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How To Write A 5-Paragraph Essay: A No-Nonsense Step-By-Step Guide To Mastering Effective Essay Writing, Practical Study Skills, Easy Exercises & Simple Lessons for the Successful Student

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How To Write A 5-Paragraph Essay: A No-Nonsense Step-By-Step Guide To Mastering Effective Essay Writing, Practical Study Skills, Easy Exercises & Simple Lessons for the Successful Student Paperback – August 15, 2022

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Does the thought of writing essays strike fear in your students or learners take the guesswork out of effective essays with this practical guide….

The writing process can be intimidating, especially when your students don't consider themselves strong writers and present zero interest.

From coming up with a topic to actually sitting down and getting thoughts onto paper, it can seem like the path to a well-crafted five-paragraph essay is complicated and confusing.

The truth is, the entire process is more straightforward than most students may think.

Many students have been led to believe that their ability to write an essay is primarily based on innate talent, but that isn't the case. In fact, anybody can be taught how to develop and execute a strong essay , regardless of experience.

Learning to break down the process into simple steps will give your students the confidence to tackle any topic , whether they’re writing on-demand or working within a longer timeframe.

This guide is a self-teaching style workbook that is full to the brim with tips and techniques essential to developing writing skills.

Engaging exercises and practical steps will help your students tackle the writing process without the anxiety and uncertainty that so many learners experience when faced with the task of composing an essay.

In this book, here is just a fraction of what your students will discover:

  • Five crucial steps of essay writing , broken down into detail so your students can build a foundation and start applying these strategies right away
  • Exercises to help your students review and retain essential information as they go through the essay writing process
  • Mini-lessons in each chapter to help your students put it all together without feeling overwhelmed
  • How to choose an essay topic that excites and motivates your students and transform it into a prompt that will guide their writing process
  • Why knowing how to write a five-paragraph essay is so important — the answer may be surprising!
  • Four types of essays that go beyond the basics : expository, narrative, descriptive, and persuasive
  • How to develop a killer thesis statement that will guide the audience through the essay seamlessly
  • Five outlining techniques so that your students can find the strategy that works best for them
  • An answer key, so your students can cross-reference and check to see if they are on the right track

And much more.

Unlike other guides that turn essay writing into something dry and technical, this book will help your students or learners bring their ideas to life in a fun, easygoing fashion, even if they have no experience.

Designed to be used by all manner of students from 5th to 12th grade, this workbook breaks down the essential aspects of a successful essay and builds on easy lessons that will have your students writing like a pro in no time.

If you're ready to have your students ace essay writing once and for all, then scroll up and click the “Add to Cart” button right now.

  • Print length 280 pages
  • Language English
  • Publication date August 15, 2022
  • Dimensions 8.5 x 0.64 x 11 inches
  • ISBN-13 979-8986430201
  • See all details

The Amazon Book Review

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From the Publisher

anxious brain essay writing past tense

Striving for Success Within the Classroom and Beyond

Designed for students to self-teach, this workbook builds on itself with each incremental lesson. Every lesson is then followed by an exercise to help students retain, learn, and apply information. The end of every chapter contains a comprehension quiz to test understanding of the material. We even took care to provide an answer key for students to cross-reference and make sure they are on the right track. This guide puts an emphasis on individual voice and being confident while writing.

What You Will Discover Inside...

Successful student publications.

Anything can be made simple if you break it down into manageable, bite-size pieces. That's our approach to effective essay writing. We have broken down how to write a five-paragraph essay into five simple steps, as follows:

  • Step One- Building a Foundation- focuses on the importance of a five-paragraph essay and touches on the basic essay structure to build foundational knowledge
  • Step Two- Prewriting- focuses on essay planning, picking a topic, identifying a target audience, brainstorming, research, writing an effective thesis statement, and outlining with graphic organizers
  • Step Three- Drafting- focuses on writing the three main parts of a five-paragraph essay (introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion)
  • Step Four- Polish and Shine- focuses on revising, editing, and proofreading
  • Step Five- Going Above and Beyond- focuses on introducing four different essay types (expository, descriptive, narrative, and persuasive) and exploring creativity and voice

Editorial Reviews

"I am a 7th Grade ELA teacher who teaches students of ALL levels (gen ed, honors, special ed, ELLs). This book contains information that can help literally ANY student successfully write a 5 paragraph essay." - Erin Ehrola

"I wish there would have been a book like this ten years ago when I came to study in this country. As a non-native English speaker, I struggled for years to understand how to write a five-paragraph essay, especially when I was in community college. This book seems to not only have the answers to the million questions students might have but a step-by-step guide for the students to learn this process." - Colorspot39

