All Girls School


Writing Contest
January 11, 2008, 12:45 pm
Filed under: Bubba, field trip, history, writing

Last year we saw ads for the Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest and Bubba was intrigued, but not motivated to actually enter. This year, though, she is really excited about it. She had a great title for her story and a good rough outline of how it would play out. We sat down and brainstormed a little bit to refine some of her ideas and talked about the main points of a story to make sure it followed a logical progression. I asked a lot of questions, but let her supply all of the answers and solutions. She then dictated it to me and I typed it up on the computer. I am going to have her write it out neatly on the final paper. She has decided that to illustrate it she wants to draw all of the outlines in black, help scan them into the computer, and then color them in with Photoshop. That will be another lesson for her as soon as she’s finished drawing. I am trying to let her do the picture thing on her own, but keep taking her back to the site that shows previous winners and how their images are detailed and brightly colored. We talked about focal points and how the main action in the picture should probably be the biggest thing drawn on the paper. She’s getting it and we’re really excited about the finished book. I think I may go to lulu or something and get one printed for her after she enters. Maybe we’ll do this every year, so that when she’s finished she will have a progression of 12 years of fully printed and bound books. That would be such a treasure for a bookshelf.

One thing that I’m struggling with is her desire to win. She wants to win. Badly. Very very badly. The prizes are great after all. First prize is a flat screen television, second is a laptop, and third is an MP3 player. All the winners also receive a set of Reading Rainbow books and videos for themselves, their local library and their school. I’m trying to explain to her that this is a nation wide contest and although winning would be great, the real reward is in the process of creating a work that is all her own. If I remember correctly, all entrants get a certificate signed by LeVar Burton, so at least there is something. I just hope she isn’t so set on winning that she will be crushed if she doesn’t. My one consolation is that winners aren’t revealed until August, so there’s a lot of time between then and now for her mind to be taken off of its “winning” focus.

Also, we did see the National Treasure movie. While it was a fun movie and we all enjoyed it, it held far fewer history storylines than the first. This one was more about action and treasure than history. That’s ok, though, it’s fun to have something fun and somewhat educational for the whole family to enjoy. We are continuing on with Bubba’s interest in Kansas Civil War history. I found a book on Harriet Tubman in one of our boxes and pulled that out since she had shown a keen interest in the Underground Railroad. We read it and I kept crying as I read. It was ridiculous of me, but I’m just so moved by the courage and determination of all those that lived in that time and fought for their freedom. Bubba though I was crazy. She asked about visiting some Underground Railroad stops some time. I told her that I thought they were all east of us and that some day we would definitely take a trip to do so. But, in researching our local history I found out that an Underground Railroad did indeed go through parts of Kansas. So, we’re taking a trip next week to do a whole tour of Lawrence. I contacted the Underground Railroad Association of Douglas County, KS and they gave me a detailed listing of places in and around Lawrence that were part of it. I was so excited to find this out. I also contacted their Community History Museum and a woman there was delighted to tell me all kinds of stuff about their exhibits and things. They have a localized Civil War exhibit there, as well as information on a self-guided walking tour of the area. So, a week from today we will be tooling around to find all of these places (as well as having lunch at our favorite and most missed restaurant ever). It’s funny, but I lived in and around that area for a long time and never once tried to find out anything about the history of the area. Pictures to come after our field trip.

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