Thank You Mrs. Andre’s Class!

Last Friday I had the pleasure of visiting Darlene Andre’s fifth grade class in Illinois via SKYPE.   They were in the middle of reading WHEELS OF CHANGE  and had a lot of questions about the story, characters, setting and issues presented in the book.  There are so many wonderful writers in the class and ALL the students were interested in learning about how to write and get books published.  Many shared some of their own writer’s notebooks as well.

We discussed gender roles, when it’s okay to “break rules”, how to develop characters and setting, and many more topics based on the students thoughtful questions.

Mrs. Andre's Fifth Grade Class.

Mrs. Andre’ and her Fifth Grade Class.

Thank you boys and girls for a wonderful visit to your classroom. And thank you for being interested in WHEELS OF CHANGE.  Keep on writing so one day I can read YOUR books! ♥

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Three Cheers For Birches School: A Fantastic Welcome From Some Great Students.

This morning I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the fifth grade classes at the Birches Elementary School in Washington Township, Gloucester Co.  NJ for an Author Visit.  Their Social Studies teacher, Mary Byatt, had read WHEELS OF CHANGE and thought it was a great segway into her unit on the Civil War, reconstruction and the Industrial Revolution.  We had some great discussions about gender roles, civil rights, technology, and fun and games.

What an amazing group of students!  They were attentive, engaging, and really interested in what life was like in 1908.   Here are the photo highlights of  one of the best author visits so far.  THANK YOU MRS. BYATT AND THE FIFTH GRADERS AT BIRCHES!  YOU ROCK!

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Happy Birthday WHEELS OF CHANGE:Join the Celebration With Free Books, Gift Card and More!

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since the launch of my first MG Historical WHEELS OF CHANGE (Creston Books).  My heartfelt thanks to all who have been so supportive and enthusiastic through the whole process.  I couldn’t have done it without your support!

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To celebrate the event, I’m offering TWO signed copies – along with TWO AUTHOR SKYPE VISITS to a classroom or school.  The book is perfect for the 3rd to 6th grade population and can be used as a tie in to units on the Industrial Revolution, racism, the rights of women, or study about changes in Washington DC over the last 100 years.

I have Curriculum Guides, study questions, vocabulary lists, and activity sheets, as well as sheets on Etiquette and Manners at the turn of the Twentieth Century.  The book has been recognized as a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for 2015 by the National Council of Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council.       NCSS_NotableSealRP

I am also giving away ONE $25.00 GIFT CERTIFICATE to Target to a teacher or viewer who passes on an information packet about the book to their local school.  I’ll put your name in a hat and pick it out.  Once you’ve won, you can send me your contact information and name of the school and I’ll forward the packet to you to pass on.

To enter, please leave your comment below for one entry.  Tweet or share this post of FB or other social media for another entry.  Let me know how many entries I should count for you. You have until Sunday, 9-27-2015 to enter.  I’ll announce the winners on Monday 9-28-2015.

The Wheels on the Bus and Other Ways Kids Travel to School. by Shiela Fuller

Darlene here: I don’t know about you, but I found this post fascinating!  It seems that some children will do just about anything to get to school.  Here’s Shiela Fuller with an around-the-world look at how children travel to and from school.

In the United States, children are required by law, called compulsory education, to be educated between the ages of six and  sixteen (The Amish community is not bound by this law). Around the world, compulsory ages range from: six through eighteen in Belgium, six to twelve in Iran, six to fourteen in Uruguay, seven to twelve in Singapore, etc. A complete chart can be found here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_education .

Think about how you get to school. Do you carpool? Ride a bus? Walk? How far is school from where you live? Next time you leave home for school, think about these kids and the determination that drives them, despite the treacherous journeys they travel to school.
In Indonesia, schoolchildren must cross a frail suspension bridge that hangs low over the Ciberang River. It became damaged after a flood and the children risk crossing it because it is the shortest distance. In other parts of the country, students travel to school by canoe, bamboo raft, and some ride on the tops of wooden boats. In Sumatra, students are willing and daring, to cross a tightrope above a river and then walk an additional seven miles to school.

In rural China some children climb ladders that rest along the mountainside to reach their school and others travel along narrow paths carved into the cliffs. When “school season” begins in yet another region of China, the teachers chaperon the boarding school students on a two day journey along cliffs, gravel, and rapids, and “wade through four freezing cold rivers and slide across a 200 m chain bridge on four single plank bridges” http://www.chinahush.com/2011/11/14/treacherous-road-to-school/ .

A quarter of a mile above the Rio Negro River in Columbia, South America, zip wiring is the way to go. Kids fly through the air at 40 mph on steel cables that connects their home to the other side of the valley. This is the only way in and out of the village.
In the Rizel Province, Manilla, Philippines, kids carry inflated tire tubes to school an hour each way so they can float across the river that separates them from school. If the river is flooded, they have to find shelter and wait until the river is safe to cross.

As a new school year begins, and you line up to get on the school bus, or hop in the car pool, remember these kids and the hardships they endure as they make their commute to school. Education is so important, they are willing to risk their lives for it! And just in case, perhaps put a tire tube in your back pack!

