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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Eyes on: Glory Be, by Augusta Scattergood  
The OQS DCF Lunch Group held its first meeting recently.  The featured book was Glory Be, a work of historical fiction set in Mississippi in the early 1960's.  The students found it dificult to believe that in that time and place, there could be "public" swimming pools that were not open to everyone.  The book's main character, Gloriana -- or Glory for short, is disappointed when the community pool closes days before her 12th birthday party.  Over the course of the book, Glory learns that there is much more at stake than just her hoped-for pool party.  We talked about how easy it is to accept the status quo, and how difficult it can be to fight for change.

Two students at our lunch group had read the book already, and several others signed up to be on the waiting list to check the book out.  This book is also available through FollettShelf on our school website:

Students need to read at least 5 books from this year's DCF list in order to vote for their favorite book in April.  See the complete list at:

The next meeting of the DCF Lunch Group will be on November 1.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Where do authors get their ideas?
Rosemary Wells (author of the Max and Ruby books, the McDuff books, and many others) gives some excellent answers to this question in her video A Visit with Rosemary Wells.  While watching this video with our first graders as part of an author study, I was struck by three things:

  • Authors get ideas from their real lives.  We could see Rosemary Wells walking her dogs (Westies) that look just like McDuff.  She also says that the expressions on these dogs' faces helped to inspire the characters of Max & Ruby (that, and the behavior of her two daughters).
  • Sometimes ideas just come to us and we do not know where they came from.  Rosemary Wells says that when she first wakes up in the morning and is still half-asleep, ideas just come to her like birds landing on the railing of a ship in an active ocean.  She says that it is then her responsibility to take care of those "birds" (or ideas) so that they can become stories.
  • Everyone has stories in his/her life, and they don't always seem very special at first glance.  In her video, she shows a bunch of plastic beads and clips that she found in a junk drawer in her house.  They do not look like much, until she puts them into a kaleidoscope and then all sorts of wonderful patterns are revealed.  Part of an author's job is to look at ordinary things in a way that makes them interesting to readers.