|Interdistrict Grant Programs||
MSWP has started off with a bang! We have amazing writers this year. I love hearing you all share your ideas and stories with us each session.
Nikoo McGoldrick has offered amazing workshops for the students each session. We love her enthusiasm and passion for working with our students!
Just a recap of our amazing writers who came to our sessions this Fall:
October -- Ameen-Storm
November -- Steve Parlato
December -- Karen Romano Young
I am looking forward to our next three sessions after the new year! Coming up ... January 15 with or resident writer, Nikoo and our guest writer, Eshu Bumpus
Have a wonderful holiday season! See you in January!
Hello, Middle School Writers!
We are getting ready to kick-start the year. I'm excited to announce that our first program date is October 24 at EDUCATION CONNECTION.
Welcome participating students and teachers from:
Thomaston High School
Westside Middle School Academy
Woodbury Middle School
Looking forward to another wonderful year of MSWP! :)
I hope you're all having a wonderful summer filled with stories, reading, and taking the time to keep those creative juices flowing! I'm sure you're finding plenty of time to have your pen traveling along the paper... or your fingers typing on your laptop or iPad!
I spent some time at a local bookstore the other day and wanted to share a few popular books on the Recommended Summer Reading List... in case you haven't begun your summer homework quite yet!
Mass, Wendy; A Mango-Shaped Space
Afraid that she is crazy, thirteen-year-old Mia, who sees a special color with every letter, number, and sound, keeps this a secret until she becomes overwhelmed by school, changing relationships, and the death of her beloved cat, Mango.
Schmidt, Gary D.; Okay for Now
Fourteen-year-old Doug Swieteck faces many challenges, including an abusive father, a brother traumatized by Vietnam, suspicious teachers and police officers, and isolation, but when he meets a girl known as Lil Spicer, he develops a close relationship with her and finds a safe place at the local library.
Weeks, Sarah; So B. It
Although she lives an unconventional lifestyle with her mentally disabled mother and their doting neighbor, Bernadette, Heidi has a lucky streak that has a way of pointing her in the right direction. When a mysterious word in her mother′s vocabulary begins to haunt her, Heidi′s thirst for the truth leads her on a cross-country journey in search of the secrets of her past.
Van Draanen,Wendelin; The Running Dream
When a school bus accident leaves sixteen-year-old Jessica an amputee, she returns to school with a prosthetic limb and her track team finds a wonderful way to help rekindle her dream of running again.
Mike Lupica; Million Dollar Throw
Eighth-grade star quarterback Nate Brodie's family is feeling the stress of the troubled economy, and Nate is frantic because his best friend Abby is going blind, so when he gets a chance to win a million dollars if he can complete a pass during the halftime of a New England Patriot's game, he is nearly overwhelmed by the pressure to succeed.
Bartoletti, Susan Campbell; The Boy Who Dared
In October 1942, seventeen-year-old Helmuth Hubener, imprisoned for distributing anti-Nazi leaflets, recalls his past life and how he came to dedicate himself to bring the truth about Hitler and the war to the German people.
Gratz, Alan; Prisoner B-3087
Survive. At any cost. Ten concentration camps. Ten different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly. It's something no one could imagine surviving. But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face.
Klages, Ellen; The Green Glass Sea
In 1943, eleven-year-old Dewey Kerrigan lives with her scientist father in Los Alamos, New Mexico, as he works on a top secret government program and befriends an aspiring artist who is a misfit just like her.
Lai, Thanhha; Inside Out & Back Again
Inspired by the author's childhood experience of fleeing Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon and immigrating to Alabama, this coming-of-age debut novel told in verse has been celebrated for its touching child's-eye view of family and immigration
Drago, Ty; The Undertakers
Will is one of only a few people who is able to see the growing number of corpses invading his town, and forced to join a ragtag army of teenage resistance fighters called the Undertakers, Will is suddenly in the middle of a war between the living and the dead.
Henry, April; Girl, Stolen
When an impulsive carjacking turns into a kidnapping, Griffin, a high school dropout, finds himself more in sympathy with his wealthy, blind victim, sixteen-year-old Cheyenne, than with his greedy father.
Lu, Marie; Legend (any book in the series)
In a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations, fifteen-year-olds Day, a famous criminal, and prodigy June, the brilliant soldier hired to capture him, discover that they have a common enemy.
Mulligan, Andy; Trash
A group of fourteen-year-old boys, who make a living picking garbage from the outskirts of a large city, finds something special and mysterious that brings terrifying consequences.
Pfeffer, Marybeth; Life as We Knew It (any book in the series)
Through journal entries, sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family's struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.
Cashore, Kristin; Graceling (or any in the Seven Kingdoms Trilogy)
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight - she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug. When she first meets Prince Po, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away.
Schlosser, Eric; Chew on This
A look at fast food, what's in it, how it's made, and what it does to our bodies.
In the New York Times bestseller Chew on This, Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson unwrap the fast-food industry to bring you a behind-the-scenes look at a business that both feeds and feeds off the young. Find out what really goes on at your favorite restaurants—and what lurks between those sesame seed buns.
