Here is some background info about our class and our reading of Greetings From Nowhere:
Our class of 21 fifth graders represents 8 nationalities. Eight children are new to our school this year in Bangkok. I chose to read Greetings From Nowhere aloud to the class as it is such a great lead-in to our reading unit on "Characters", where we ask the question, "How can the people in stories be like me?"
We are discovering that characters, like real people, are complex and can change. As readers, we are talking about how we develop empathy for and connections to the characters in the story.
The class LOVED the story, start to finish, and they were quite disappointed to find out that it was NOT part of a series!I am continually amazed at how my groups of internationally diverse students relate to the small world of the Sleepy Time Motel.
I think they have discovered big life lessons in that small world. One boy said last week, "I can make a connection with Aggie, because I know that it is painful to leave a home that is familiar."
I'm in the midst of reviewing the copyedited manuscript of On the Road to Mr. Mineo's.
This part of the book creation process can be frustrating but eye-opening.
I'm always surprised at the mistakes I make consistently and the things I learn.
For instance, every time I used the following, I wrote them as two words instead of one:
barbershop livelong flowerpots (but flower boxes is two words) shirttail cornfields hayloft toolbox
I always write lawn mower as one word instead of two.
I forget that the following are hyphenated:
gol-dern (to prevent confusion for kids who don't know the term and might think it should be "golden" ??) barn-owl (although a copyeditor missed it in one spot, where I had two words. HA!) chicken-wire run-down
I gave up on trying to use the expression "pure T". Copyeditor thought I meant "purty."
Those guys don't miss a thing.
On p 2 I wrote "empty doghouse in the yard" On p 73 I wrote "empty doghouse in the front yard"
On p 2 I wrote "stamped her foot" On p 42 I wrote "stomped her foot"
I wrote "screened door." Was changed to "screen door. " (hmmm)
On p 17 I wrote "dern fool bird" On p 118 I wrote "dang fool bird"
I had written: "greasy car parts and paint cans" Was changed to "Paint cans and greasy car parts" since the paint cans aren't greasy.
And then, there is the constant inner battle between "diddly squat" and "doodly squat."
I recently learned that children's author, Kezi Matthews, passed away back in 2010.
Kezi wrote a number of wonderful books, including Flying Lessons and John Riley's Daughter.
But what is particularly special to me about Kezi is that she was once on a writers' message board that I participated in. Once, during a lively discussion that was getting out of hand, she commented that her grandfather used to say:
Sometimes, the more you stir it the worse it stinks.
For those of you familiar with my book, How to Steal a Dog, you might recognize that as an important motto used in the story and quoted by the character of Mookie.
I loved that motto so much. I had written to Kezi and asked permission to use it, which she granted me, of course.