"The author includes practice exercises with graphic organizers, helpful charts, quizzes, visuals, answer keys and just plain down to earth writing. It is extremely easy to follow and understand. She breaks everything down into a simple step by step process so that writing an essay will not be such an overwhelming process for our kiddos!" - Graham

"I truly believe that this book has provided a way for me to help my students be more motivated to write. It's not boring content. I absolutely enjoyed the book and it has helped me tremendously with a way to present and implement the writing process to unmotivated students. I honestly think my students will enjoy it to!" - Stacy Brown

"This book is a gem! It is written with the end result in mind. It is written in clear and concise language, chunking the steps of writing a five paragraph essay in very manageable way. The lessons are engaging and are teacher and student friendly. The lessons follow the path of gradual release which is both important and also difficult for some teachers to let go. This book is a great addition to any writing curriculum, providing a path for ALL teachers, independent of content areas, to implement. I will be utilizing this book and with my incoming 6th grade students and will recommend it to the teachers I coach." - Mrs. Norman

"Teaching essay writing is the bane of any teachers' existence and learning to write essays can be just as torturous for students! This book is the perfect solution." - Evan A.

"The tone is friendly and fresh, addressing the real issues students face in attempting to write, but the exercises-breaking every step down and supplying needed service are what make me love this book." - Middle School Teacher

"I homeschool my two middle school aged kids and have been needing a "done-for-you" resource on teaching how to write a 5 paragraph essay. Let me tell you, this book has been a God-send! I love that it takes little to no teaching on my part because it directly takes a student through every part of writing a 5 paragraph essay." -Amazon Customer

"I'm a teacher of 16 years and frequently pull and create writing lessons from a variety of resources. This book has it all! The lessons follow a logical order and are very well written." -Fred

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0B9QM23Q7
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Successful Student Publications (August 15, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 280 pages
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8986430201
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.44 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 8.5 x 0.64 x 11 inches
  • #13 in Writing Skill Reference (Books)
  • #37 in Language Arts Teaching Materials
  • #187 in Education Workbooks (Books)

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About the author

Successful Student Publications is a small team of ambitious collaborators pioneering the world of writing by offering easy-to-use and accessible information for students and individuals of all proficiency levels to improve their writing skills. Through our extensive experience and meticulous process, we formulate step-by-step approaches to conquering common writing and ELA pitfalls that may serve as weak points for many students and individuals. Our vision is to equip young minds with the knowledge and tools to be successful within the classroom and beyond.

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Short Essays Books

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Short Essay Collections Are My Comfort Read Right Now

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Nikki VanRy

Nikki VanRy is a proud resident of Arizona, where she gets to indulge her love of tacos, desert storms, and tank tops. She also writes for the Tucson Festival of Books, loves anything sci-fi/fantasy/historical, drinks too much chai, and will spend all day in bed reading thankyouverymuch. Follow her on Instagram @nikki.vanry .

View All posts by Nikki VanRy

We are now well over a month into *gestures around* all of this in the U.S. and, like many readers, I’ve been disengaged and distracted, unable to muster the excitement to sit down and read a book or even pop in an audiobook. The cognitive load of daily worries—what will happen to my business? how will we get groceries? did I sanitize everything enough enough? how are my grandparents doing?—is a very real thing that none of us can downplay right now.

Even though I’m incredibly grateful that I’m not a frontline employee, that my family is remaining healthy, and I do still have a relatively stable job, I’m also practicing greater grace and balance during this pandemic. That means not pushing myself to do things just because I should  or in honor of the “productivity” gods or that I enjoyed them when times were less stressful. And one of those things that fell by the wayside early on was reading.

Don’t get me wrong; I was reading more than ever. But instead of deep, satisfying reads, I was poring over news and Reddit and, most of all, Medium articles with titles like “Wash Every Grocery Bag Before It Comes Into Your House” and “No, You Don’t Need To Really Wash Every Grocery Bag” and “10 Reasons Why COVID-19 Will Absolutely Destroy Your Brain” and “Maybe Coronavirus Is On Your Dog!” (and a perennial favorite, “I Recreated This Trash Snack At Home And This Is What Happened”).

Truly, there’s nothing wrong with reads like these, but on a high enough dose, they had the same effect on my brain as that giant batch of cookies I baked had on my stomach. Satisfying in the moment, but not great as continued sustenance.

After a few weeks of that (and the associated anxiety spirals, thankyouverymuch), I looked at what I needed, what I wanted, and what didn’t serve me right now. A constant barrage of news and think pieces? Nope. A long, doorstopper of a book that I could sit and read for hours? Also, nope.