Stone, Tanya Lee; Courage Has No Color
World War II is raging, and thousands of American soldiers are fighting overseas against the injustices brought on by Hitler. Back on the home front, discrimination against African Americans plays out as much on Main Street as in the military. Tanya Lee Stone examines the little-known history of the Triple Nickles, America's first black paratroopers, who fought in an attack on the American West by the Japanese.
Tougas, Shelly; Little Rock 1957
Nine African American students made history when they defied a governor and integrated an Arkansas high school in 1957, but it was the photo of a young girl being taunted, harassed and threatened by an angry mob that grabbed the world's attention.
Louisa May Alcott; Little Women
Daniel Defoe; Robinson Crusoe
Betty Smith; A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
J.R.R. Tolkien; The Lord of the Rings (series)
Mark Twain; Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Here are some more book recommendations from your MSWP Peers.
Among the Hidden Series
Written by: Margaret Peterson Haddix
I loved this book because it was a suspenseful, dystopian book where all 3rd children are prohibited so the main character must hide. He wants to fight back but the consequence would have him dead...
The Percy Jackson Series
The Heroes of Olympus Series
Written by: Rick Riordan
Written by: Cornelia Funke
Reckless is about a boy names Jacob and his little brother, Will. Jacob and Will's father goes missing up in a tower. One day Jacob goes into his father's office and discovers a whole new world. Then everything goes wrong.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to read mystery and action!
Written by: Stephanie Meyer
Pretty Little Liars Series
Written by: Sara Shepard
Written by: Stephen King
The Kill Order
Written by: James Dashner
The Prince of Mist
Written by: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
I would recommend this book because it is suspenseful. The author tied a lot of cool things into the story line. It is scary but that's one of the things that makes the story so good.
Written by: George Orwell
1984 is a stunning trip into the future where the government control everything, especially the almighty Big Brother. Rebel Winsted is completely against BB and is trying to take him down at all costs. Throughout this novel, Winsted's personality takes unbelievable twists and turns which you can't comprehend unless you read the book!
Say You're Sorry
Written by: Michael Robotham
Two missing girls. Two brutal murders. All linked to one person. That one person knows the whole truth. But who? The closer clinical psychologist Joe O'Laughlin and ex-cop Vincent Ruiz get to solving the murders and kidnapping, the farther away from the truth they become. O'Laughlin begins to find clues he believes will close the case. The clues reveal the astonishing brutal truth about those all around. This book is a MUST READ if you're into suspenseful thrillers! I promise you, you will not put this book down. I think it's time to Say You're Sorry...
Written by: Lois Lowry
The Giver is a fantastic book about a boy named Jonah who figures out things about his world he would have never thought of. This book depends on Jonah accepting his new abilities and going on a journey he would never think up to save everyone he loves.
The Fault in Our Stars
Written by: John Green
This is a fantastic book that tells of Hazel's struggle with life and death. Hazel's unique perspective opens up new ideas.
Side note: This is what I'm reading right now. I love it and I love John Green's writing style.
Please continue to share your book recommendations with me (either comment here or email: firstname.lastname@example.org) and be sure to check back for more! It was a pleasure having you in MSWP this year.
Enjoy the rest of your school year and have a wonderful summer! :)
Sadly, our MSWP program came to an end last Friday, April 4. We had a jam-packed full program that day with authors Nikoo McGoldrick and Jake Halpern.
Nikoo, as always, was inspiring and hilarious. She had the students engaged, collaborating and writing!
Jake had the students in the palm of his hand. They enjoyed his workshop and I know he did, as well.
Then we celebrated the Literary Journal with a pizza party and build your own ice cream sundae! :)
A HUGE thank you to Nikoo for all her hard work and her enthusiasm! Thank you to our teachers for participating in our program and bringing your wonderful students along!
Take a look at the following pictures that recap our final program.
Meet Guest Writer, Jake Halpern
Jake Halpern is not only an author and journalist, but is also a radio producer. Jake attended Yale University and received his undergraduate degree in 1997. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, the New Republic, Entertainment Weekly, Slate, Smithsonian, GQ, Sports Illustrated, and New York Magazine. Halpern is also a commentator and freelance producer for Nation Public Radio’s All Things Considered and a contributor to This American Life.
Halpern’s first book, Braving Home, reflects on the lives of Americans who actively choose to live in or near dangerous places. His second book, Fame Junkies, discusses the psychological structures of celebrity obsession. Currently, two of Jake’s stories are being developed into fictional dramatic series on HBO.
Jake published his first novel, Dormia, an epic tale about a hidden kingdom, a twelve year old boy named Alfonso, and the ancient magic of sleep, in the spring of 2009. This book was soon followed by the second book, Worlds End, and the third, Shadow Tree.
Nowadays, he divides his time between producing radio pieces, doing magazine articles and writing books. When he’s not working, he enjoys traveling to remote places and hiking in the wilderness with his wife and sons.
