Posts Tagged teachers

January Releases 2015

It’s a New Year!

And one way to spend those gift cards you got for the holidays is brand new books! Here are a few to choose from, including this great new release from Mixed-Up Files member, Jennifer Swanson:

 get-attachment-1.aspxThe Wonderful World of Wearable Devices by Jennifer Swanson.

The benefits offered by wearable devices seem limitless, and for many people, the devices are really chic. These wireless gadgets can track the number of steps people take each day; measure their heart rates, the number of calories they ate, or the amount of energy they expended; or access data by using cloud computing. “Wearables”–bracelets, rings, eyeglasses, necklaces, shoe clips, and more–enable individuals to read, text, send e-mails, stay connected via social networks, or access the Internet as they walk. This intriguing volume also explains the devices’ cutting-edge medical applications, including as impact indicators for concussion studies.
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The Way to Stay in Destiny by Augusta Scattergood

When Theo gets off a bus in Destiny, Florida, he’s left behind the only life he’s ever known. Now he’s got to live with Uncle Raymond, a Vietnam War vet and a loner who wants nothing to do with this long-lost nephew. Thank goodness for Miss Sister Grandersole’s Boarding House and Dance School. The piano that sits in Miss Sister’s dance hall calls to Theo. He can’t wait to play those ivory keys. When Anabel arrives things get even more enticing. This feisty girl, a baseball fanatic, invites Theo on her quest to uncover the town’s connection to old-time ball players rumored to have lived there years before. A mystery, an adventure, and a musical exploration unfold as this town called Destiny lives up to its name. Acclaimed author Augusta Scattergood has delivered a straight-to-the-heart story with unforgettable characters, humor, and hard questions about loss, family, and belonging.


9780385743587Firefight (The Reckoners) by Brandon Sanderson

They told David it was impossible, that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet Steelheart—invincible, immortal, unconquerable—is dead. And he died by David’s hand. Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life simpler. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And no one in Newcago can give him answers. Babylon Restored, the city formerly known as the borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic Regalia, Babylon Restored is flooded and miserable, but David is sure it’s the path that will lead him to what he needs to find. Entering a city oppressed by a High Epic despot is risky, but David’s willing to take the gamble. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David’s heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic—Firefight. And now he will go on a quest darker and even more dangerous than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.

9780316405935I Totally Funniest: A Middle School Story by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

After scoring big on national TV in the semifinals contest, everyone back home is jumping on the Jamie Grimm bandwagon, and all the attention might be going to his head. Not only are his friendships starting to suffer, but the pressure of coming up with his best material ever for the ultimate standup act to snag the final win in Hollywood is pushing Jamie to the brink. Suddenly, life isn’t looking very funny anymore. Can Jamie take the grand prize without pushing away his fans, friends and family?

9780062236326The Genius Files #5: License to Thrill by Dan Gutman

When we last left our heroes, twins Coke and Pepsi McDonald were in Roswell, New Mexico, and they had just seen a strange beam of light. Now their cross-country road trip is about to take a detour that’s out of this world—literally! Once the twins get their feet back on the ground, they embark on the final leg of their trip, which will take them from the Hoover Dam all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. Chased by nefarious villains, the twins will be trapped with a venomous snake, pushed through a deadly turbine, and thrown into a volcano. And craziest of all, their parents might finally believe them!

9780316401289Ever After High: Next Top Villain (A School Story) by Suzanne Selfors

Duchess Swan and Lizzie Hearts are roommates at Ever After High. While their personalities are very different, they bond over not quite fitting in with the other Royals. Lizzie, however, has one thing that Duchess doesn’t: a happily-ever-after at the end of her story. While Lizzie and the other princesses train for the day when they will rule their kingdoms, Duchess is torn between her role as the perfect, dutiful princess and her rebellious ambition to be a queen. When both girls are selected to attend General Villainy class, Duchess sees an opportunity to be a rebel while following the rules. But can she play a prank on her roomie to ace the class? Find out if Duchess’s desire to change her destiny will make her Ever After High’s Next Top Villain!