My brain is craving quick bits of information. Short reads that seem manageable and doable. Five-minute escapes before jumping back into work or grocery sanitation. So, I turned to short essay collections, enjoying one or two or ten at the start of my day when I would normally be cycling through a veritable fuck-storm of open news tabs. And…they helped.

My hope is that they’ll help some of you who are looking for shorter reads, too. The short essay collections I’ve especially enjoyed recently include the following.

Wow, No Thank You.   by Samantha Irby

Books rarely make me cackle, but Irby’s essays on the horrors of making adult friends and reminiscing about the art of mix-tapes and living as a lesbian in a rural community and trying to figure out what the hell to do with a house,  are consistently hilarious.

Irby weaves from house ghosts to cats, from trash television to uterine ablation, with a relentless stomp. I think of her line (from an essay on home repairs): “that cherry tomato that rolled under the unreachable corner cabinet: what’s gonna happen to it” at least three times a day.

She is vulnerable and messy and I will not stop pressing her books into people’s hands (erm sending them copies with contact-less delivery). Irby is a one-click author for me, someone I will read no matter the time or season, but especially now, her words are a balm—as joyful as eating a bowl of cereal in bed at 10:00 a.m.

Don’t believe me? Read “ The Worst Friend Date I Ever Had ” from the collection now.

The Book of Delights   by Ross Gay

Gay was one of those poets I had been meaning to read for months, but never got to. During a time when each hour brings another news story or catastrophic turn in global events, I was suddenly grateful his book had sat on my TBR list for so long and that it found me again at this moment in time.

The Book of Delights  is exactly what it sounds like: every day for a year, Gay wrote about a single “delight” in his life and collected ~100 of those into this book. They’re short essays that are composed in prose with the ear of a poet. Each essay is an invitation to slow down and pay attention, each elevating the mundane to the transcendent—a bag left on a train seat shows our impulse to help, a soft scarf illuminates Gay’s own maturing. They’re short five-minute reads that linger long after reading.

If you want a taste of Gay’s work, one of the great essays from the book “Loitering Is Delightful” was reprinted in  The Paris Review. 

Bluets   by Maggie Nelson

Like Gay,  Bluets  hyper-focuses on one thing to illuminate the larger world around us. (With a world that seems out of control and chaotic, it’s not an accident that I’m gravitating towards writing that draws inwards, into stillness, into a single unobstructed examination).

Instead of delight, Nelson focuses on the color blue. Her fragmented essays comprise a study of blue, its uses over time, its history in the world and in her body. Nelson’s are the shortest essays on this list, some only a sentence or paragraph long, that together recreate loneliness, longing, and lightness.

All of that in a single color.

Dig into some of Nelson’s work with four poems of hers published in  BOMB. 

More Short Essay Collections

Other short essay collections (or essay-adjacent reads) I’ve enjoyed recently include:

You can also keep up with our bookish COVID-19 coverage here. Beyond short essay collections, our contributors have been recommending their favorite uplifting books , their feel-good fantasy reads , and just general thoughts on what to do if you can’t read right now .

Of course, I haven’t been exclusively reading essays. Downtime, when I have it, is just as equally spent reading as it is playing Animal Crossing and taking long walks and painting my nails and generally staring off into space. And, that’s totally okay. My part to play is simply staying the hell at home and letting smarter people than me figure this thing out. The loss of control is terrifying, but the scrabble and need to do something to help is also a constant battle with no easy answers.

Instead, I’m trying to turn towards joy and balance. Helping where and when I can and giving myself grace when I can’t. Sometimes that means reading words another human put onto a page and finding solace there. Sometimes that means a storm of open tabs. Both are okay. Both are necessary right now.

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10 Books for Essay Writing You Need To Know About

Home » Blog » 10 Books for Essay Writing You Need To Know About

Do you have an essay writing task? Are you looking for an example of essay writing which is the absolute best? We understand how essay writing can feel very daunting at first. It can take time to research, understand the material, plan what you want to write and have the creativity and confidence to produce the work. There are some great books for essay writing to help you out!

At Summer Boarding Courses, we recommend you take the time to work through the format for essay writing step-by-step. Many of our courses, including our Creative Writing Course at  Oxford College , can help you with this.

We advise you to keep practicing. Listen to feedback from your friends and teachers. Most of all, do not give up! Soon enough you will be able to deliver excellent work.

To help you become a better writer, it’s essential to have the best instruction too. Whilst you’re waiting for our Summer Boarding Courses to start in Oxford, why not read up on our favourite books on essay writing?

Here are our Top 10 Books for Essay Writing that will have you creating unique and captivating essays for your school assignments!

smiling student looking at camera out of focus students in background lowres

Academic Writing: A Handbook for International Students  – Stephen Bailey

If you’re one of our ESL international students wanting help for essay writing at University, this is a great book to start with! We recommend reading this before you attend University in the UK as there are many an example of how to write an excellent piece inside. Many exercises are included that you can try, which is perfect for self-study in your own time.

