Encouraging a Child to Write, Lisbon’s Story Writing

Encouraging a Child to Write, Lisbon's Story Writing

As an author, I read a lot to my children, and they see me writing every day. With exposure to her author-mother, it came as no surprise when my then six-year-old daughter Lisbon began to write her own books. Most of my seven kids have done this at one time, though only one so far seems to be heading toward authorship (Lisbon’s older sister, Liana). Naturally, I am always for encouraging a child to write, which begins with reading to them. A lot.

Lisbon’s books

Lisbon MakaylaThese books are only a couple pages, but amazing nonetheless. She does them herself without any help now, and illustrates them. I don’t usually correct her grammar too much, because I don’t want her to be frustrated. A little at a time is better. If she asks me, I’ll tell her what words need fixing, and I encourage her to fix things as she learns more, but I don’t want her so paralyzed by fear of misspelling that she quits writing. As she reads and grows, the spelling and grammar will come. Note that she already understand the concept of series and tag lines. All her book titles begin with The Story About and on the back she tells people to “shine bright,” which is something she told me yesterday she learned at church last year.

The idea

The book I’m going to share with you today came about because for over a year, Lisbon and I have been exchanging notes on a small whiteboard. Shortly after the death of my sister Sarah this past January (there were six sisters before she died and two brothers—Sarah was the baby), Lisbon wrote me this encouraging note:

Libon's note

There wasn’t a lot of choices, given her series title, and she’d mentioned something about pets, so I chose, The Story About Pets. She wrote it the very same day. Wow, I wish I could write a book that fast!

First page

Note in the bottom left hand of the cover, she’s written what book number it is. Note the badge she created for these that says “Original Learning Books.” I really don’t know where she came up with that, but I’m sure she got the idea from books we’ve been reading.

The Story About Pets, Lisbon's Story Writing

The middle pages

Middle pages, encourage, don't correct


The end

Her brother is very allergic to cats, so she made sure to include important information. Note the plea to “Shine Bright” on the back cover. She always ends with that.

End of the story



Others in the series

The girls on book two was actually made by her friend, Hannah. Lisbon tends to rush the illustrations (except in school as you’ll see below).

Rest in the series


Back cover sales pitch

Here’s the back cover for her snowman book. I love how she promotes the first three! Again, she picked this up from the books we read.

Books in Portuguese

Because Lisbon’s in Portuguese/English dual immersion, she also has the opportunity to write books in Portuguese at school. These are about twice the sentences of those she makes at home, but with only one sentence on each page. They have a lot of in-class time to write and color these, so they’re more carefully illustrated. She writes them under her Portuguese name, Lisboa. I love having her read them to me. Again, there are mistakes, but encouraging a child to write or learn another language isn’t about perfection. It’s about instilling a love of language and of storytelling.

Writing in another language

There you have it. Lisbon is pretty amazing. Like most children, she learns so fast. So, yeah, the best way I’ve found to encourage a child to write is to not stress it too much. Simply to read to them. And writing each other notes certainly doesn’t hurt!

Thanks for reading. And, oh, shine bright!

Teyla Rachel Branton



Copyright 2019 Teyla Rachel Branton and Lisbon
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26 Responses to “Encouraging a Child to Write, Lisbon’s Story Writing”

  1. Paul Landry

    Hi Lisbon
    As a father of 2, grand-father of 4 and great grand-father of 2, the oldest being child being 50, the oldest grand child being 30 and the oldest great grand child being 3 with a little sister of 8 months, I have enjoyed many stories from these children. They all had their preferences, pets, birds, wild animals and even space and the planets. Each and everyone of these stories I loved to read and told them to keep writing because it is the only place you can keep safe. It is also your world and it is great to share with the people you love. Keep writing, it is a wonderful way to say what you like and it will make your family very happy to share with you. When you grow up you can share with your own children. Good Luck and many happy moments.

    • Teyla Rachel Branton

      From Lisbon: Hi Paul. You sound like a GREAT grandfather. I wish I had one like you. Mom says you give good advice. I will write lots more like you say. I am writing a big book now. It’s taking so long.

  2. Christine

    These are great keep up the good work. I am not much of a writer but as a child I use to love to right stories. I still have them and I have two grown kids. My daughter almost went to college to work for and write for a magazine. She decided to do something else instead but most of her job is writing. She also had a brother who was allergic to cats. I still remember in first or second grade she wrote me a note that said “If Christopher wasn’t allergic (spelled the same way you did) could I get a cat?”. That was so proud that she wrote it herself I use to keep it on my bulletin board at work. She also loves to read and so do I which is how I got on your mom’s mailing list. So keep reading and keep writing.

