Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Teacher Tuesday with Three Hens and a Peacock

Grades K-3

When a new peacock shows up at the farm, three hens become jealous of the attention this newcomer receives. Peacock graciously tries to trade places with the hens by sitting in the hen house while they strut outside, trying to attract customers, but it is no use. Each is meant for their own job and they cannot try to be something they are not.

Try this activity with your class after reading Three Hens and a Peacock in order to emphasize vocabulary while also learning that it is okay to be different from one another.
  •  Read through Three Hens and a Peacock aloud a second time.
  • This time, have the students raise their hands when they hear an interesting word, or one they don’t understand.
  • Place those words on a list and try to define by using context clues.
  • Discuss correct meanings for each word.
  • Words to look out for: cud, quart, peacock, fancy, shrieking, eventually, folks, admire, booming, brewing, lazy, moped, glamorous, bangles, gussied up, strutted, flocked, cramped, trudged, exhausted, and stellar

Click here for the full summary of Three Hens and a Peacock and here for the complete teacher’s guide. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday Brunch with JJ Johnson

Good morning! For today's Sunday Brunch, we're discussing eating disorders, recovery, and writing the new young adult novel Believarexic with author J.J. Johnson.

What inspires you to write?

I write because I have a perplexing, deep-seating need to make stuff up.  I get to inhabit different worlds all day, yet still show up and have dinner with my family. Plus it's a rationale for eavesdropping, snooping, and investigating.  I get to call it "research."

What made you write Believarexic?

My editor and I were kicking around ideas for my next novel. I told her I still had all my old journals and letters from when I stayed at an in-patient Eating Disorder Unit (EDU), and I could use them to write a book. I don't think either of us had any idea what it would lead to, or how difficult the process would be.

There have been so many books written about characters with eating disorders. What do you hope Believarexic adds to the discussion?

First, the name itself points to the fact that eating disorders are about so much more than disordered eating. They are about belief in ourselves and our connections to others.

Second, Believarexic is 100 percent focused on recovery, I've seen a lot of young adult novels and memoirs that are much more focused on the illness stage of the disorder; these books subsequently read like how-to manuals for eating disorders. I was very, very careful not to do that with Believarexic. I never mention specific weights—whether diet "target" weights or maintenance ranges, nor do I discuss tricks for purging or restricting food.

Additionally, I think the in-patient setting is a fascinating world, and add to that: the 1980s! Who doesn't love the 80s?

How do you think eating disorder treatment has changed over the years since you completed treatment?

I am not an expert in current methodologies at all, but I do read about treatment approaches for my own curiosity and interest. From what I gather, a lot has changed, but some things are the same.

In terms of treatment of adolescents, The Maudsley Approach fascinates me. It keeps restrictive-type eating disorder patients at home, and centers care within the family. This is the diametric opposite of my experience of treatment in the late 1980s. At that time, there was a de-facto assumption that patients were dysfunctionally "enmeshed" with our families—especially our mothers. You have to appreciate the irony.

Some things have stayed the same. The emphasis on re-feeding and achieving a healthy weight remains, as does the need for individual and family therapy, good nutrition education, and healthy coping strategies.

Music plays such a key role in this book. Was music a type of therapy for you?

I wouldn't say that music was therapy for me, but it was important. There's a scene with Nurse Chuck going through my cassette tapes, and that really happened. Songs from that time take me right back, instantly. More generally, I think music is a touchstone during adolescence, more than any other time of life. It was for me, at least.

Nurse Ratched was such a despised character in your book. When you look back on her as an adult, what are your feelings?

Nurse Ratched is a combination of two nurses from the hospital. One was the head of the unit and actively anorexic (she was hospitalized shortly after I left the hospital). The other nurse was a compulsive cleaner who, for whatever reason, just seemed to hate me. We rubbed each other the wrong way, to put it mildly.

Looking back as an adult, I know both these women were human and struggling with their own issues. I hope they got the help they needed. But the thing about a psychiatric hospital is that there is a massive, and crucial, power differential between staff and patients. In my experience, staff can, and sometimes did, use that power to make patients miserable.

What what do you know? The thing about being a writer is that there is a massive power differential between a writer and her characters. I get to vilify as much as I want. But you already know the difference. A novel is not a real psychiatric hospital. It's make-believe. No actual humans were mistreated in the writing of this novel.