College Essay Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay  – Ethan Sawyer

Are you applying to a College or University? Do you need to write a personal statement ( check out our personal statement guide here )?

Writing your application to enter the school you’re dreaming of may be making you feel very anxious, but college counsellor Ethan Sawyer has written a fantastic guide to help you through it. He will help you bring your personal experiences to life and show you that this application is not too scary after all.

We particularly love his advice in answering these two very important questions:

Have you experienced significant challenges in your life?

Do you know what you want to be or do in the future?

College Essay Essentials has lots of essay writing tips, tricks, exercises and real-life examples to reassure you. Good luck! You can do it!

smiling students sat in classroom working lowres

Oxford A-Z of Grammar and Punctuation  – John Seely

If you want to produce good essay writing, you need your English Grammar to be clear and correct. At Summer Boarding Courses, we understand that English Grammar can sometimes be very confusing and unintuitive.

For a clear, simple and easy-to-understand pocket grammar book, John Seely’s Oxford A-Z of Grammar and Punctuation is extremely helpful.

Whether you are writing a professional piece, a school paper or a fun personal letter to a friend, this book will give you straightforward advice – and it’s small enough to easily fit in your rucksack!

Study with us in the UK!

Take your English writing to the next level.  Find out more about our courses here. 

How to Write an Essay in Five Easy Steps  – Inklyo

Do you need a short and easy introduction to essay writing? We recommend you start with this. It is 58 pages long, not a difficult read and covers all the basics that you need to know. The authors take you through your essay writing step-by-step and help you minimise your anxiety, even if it is the night before your project is due!

We love their recommendation about how to make your instructor happy:

‘Demonstrate that you have understood the course material and write intelligently about your subject’.

A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays: The No-Nonsense Plan for Better Writing  – Dr. Jacob Neumann

Dr. Neumann is straight-talking. He believes that the plan for any type of essay is the same but how you approach essay writing is critical. The only thing that changes for each essay is the length and complexity of the project.

This book covers every aspect of academic writing for College, University and Secondary (High School) students. We love how simple, honest and clear his instructions are and believe you will complete your writing task much more confidently with his advice.

student pointing at work other student looking lowres

100 Ways to Improve Your Writing  – Gary Provost

This book may have been written in 1985, but it still a fantastic resource for the best essay writing! It does not matter if you are a student or an established successful writer. This easy-to-use guidebook will inspire you to write even better than before.

100 Ways to Improve Your Writing includes many writing examples and plenty of straightforward writing tips. It’s also easy to dip in and out of. Read through it all in one go or pick a chapter or two when you are feeling inspired!

GCSE English Writing Skills Study Guide  – CGP Books

For our younger learners aged 14 to 16, this is an excellent guide for students to refine their writing skills in essays, non-fiction, creative writing and more. There are clear, helpful exercises throughout the book for students to complete and understand the best English topics for essay writing.

The content is also written for students studying GCSE English: if you are taking this exam, you’ll have a much better chance of passing!

How to Write Better Essays (Palgrave Study Skills)  – Bryan Greetham

We all want to be confident when we are writing our essays. This step-by-step guide will help you analyse concepts, consider different arguments about a subject, and argue your ideas well. The chapters are easy to read and digest and will show you how to research ideas, take notes, write productively in exams and be engaging in your writing.

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The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present  – Phillip Lopate

It is by reading other writers, that we develop our own ideas and unique style. Discover how your own writing can progress and grow through gaining an insight into other writers’ minds and lives.

The Art of the Personal Essay is an excellent collection of essays, from old to new, that are highly entertaining, creative and reflective. Make sure to have this text on your bookshelf or in your bag, so that you can take it out whenever you are seeking inspiration for your next essay. Enjoy!

The Oxford Book of Essays  – John Gross

For the ultimate essay writing book, this is the collection of work that you need to read. There are 140 essays in here by 120 writers. You will find every kind of style; from poetry and fantasy to serious arguments. Some pieces are old, others are incredibly modern. Read through the essays at your own leisure, so that your ideas about how to write gently expand alongside your imagination and creativity.

Do you feel ready to write with our recommended books for essay writing?

Essay writing is an essential skill for English students but just getting started can be difficult! You will need to think about what type of essay you are being asked to write. You will have to plan your outline in essay writing – considering the introduction, the main body of the essay, an excellent conclusion and references.

Having excellent research skills, avoiding plagiarism, and making your essay stand out from the rest of the students in your class are key things you need to know.

