, you have to hold it quick- 
in a second 
it’s gone 
Daytime sounds disappear 
into night.
The loud 
blends smoothly into the quiet after the sun goes down. 
At night, 
the air is cool,  
the sounds are sharper 
and the only human things are the cars that sometimes rush by way past eleven. 
At nighttime 
You’re open to the sounds of the animals 
It’s easier to ​be​ at night. 
Like all your senses are in high definition 
Listen closely- 
You might just hear the stars. 
 Now it’s your turn! Open your Writer’s Notebook and write about one of the following:
  • Spend time with this poem. Write down words you enjoy from the poem, phrases you like, questions you have about the poem.
  • Show us what you see! Draw a picture to illustrate, or go along with, a part of the poem.
  • Write your own poem about a time of day. Logan writes about nighttime. What would your poem about nighttime be? What about the early morning? Or midday? Lunchtime or play time? Try to include a line in your poem that is surprising to your reader and that allows the reader to imagine something in a different way.

Drawn to the science? Write in your journals, too, about what you learned from the videos. What questions do you have about this discovery? What do you wonder about?

A big Inktopia Thank You to Logan for sharing her work with us!

Remember to share your creations and questions here by responding to the post.

Have an idea for an inkspiration? Send it to


Playful Valentine


Hi Inksters!

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away. It’s a day when we take a moment to think about what we love and enjoy — about ourselves, the people dear to us, and the things and experiences we treasure.

This Inkspiration comes from a post I saw about Sew Loved, an art show that ran in New York City a few years ago. For the exhibit, children, parents, grandparents, and teachers submitted soft sculptures that they designed and sewed. The soft sculpture art was then hung on the wall with writing about the pieces.


Sew Loved Soft Sculpture Art Show, NYC, 2012 (Click on the photo for more information about the exhibit)


  • Choose a “soft sculpture” — one of your stuffed animals or other toys — that you treasure. It doesn’t have to be soft, just something that is special to you.
  • Write a Valentine to your toy. Share with your toy your reasons for loving it so much. Perhaps you have wonderful memories of taking this toy on family trips or holding it as you fall asleep. Perhaps it was a gift from a favorite person. Perhaps you love the way it makes you feel secure or comfortable.
  • Decorate your Valentine — draw on it, color it, put stickers on it.


  • Instead of a Valentine, you could also make your toy a character in a story you write.

And for our smallest Inksters…

  • Draw a picture with you and your toy doing something you love to do.

Take a picture of your favorite item and send it, along with your writing or drawing, to us. We’ll post it on the site!

And if you also want to do some heart mapping, check out our Valentine’s Day post from last here: What’s In Your Heart?

Have an Inkspiring Valentine’s Day!

Poetry Inkspiration: Langston Hughes


Hi Inksters!

Today is the first day of February and of Black History Month. Today, we kick off the month with a guest inkspiration from Ava, age 8 — an inkspiration involving the poetry of Langston Hughes.

Here is a photograph of writer Langston Hughes, at his typewriter:

Ava’s mom, novelist Lauren Frances-Sharma, recently gave Ava the poem, “April Rain Song,”  to read aloud. Here is the poem. Read it aloud or click on the poem’s title below to listen to the recording:

April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.

Then Ava’s mom asked her to set the to music. So Ava downloaded music from the web. Then Ava wrote two poems about the music.

Here is Poem #1:

Let the stream flow over the rocks
Let the cold stream water tickle your toes
Let the stream flow gracefully down the path
The beautiful water bumps up against the plants
The water slowly moves toward the trees
The fish squirm around in the freezing cold water.
I love swimming in a cold stream.

And here is Poem #2:

Let your wet blurry eyes lead you through the forest
Let your umbrella shift side to side
Let yourself feel the cold hard drops of rain on your face
All the animals creep and crawl to their hiding spots before the rain comes
Let your freezing body shiver in the rain
The leaves of the trees drip, soaked with water.

Now it’s your turn! Reread Langston Hughes’ poem and read Ava’s poems, too! Then set these poems to music. After you find your music, write a poem that uses the same repetition “Let the…”

A big Inktopia Thank You to Ava for sharing her work with us!

Remember to share your poems here by responding to the post.

Have an idea for a prompt? Send it to


This Octopus Has a Story to Tell


Hello Inksters!

Check out this drawing by graphic artist Edwin Van Bellen for Inktopia Kids!


This Inkspiration invites you to write in different ways about this octopus. Pick up your pen or pencil and your Writer’s Notebook and choose one or more of the following prompts to help you get creative:

  • What story does this octopus have to tell? Write a story from the octopus’ point of view.
  • What would you name this octopus?
  • Imagine that this octopus is a character that can speak. Draw and then fill a speech bubble with the octopus’ words.

Have fun creating!