I decided to start a blog in the middle of writing a book–seems strange, I know, to add another writing task to my life. However, this is a particularly tricky book to write and I thought it would help if I wrote about the writing of it. So what’s the book? Thanksgiving! The True Story of a Scrumptious American Holiday. What is particularly tricky about it? First, discovering and sorting through all the misinformation about the origins of Thanksgiving; second, putting it all together with a clear and engaging narrative; third, write a relevant book, a meaningful book, not just a book that debunks an iconic holiday. I’m just back from Little Rock, AK, where I spoke at a conference. Early tomorrow morning, I’ll resume where I left off–the middle of the chpt on Thanksgiving & food. Everywhere I go I ask people about how they celebrate(d) Thanksgiving. In Little Rock, I met a woman who said they had/have two Thanksgiving dinners in her Italian American–first a feast of Italian food; second, turkey and all the trimmings.
In addition to writing about writing, I am also going to write about nonfiction literature for all ages, particularly for children. A number of my speeches on the subject are posted on my web site so I won’t repeat why I am passionate about promoting the use of nonfiction literature in schools and homes. Why I think the current hegemony of fiction deprives kids of the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in school and life. I’ll be using this blog to post great nonfiction books that kids really read. First I’ll recommend an author of nonfiction picture books–Ruth Heller. One of the first grade teachers who is taking a course I teach at Queens College, reported that her students loved Heller’s book: Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones and The Reason for a Flower. Since many of Heller’s books are out of print, a good source is www.allbooks.com or www.alibris.com.
My other abiding interests is women’s history. So, I’ll also write about my travels in search of monuments, markers, and memorials. As is my habit, I made a list of sites to visit during my visit to Little Rock. My time was too tight to do anything more than locate the room named for Senator Hattie Caraway in the convention center. Caraway (1878-1950) was the first woman to be elected as a U.S. Senator (Rebecca Felton had served for one day).
This then ends my first blog. If you have Thanksgiving stories, or recommendations for nonfiction books that kids really read or know the location of women’s history monuments, markers, and memorials, I’d love to hear from you. Or, of course, about anything else you’d like to write about.