We hope our recommendations have inspired you and lead you to writing excellent essays in the future. Good luck and get started. We look forward to seeing you at Summer Boarding Courses in Summer, where you can receive the best writing tips from our teachers in the UK!

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Essay books for school students that are great for reference (September, 2023)

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Essay books for school students that are great for reference (September, 2023)

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1. Girls Can Kiss Now by Jill Gutowitz

simple essay book

Jill Gutowitz's debut essay collection has solidified her own place in the lesbian canon, which she explores in-depth in one of her essays where she lists vital pieces of it, including oat milk, elderflower syrup, and "Eliza Dushku just existing." If you haven't read Jill's work yet, I don't know what you're waiting for — she is consistently the funniest and best person to follow on Twitter and her Gaylor missives are not to be missed. 

Jill's exploration of her own identity is told through era-defining anecdotes, a reminder of just how influential pop culture really is on our lives — which isn't a bad thing, according to Jill. If you love the early aughts-setting of PEN15 , Lindsay Lohan , and folklore , this is the perfect read for you.

Get it from Bookshop or through your local bookstore via Indiebound . You can also try the audiobook version through  

2. Game On: 15 Stories of Wins, Losses and Everything In Between edited by Laura Silverman

simple essay book

This YA anthology is a prime example of the millions of ways a prompt can be interpreted. While the cover may trick you into believing this anthology is all about sports, it's not the case. For instance, Nina Moreno, author of Don't Date Rosa Santos , has an endearing sapphic story about two girls who fall in love playing a farming sim (aka what queer cottagecore dreams are made of). And the first story in the collection, Sona Charaipotra's "Let It Spin," tells of a game of spin the bottle that changed the direction of its MC's life, detailing a devastating friendship breakup. Editor Laura Silverman also has a story in the anthology about sexism and tabletop gaming. And sure, there are sports stories in it, too, ranging from cheerleading to soccer and everywhere in between. There's something for everyone here.

3. Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative by Melissa Febos

simple essay book

A new collection of essays by writer Melissa Febos navigates the relationship between mind and body, how they are less separated than we think, and how our bodies dictate the way we remember and tell stories. A craft book at its core, the ideas presented will invoke thoughts about process for writers, but it's an insightful read whether you're a writer or not. 

Get it from Bookshop or through your local bookstore via Indiebound . You can also try the audiobook version through . 

4. The Last Suspicious Holdout: Stories by Ladee Hubbard

simple essay book

Ladee Hubbard's collection of 13 short stories offer vignettes of different Black families living in an unnamed "sliver of Southern suburbia" in a time between the beginning of Bill Clinton's presidency to the inauguration of President Barack Obama . Their stories range from funny to sad; always vivid, mostly hopeful, with a strong focus on matters that affect Black families at disproportionate rates: namely the quality and accessibility of education and healthcare, the war on drugs, and the criminal justice system. There is a strong sense of community throughout the stories, told in a world where resilience and hope are the only options, and nothing is taken for granted. 

5. Cost of Living: Essays by Emily Maloney

simple essay book

It's no secret that our healthcare system, especially in the US, is beyond broken. This collection of essays from Emily Maloney tells two sides of the story: as a patient and as a healthcare professional, the ways she was wronged and pushed into debt, and the stories of patients she cared for as an emergency room technician. Rather than choosing between a focus on how mental health treatment is not handled properly in this country or a focus on how the smallest of injuries can send someone into massive debt, Maloney explores it all: the different creaks and crevices of the ways the healthcare industry can fail its patients over and over again. 

6. New Teeth by Simon Rich

simple essay book

Simon Rich's new collection of short stories is an ode to growing up, which is something we can never have enough of. Wholly imaginative, like a child should be, the stories play up a child's fears and big questions, asking: What if they were true? And rather than just dream up the nightmares, Rich provides the answers, letting every insane scenario end in a place of comfort and certainty, at least to some degree. Whether you're looking to get in touch with your inner child, wanting a voice that hears you as a new parent, or just in need of a laugh, you'll find what you're in search of in New Teeth.

Get it from Bookshop or through your local bookstore via Indiebound. You can also try the audiobook version through  

7. In the Margins: On the Pleasures of Reading and Writing by Elena Ferrante

simple essay book

Elena Ferrante ( My Brilliant Friend ) has long established herself as an author to look out for. So much so that she was invited to give a public series of lectures on writing at the University of Bologna, but the pandemic put a halt to those plans. Instead, she compiled those lessons in this book.

While she's well-known for her fiction, and for being an anonymous author, this book of essays allows her to explore nonfiction writing and allows readers to get a closer glimpse into the mind of this mysterious writer. Elena's prose does not suffer in this different medium; if anything, it's as strong and beautiful as ever.