Do you still struggle with your eating disorder?

I call myself 99 percent recovered from bulimarexia—and believarexia.  At times, I still struggle with body image, but my actual disorder is in healthy remission. I have had relapses, though.

I had an acute, but short, relapse my senior year of high school, and another longer relapse when I entered motherhood at age thirty. That one was a doozie. About a year after giving birth, I started purging for the first time in more than a decade. It wasn't every day; the eating disorder had morphed from the violent, intense monster of my teen years into a chronically nagging, niggling critic. It persisted for nearly five years. What made it worse was how entirely unprepared I was for a relapse. I'd thought I was completely done with disordered eating. I wish someone could have warned me. I was disappointed in myself, depressed, and deeply ashamed.

I'm pleased—and relieved—to say I'm in good health again, after a few ugly wake-up calls. One of those nasty calls was a messed up esophagus. Due to accumulated years of purging and mistreatment, I now live with strictures and valve issues; sometimes food gets stuck on the way down, and sometimes it even comes right back up. And not because I want it to anymore.

Another change in perspective came as a result of two fluke accidents resulting in concussions. Ensuing post-concussion syndrome left me weak, confused, and debilitated for many months. It brought into start relief the absolute blessing that good health is.

Are you involved in eating disorder causes?

Not formally. For many years, I spoke in high schools, colleges, and with EDU patients about my recovery. In graduate school (where I studied adolescent risk and prevention), I reached out to and learned from some amazing leaders in eating disordered treatment, and subsequently did some work with teens around the issue. And I continually address eating disorder awareness and body honesty in my books, interviews, and public appearances.

What are  your keys to recovery?

A shift in perspective, a supportive safety net of family and friends, a commitment to good health, and no more secrets: these were the foundations on which I re-built my recovery. There's so much more to life than whether my tummy is flabby. My tummy is flabby. It always will be. But you know what else? My heart is full, my brain is functioning, my soul is solid, and my smile still works great.

What is your advice for readers who might be struggling with similar disorders?

PLEASE GET HELP. If your eating is disordered enough to interfere with the enjoyment of your life, or affecting your relationships, then your eating is disordered enough to need help. The end. Full stop. No arguments.

Recovery is possible. It's not easy, but it's worth it.

Say something to someone. Write a note. Send an email. Make a phone call. Don't stop reaching out until you get the help you need.

Take that leap of faith. Trust that you'll grow wings when you do.

I'll be right here cheering for you.  

Believarexic is now available to buy! Check out more information about Believarexic here, and more about JJ Johnson on her website. Don't miss our New Book Wednesday post about Believarexic on October 14!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New Book Wednesday: Stay!

Stay! perfectly captures what it’s like to have a new pet in the house. Ben and Buster are a dynamic pair, but Ben lets Buster, his dog, do what he wants when he wants. Ben’s parents are not as on board with this idea, and they decide to take a family vacation…without Buster. Buster will stay with Grampa while they are away, and when they return, they’ll find that Grampa has worked some magic of his own on the rambunctious dog.

This book stands out among others in that Ben writes an enormous amount of letters, notes, and postcards to Grampa about how to take care of Buster. He worries that Grampa will not know how Buster likes to be treated, what his biggest fears are, and how he likes to be scratched. Many of the pages in this book display the letters that Ben has written, complete with illustrations for maximum understanding. Grampa finishes the story by writing Ben a letter of his own; only this time, he describes how to continue training Buster, rather than pampering him.

This book is a perfect read aloud for any child that loves pets, has a dog, or wants one in the future. For the full summary of Stay! click here

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Teacher Tuesday with Out of Bounds

Grades 3-7

Fred Bowen’s newest book, Out of Bounds, teaches readers how true athletes exemplify sportsmanship. Nate, an eighth-grade soccer player, must choose to either keep playing after an opponent has been injured or to send the ball out of bounds in an act of good sportsmanship. Much to the chagrin of some of his teammates, Nate kicks the ball out of bounds in order to give the injured player a chance to recover.