Pictures and more information about the ways kids get to school around the world can be found in these links:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1259691/The-children-ride-40mph-zip-wire-quarter-mile-high-to-school.html
http://photoblog.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/12/14390958-risky-river-crossing-filipino-kids-tube-to-get-to-school?lite
http://www.amusingplanet.com/2013/03/kids-risking-their-lives-to-reach-school.html
http://www.chinahush.com/2011/11/14/treacherous-road-to-school/

http://www.boredpanda.com/dangerous-journey-to-school/

http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/family/photos/back-to-school-around-the-world/page/18

Shiela Fuller has been a Cornell University Project Feeder Watch participant for many years and an avid birder since 1988. Currently, she enjoys writing picture books, yoga, chicken raising, wildlife photography, and is the legacy keeper for her family.

Thank You Sussex Ave. School

Yesterday I had the joy and privilege to do a SKYPE visit with the Sussex Ave. School in Morristown, NJ.  I spent some time with Antoinette Lubrano’s fourth grade class who read and discussed WHEELS OF CHANGE.  They asked wonderful questions about the writing process, how I did research for the book and who my favorite characters were.  posterThe students also did some amazing projects about the book that they shared with me. Here’s the link to a glogster post: http://antoinetteg2.edu.glogster.com/wheels-of-change-9252/   Emma made this Animoto video about Emily and Henry…the man Papa hired to be his blacksmith in the story.   https://animoto.com/play/PiDfy0DIji4AVO1dyGPxrw?autostart=1    Catherine Gaynor made a poster about how she and Emily were alike and different.   Many thanks to all the students in Ms. Lubrano;s class for making my visit such a memorable one. You boys and girls ROCK!

Ms. Lubrano's 4th grade class, Sussex Ave. School, Morris, NJ

Ms. Lubrano’s 4th grade class, Sussex Ave. School, Morris, NJ

Catherine Gaynor's poster.

Catherine Gaynor’s poster.

Kindle School Rocks!

On Wednesday, 2-25-2015, I had the pleasure of an author visit at the Elwood Kindle School in Pitman, NJ.  While there, I met some amazing fourth and fifth graders who shared some of their knowledge of what life was like 100 years ago.  I read passages of WHEELS OF CHANGE, shared the origins of the story and then asked students to share some photos of their grandparents and great grandparents as children and young adults. 

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We had a great time talking about fun and games at the turn of the Twentieth Century, how chores have changed, and what it might be like living during that time period. The students were very knowledgeable about what takes place in a forge, as well as how to care for the many animals that lived side-by-side in those days gone by.  Everyone was excited to know that Tootsie Rolls and Hershey Kisses were popular candies in 1908!       Bookmarks were handed out, hands stamped with lucky horseshoes, and books signed as well.      pitman2

It was a delightful group of children, and I was thrilled to be able to share a bit of my story with them.    BIG THANKS to all the great students at Kindle for a delightful morning!      pitman 1

Fourth Graders at Kindle School.

Fourth Graders at Kindle School.

Fifth graders at Kindle School

Fifth graders at Kindle School

An Extraordinary Open Book Experience.

Last week I had the pleasure of participating in AN OPEN BOOK CHILDREN’S LITERACY FOUNDATION (AOB) program in Washington, DC. For those unfamiliar with this program, AOB brings an author to under served schools and provides copies of the author’s book to ALL the students in a chosen school in DC. These children often do not have an opportunity to own books and most have never met an author before.  Through the generosity of this non-profit group, more than 90 copies of WHEELS OF CHANGE were distributed to 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.

What a thrill it was to be welcomed by such an enthusiastic group of children and educators! I had the privilege to visit TWO schools on Friday 2-20-2015: The  KIMBALL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 3377 Minnesota Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20019.

Here I met some amazing third and forth graders who knew a lot about their home town and asked some great questions about WHEELS OF CHANGE.

Kimball Elementary School, Washington, DC

Kimball Elementary School, Washington, DC

After a lively discussion on the changes in their town over the last hundred years, and learning about a forge and what a carriage maker and blacksmith does, the kids got to see a real horseshoe and seemed pleased to get their signed books.   open bk 8

 

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Kimball Student

Kimball Student

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Each child also got a "goodie bag" with a bookmark, stickers, and candy that was popular in 1909.

Each child also got a “goodie bag” with a bookmark, stickers, and candy that was popular in 1909.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My  second visit took place at the KETCHAM ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 1919 15th Street SE, Washington, DC 20020. 

 

Dara LaPorte telling the students about how a horseshoe is put onto a hoof.

Dara LaPorte telling the students about how a horseshoe is put onto a hoof.

Here I met some amazing fifth graders who also astonished me with their knowledge of the nation’s capitol 100 years ago. We had fun talking about what wasn’t in town back then (cheeseburgers, sneakers, cars, TV, electricity) and whether or not they would like living in a time when horses and carriages ruled the day.      open bk b

Janet Zwick - one of the Open Book coordinators - and some fifth grade students at Ketcham.

Janet Zwick – one of the Open Book coordinators – and some fifth grade students at Ketcham.

 

 

 

 

Ketcham Student

Ketcham Student

After the presentation, I again had the privilege of signing books for the students and answering their questions. One of my favorites was this:

STUDENT: “Did you write the book with pencil and paper?”
ME: “I did use pencil and paper until I had a complete story. Then I went to the computer and typed it up.”
STUDENT: “Didn’t your hand get tired?”
ME: “I didn’t write it all in one day. It took many months.”

Ketcham Student

Ketcham Student

STUDENT: Nodding her head, “Oh.”

To find out more about this wonderful program, visit:
http://anopenbookfound.org/