Monday, December 11, 2017

It’s a Parody Party!

guest post by Sue Fliess

Okay, so maybe I get overly giddy about writing parodies, but for me they are just so much fun! I’m not sure what inspired me to write my first parody song, but once I did, I was hooked. Essentially, I like to take popular songs and change up the lyrics to make it about writing or poke fun at part of the writing journey. I think it’s cathartic to me to be able to express some of the less appealing parts of being in book publishing or being a writer. Humor gets me through the rough patches, and I figured others in the same boat might need a laugh. I’ve done parodies on finishing a book, revising, wanting more books, and even dipped my toe into the political spectrum. But I had not thought of doing a parody for a book, which seems hard to believe! So when an editor, who’d seen my parodies, asked me to try my hand at a parody for a children’s book, I said yes! And We Wish For A Monster Christmas was born!

Try it with your class!
Depending on the age of your students, you can have them do simple or more complex parodies. For the younger set, maybe just take the title of songs they know, and have them change the titles, or just the main chorus. For older groups they can choose a song and rewrite all the lyrics. What I do is print out a page with 2 columns. The left column I have the actual song lyrics and on the right, I create my own to match the beats or syllables. But since it’s a parody, it doesn’t have to be exact. Also, my parodies surround a central theme, but for younger students, it may be a challenge to rewrite a whole song around one topic.

Literary parody
Not in the mood for music? Have your class write a parody of a nursery rhyme or poem they know from a collection. For instance, Mary Had a Little Lamb or Humpty Dumpty might be good starters. Again, they can just create a new title, or rework the whole piece.

No matter which direction you choose, it’s sure to be a fun activity that lets kids be silly and use their imaginations. 

Sue Fliess ("fleece") is the author of numerous children's books including A Fairy Friend, Calling All Cars, Robots, Robots Everywhere!, The Hug Book, Tons of Trucks and Shoes for Me!  Sue lives with her family and a Labrador named Charlie in Northern Virginia. For more information about Sue and to check out her books and song parodies, go to

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