Get it from Bookshop or through your local bookstore via Indiebound . 

8. Reclaim The Stars: 17 Tales Across Realms & Space edited by Zoraida Córdova

simple essay book

Featuring both new and acclaimed voices in the Latin American writing space, this anthology explores the world of science fiction, magic, and fantasy through different lenses in the Latin American diaspora, divided into sections. From stories with magical space princesses (Anne-Marie McClemore's "Reign of Diamonds") to stories with plant-growing magic (Zoraida Cordova's "Tame the Wicked Night"), underneath all the supernatural forces are stories about love, death, grief, acceptance, family pressure, coming to terms with your sexuality, and much more. You're bound to find a new favorite story or author here.

Get it from Bookshop or through your local bookstore via Indiebound. You can also try the audiobook version through . 

9. Dear Damage: Essays by Ashley Marie Farmer

simple essay book

Ashley Farmer's collection of essays on grief are gripping from the start, as she sets the scene of a turning point in her grandparents' marriage. A bad fall paralyzes her grandmother unexpectedly, and trying to do what he thinks is right, her grandfather shoots and kills her shortly after in a "mercy killing." He tries to kill himself, too, but fails. And thus starts the collection of hybrid essays focused on Farmer's grandparents, interspersed with internet comments on the news story, audio transcripts, legal documents, and more, making for a truly unique and fascinating book.

Get it from Bookshop or through your local bookstore via Indiebound.

10. Shit Cassandra Saw by Gwen E. Kirby

A blue book cover, with illustrated eyes above the title and illusrated red lips underneath the title

Gwen E. Kirby's debut collection of short stories dares to ask: What if we just let women be their messiest selves? Through this lens, she imagines scenarios women (and men!) may have encountered since the Hellenic times up until today, playing with different structures including a "How To" essay and a scathing Yelp review that has a lot more bubbling under the surface. These hilarious stories use satire to examine real struggles and criticisms of the world and patriarchal standards. If you want to laugh and think, pick this one up. 

Get it from Bookshop or through your local bookstore via Indiebound. You can also try the audiobook version through 

11. Up All Night: 13 Stories Between Sunset and Sunrise edited by Laura Silverman

simple essay book

This genre-blending anthology features contemporary stories, romance, horror, and even stories about superheroes, all from acclaimed YA authors such as Nina LaCour, Tiffany D. Jackson, Karen M. McManus, and more. What do these stories have in common? They take place in the wee hours of the night, where the magic happens. With disability rep, queer rep, Black rep, and Asian rep, this diverse collection of stories explores both exciting and painful firsts, like first loves and first heartbreaks, as well as stories about friendship breakups and friendship rekindlings, and poignant lessons in self-discovery. 

Get it from Bookshop or through your local bookstore via Indiebound . You can also try the audiobook version through 

12. The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories edited by Yu Chen and Regina Kanyu Wang

simple essay book

Told and translated by a team of female and nonbinary creators, The Way Spring Arrives  is a collection of short stories and nonfiction essays centered on underrepresented voices in Chinese science fiction and fantasy. The stories are often existential and sometimes dystopian, exploring deep and dark "what if's" in the real world and other universes, flush with vivid setting descriptions. Aside from the gorgeously translated stories, there are essays on the art of translation that will give you a new appreciation for the intricacies of translation, including some written by critically acclaimed author of The Poppy Wars  trilogy, R. F. Kuang.

Get it from Bookshop or through your local bookstore via Indiebound . You can also try the audiobook version through 

13. That Way Madness Lies edited by Dahlia Adler

simple essay book

Whether or not you love Shakespeare, you're sure to love this collection of contemporary reimaginings of some of the Bard's most famous stories, as told by a diverse group of prominent YA authors. There are prom stories based off Twelfth Night (Mark Oshiro's "Shipwrecked"), road trip stories based off Sonnet 147 (Brittany Cavallaro's "His Invitation"), troubled sibling stories based off The Tempest (Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley's "Severe Weather Warning") and so much more, including some spectacular queer and genderfluid rep in quite a few stories, sure to make William himself proud. 

14. Seeking Fortune Elsewhere by Sindya Bhanoo

simple essay book

This debut collection of short stories from Sindya Bhanoo is a rich exploration of the South Indian immigrant experience, telling varying stories from different characters all detailing the hard and surprising parts of their journeys, reminding readers that these decisions are never easy to make. Raw, honest, and intimate, Bhanoo's gift for storytelling shines in these short stories that paint full pictures and connect with each other, though they take place in different countries. 