9780399257971Imagination According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney

Imaginations are running wild in Mrs. Brisbane’s class, but Humphrey is stumped. His friends are writing about where they would go if they could fly, but Humphrey is HAPPY-HAPPY-HAPPY right where he is in Room 26. It’s pawsitively easy for Humphrey to picture exciting adventures with dragons and knights in the story Mrs. Brisbane is reading aloud. He has no trouble coming up with plans to help his friends and tricks to entertain them. His imagination even goes a little too far when he wonders if Carlos’s imaginary friend might be a ghost. If only his imagination wouldn’t disappear when he tries to write. Luckily, Humphrey likes a challenge, and Mrs. Brisbane has lots of writing tips that do the trick.

9781481423243Heidi Heckelbeck Is Not a Thief! by Wanda Coven and Priscilla Burris

Heidi Heckelbeck is a witch, but she is NOT a thief! Can she clear her name and help find her best friend’s missing pen? Maybe…with some magic! Heidi Heckelbeck’s best friend, Lucy, has a brand-new pen. It’s glittery, looks like a lollipop, smells like strawberries, and even lights up. It’s the coolest pen ever! Heidi wishes she had one just like it. And when it goes missing, Lucy accuses her best friend of taking it! Heidi Heckelbeck might be a witch, but she is NOT a thief! Heidi searches all over for Lucy’s pen, but it’s nowhere to be found. So what’s a witch to do…except turn to her Book of Spells?

FC9780545709354Unleashed (Swindle) by Gordon Korman

Luthor, a former attack dog, is supposed to be on his best behavior now that he’s in the care of Savannah, a girl who’s easily a dog’s best friend. But every time a certain truck passes by Savannah’s house, Luthor goes into attack mode — and chaos follows. Meanwhile, Griffin Bing is locked in the fight of his life with his archenemy, Darren Vader. Both are trying to win an invention contest — and will stop at nothing to be victorious. A runaway dog. Some majorly strange inventions. A mysterious neighbor. A stolen object of great value. These are a few of the ingredients in UNLEASHED, Gordon Korman’s latest Swindle mystery.

9781419714917The Terrible Two by Jory John and Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kevin Cornell

Miles Murphy is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that’s famous for one thing and one thing only: cows. In his old school, everyone knew him as the town’s best prankster, but Miles quickly discovers that Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, and a great one. If Miles is going to take the title from this mystery kid, he is going to have to raise his game. It’s prankster against prankster in an epic war of trickery, until the two finally decide to join forces and pull off the biggest prank ever seen: a prank so huge that it would make the members of the International Order of Disorder proud.

9780061996467Seekers: Return to the Wild #5: The Burning Horizon by Erin Hunter

Erin Hunter’s New York Times bestselling Seekers series continues in the fifth book in the Return to the Wild story arc. With its thrilling blend of action and suspense, this epic animal fantasy is perfect for fans of the #1 nationally bestselling Warriors series. Toklo, Kallik, Lusa, and Yakone are determined to reach Great Bear Lake in time for the Longest Day Gathering. Even Toklo, who has already claimed a new territory in the mountains, has promised to stay with them until Lusa has found a home of her own. But when Lusa is unexpectedly separated from the others, she must face her past—and make a decision about her future.

9781616556211Plants vs Zombies: Timepocalypse by Paul Tobin and Ron Chan

PopCap’s immensely popular Plants vs. Zombies game gets another serving of hilarious, plant-filled, zombie-zapping comics! Crazy Dave–the babbling-yet-brilliant inventor and top-notch neighborhood defender–helps his niece, Patrice, and young adventurer Nate Timely fend off Zomboss’s latest global attack in Plants vs. Zombies: Timepocalypse! This new, standalone tale will tickle your funny bones and thrill . . . your brains! Paul Tobin (Bandette, Plants vs. Zombies: Lawnmageddon Falling Skies) and Ron Chan (The Guild, Husbands) join forces with a bevy of time-tossed plants to deliver a hilarious, all-ages romp to your timeline!

