3rd and 4th Graders Want to Know…

The third and fourth graders at one of my recent school visits sent me off with a big packet of letters at the end of the day, and I honestly have to say this is pretty much my favorite thing about being an author.  Here’s a peek at what they had to say…

Michael writes:  I like biographies because I like to know about people that I like the best.  Could you write one biography about someone you know or that you want to learn about that you think is the best?  Or maybe you could write a biography about the person in your family you like the best or write a biography about your whole family so I could read it once it comes out after being published by the publisher.

I don’t have any immediate plans to write a biography, Michael, but I have some author friends like Tanya Lee Stone and Kerry Madden who have written great ones recently. You may want to check out their websites with a teacher or parent.

Ellery writes:  I normally don’t enjoy historical fiction or nonfiction, but your book Champlain and the Silent One was great!  I loved how you added a sense of humor to a very serious situation.  Like the way you described Stinking Dog!

Thanks, Ellery!  The nickname “Stinking Dog” is fictional, but it’s based on historical documents that describe the Frenchman Pont Grave as a large, loud man who sat around all day, eating and…well…passing gas.  It’s pretty amazing what you can find in those primary sources sometimes.

Danny writes: I liked your book.  It almost felt like I felt myself sitting in a canoe with the wind blowing in my hair in the 1600s.

Thanks, Danny.  I felt that way when I was writing it sometimes, too. I think historical fiction is a great way to time-travel!

Austin writes: Once I was fishing.  It was a calm night, water not moving at all, no fish biting.  I was about to give up fishing.  All of a sudden, I thought I had a weed hooked, or at least until my pole bent down like a bridge.  I almost had the fish on the dock.  I was reeling so fast that I felt like my palm was on fire!  Sounds pretty interesting, right?  It must have been for me to write a narrative about it, because I just did.

Wow! And you chose such vivid words, Austin!  I felt like I was right there at the water with you and the fish.  Keep writing!

Patrick writes:  Are you only going to write about history?  If not, what else are you going to write about?  My favorite genres are realistic fiction, fantasy, and animal stories. Maybe you could write about one or two of those.  Only if you want to, of course.

My next book, THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z, is realistic fiction set in Vermont.  It’s the one I told you about when I came to visit, where the girl has that HUGE leaf collection project where everything goes wrong.  I’ll give some thought to the fantasy and animal books…

Haeli writes: When did you start writing stories?  I was four years old when I started writing stories.  When I began, I wrote stories like “Where Is Little Dog?” because I have two dogs.  If you wrote stories when you were five or six, what did you write about?

One of my earliest memories of writing is in first grade, when I wrote a story about two kids having a snowball fight.  I still remember the first line.  “Suzy threw a snowball at her brother.”  Pretty exciting, huh?  I don’t remember the rest of the story, but I do remember how my teacher, Mrs. Arnold, put my paper up on the board and said, “Now this is a terrific story!”  It helped me start to see myself as a writer.

Josh writes: I hope you never stop writing because you are a very, very, very, very , very good author.

Gosh!  Thank you!

And thanks to all of my new 3rd & 4th grade reader friends!  A letter to all of you is in the mail, along with some bookmarks to use with whatever books you are enjoying now.

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