15. Fiona and Jane by Jean Chen Ho

simple essay book

In Fiona and Jane , author Jean Chen Ho takes advantage of the short story format to freely jump around different eras and shift perspectives while telling the stories of two Asian American best friends who find themselves on opposite sides of the country in their adulthood, recounting their personal and joint explorations of identity, love, sexuality, and ambition. Told in the way two real friends may be telling the same stories with varying perspectives to their kids or partners, the honesty and emotions in Fiona and Jane  sheds a beautiful light on the joy of female friendship and how it can shape a person, ground them, and help them see themselves for who they really are. 

16. Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century by Kim Fu

Blue book cover with pieces of images of bird wings, trees, branches, frog legs, flowers

A collection of stories that are horrifying and fantastical, Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century is more than just stomach-churning imagery of bugs and other creatures. With unique perspectives, the stories explore the monsters hiding in plain sight — the effects of technology, the aftermath of grief, the pain of growing up, the trouble that is being a part of a family. As unsettling as the stories may be, they are often relatable, too, and at the very least, thought-provoking.

17. A Manual For Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin

simple essay book

I couldn't write a list of short stories without including this posthumous, must-read collection from the late Lucia Berlin. With a haunting and poignant voice, Berlin weaves tales about alcoholism, tainted love, motherhood, grief, and more, set across a number of settings across the United States . Painfully honest, every emotion explored by Berlin is palpable. An unforgettable collection of stories that belongs on everyone's bookshelf.  

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“A very helpful guide for all of those completing college applications, I couldn't recommend this book enough. It's entertaining, informative, and it includes detailed instructions and exercises to help you brainstorm your perfect essay topics as well as great examples of completed essays. It truly is a great resource to have in your writing arsenal.”

- Brenda Zhao (Amazon Customer)

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“For every student out there who says they're not are great writer, doesn't know where to start, or doesn't have amazing things to write about (perhaps even a combination of the three), this is the book for you. And even if you're not one of those people but are writing your college application essays, this is still the book for you. Ethan's guide demystifies the "mystery" of the college essay. It helps readers discover who they are and find fresh, unique ways to write about it in their personal statement. The true gems of the book are the beautiful essays Ethan encloses and the commentary he includes to show what makes them so memorable. The analysis has made me look at writing my essays in a completely different way; rather than writing for the sake of writing, I write with an intent and a purpose, communicating essential values and qualities about me within each paragraph. I write in a way that garners the reader's attention - one that makes them stop and think and ponder and perhaps even reflect upon themselves. In essence, this book has transformed writing college essays from a grueling and daunting activity to a rewarding art and a craft.”

- Curt H. (Amazon Customer)

Let the College Essay Guy help you write your college admission essay.

Packed with brainstorming activities, personal statement samples and more, this book provides a clear roadmap to writing your best admission essay.

Writing a college admission essay doesn't have to be stressful. I will show you that there are only four (really, four!) types of college admission essays. And all you have to do to figure out which type is best for you is answer two simple questions:

1. Have you experienced significant challenges in your life? 2. Do you know what you want to be or do in the future?

With these questions providing the building blocks for your essay, I’ll guide you through the rest of the process, from choosing a structure to revising your essay, and answers the big questions that have probably been keeping you up at night: “How do I brag in a way that doesn't sound like bragging?” and “How do I make my essay, like, deep?”

College Essay Essentials  will help you with:

The best brainstorming exercises

Choosing an essay structure

The all-important editing and revisions

Exercises & tools to help you get started or get unstuck

College admission essay examples

Packed with tips, tricks, exercises, and sample essays from real students who got into their dream schools,  College Essay Essentials  is the only college essay guide to make this complicated process logical, simple, and (dare I say it?) a little bit fun. The perfect companion to  The Fiske Guide To Colleges 2020/2021 . For high school counselors and college admission coaches, this is an essential book to help walk your students through writing a stellar, authentic college essay.

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”It gives you activities to help students brainstorm for their essays and clear writing strategies to help students. He takes a complicated process and makes it simple. Thank you Ethan!”

- Sarah M. (College counselor)

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“Even as an experienced college admissions consultant who already felt capable in guiding students through the essay-writing process, I learned a lot and discovered many tools I can use. Ethan's coverage of the "montage structure" is especially helpful. For a student who is willing to really put in some time and work, it would be hard to beat this book.”

- Big Tex (Amazon Customer)

Here are some questions I answer in this book:

How do I figure out what to write about?

How do I structure my essay?

Is there a step-by-step process for writing the essay?

Are any topics off-limits?

How much sharing is too much?

How do I revise my essay?

How do I make my essay not-boring?

Any tips for how to start the essay?

How do I demonstrate my intelligence?

How do I brag in a way that doesn’t sound like I’m bragging?

How to do I make my essay, like, deep?

How do I end my essay?

How do I write a great last line?