9781481418706The Courage of Cat Campbell by Natasha Lowe

 Cat Campbell is a late-blooming witch whose magical abilities are bursting to be mastered in this charming coming-of-age story set in the world of “The Power of Poppy Pendle.” Cat Campbell has had magical powers since the day she was born, but she didn’t always know that. Cat’s mother believes magic ruins lives, and even as Cat’s passion for magic grows over the years, no one suspects she has the gift. But she has indeed inherited the coveted magic gene of her famed great-great-grandmother Mabel, a discovery she makes in a most surprising way. Cat is a witch And when she comes across a book called “The Late Bloomer’s Guide to Magic,” she finds the encouragement she needs and spells that work. Then the town of Potts Bottom is threatened by a notoriously feared witch, and Cat has the chance to help her family and town–and to prove herself in the process. Because, as “The Late Bloomer’s Guide to Magic “proclaims, “believing in your magic and yourself is half the battle.”

9781481409193Story Thieves by James Riley

Life is boring when you live in the real world, instead of starring in your own book series. Owen knows that better than anyone, what with the real world’s homework and chores. But everything changes the day Owen sees the impossible happen—his classmate Bethany climb out of a book in the library. It turns out Bethany’s half-fictional and has been searching every book she can find for her missing father, a fictional character. Bethany can’t let anyone else learn her secret, so Owen makes her a deal: All she has to do is take him into a book in Owen’s favorite Kiel Gnomenfoot series, and he’ll never say a word. Besides, visiting the book might help Bethany find her father … Or it might just destroy the Kiel Gnomenfoot series, reveal Bethany’s secret to the entire world, and force Owen to live out Kiel Gnomenfoot’s final (very final) adventure.

9780545665735The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

In all the ways that matter, Mark is a normal kid. He’s got a dog named Beau and a best friend, Jessie. He likes to take photos and write haiku poems in his notebook. He dreams of climbing a mountain one day. But in one important way, Mark is not like other kids at all. Mark is sick. The kind of sick that means hospitals. And treatments. The kind of sick some people never get better from. So Mark runs away. He leaves home with his camera, his notebook, his dog, and a plan to reach the top of Mount Rainier–even if it’s the last thing he ever does.

9781442494978Stella By Starlight by Sharon M. Draper

When the Ku Klux Klan’s unwelcome reappearance rattles Stella’s segregated southern town, bravery battles prejudice in this Depression-era tour de force from Sharon Draper, the “New York Times “bestselling author of “Out of My Mind.” Stella lives in the segregated South–in Bumblebee, North Carolina, to be exact about it. Some stores she can go into. Some stores she can’t. Some folks are right pleasant. Others are a lot less so. To Stella, it sort of evens out, and heck, the Klan hasn’t bothered them for years. But one late night, later than she should ever be up, much less wandering around outside, Stella and her little brother see something they’re never supposed to see, something that is the first flicker of change to come, unwelcome change by any stretch of the imagination. As Stella’s community–her world–is upended, she decides to fight fire with fire. And she learns that ashes don’t necessarily signify an end.

9780803738812The Eye of the Falcon by Michelle Paver

The eruption of the volcano has shrouded the sun in ash, and the harsh winter is never-ending. With no trace of his lost sister to be found, Hylas takes ship for Keftiu, to find Pirra and free her from captivity. But the Crows are also coming to Keftiu, led by the power-hungry Telamon. And Telamon knows what Hylas doesn’t: that in the chaos of the volcanic eruption, Pirra took the Crows’ prophesized dagger. Aided by Havoc, the lion cub, and Echo, a falcon of the Goddess, Hylas and Pirra will face the Crows once again, in a terrifying epic battle to save the land—or destroy it.