This book uses real-world events to help portray how young athletes can be sportsman-like. Throughout the book, Nate and his team must learn how to work together and how to demonstrate good character. Try this activity with your class in order to practice creative writing skills and to also prompt discussion on fairness and sportsmanship.
After the class reads Out of Bounds, discuss how the sportsmanship discussed in the book can be applied to situations that do not involve sports. Emphasize that sportsmanship is a display of fairness and of high character.
  • Ask the class to write a one to two page essay describing an instance where they witnessed excellent sportsmanship or an example of fairness.
  • These essays can be about sports, dance class, camp, extracurricular activities, or anything that the student thinks applies to the situation.
  •  This activity will help the class to practice their writing skills and to learn the importance of sportsmanship in everyday situations.

For the full discussion guides of Fred Bowen’s books, click here, and for the full summary of Out of Bounds, click here

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

New Book Wednesday: Claude in the Spotlight written and illustrated by Alex T. Smith

Claude and Sir Bobblysock are at it again! In their next adventure, the pair joins Miss Highkick-Spin’s dance troupe. Claude and Sir Bobblysock love the theater they will be dancing in—especially the beautiful chandelier—but they decide to avoid the darker, spookier areas back stage. Then, when it is time to perform, their worst nightmares come true; a ghost is ruining each act as soon as they go on stage! It is up to Claude to reveal this ghost and his tricks, and when the beautiful chandelier threatens to topple the show’s judge, Claude must jump into action yet again.

This is another hilarious installment in the Claude series. Claude’s curiosity leads to unpredictable adventures, but no matter where he goes, he is adored by all. Sir Bobblysock, on the other hand, is a delicate sock who is prone to headaches, bad knees, and, above all, perfectly-timed sarcasm. Together, the pair bounces from place to place, making many friends and creating plenty of memories along the way. Yet, they always return home to their beloved Mr. and Mrs. Shinnyshoes. That is, until the next adventure comes along….  

For more on the Claude series, click here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Teacher Tuesday with Watch Out for Flying Kids!

Grades 3-8

Social justice can be a very hard topic to discuss at any age, let alone with young children. Watch Out for Flying Kids tackles many important topics, each applicable in different ways to most kids who read it. Yet, understanding the issues that surround the kids in this book can be hard to grasp. Try this activity with your class in order to better understand the complexities behind equality:
  • Bring to class enough lemons for each of your students to have one.
  • Distribute the lemons to the students and ask them to “Get to know their lemon.”
  • Students may look for any unique marks on the lemons surface, its shape, and can even draw on the lemon if they wish, so long as they know which lemon is theirs.
  • Collect the lemons and put them in one basket; ask the students to retrieve their lemon (students should have no trouble with this).
  • After the students have retrieved their lemons, collect them once more until Part II of the activity the next day.
  • Before class the next day, peal each of the student’s lemons and return them to the basket.
  • When the students come in for class, ask them to please find their lemon in the basket.
  • The students should not be able to differentiate between the lemons; this will teach them that although we all look different on the outside, on the inside we are all people with hopes and dreams just like everyone else.
  • Following the activity, prompt a discussion about how this lesson is learned in Watch Out for Flying Kids.
     For the full summary of Watch Out For Flying Kids!, click here. For more information about the above activity, click here

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

New Book Wednesday: Charlie Bumpers vs. the Perfect Little Turkey written by Bill Harley and Illustrated by Adam Gustavson

Have you ever been annoyed with a family member before? Or maybe even thought that your family is a group of people that you just have to “put up with?” This is exactly how Charlie feels before beginning his Thanksgiving break.

Charlie’s family has invited fifteen people over for Thanksgiving dinner, and Charlie is very disappointed to hear that one of those people will be his annoying little cousin, Chip. Chip follows Charlie around, messes up his things, and gets him into trouble. Soon, Charlie is so exasperated, that he teams up with his siblings, Matt and Mabel, to lock Chip in the bathroom!

Charlie loves to play soccer against his garage door and call his little sister “the Squid,” and just like any other middle school boy, he wants to watch shows on superheroes and pretend he is the next great athlete to take over the professional league. But Charlie is challenged over his Thanksgiving break to welcome every visitor that walks into his home, even the ones that annoy him more than most. For any child who finds themselves constantly bothered by a sibling, cousin, or even neighbor, this book will help readers realize that a family is a group of people you love no matter what.

