My good cyber buddy, Clara Gillow Clark, is having her second annual Spilling Ink writing contest for children in grades 4 to 8! Spilling Ink by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter is a great resource book for your classroom or your home–it’s a young writer’s handbook. On her blog, Clara says, “Spilling Ink is a humorous and inspiring book of advice, questions, and writing prompts for young writers.”
Basically,the contest goes like this: Write 200-300 words on one of these writing prompts:
Writing Prompts from Spilling Ink, the Book:
Writing Prompt #1: I DARE YOU Rewrite a scene from your life. Think of something that happened today. Something that wasn’t perfect–maybe something that was even downright mortifying–and rewrite it as you would have wanted it to happen. (Tip from Clara: Remember that scenes have a beginning, middle, and end!)
Writing Prompt #2: I DARE YOU Think of two people you admire. Now think of the thing you admire most about each of them. Combine those two qualities into one person and write about that person in the following situation: She or he is walking down the street and a strange man hands your character a small sealed carton and says, “Don’t let anything happen to this!” Then the man sprints away. What does your character do next?
Writing Prompt #3 from Wendy Townsend and Clara Gillow Clark: Is there a pet you wish you could have? Is it a wild animal? Maybe a goldfish, cat, dog, white mouse, a lizard or a snake? Perhaps, your pet is imaginary? You really really want this pet. Write about all the ways you might go about getting this pet. Now write a scene where you put that plan into action.
After you (students/kids) write your piece, you e-mail it to: email@example.com by May 1. You can win cash prizes, books, and a publication opportunity on Clara’s blog. For all the details, check out the post here.
If you are interested in Spilling Ink, click on the link below:
I am so excited to have a great historical fiction author and her books on my blog today and tomorrow. I am even more excited about the book giveaway contest. Clara Gillow Clark has donated a copy of all three Hattie books to give away as prizes to lucky winners who comment on today’s post or tomorrow’s post. You can leave a comment about the book or a question for Clara. You can also discuss historical fiction for middle grade or YA and/or recommend any good historical fiction books you’ve read. To get an extra entry or two, subscribe to my RSS feed, and leave a comment that you did. You can also follow me on Twitter or follow Clara on Twitter (or both of us!); and each time, leave a separate comment that you did! Thanks! (If you already follow us, tell us that in a separate comment, too!) So, here’s Hill Hawk Hattie:
*Historical fiction for middle grade (1850s, American east coast: Delaware River: Pennsylvannia, New York, New Jersey)
*11-year-old girl as main character
*Rating: Hill Hawk Hattie is an historical fiction adventure with lovable characters who pull at your heartstrings while making you smile and sometimes even want to cry.
Short, short summary: Hattie and her pa are a mess after Ma dies. Pa drinks too much, hardly talks or smiles, and orders Hattie around with curse words. After having to quit school, Hattie has to do all the work around the house, and she’s not so great at it. She’s turning mean inside and ornery, too. How long can Pa and Hattie go on like this? Then one day, Pa, a “Hill Hawk” (a logger who lives a lonely life in the hills), comes home and tells Hattie that she’s going to work with him the next day to cut trees. When she gets there, Pa introduces her as his boy, Harley, and Hattie wonders what that’s all about. Hattie/Harley soon forms a friendship with Pa’s partner’s boy, Jasper, while they work together at being loggers, including an adventure of taking the logs down the Delaware River. Pa and Hattie both learn about living life after Ma while Clara Gillow Clark sprinkles the text with just the right amount of vivid and historical details. You’ll fall in love with Hattie and want to read more! (Good thing, it’s a series!)
So, what do I do with this book?
1. Since Hill Hawk Hattie is written about the 1850s and the east coast, this is a book you can read with a social studies/history unit that is pre-Civil War. There aren’t many books around that aren’t about slavery during this time, so this is a refreshing look at this period in history. When reading historical fiction, students can keep a separate section in their reading response journals for recording historical facts or details about the time period. For example, while reading Hill Hawk Hattie, students or your children will learn some activities people did at night in the 1850s. Hattie offers to read to her father the Bible or the almanac. There was no TV or radio, and Hattie and her pa don’t talk much, so what else can they do? Readers can also see a lot of details of what it was like to cook a meal as Hattie struggles to take over Ma’s role.
2. Hill Hawk Hattie has a wonderful map of the Delaware River, snaking its way through the east coast. Students can follow Hattie’s logging adventure on the map. They can also compare a modern day map with the map in the book. You can also make a large copy of this map, and st