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Talking Story
Issue 37                                       GENERATIONAL STORIES                               Nov./Dec 2015
Both Joyce and I enjoy reading and writing multi-generational stories. We love thinking about how traits, family stories, and wisdom as well as mistakes get passed from generation to generation. So, it's natural that we should decide at this time of year, when families often gather together, to take up this theme. As our expert, Tanita Davis says, generational stories are truly living history. Check out our three giveaways--we have something special for the young readers in your life!

From Our Featured Expert
Tanita Davis
 Tanita Davis
As a child I loved best, stories of families. My mother’s eleven siblings spun tales of crazy cousins and adventurous uncles that held me riveted. The time spent hearing the stories of various “grandmas” at church, as well as playing older sibling to foster children in our home twined new stories with mine. These stories – of blessing and hardship, progress and promise – inspired me to think how I would have lived the same circumstances. These were the types of narratives which resonated.

On meeting Dicey’s grandmother in Cynthia Voight’s DICEY’S SONG, I remember being startled. Grandma Tillerman was different from the stereotype of grandmas I knew. She didn’t want to have kids underfoot. She lived by herself. She was happy –or at least we’ll say contented– alone. How mysterious to find an older person who had her own life! That delightful shock of discovery re-framed my perspective of the adults around me, and drew me toward other multi-generational narratives.

Though I initially structured MARE’S WAR to only have an introduction and a conclusion from the present, my editor challenged me to think of a way to bring reluctant readers into the 1940’s timeline. The little nuggets of history often shared by older people seemed a perfect bridge between the present and the past. American history was boring to Tali and Octavia, until Mare’s eyewitness account made it living history. And to me, that’s really what multi-generational stories do best.
Tanita Davis is the author of the award winning book MARE'S WAR as well as other young adult and middle grade books. Visit her personal blog and her team blog Finding Wonderland. She enjoys Skype visits and you can contact her here.
Our Featured Illustrator
Barbara Lavallee
Barbara Lavallee
Please visit Barbara's website to see
more of her beautiful artwork.

by Carol Baldwin

In my work-in-progress, Half-Truths, I wrote several scenes in which the characters discover important information about their families by looking through old boxes. Your students can try it too.
Old Trunk Cat
                                    Photo by Melodye Shore
Imagine discovering an old box in a grandparent's or older relative's attic.  What type of box is it? Is it a small, painted jewelry box, disintegrating cardboard carton, a hand-made wooden box, or a metal toolbox?
Look inside. What did the owner save? Pretend to lift each item out of the box. Is there a prom corsage that's been pressed inside a book? Can you still smell the flower? A set of baseball cards? A doll? Old nails or tools? An old locket with a picture inside? Is there a black and white photograph? Who is in the picture? Are there old documents? Journals? Letters? Postcards?
Your students can:
  • Write a poem about one or more of the items.
  • Write a descriptive paragraph about the box's contents.
  • Write an imaginary interview with the relative; ask why these items were saved. 
  • Write a story using these objects. 
  • Write a letter from the family member to the descendant finding this box.
One Family, Three Books

My Father's Dragon
by Ruth Stiles Gannett 
Elmer runs away to rescue a baby dragon. He has a ton of adventures; in the story he meets some lions. They want to eat him because they are hungry. They get closer and closer but Elmer tempts them with some gum and they are so busy eating the gum they forget about Elmer and he gets away. My Grandma read me this book when my parents were on a trip to Europe and it made me want to go on an adventure.
Lucy Goerner is 8 and enjoys gymnastics, soccer, taking care of little kids, helping to cook, and crafts.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
by Roald Dahl
Charlie is a young boy who is content with his poor life. He wins an adventure to an exclusive chocolate factory after the famous Willy Wonka decides to open up his factory doors for the first time in years to five lucky children. Charlie’s grandfather gets new excitement for life when he accompanies Charlie to Wonka’s Factory. He and Charlie witness the poor behavior and demise of the four other children while touring the factory. This descriptive book will have you craving chocolate streams and candy that lasts forever as Willy Wonka realizes Charlie’s dreams and Charlie helps his family. 
Tava Goerner is almost 13 and loves running, riding her bike, putting on makeup, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, decorating and watching youtube videos of foreigners trying American candy for the first time.  
Mississippi Trial, 1955
by Chris Crowe
In this historical fiction we follow the story of a young boy named Hiram Hillburn. He lives in Greenwood, Mississippi. A small, quiet town where not much happens…..until a young black boy (Emmett Till) gets murdered, leading to one of the first trials about a white man killing a black boy. Hiram’s grandfather is angry at Hiram's father, because he doesn’t support the way he treats black people.  Hiram loves his grandfather, but his father doesn’t want him to conform to the ways of his grandfather. As Hiram grows up he forms his own opinions about the way all people should be treated which leads him to have a better relationship with his father.
Isaac is 14 and enjoys reading, soccer, and playing Xbox and video games with my brothers.

Lucinda, Tava, and Isaac Goerner are homeschooled in Celebration, Fl.
Next Issue
 Bullying will be the theme of our next issue.

In This Issue:
One Family, Three Books
Author's Note
Our Focus
We, at TALKING STORY, have decided to focus largely on writing. We'll share from our personal writing & publishing experiences and feature a guest author in each issue. 
Please let us know what interests you and how we can be helpful to you or your students.
Send us an
and we'll enter your name to win one of the three books below.
Each will intrigue a young reader in your life.

If you have a book preference, please mention that. We try to honor requests.

Enter before

December 7
(Or better yet, enter right now!)

Giveaway # 1

Mare's War

A personally autographed copy of Mare's War
by Tanita Davis. 
Giveaway #2

A Handful of Stars

Audio recording of

latest book.
Giveaway # 3

Tea Cakes for Tosh

An autographed copy of
award winning picture book.
Recommended Books

by Jennifer Holm
(middle grade)
by Augusta Scattergood.
(middle grade)
Cynthia Rylant
(Picture Book)
Author's Note

by Joyce Moyer Hostetter

AIM, a prequel to BLUE and COMFORT, is about family dysfunction spanning several generations.

Fourteen year-old Junior Bledsoe has just lost Pop (his father) to an alcohol-induced death. On top of that, his insufferable grandfather has moved in and now shares his bedroom.
Congratulations to our winners from our September issue.
Connie Saunders won
Blue Birds.
 Wendy Davis won Greenhorn.
Susan Hager won
Being Frank.
  • Barbara Lavallee for her wonderful illustration.
  • Recorded books for donating A Handful of Stars.
  • Tanita Davis for our expert article and donating an autographed copy of Mare's War.
  • Melodye Shore for photo of old trunk.
  • Joanne Hunsberger for proofreading.
  • Isaac, Lucy, and Tava Goerner for their book reviews.
We love to hear from our readers!
You can contact us through the newsletter or individually at the following addresses and websites.
We're also both available for school visits. 

Talking Story  |  4208 Hickory Lincolnton Hwy.  |  Newton, NC 28658  |

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