This is the fourth installment in the Charlie Bumpers series, and it does not disappoint! It will keep readers laughing at the havoc that befalls this family during what is supposed to be a typical Thanksgiving holiday. 

For the full summary of Charlie Bumpers vs. the Perfect Little Turkey, click here

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday Brunch with Fred Bowen

For today's Sunday Brunch, we're chatting with Fred Bowen about soccer, sportsmanship, and his brand new soccer title Out of Bounds. Enjoy!

Where did the idea for Out of Bounds come from?

About eighteen months ago, I had lunch with Steve Goff, the principal soccer reporter for the Washington Post, and I mentioned that I was writing a new middle-grade soccer book. We talked about various issues in soccer, including sportsmanship. Steve mentioned the custom in soccer that calls for a player to kick the ball out of bounds if an opposing player gets hurt.

I thought a story of a player struggling with the idea of sportsmanship within the context of a very heated soccer rivalry would be a terrific theme for a book.

After lunch, Steve emailed me a video of the game between AFC Ajax and SC Cambuur that is mentioned in Out of Bounds and is featured in “The Real Story” chapter.

What does your writing process look like? 

First, I construct the “arc” of the story by briefly outlining what will be included in each of the fifteen or so chapters in the book. I think this is important because middle readers really enjoy a good story. And a good story – with an interesting beginning, middle and end – takes planning and work.

Once I have the arc, I make a more detailed outline of each chapter. I write the outline up in longhand in a couple 100-page notebooks. These outlines include dialogue and specific details of the story. The outline does not have to be perfect but it is close to what the book will be. This detailed outline is the most fun part of the process. It is the first time I am really telling the story.

Finally, I write a first draft. This is when I try to get the story as close to perfect as I can.

Do you have a specific routine you use when writing? 

It depends on what part of the writing process I am in. If I am outlining the story I might do that writing in my den or (weather permitting) on my back porch. But when I am writing a first draft (or editing a draft) I am at my computer in my home office.

However, at almost every step of the writing process I listen to music. I am a HUGE jazz fan. I listen to Miles Davis (from the 1950s), Tommy Flanagan, Jim Hall, Stan Getz, Bill Evans, Tony Bennett, Bill Charlap, Houston Person, Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Oscar Peterson, and Scott Hamilton to name a few of my favorites. Jazz is America’s greatest contribution to the arts. I think everyone should get to know it.

What do you hope to accomplish with your sports series? 

I have always tried to do three things with each of my 20 sports books for Peachtree

First, I want to tell a good story. I want my books to be fun to read. I love to hear that kids stayed up late to finish reading one of my books.

Second, I want to tell kids something about the history of the sports they love. That’s why I always include a history chapter in all my books.

Finally, I want to get my readers to stop and think about the sports they play.  Kids learn a lot from playing sports and I want my books to be part of that experience.

Are any of the topics in your book(s) especially important to you? 

Sports were very important to me when I was growing up. And I realized from all the coaching that I did that sports are still important to kids.

Playing sports and being part of a team teaches kids some very important lessons such as the importance of friendship, fairness, and dealing with failure. What kids learn on the playing field can be every bit as important and life changing as what they learn in school.

What do you want your readers to know about you? 

I am not just a writer. I am a husband, a father, and a grandfather. I was a lawyer for more than 30 years. I also coached more than 30 kids’ sports teams when my kids were growing up.

But I was always someone who loved reading and sports. I also love stories. So writing sports stories for kids is a dream job for me. I can only hope that the kids who read my books enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.

What do you hope your readers will get from reading Out of Bounds?

I hope kids who play sports will stop and think about winning the right way. It is easy to get lost in the idea of winning at any cost and seeing your opponent as your enemy. But sports, and especially kids’ sports, should be about giving your best and being able to accept the final score whatever it is.

Thanks for joining us, Fred!

You can find more about Fred at fredbowen.com and his sports fiction at sportsstoryseries.com. Keep up with Fred's sports column, "The Score", in the Washington Post

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Storm Called Katrina: Ten Years Later

Guest Post by Myron Uhlberg

Ten years ago, on August 28, 2005, like millions of Americans around the country, I sat glued to my television screen as a monster hurricane came barreling out of the Gulf of Mexico.