9780544087477A Plague of Bogles by Catherine Jinks

Jem Barbary spent most of his early life picking pockets for a wily old crook named Sarah Pickles—until she betrayed him. Now Jem wants revenge, but first he needs a new job. Luckily Alfred the bogler, the man who kills the child-eating monsters that hide in the shadows of Victorian London, needs a new apprentice. As more and more orphans disappear under mysterious circumstances, Alfred, Jem, and Birdie find themselves waging an underground war in a city where science clashes with superstition and monsters lurk in every alley.

9780439793384Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony, Inspired by Historical Facts by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Michele Wood

What if Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony sat down over tea to reminisce about their extraordinary lives? What would they recall of their triumphs and struggles as they fought to achieve civil rights for African Americans and equal rights for women? And what other historical figures played parts in their stories? These questions led Coretta Scott King Award winner Nikki Grimes to create Chasing Freedom, an engaging work of historical fiction about two of the nineteenth century’s most powerful, and inspiring, American women. With breathtaking illustrations by Coretta Scott King Award winner Michele Wood, Chasing Freedom richly imagines the experiences of Tubman and Anthony, set against the backdrop of the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, and the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Additional back matter invites curious young readers to further explore this period in history–and the larger-than-life figures who lived it.

9781402297588How to Outswim a Shark Without a Snorkel by Jess Keating

Ana Wright’s summer just got terrifying. She’s finally getting used to living in a zoo (no, seriously—she lives with her family in an actual zoo), when she’s assigned to work in the new shark tank. With her worst enemy. Forget about sharks! Ashley is the ultimate predator. And after Ana’s favorite croc peed on Ashley’s shoes, she’s probably out for revenge. This can’t be good.

Dorian Cirrone has written several books for children and teens. Her middle-grade novel, The First Last Day, which takes place on the Jersey Shore, will be out in May 2016 from (Aladdin/S&S). You can find her on Facebook and on Twitter as @DorianCirrone. She gives writing tips and does occasional giveaways on her blog at: http://doriancirrone.com/welcome/blog/

 

The Nonfiction Family Tree

A few weeks ago, I attended the New England SCBWI conference in beautiful Springfield, MA. I had the pleasure of sitting in on a workshop given by  Melissa Stewart and Sarah Albee on Nonfiction. It was fascinating!  There was so much GREAT information that I felt it would be good for others to learn about it. I contacted Melissa and she graciously agreed to be interviewed.   For those of you that haven’t heard of  or been lucky enough to meet Melissa, here’s a little about her:

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Melissa Stewart is the award-winning author of more than 150 science books for children. She has always been fascinated by the natural world and is passionate about sharing its beauty and wonder with readers of all ages.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from Union College in Schenectady, NY, and a master’s degree in science journalism from New York University, Melissa worked as a children’s book editor for nine years before becoming a fulltime writer in 2000. She has written everything from board books for preschoolers to magazine articles for adults.

Melissa believes that nothing brings nonfiction writing to life like firsthand research. While gathering information for her books, she has explored tropical rain forests in Costa Rica, gone on safari in East Africa, and swum with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands.

When Melissa isn’t writing or exploring the natural world, she spends time speaking at schools, libraries, nature centers, and educator conferences. She serves on the Board of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Keene State College Children’s Literature Festival.

With the advent of Common Core, nonfiction seems to be taking off. Can you give us a little background of how nonfiction has changed over the years? Wow, it’s changed A LOT. Fifteen years ago, most nonfiction text was rather dry. If an author wrote a manuscript with a strong voice, it was edited out. Today editors want, no demand, a strong voice. In the past, authors were supposed to be unbiased, but today it’s perfectly okay for writers to express a point of view.  Art and design has also changed. Ever since desktop publishing software was invented, illustrators and designers have been experimenting. The result is dynamic designs that kids can’t resist. The upshot is that today’s nonfiction has a dual purpose. It delights as well as informs.  

