Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
For Your Journal: Writing Prompt

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Do you keep a journal – or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help.

Three times a month, I’ll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation – just write. Then let the writing simmer and your mind wander for awhile.



“I like you the way you are,” she said, “but you’ll be more comfortable with your shoulder strap fastened.”
“You must be a friend,” said Corduroy. “I’ve always wanted a friend.” 

From Corduroy by Don Freeman
Artist 1908-1978


Don Freeman wrote and illustrated 31 books for children and three books for adults and illustrated 37 books by other authors including William Saroyan, Washington Irving, James Thurber, and Brooks Atkinson. In a lecture to a group of people interested in creating children’s books, he said:

My first editor at Viking Press, May Massee, the undisputed dean of children’s book editors, once said that you should be able to hold a good story in the palm of your hand. By which she implied that a writer should be able to write a story so simple as to allow the reader to carry it in his or her mind in order to savor the meaning along with the characters and the plot … Simplicity then, is the essence of children’s book stories, not simple mindedness. I believe children deserve the best we as writers can offer them and ourselves.

About the story behind Corduroy, he wrote this to his editor, Linda Zuckerman:

Of course I can’t remember exactly how it started, but I do recall wanting to do a story about a department store in which a character wanders around at night after the doors close. Then I also wanted the story to show the vast difference between the luxury of a department store [and] the simple life [most people live]. The idea of simple basic values was another theme that was running around in the back of my head. I don’t remember how or when a toy bear came into my life, but he must have come from way out of my past. You know, I could just see a bear wearing corduroy overalls with one button missing … the minute I settled on Corduroy and Lisa, everything came together.

Read more about Don Freeman here. Read the entire lecture here and more about the story behind Corduroy here.


Journal Entry: How does your child define friendship? Write about the first time you saw your child befriend another or a time you saw another befriend your child. What action showed you the effort was sincere?


Karna Converse is a freelance writer who’s written everything from technical documentation and price proposals to newsletter articles, devotionals, personal profiles and essays. Her essays have been published in a variety of regional and national publications, including The Christian Science Monitor, Notre Dame Magazine, the Cup of Comfort and Chicken Soup anthologies, Our Iowa, and on Iowa Public Radio. She and her husband are parents to three young adults. Karna is a former blog editor, senior editor, managing editor, and editor-in-chief of Literary Mama.

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