Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Special Guest

It is not often that a published author visits our classroom. In fact, I believe this is only the third time I have ever had such a treat in one of my classes. Today we had an opportunity to visit with and ask questions of author Michelle P. Barker. Ms. Barker has recently released her book A Difficult Boy. This historical fiction novel takes place in the 1830's and talks about the friendship between two indentured servants living in America. After hearing Ms. Barker's presentation, I cannot wait to read this book!

Some of the questions you posed to this author were:

"How long does it take to write a book?"

"Do you like to read?'

"What time period in history is your favorite to write about?"

"What steps did you take to find out about the history included in your book?"

"What was your favorite book as a child?"

"Why/ How did you start writing?"

"Do you get paid for this work?"

"How do you choose your characters?"

Some of the other questions you asked or wrote down for the author were repeats, so I only listed a sampling of your questions. I thought that you all asked interesting questions and that you received detailed questions from our visiting author. After we visited with Ms. Barker, she listened in to our class and read along as we finished the Day of Tears.

To summarize our Day of Tears experience, you all completed book evaluations. These evaluations asked you to list some of the facts you learned about slavery and to decide whether or not this book should be taught in schools. All of you responded that this book should be taught in schools, though most of you thought that this was definitely for high schoolers rather than middle schoolers.

Some of your comments about the book:

"Slavery was not just a bump in our history, it was a real problem."

"This book should be taught in school...because it shows that our history is soiled in blood, that we as Americans have definitely been ignorant, and that America's foundation is built on looking down on others."

"This is a good book because it teaches you a lot about slavery and how people lived."

* * *

We had a longer period today because of PSAT testing for juniors and sophomores. Therefore, we had just enough time to complete our vocabulary #1 quiz. If you were absent, you need to complete your vocabulary quiz, finish reading the book, and complete the book evaluation over Day of Tears.

1 comment:

M.P. Barker said...


I just wanted to say what a good time I had meeting with everyone in Ms. DeRaps' class. Looks like you've been doing some pretty heavy-duty reading--Day of Tears sounds like a very intense book!

I'd be happy to stop by and visit again, or to keep in touch online. You can leave comments and questions on the discussion page of my web site - .

Keep on reading!


M.P. Barker
Historical fiction from Holiday House