 

In your talk, you broke nonfiction up into seven categories. Can you explain these categories? Sure. In my talk with uber-talented author Sarah Albee [link: http://www.sarahalbeebooks.com/], we drew upon the work of a group of highly-respected academics who call themselves the Uncommon Corp [link: http://nonfictionandthecommoncore.blogspot.com/]. They classify nonfiction books into seven broad categories. Data: In more friendly terms, you might call this category Fasts Facts. It includes Eyewitness Books, The Guinness Book of World Records, and my own book Animal Grossapedia. These are the concise, fact-filled books that groups of boys love to read together and discuss.

Expository: You might call this category Facts Plus because the facts are interwoven into a content-area explanation. This is could be considered “traditional” nonfiction in some ways, but there’s nothing old-fashioned about today’s expository titles. Their engaging text and rich, dynamic art and design are sure to delight as well as inform young readers.

Narrative: This is a category we’ve heard a lot (I mean A LOT) about in the last few years. It’s the current darling of awards committees. Narrative titles present facts in the form of a true story with a narrative arc.   As you learn about the next few categories, I think you’ll see that some of the books that have been lumped into the narrative category should really be thought about on their own terms, based on the author’s approach to the information.

Disciplinary Thinking: These books reveal how scientists and historians go about their work, how they evaluate evidence and form theories. The structure could be narrative, but it usually isn’t. This category might also be called something like Experts at Work. Scientists in the Field books are the perfect example, but there are plenty of other examples. Skull by Mark Aronson is one that immediately comes to mind.

Inquiry: This category could also be called Ask and Answer. In these books, the author raises a question or a group of related questions and then seeks the answer. Sally Walker’s Written in Bone and What Bluebirds Do by Pamela F. Kirby are great examples.

Interpretation: For these books, authors research a topic widely, find their own meaning in the information, and present the content from that point of view. Charles and Emma by Deborah Heiligman is the first title that leaps to mind, but I’d also put books like Those Rebels, Tom and John by Barbara Kerley in this category. I think we’ll see more of these books in the future because this type of presentation directly supports Common Core.

Action: This is category offers a separate spot for titles that invite young readers to take action. The most obvious examples include Citizen Scientists by Loree Griffin Burns and the Science Play series by Vicki Cobb. I’m not sure this system is the be all and end all, but it’s a very interesting way for writers, teachers, librarians, and other book lovers to think about nonfiction. It stretches the way we think about current books and future possibilities, and I think that’s extremely valuable.

 

Do you think certain topics lend themselves to certain categories? Yes. I think narrative nonfiction works very well for biographies and books about historical events. These topics naturally have a beginning, a middle, and an end. With enough research, an author can craft the alternating scenes and summary architecture that characterizes narrative nonfiction. When writing about science, math, or the Arts, narrative nonfiction may not be an option. Even if it is, it may not be the best choice. For a broad overview of any topic, expository usually works best.   Two great examples are Bugged: How Insects Changes History by Sarah Albee and 9780802734228_p0_v4_s260x420 A Black Hole Is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami Decristofano.     If writers think about these categories at the beginning of a project, I think they may have an easier time coming up with a great way to approach a topic and a solid structure for their book. It provides some options, so we aren’t just shooting in the dark.  

 

Which one do you think is most popular with kids? Why? Data books are clearly the most popular with kids. Most school librarians will tell you that titles like The Guinness Book of World Records is almost constantly checked out. Elementary-aged readers love fascinating facts, so Data books can be good for hooking beginning readers. But many educators worry that these books don’t do much to help kids build their reading skills. Right now, thought leaders like Jonathan Hunt and Marc Aronson feel that we need a new breed of book that forms a bridge between Data books and long-form nonfiction that students are expected to read in middle school and high school.

 

Which categories do teachers tend use in their classrooms? In recent years, teachers didn’t use much high-quality trade nonfiction in the classroom at all. But the hope is that Common Core is changing that. Right now, teachers are struggling to learn about nonfiction, and they are building their classroom libraries. Luckily, most school librarians have been singing the praises of the new nonfiction for several years now, so they are becoming trusted advisors in schools where they exist. We need more school librarians!

