Thanks for all the great support for the Back To School Book Giveaway! I'm delighted to share insights of another good friend, the talented Joyce Moyer Hostetter, who talks about school days in the context of her middle grade historical fiction.
Joyce has generously donated a copy of her new book, AIM, and will personalize it for the winner of the comment contest! All you have to do for a chance to win a copy of Joyce's new book, AIM, is to leave a comment below. The winner will be announced in one week.
|AUTHOR JOYCE MOYER HOSTETTER|
Joyce Moyer Hostetter lives right where many of her characters do –in rural North Carolina. In fact she’s always on the lookout—hoping to bump into them. In the absence of a time machine that could take her to the 1940’s she immerses herself in research to discover what her characters’ world was like.
Her book, BLUE won the International Reading Association Award, The NC Juvenile Literature Award, and Parent’s Choice Silver Honor. It is used widely in North Carolina schools. AIM is a prequel to BLUE. COMFORT is a sequel. HEALING WATER, set in Hawaii’s leprosy settlement is available via E-book.
www.joycemoyerhostetter.blogspot.com (The 3 R’s: Reading ‘Riting and Research)
In my first book, Best Friends Forever, Rhoda Landis faces a classroom full of unfamiliar students. Her grandmother hands Rhoda’s birth certificate to the teacher while Rhoda takes in the shiny floors, the strange children, and the sound of the school bell. Everything is new and Rhoda feels weird and set apart.
Exchange the grandmother for mother and fifth grade for first and that memory becomes mine. Perhaps, at some level, it is every child’s memory of a first day at any school.
This leads me to a bit of wisdom I learned at my first writer’s conference. “The more personally you write,” said Editor Katie Funk Weibe, “the more universal it will be.” And what is more universal than the classroom? After all, school is a child’s occupation. In fact, it’s difficult to write a middle grade novel that doesn’t take place partially at school. I, however, have managed to do so twice. In both cases, my characters had extended illnesses.
However, when a character’s father dies, an excuse written by mom will not exempt him from a whole year of school. Such is the case in my forthcoming historical novel, AIM. Junior Bledsoe’s father dies unexpectedly, leaving Junior with extra responsibilities, a cantankerous grandfather, and a swirl of confusing emotions. One of the last things Pop tells Junior is to quit school and get a job. Junior argues but, after Pop’s death, his advice makes as much sense as anything else in Junior’s world. Momma, however, insists he must go on to high school. Junior, arriving with a busload of conflicted feelings, finds 9th grade to be more challenging than any previous year. There’s his teacher who is also his neighbor, the pretty girl who sits just ahead of him, Dudley Walker who snickers at him from the back of the room, and the announcement of war at a school assembly after Pearl Harbor is attacked.
That announcement is reminiscent of an event in my own life—that moment in 6th grade when I stood in line at a school water fountain and learned that JFK had been shot. At school, a child learns just how harsh the world really is. His home life may or may not be secure but come kindergarten, he will encounter new challenges—a difficult teacher, a jealous classmate, or a breaking bit of world news. Thank goodness our schools have libraries and wonderful media specialists who provide books for students in crisis. My friend, Kerry O’Malley Cerra has compiled this amazing resource for teachers and librarians— a list of more than 160 books that tackle tough topics. Here's the link: http://www.kerryomalleycerra.
Other books I’ve published include BLUE, (protagonist has polio/does not go to school) COMFORT, (protagonist goes to school with a disability) and HEALING WATER, (protagonist has leprosy/does not go to school).
Meanwhile I’m thrilled about AIM’s release on October 4. I’ll be blogging about that at The 3 R’s: Reading ‘Riting and Research--find it here--www.joycemoyerhostetter.blogspot.com, and posting lots of woohoos at Facebook and Twitter. (See the links above to follow Joyce on FB and Twitter)
Thanks so much, Clara, for hosting me here at your blog. Always a pleasure, Joyce!
|3 Friends: Leslie, Joyce, and Me!|
I'll be back next week to announce the winner, share a little more about AIM, and what's coming next!