I grew up in Brooklyn, barely two miles from Coney Island and the surly Atlantic Ocean. In those pre-electronic days of no TV (let alone computers, iPhones, and IPads), life seemed fairly dull. But one wild September day, when I was eleven years old, the Great Atlantic hurricane of 1944 hit land just east of Brooklyn. I remember holding my coat open, being swept up and down my street by winds that were later reported to be over 100 miles per hour.

Ever since that day in my childhood, hurricanes had held for me an odd fascination. I had begun following the path of Katrina as it approached the southernmost coast of Florida on August 2. At that time the storm was seemingly on a collision course with Aventura, a city founded by Don Soffer, a friend and football teammate from my Brandeis University days. My first girlfriend, whom I’d met as a freshman at Brandeis, also lived in Aventura. This hurricane was personal.

Katrina passed over south Florida, causing considerable damage. With much of her energy spent, she limped, like a dowager in high heels, into the Gulf of Mexico.

However, within a matter of hours, fed by the warm waters of the Gulf, Katrina regained her strength, flexed her muscles, and headed west. The guessing game began: When would she turn toward land? Where would she hit? The Florida panhandle, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, or perhaps even as far west as Texas?

Anyone who watched the course of that storm over the next two days will remember how Katrina finally made up her mind and hooked to her right, northwards. The suspense ended as it became obvious that she was headed straight for New Orleans—a man-made, crescent-shaped city built on reclaimed land, much of it below sea level, surrounded by two lakes, the Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Who can forget the images we saw on our TV screen? Winds up to 140 miles per hour and rain falling with biblical intensity. The mighty Mississippi River, one of the largest and most powerful rivers in the world, being pushed backwards, upstream, like a mere puddle. And then the canals overflowing, the levees collapsing, and New Orleans being inundated.

Whole sections of the city had been reduced to roofs poking up like tiny islands in a new lake. And on the roofs were people, in plain sight but apparently ignored. That image struck me. In that moment, those people were experiencing the reality that my deaf parents lived with many times—in plain sight but ignored by the hearing. I couldn’t get that actual, as well as metaphorical, relationship from my mind’s eye. Yet how easy it was, at the end of the day, to click off our TV sets, and as the screen went dark, to turn our back on what we had witnessed.     

Over the course of the next three days, I watched the horror of what Katrina—and years of neglect and indifference—had spawned. New Orleans was drowning right before our eyes.

And where were the children?
  • During the following year I was obsessed with Hurricane Katrina and the answer to that question: what had happened to the children of Katrina? I read the statistics:
  • Katrina had flooded over 80 percent of New Orleans.
  • One million people—men, women and children—were driven from their homes.
  • 20,000 people sought refuge in the Superdome; 76 percent had children under 18 with them.
  • “Refuge” in the Superdome meant living for days hungry, thirsty, half-dressed, with garbage piled high and the bathrooms turned putrid.
  • Three months after Katrina nearly destroyed New Orleans, the waters had receded, but according to Newsday, “1,300 children were still missing.”
Every one of my children’s books have started with some aspect of my life, lived as the hearing child of two deaf parents. What I witnessed on TV that August, and later researched in newspapers, books, and websites—the words and the photos—brought to my mind the powerlessness, the confusion, the terror, the uncertainty, and the need for adult reassurance that all the children of Katrina must have experienced, as I had experienced at various times in my young life, and as all children experience at some point.

I was compelled to write the story of one such child of Katrina—a boy who loved his parents and depended on them to see him through any situation—and the story of his parents, who provided him with the love, protection, and hope for the future that we trust all parents will offer to their children.

I thought for a long time about my fictional character, Louis Daniel, and his strong, protective, and loving parents. Then as I wrote about them, they became real to me. I could have been that boy; those could have been my parents. We could have experienced what they experienced. Just as my parents had chosen always to see hope for our family, so Louis Daniel’s parents saw hope for theirs.

Once the book was written, I felt I could say no more. Then I considered who might be best to illustrate Louis Daniel’s story. Who could feel what Louis Daniel felt? Who could express artistically what this boy and his family went through during this horrendous life-altering event?
I visited New Orleans for the first time in 2006, less than one year after Hurricane Katrina. I was there for the American Library Association convention. Illustrator Colin Bootman and I were to receive the ALA Schneider Family Book Award for Dad, Jackie, and Me, a book we’d worked on together. We had never met. But I felt, in a way, that I knew Colin. His artistic interpretation of my deaf father in that story was so emotionally accurate, he might very well had known him.  

