The Truth About Leaf Collections

As a middle school teacher in a school where the huge 7th grade leaf collection project is downright infamous, I thought I’d done my research for THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z (Walker Books, Fall ’09).   It’s a funny, contemporary novel about a girl whose 7th grade leaf collection project is ruining her life.  I’d heard the horror stories of kids getting caught in mean neighbors’ yards, stealing leaves off their trees.  I’d heard tales of the all-nighters kids pulled, securing the last few sets of leaves into their binders.  But until this fall, I’d never watched my very own 7th grader complete a leaf project of his own. 

To be sure, it’s meant some beautiful autumn hikes for leaf collecting…

Point Au Roche State Park on Lake Champlain

But the leaf project also has a dark side. This is what my living room looked like last weekend, when son and his two friends were working…

My manuscript is in copy edits right now.  Do you supposed I’ll have a chance to go back and add a few more details about the impact Gianna’s leaf project had on the rest of her household?  We’re still vacuuming pine needles here (Or are they spruce needles…? I’ll have to check the key…)

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  1. Becky
    Posted September 18, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Ironically I found this page as a teacher in just such a 7th grade classroom trying to find ways of revising the infamous leaf collection project.

    • Posted September 20, 2011 at 12:11 am | Permalink

      This made me smile – hope your students have a great time with their leaf projects, and by all means…please let them know that if they want to feel less alone, they can pick up The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. and have some company!

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