How do I make my essay amazing?

How do I know if my essay is good?

What do I do if my essay is just “okay”?

Should I share my essay? With how many people? When? 

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What other people are saying.

IT’S THE REASON WE GOT ACCEPTED SINCE OUR TEST SCORES WEREN’T THE BEST. |   ★★★★★ - “I'm writing to you to thank you, specifically for your book, College Essay Essentials. My twin brother and I were just accepted to Dartmouth College Class of 2022 and it wouldn't have been possible without your help. Your book revolutionized the way we both wrote and I think it's the reason we got accepted since our test scores weren't the best. Additionally, your words struck a chord within me and I want to be someone like you, who makes the essay writing portion fun and adventurous just like you did for me. I'm certain you get many emails like this and I just wanted to let you know that you changed our lives for the better.” – Anonymous Emailer

this is the BEST |   ★★★★★

"I purchased 3 different college essay books and by far, this is the BEST and really provides a step by step approach for students to come up with ideas to write a college essay based on two questions - if you have faced challenges or not and if you know what you want to do for career or not. Most other books focus on the basics or what not to write and to write from your heart and make it personal - this goes in a lot more details than any other book I've come across. Definitely a great book to have as reference. "

-Mom of Two, Amazon Customer

Ethan Sawyer is the College Essay Guy   |   ★★★★★

“That kind of says it all. While he may have named himself that, he has earned the title. His passion for writing essays that is conveyed in this book, will help any student get through the somewhat stressful and daunting process with fun and ease. As a college counselor, I have used some of Ethan’s methods to help my own clients write their essays. The great thing about this book is that it brings the College Essay Guy and his methods, brainstorming exercises, structures and ideas to everyone. Ethan is inspirational and College Essay Essentials is a must have for any student (or counselor) who is looking to be inspired to write a successful college admissions essay.”

– gonzo14, Amazon Customer

Magic Bullet for College Essays  |  ★★★★★

“College Essay Essentials is a close to a "magic bullet" that students are going to find to help them produce meaningful and powerful college essays. Besides being an easy to follow, step-by-step guide, Ethan Sawyer injects the right amount of humor to make the essay writing process fun and rewarding. Following the advice in the book will not just produce thoughtful writing, but if done right, will allow the students to really get to know themselves on a deeper level. After all, the college process is as much about getting to "know thyself" as it is about getting into and going to college!” 

–C.B. McMeekan

I absolutely love this book   |  ★★★★★

"I read about 10 different books on writing essays for college applications to help prepare my son for his senior year. This book was by FAR the best. I had my son read it (the only one I had him read) and he grudgingly agreed to work through the process that Ethan lays out in the book. The step by step approach was instrumental in helping him figure out how to structure his essay and what sorts of topics might lend themselves to an effective essay. It was brief enough that he could read it, get it, and then utilize it for his essays in short order. If you are just getting started on the application process, you might really appreciate this point. I know we did.

Now that the apps are in, he is hearing back. All acceptances so far (6 schools with 8 still to go) and multiple merit financial aid awards that I attribute, at least in part, to the strength of the essay he managed to write. The process is laid out nicely for me to help him get to his deepest story, an essential piece of the essay that MUST be done in order for the essay to be effective at setting the student apart from others.” 

–JohnP387, Amazon User

An Essential Source for College Essay Writing Advice   |  ★★★★★

“Ethan Sawyer has managed to distill all the wonderful information he provides in his classes and consultations into this highly informative and entertaining book. The only thing missing is the twinkle in his eyes as he connects with his audience! I highly recommend this book to parents, students and college counseling professionals who want to help students write compelling essays as part of the college admissions process. The exercises are engaging, and the step-by-step instructions are designed to create deep and insightful essays. I have tried these tips with my students, and they work extremely well.” 

–Wendie Lubick

If there's one book you need, this is it.   |   ★★★★★

“This is THE BOOK for writing your college essay. It has everything I need, from planning my essay to specific strategies on structure and idea implementation. It's also very easy to read and formatted very neatly, with great annotation space and well-organized chapters. But what I love about this book most is its ability to help me find myself in the process - instead of churning out a formula for writing a solid essay, this book helps you dig deep into the things which are truly important to you with thought-provoking questions and brainstorm strategies. I felt like the author was sitting next to me, probing my brain and asking me questions about my life and the threads that connect the different themes in my life. If you want to write a college essay that is personal, insightful, and truly revealing, this is the book for you.”

–pinendlz, Amazon User

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Essay Book

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98 essay written in very simple language.

Covered vast topics, briefly describe each.

Useful for school student upto secondary grades.

Helpful in Essay writing exams, short speeches, and short essay writing competition.

Useful in competitive exams.

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