I had brought the manuscript of Louis Daniel and hurricane Katrina to the convention. My thought was to show it to Margaret Quinlin—the president and publisher of Peachtree Publishers—who would join us in accepting the award. 

Prior to the awards ceremony, I saw the Superdome and visited the Ninth Ward. What I saw on those visits and the emotions they triggered have remained with me to this day, nine years later.  

Finally, at a luncheon in honor of the Schneider family award recipients, I met Colin Bootman. We—a kid from Brooklyn and a boy born in Trinidad—hit it off immediately. The next day we met for coffee in my hotel’s lobby, and he asked me what we could do as a follow-up to our collaborative award-winning book. I told him that I had been working on a story about a family from the Ninth Ward who had been caught in Hurricane Katrina.  

“Tell me more,” he said. And I did, laying out the entire incredible story of Louis Daniel and his family’s escape from the rising floodwaters, and their subsequent misery during their stay in the Superdome.

Colin listened with rapt attention. When I was finished, he only asked me one question: “How do you visualize the boy, Louis Daniel?” I described a ten-year-old boy who loved playing his cornet, just as Louis Armstrong had done many years before him, when he was a boy living in New Orleans.

“I want to do this book!” Colin said. “I know this boy. How long will it take to write?”

“I already wrote it.”

“When can I read it?”

“Now,” I said, and went up to my room to get the manuscript.
Colin Bootman’s art for this book was beyond my greatest expectations; he captured Louis Daniel perfectly. And his cover art showing Louis under a blue cloudless sky, joyously blowing his cornet on a flooded street in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, was breathtaking. It was all there: catastrophe, the aftermath, life continuing, and the miracle of hope.

It has often been said, you can’t judge a book by its cover. But in the case of A Storm Called Katrina, I believe you can.


As an American History major in college, I was taken with Gore Vidal’s shorthand description of America. He called it “The United States of Amnesia.”

I’ve just turned 82, and often reflect on how much America, and life lived in America, has changed since I was a boy. So much has happened—a series of brutal wars, growing economic inequality, continuing struggles for human rights, increasing dependence on lightning-fast electronic communication and quick sound bites at the expense of building deep commitments and personal relationships. All this does seem to have resulted in a mind-numbing national amnesia.

In writing a story about what happened to a family in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina, I hoped to suggest that there was still time to recover, to see the light of what’s truly important in America: family, community, shared purpose, and hope for a better future for everyone.
Whether I succeeded or not, I will always treasure the time I spent in the effort.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Teacher Tuesday with Lilliput

Grades 4-6

Gulliver’s Travels was one of the first novels in history to spark the phenomenon now known as “fan fiction.” Today, we find hundreds of novels, short stories, TV shows, and movies that give a different perspective on some of our most famous works; for example, the Wicked Witch of the West is secretly misunderstood—and also very musically talented—Elizabeth Bennett becomes the next new zombie slayer, Joanna replaces Katniss as the leader of the revolution against the Capitol, and, finally, the untold story of what happens to Gulliver after he returns becomes a fight for hope and freedom.

Lilliput contains many lessons within its pages—the importance of hope and the preciousness of a single moment to name a few—but perhaps its biggest takeaway is that imagination is limitless. Not only does Lily, the main character, think of brilliant ways to return to her home, but Sam Gayton, the author himself, also employs Lilly’s imaginative mindset in deciding to create a sequel to the beloved classic, Gulliver’s Travels.

Imagination is precious at all ages, but it is particularly important during one’s adolescence. Lilliput provides an avenue to discuss Gulliver’s Travels and the events that take place after its conclusion, but it also serves as a platform to discuss the untold stories behind novels that students already love. After discussing Gulliver’s Travels and reading Lilliput with your class, ask your students how Lilliput has changed their perspective on Gulliver’s Travels, if at all. Then, spark another conversation about the student’s favorite books; have they ever wondered if there was a different side to those stories? After discussing the possibilities for a few moments, give your students the freedom to write their own versions of those stories. They will practice their writing skills, but more importantly, they will be challenged creatively. 

Click here for the full summary of Lilliput.