Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Christopher Paul Curtis!

I find that author talks are always a delight - even when they are by authors whose works I'm not familiar with. However when one of my all-time favorite authors comes to town, it is a very special occasion indeed! A couple of weeks ago I got to see Christopher Paul Curtis speak at the University of Washington.

This was especially good timing because 4th graders are in the middle of reading The Mighty Miss Malone. We're alternating weeks of reading the book with weeks of practicing doing research about the Great Depression, the era in which it is set. The captivating story brings this important era to life and gives information literacy skills a context that helps prevent the research lessons from becoming too dry.

So, for all you historical fiction fans - and for those who think they don't like historical fiction! - give this author a try. His characters feel so real, they practically leap off the page. You'll laugh and cry with them and you'll learn a lot about history without even realizing that's what's happening.

A few fun bits of trivia I picked up at his talk: photographs of Curtis's actual parents and little sister, Cydney, appear on the cover of The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963! That funny song in Bud, Not Buddy? It was composed by his daughter, Cydney, when she was 5 years old. And my favorite story: Curtis says that when he was a curious young boy, full of questions, if he ever asked something his mother didn't know how to answer, she'd reply, "We'll go to the library and get a book about it." Great words to live by!


Samantha Vamos said...

Curtis's mom was clearly a genius!

Laura Simeon said...

I must say I agree with you!