 

Any tips for readers about how to find fun, engaging nonfiction books? Here are some lists to keep an eye on. They include great nonfiction titles from all seven categories:

  • AAAS/Subaru Prizes for Excellence in Science Books
  • ALA Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award
  • CRA Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Book Award
  • Cook Prize for STEM Picture Book
  • Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices List
  • Cybils Nonfiction for Middle Grade & Young Adult
  • Cybils Nonfiction Picture Books
  • NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children
  • NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12
  • YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults

 

How do you see the world of nonfiction changing for the future? That’s a great question, and I’m not sure I really know the answer. My hope is that we’ll see more nonfiction being published for children. Although I think many editors are now more open to reviewing nonfiction submission than they were in the past, what I hear is that they aren’t yet acquiring significantly more nonfiction manuscripts. This may be because many editors are still trying to get up to speed on the market. They need to familiarize themselves with what’s out there and gain an understanding of the characteristics of best-selling and award-winning nonfiction. Some editors may also be in a wait-and-see mode, wondering how long Common Core will stick around. There is a lot of controversy regarding the testing associated with CCSS, but the standards themselves are sound. Still, educators are famous for a throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater mentality. They tend to move in completely new directions every decade or so, abandoning previous ideas rather than revising them.

 

Of all the books you have written, do any stand out as having been really fun to write? Perhaps they were about a topic that you loved or in a format that you enjoyed.  I guess I’m still an elementary-aged fact-lover at heart. One of my favorite books to research and write was Animal Grossapedia because it’s so chock full of amazing examples of how animals use pee, poop, vomit, slime (mucus), and spit to catch food and stay safe. But what I also really like about this book is that as kids read example after example, they gradually come to the book’s central idea—that animals have an amazing array of adaptations and behaviors that make it possible for them to survive in the world. So I’m sharing an idea that’s a central tenet of biology, but in a package that they find irresistible. To me, that’s a successful book.

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Thanks so much for helping us to understand the wild and wonderful world of nonfiction, Melissa!!

To learn more about Melissa see her website at www.melissa-stewart.com.  Melissa also has a great blog called “Celebrate Science” where she focuses on cool nonfiction books, how she writes them, and talks more about the classification and structure of nonfiction books. Check it out here:  www.celebratescience.blogspot.com

 

**** Jennifer Swanson is the author over 20 fiction and nonfiction books. She is a science nerd at heart and loves to learn new and fun science facts which is why her shelves are filled with books!!

The Secret Language of Stories (SLOS) by Carolee Dean

Hi everybody! Your long-time MUF member, Kimberley, here with today’s fantastic post!

carolee dean pics

Author Carolee Dean

I’m thrilled to introduce you to The Secret Language of Stories, created by my good friend and writing/critique partner, Carolee Dean. As you will see below she has oodles of experience doing this in the public school system as well as in classes and workshops around the country. She’s a brilliant writer, teacher and story analyst, with a terrific plan of fun writing activities to do with your students based on the 12-step Hero’s Journey. If you’re a home-school parent, substitute teacher, or writer yourself – jump right in – and enjoy! LOTS more details at the links below. Take it away, Carolee . . .

OVERVIEW

The Secret Language of Stories (SLOS) is a twelve-step story analysis I created based upon The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell as well as The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler. Though I love both of these texts, I was looking for symbols a little more concrete for the students I work with, and terms that brought images easily to mind for them.

I use this method both to create my own novels and to teach writing to kids of all ages as well as adults. As a speech-language pathologist in the public schools, I serve students elementary through high school of all ability levels. Understanding the structure of narratives gives kids a framework not just for understanding the stories they hear and read, but also for telling the stories of their lives.

Carolee Dean pic

Carolee with one of her students

SLOS is broken down into twelve basic parts. Stories don’t necessarily contain all of the components, and they don’t always occur in the order given here. In longer stories, many of the elements are repeated. Subplots may have their own story threads and novels may include endless repetitions of the Plan, Attempt, Response sequence found in the middle section of the story. The purpose of this analysis is not to micro analyze every element of a story, but rather to help students and other writers recognize what is going on in stories and to begin to think like authors.

