The art of writing presents challenges for even the most experienced authors. My biggest struggle in writing the YA novel The Blood Lie (Cinco Puntos, 2011) revolved around voice. This book is based on a real hate crime that happened in my hometown in the 1920s. I really wanted to give the characters authentic Jazz Age voices, and I was committed to narrating the complex events in a credible, coherent way. It wasn’t easy!
My new historical fiction novel, My Brother's Shadow (FSG, 2011), is set in 1918 in Berlin during the last months of World War One. The book explores how war and the political transition following WWI impacted regular people and children in particular.
Stones for my Father is a book I had been meaning to write for a long time. My mother’s family is South African and I have always wanted to explore that part of my history. I was also interested in the Anglo-Boer War. To me, it is one of the most fascinating and overlooked conflicts of the twentieth century.
Would you like to listen to this year's award-winning authors and illustrators on their inspirations and influences? In this post, enjoy brief TeachingBooks.net recordings with the 2011 John Newbery, Randolph Caldecott, Michael L. Printz, Robert F. Sibert, Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpré, and Theodor Seuss Geisel medalists.
Elementary students love series titles. They enjoy the comfort of familiar characters, settings, and structures. This is especially true for emergent and newly independent readers, whose reading success with these titles encourages them to seek similar books. (Me personally, I learned to read thanks to Matt Christopher’s sports books.)
In the audio clip below, author Karen Hesse reads from her Newbery-winning novel Out of the Dust (Scholastic, 1997), which is written as a poetry cycle. Hesse shares a poem that describes a rare rain during the time of the…
Historical fiction is a complex genre. It can strive to be as absolutely accurate as the writer can make it (as I attempted in Crispin: Cross of Lead) or it may go no further than to create a general sense of time and place (as in Midnight Magic). The work that is merely dressed up in a general sense of time and place is rather like a musical comedy. There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, and in fact there are some real advantages. The primary advantage is that one can deal with very modern ideas and simply place them where one can have the most fun.
I went to Ghana several years ago and was overwhelmed by the beauty of the land and people, as well as the history of the place that hovered just out of reach. When I visited the slave castles, where millions of Africans were housed like cattle before being shipped as cargo and sold as slaves, I felt their spirits crying out to me. Crawling on my hands and knees through the Door of No Return, which led from the darkness of the prison to the incomprehensible vastness of a beach, I knew I must tell the story of someone who had passed that way.
Everyone in education has heard about different learning styles; some of the most prominent are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Perhaps educators have even considered their own learning style and how it influences teaching. But, has consideration ever been given to how these learning styles impact inspiration, interest, and research for a project that follows the inquiry process?
In Conjunction With the 40th Anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Award, TeachingBooks.Net Launches an Extraordinary, Free Curriculum Resource Center For Educators and Families
Maya Angelou and Jerry Pinkney Among the More than 250 Original
Audio Interviews and …