Ten-Word Tiny Tales to Inspire and Unsettle by Joseph Coelho and 21 Artist Friends


UK Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho presents twenty tiny tales—each one illustrated by a different artist, and each just ten words long—in a book that’s as much a work of art as an invitation to budding writers.

“Invite me in,” she says, outside my tenth-story window.

Is it possible to spin a tale using just ten words? In this magnificent compendium, author and poet Joseph Coelho proves that it is—with mini-stories of underwater worlds, demon hamsters, bears in outer space, and portals to places unknown. From charming to creepy, fantastical to mysterious, each tale is paired with an outstanding illustrator, and together words and pictures inspire creativity as young readers are prompted to continue the story. Prefaced with a note from the author and offering two writing challenges at the end, this is an ideal gift for anyone ready to unleash their imagination.

With artwork from:
Alex T. Smith * Camilla Sucre * Chuck Groenink * Daishu Ma * Dapo Adeola * Dena Seiferling * Flavia Z. Drago * Freya Hartas * Helen Stephens * Julia Sarda * Katie May Green * Karl James Mountford * Maja Kastelic * Mariachiara Di Giorgio * Nahid Kazemi * Raissa Figueroa * Reggie Brown * Shaun Tan * Thea Lu * Yas Imamura * Yoko Tanaka


This unique collection of short stories is intended to inspire young writers' imaginations. Combining Coelho's unusual ten-word stories with an illustration from one of 21 different artists presents readers with a lot of ideas. The stories do have, as the author says, 'teeth and claws'. They are not for the faint of heart or for especially sensitive readers because most of them are very creepy. But considering how many middle grade readers do enjoy scary stories, reading and/or writing, this will appeal to that particular audience. The idea behind the book is a fantastic one, with good writing advice and inspiration for budding young authors in the horror genre. At the beginning, the author explains where the idea came from (although I suspect his may not be entirely accurate, and at the end, the author suggests some writing exercises that can help young writers improve their skills. Coming from a variety of different artistic styles, it's not surprising that the pictures are each unique. My favorite is the robotic space shark.  The combination of the incredible artwork and the stunning ten-word stories makes for a fascinating piece of work. I would not recommend the book be given to children under ten unless they have an especially strong tolerance for the creepy. The book itself presents a fascinating, imaginative combination of strange stories and stunning art.


  1. What a unique-sounding book.

    Hop on over to my blog if you'd like to join in on some quotable fun. I'm taking over for Freda until she gets well for the Friday56 meme where we publish quotes from page 56 of the book we are currently reading. Loved to have you join us. Friday56 Quotes


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