Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Vermont Author Visits 3rd Grade

Our class has been reading a new middle grade book, Eddie Red Undercover Mystery on Museum Mile, written by Marcia Wells.  This book is about a 6th grade boy, Eddie Red, who has a photographic memory.  After witnessing a fight in an alley, Eddie finds himself working on an art robbery case with the NYC police department.  The book is funny and has a great mystery to solve.
We have greatly enjoyed this book.  Ask any 3rd grader from our class and they will probably tell you that their favorite part of the story was how the science teacher, Mr. Patterson, got the nickname Mr. Pee.  It involves Eddie’s best friend, Jonah, a red sweater, an apple, and a puddle of pee.  This book will have you laughing throughout the entire thing and on the edge of your seat while Eddie gets himself into trouble trying to solve the case.  
It turns out that Ms. Wells lives in Vermont.  We used our connections, wrote her letters pleading with her to come visit, and convinced her that Mrs. Smith’s 3rd grade was where she wanted to be!  We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Ms. Wells to discuss her book.  


How long was the process for writing Eddie Red? (Alanah)


A lot of people think that it is really long to write.  Ms. Wells said that it took a couple of years to write the first book.  But it did not take as long for the other books.  It took only about 6 months for books 2 and 3.  It took 5 years to find a publisher and 2 years to publish once she had a contract.  She also had a lot of help from her friends.   


When did you start writing? (Alanah)


Ms. Wells said that she started when she was older, about 7 years ago.  When she was our age, like 9 and 10, she wrote a book named Sally and the Mermaid.


Are you writing any new books?  Can you tell us anything about them? (Shelby)


Marcia Wells told us that she just wrote an adventure about 2 VT boys and Abenaki Indians.
She also wrote a mystery about a missing bully.


How did you come up with the character, Eddie Red and Detective Bovano? (Brennen)


Ms. Wells said she doesn’t really remember. She said they just sort of showed up.
Detective Bovano’s original name was Benson but someone told her it was already someone's name in a TV show. She tried to think of a really good Italian name and it was Bovano.


Who or what inspired you to write and how did you become writer? (Grace)


Ms.Wells told us she taught 7th grade boys. Her class inspired her to write. Also the books of Harry Potter written by J.K Rowling inspired her to write because of all the mystery and excitement in her books. She said she hadn’t read kids books for a long time and now all she reads are kids books.


What advice can you give us as young writers? (Brookelyn)


Ms. Wells said there 6 things you can do to become a better writer. They are write, write, write, read, read, read. That’s all you need for success. Authors read to get inspired, then write ideas down. She also gave more advice. It was don’t give up. I bet you didn’t know Ms.Wells has written 7 books but only 3 have been published.     


How did you come up with the idea for the book Eddie Red Undercover Mystery on Museum Mile? (Nathan)


We asked Ms. Wells the question on the top. She said the she came up with the idea because she taught 7th grade boys reading and Spanish. They read mystery books so she started to make books. Then she came up with the idea of mystery.


How is the illustrator for your books chosen? (Nathan)


People think that she got to pick her illustrator but that isn’t true at all. The publishing team does.The art director works with the author and illustrator to make the pictures for the book, then puts them in.


You have written 2 books so far. Which one is your favorite and why? (Aidan)


We asked Ms. Wells the question above and this is what she said. She likes them all equally. But if she had to pick one it would be the first book because you get to know Eddie and the idea was more magical.


Who is your favorite character? (Jared)


Eddie and Jonah are both Ms. Wells’ favorite characters.  Ms. Wells mentioned that she wrote so much about Jonah that she had to erase about half because the story is not called Jonah Red, it is called Eddie Red.


Where did you get the idea for Eddie Red to have a photographic memory? (Bryan)


Ms.Wells wanted Eddie to have a realistic human super power. She also made Eddie an artist because she isn’t artistic.


In addition to answering all of our questions, Ms. Wells explained to us how the illustrations in her book came to be.  Originally, Eddie Red was not going to have illustrations but after reading it, the publisher said it needed pictures.  Of course this made sense because Eddie is an artist.  The artist, Marcos Calo, is from Spain and his work is something that many people have seen.  Mr. Calo worked on the animation for “Despicable Me”.
Ms. Wells described the process the book went through to get the illustrations just right.  The creative team first described the book to Marcos Calo and he then got to work.  He submitted several different covers.  The creative team then picked a cover that would grab the reader's’ attention.  It turns out that Ms. Wells’ favorite cover was not the one picked by the creative team.  Ms. Wells mentioned that when you publish a book, it isn’t just yours anymore.  It becomes a team thing.  After the cover was chosen, the art director was responsible for adding the titles.  In the case of Eddie Red, the art director made the lettering look 3-D, added the police tape, and decided where to put the author’s name.
In telling us about the illustration process, Ms. Wells mentioned that because Marcos Calo is from Spain there was a bit of a cultural influence on his illustrations.  Mr. Calo does speak English but some of the meaning of the story would get lost in translation.  Every time Mr. Calo would submit a drawing of Eddie, he would have a satchel instead of a backpack.  Ms. Wells had to continually point this out so that the drawing could be changed to a backpack.  
We would highly recommend Eddie Red Undercover Mystery on Museum Mile.  It is an ├╝ber-cool book!!


For more information on Marcia Wells, go to http://marciawellsauthor.com/
For more information on Marcos Calo, go to http://www.marcoscalo.com/




Sunday, May 10, 2015

Montpelier


The 3rd and 4th grades spent Wednesday in Montpelier, our state’s capital.  While in Montpelier, the students were able to visit both the State House and the Vermont History Museum, learning more about our state’s history and how our government works. Students were given a tour of the State House building and learned a lot about what goes on there.    
To prepare for our field trip, the 4th graders created a law they wanted to see pass.  Our tour guide took this proposal and showed us the process it goes through to become a law.  Students were able to see the Senate chambers as well as the chambers of the House of Representatives.  In addition, students visited the Cedar Creek Room where they were able look at a large painting of the Battle of Cedar Creek, a battle fought in Virginia during the Civil War.  While at the State House, students had the opportunity to meet some of their representatives and some lucky students even got to meet Governor Shumlin. 
Students also took a tour of the Vermont History Museum.  Students were able to sit inside an Abenaki wigwam and learn about the Abenaki way of life.  The 3rd graders spent a lot of time at the beginning of the year learning about the Abenakis in Proctor and were excited to actually be able to experience this.  In addition, students learned about what life was like in Vermont during the time of the Green Mountain Boys, the Revolutionary War, and the Civil War.