I like to find magazine images depicting each of these story elements and then ask student to first talk about the pictures and then write sentences or paragraphs about them. Struggling writers may also be struggling speakers and thinkers. Since written language builds upon oral language, I always try to start with a conversation.

1)      Old World – Setting and characters are introduced.

luke skywalker

Our Hero!

2)      Call and Response – This may occur during or after the inciting incident. The Hero receives a call to adventure. Sometimes he eagerly undertakes this challenge, but more often there is a period of reluctance or even refusal as the dangers of the adventure are weighed against possible benefits.

3)      Mentors, Guides, and Gifts – A mentor appears to encourage the hero to accept the challenge of the call and gifts are often given to help him on his way.

4)      Crossing – The hero decides to act and crosses over into the New World.

5)      New World – The hero faces small challenges as she learns to function in the New World.

6)      Problems, Prizes, and Plans – A clear story goal is established and the hero makes plans for how it will be attained.

7)      Midpoint Challenge: Going for the Prize – An attempt is made to attain the Prize. A shift in the story occurs.

8)      Downtime – This section shows the hero’s response to what happened during the attempt. It may be a time of celebration, recovery, healing, regrouping or sulking, depending on what happened during the attempt to attain the Prize.

(Note: In longer stories or novels, endless cycles of the plan, attempt, response sequencing continue to build momentum.)

9)      Chase – A twist sends the hero off in a new direction. Something is being pursued. The hero may be pursuing the prize or the villain, or the villain may be pursuing the hero.

10)   Death and Transformation –

Hero's Journey and Character Arc

The Hero’s Journey PLUS Character ARC

This is the point in the story where it appears that the hero will lose whatever is of highest value. Often someone dies at this point in the narrative.

11)   Showdown: The Final Test – The hero must face one final challenge to demonstrate whether the changes that have occurred are lasting or only temporary; internal or merely external.

12)   Reward –  The hero gets what she has earned. If she has passed the final test, it may be a reward. If not, there may be other consequences. Often there is a celebration and the return of the hero to the group.

This is a very brief overview of the twelve steps. For more information visit my blog at http://caroleedeanbooks.blogspot.com/ and check out the tab entitled The Secret Language of Stories. If you have questions or if you are interested in writing workshops for your staff or students, please feel free to contact me at my email (caroleedean@yahoo.com)

I also have a monthly column called The Secret Language of Stories focusing specifically on story analysis at SPELLBINDERS BOOK NEWS. To read my analysis of Cassandra Clare’s City of  Bones go to my April post at http://spellbindersbooknews.blogspot.com/2013/04/city-of-bones-story-analysis-by-carolee.html.

CAROLEE DEAN BIO: Carolee Dean has made numerous appearances as a guest poet/author at schools, libraries, poetry events, and teacher/librarian conferences. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music therapy, a master’s degree in communicative disorder and has spent over a decade working in the public schools as a speech-language pathologist.

Her first novel, Comfort (Houghton Mifflin), received an IRA notable citation. Take Me There (Simon Pulse) is a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. It follows the journey of a budding young poet who cannot read or write, but dreams of using words to escape a life of crime and deprivation. Forget Me Not (Simon Pulse) is a verse novel exploring suicide and the effects of cyber-bullying.

Follow her on Facebook at Carolee DeanM, Twitter @CaroleeJDean, www.caroleedean.com

Kimberley Griffiths Little is the author of three magical realism novels with Scholastic, THE HEALING SPELL, CIRCLE OF SECRETS, and WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME (2013). Forthcoming: THE TIME OF THE FIREFLIES (Scholastic, 2014) and her Young Adult debut of FORBIDDEN with Harpercollins (Fall 2014). When she’s not writing you can find her reading/daydreaming in her Victorian cottage and eating chocolate chip cookies with a hit of Dr. Pepper.