For more information on Jake visit http://www.jakehalpern.com/
Here are some more book recommendations from your MSWP Peers.
Written by: James Preller
If you like The Hunger Games Trilogy, you will love:
The Maze Runner Trilogy
Written by: James Dashner
A Child Called "It"
Written by: Dave Pelzer
Student Recommendation: A Child Called "It" is a stunning auto-biography about a young boy named David and his struggles to grow up in the care of his abusive mother. While going through his darkest hour, David has to mature quickly and find out who he really is in order to cope with the pain. I highly recommend this book as an emotional read.
Written by: Veronica Roth
Student Recommendation: I read Divergent and would recommend it to anybody who enjoys reading about love and mysteries that continue to unfold.
Roll of Thunder; Hear My Cry
Written by: Mildred D. Taylor
Written By: Judy Blume
Peter and the Starcatchers
Written by: Dave Barry
Student Recommendation: I loved this book because the author truly makes the characters come alive!
Side note -- I love this book! This is on Kristin's Recommendation List! :)
The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Written by: Mitch Albom
Student Recommendation: This book transformed me into a different world. The vivid descriptions of what heaven is like left me very emotional. When my loved ones pass away, I will now feel that they are safe after reading this book. This writing taught me that everyone connects to someone else.
Side note -- ONE OF MY FAVES! I highly recommend any of Mitch Albom's books. :)
Looking forward to seeing you all on Thursday, January 9th!
Guest Writer Charles Atkins joined Resident Writer Nikoo McGoldrick for a wonderful Middle School Writing Project session on December 6th.
Charles encouraged students take real life and push it into fiction and to write from their passions. Charles said that even his extreme villains have a part of his humanity in them.
Nikoo got the juices flowing with her creative story starters. She spoke about elements of a fairytale noting many of the commonalities. Fairytales are set in the past, have make-believe aspects, contain both good and evil characters, and include a conflict or problem to be solved. Students were encouraged to use the senses to give their writing texture. Don't tell us; show us!
My favorite take home point was to: Resist Resisting... which reminds us to take the things that make us nervous, worried, scared, and/or anxious to push through them because the results on the other side of resistance offer many rewards.
Looking forward to seeing you all again on January 9th. It's going to be a wonderful day! Writer Ann Hodgman will join Nikoo McGoldrick for another fun-filled day of writing!!
Assignment due January 9th: rewrite the 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' poem in any way that your creative brain takes you! You could do: 'Twas the Night Before the Superbowl or 'Twas the Night Before my Dance Recital... be creative!
Check out: Storytoolz.com -- Resources for Writers.
Wishing you all a wonderful winter break and a marvelous 2014! See you soon! :)
I'd like to start including some of the books that our MSWP students shared with each other last session. I have a huge stack of index cards with book information on them. I will add a few each time I get the chance to post to the Blog. Please continue to check back for more book suggestions. AND please continue to share book suggestions with your peers. You can comment on this post with new books you're reading or have read. I'm looking forward to checking out many of these books!
The Great Gatsby
Written by: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Written by: S. A. Bodeen
Student's Recommendation: "I recommend the book, The Compound, to all of my friends because it is a mystery about a boy and his family where the dad keeps them underground for years. He holds many secrets. I love the suspense of this book."
Written by: Colin Meloy
Student's Recommendation: "This book is one of my favorites and I think others would also enjoy it."
Written by: James Patterson
The Scarlet Letter
Written by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Written by: Dean Koontz
Student's Recommendation: "This fictional book is a memoir of a twenty year old short-order book named Odd Thomas. He thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, except for the fact that he can see the paranormal. This gift/curse can help the town's police chief, Wyatt Porter, solve a crime. When a strange man comes into town, Odd sees that there might be danger in the future. Odd follows this man to his house and looks for clues into what suspicious behavior might be around the corner. Will Odd save the day?
Written by: Gabrielle Zevin
Student Recommendation: "This is a heartwarming book. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes sweet and adventurous books. It's about a 15 year old girl named Liz who loses everything and then builds her life back up from there."
Written by: Stephen King
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
Written by: Mark Haddon
Student Recommendation: "This book is a quick read, but an interesting one. I found it very interesting because it mentioned odd, quirky facts about math. It was also fun because it was narrated by an Autistic boy who had such knowledge and different habits which made it impossible to predict what was going to happen next!"
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Written by: J.K. Rowling
Student Recommendation: "I liked this book because of all the mystery and suspense built up around the Chamber of Secrets!"
Deep and Dark and Dangerous
Written by: Mary Downing Hahn
Student Recommendation: "I would recommend this book to somebody because it is good, freaky, and mysterious. Things would just POP out of no where and I had the chills throughout most of the book!
Deep and Dark and Dangerous is about a girl named Ali who went up in the attic and finds a torn up picture of her mom, Aunt Dulcie, and a girl in a canoe. Ali flips the picture to find her mom and Aunt Dulcie's names written on the back of the picture. Also written on the back of the picture is the letter T. Ali spends the rest of her summer vacation trying to find out who T is."