    • Teyla Rachel Branton

      From Lisbon: Hi, Christine. I’m glad you are on our list. I love to read to like you and your daughter. I hope to write lots!

  3. Pieter

    As grandfather of three grandchildren, with the oldest a daughter more or less Lisbon’s age and also similar stories… I so enjoy and relate to your family and to see that children all over the world are so open and honest it really puts us adults to shame!

    • Teyla Rachel Branton

      From Lisbon: Thank you, Pieter. That is so nice of you to say!

  4. Teyla Rachel Branton

    Lisbon has been thrilled with all the comments about her books. This is from Lisbon to all of you:

    Thank you everyone for the comments. I am really happy to read them. You are all amazing! I started to write electronically now so my books can be bigger. Maybe you will read one soon.

    Lots of love,

  5. Kelly M Johnson

    I started writing when I was little and I still haven’t stopped writing. You are so very creative Lisbon and should never stop. Things can get us down but writing takes us places we want to go. You do that for us Lisbon just like your mom.

  6. Karen Frost

    Lisbon I really enjoyed your stories the have a beginning a middle and an end yours do in answer to your pet question I had buggie birds their names were Joey and Angel. Angel would come out of her cage and climb up the back of my chair and sit on my shoulder and play with my hair and ear.

  7. Dilann

    Wow, Lisbon what a great talent you are honing. Seems like you were just a baby, how time flies. I enjoyed you writing very much. My daughter used to write books also. Now she is a songwriter. Keep up the good work you never know where it will lead you!

  8. Floralba

    Hi, Lisbon! God bless you! I am from Venezuela, and I love read your books!

  9. Charlotte


    You are really good with your stories and trying to remind people about allergies. If I had a pet it would have to be a dog because I am allergic to cats. Keep up the good work.

  10. Trina Spencer

    Amazing job. Keep up the great work and before you know it you’ll be a well known author like your mom.

  11. Kate

    Dear Lisbon,

    I love your books! You inspire me. But, please hold your pencil farther back so your eyes can see more of the tip. Otherwise, you’ll get headaches as you grow older and possible eye troubles. Take care of your eyes, you’re going to need them for a long, long time. : )

    A friend named Kate

  12. Lisa

    Hi Lisbon,
    I enjoyed reading your book about pets. I have a dog, who is 13 years old, and a Chinchilla, who is about 10 years old. The Chinchilla belongs to my youngest daughter, but she has moved away from home so I now care for him. Keep writing and sharing your talent. I remember when you were just a baby and came with your mom to the Deseret Book nearest me.

  13. Nashonna Windsor

    Super job! I enjoyed reading The Story About Pets. You are a gifted writer, and I hope you will continue to “shine bright,” too!

  14. Robert

    Great story. Keep writing them and shine on.

  15. Jeanie Jackson

    I love pets, too. I enjoyed reading your book, The Story About Pets. Thank you for letting your mother share the books with us. I hope you keep writing.

  16. Tammy Beverley

    Great job Lisbon, keep it up! I love your ” shine bright”!

  17. Lorraine Gwilliam

    Dear Lisbon,
    I love your book,”About Pets”. It has important information on how to choose and care for your pets. My husband is allergic to anything with fur but we wanted to have a warm snuggly friend for our children so we got a puppy with hair instead of fur. We fed him and gave him water and walked him and took him to the doctor, regularly. Most important, we loved him. Thank you for sharing your books.

    Shine Bright!

  18. Nancy Burgess

    You write wonderful books Lisbon. Keep up the good work.

  19. Margaret Moore

    You have a wonderful gift, keep up the good work.

  20. Gale Osborne

    I think Lisbon does a great job writing her stories and I think she will be a great author like her mother some day .I really enjoyed your work Lisbon,your #1 fan Gale. : )

  21. Gail

    Lisbon, I love your little books. When you become an adult they will be a huge treasure for you. They already are a treasure for your parents.
    My youngest daughter also liked to write her own books and illustrate them as well. I kept everyone of them and hold them close to my heart.
    Keep up the good work,

  22. Gary Willett

    Wow, I so love these Lisbon books and the way the two of you relate. It’s really heartwarming!

  23. Gwen Parrish

    Hi Lisbon,
    I’m very impressed by your latest book. Keep up the great work. You have wonderful ideas. From Gwen ( a fellow writer- but not famous like your mom).


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