On Tuesday, April 24, 2012, author Thomas Mullen visited Central Catholic High School in Tolelo, Ohio, where he was the featured speaker in the Central Catholic High School Reads program. Upon his visit, all students were required to read his book, The Last Town on Earth and teachers incorporated it into different class subjects.  Marie A. Arter, Director of Curriculum, said: “Author Thomas Mullen brought a fresh, intellectual and creative approach to the students and faculty of Toledo Central Catholic High School in our annual author visit event that celebrates reading and writing.  Tom meet with our community, students, and faculty to shared his love of writing, research and cultivating curiosity in life.  Indeed, he inspired our students to look at history from multiple perspectives.  Without doubt, I would recommend Thomas Mullen and his book The Last Town on Earth to any high school looking for ways to motivate their students to make curricular connections while becoming lifelong learners and readers.”

Click here for more information about the CCHS Reads program and Mullen’s visit.

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Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom RiggsThe inspiration for a story can come from almost anywhere. I learned this first-hand a few years ago when I was inspired by some evocative old snapshots I found at a flea market. I wanted to know more about the people in them, but the photos were anonymous—long-disconnected from whomever had taken and discarded them—so instead I created their stories myself. The result was my first novel, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar ChildrenIt’s enjoyed some remarkable success, especially for a book from a debut novelist—there’s even a movie in the works! None of which would be happening if I hadn’t let a handful of musty pictures tell me a story. Stories are everywhere; it’s just a matter of tuning our ears to listen for them.

Given the way Miss Peregrine is told, with the photos I found woven through the narrative, it’s proven to be a fascinating conversation-starter for students and teachers of creative writing. Students can easily find photos of their own to use as writing prompts, either on the Internet or, better yet, in the attics and closets of parents and grandparents. (I discovered that it’s nearly impossible to write about old photographs without becoming interested in their history. There’s something fascinating about the immediacy of a photograph, no matter how old it is; though a picture might have been taken a hundred years ago, it is always, in some sense, now.) (more…)

The Kids Are All Right by the Welch siblings

by Diana Welch and Liz Welch, co-authors with Amanda Welch and Dan Welch of The Kids Are All Right: A Memoir

Like many siblings, we disagree about a lot of things. We can’t remember who came up with the title The Kids Are All Right, but we do know that each of us had a completely different take on its meaning. Liz took it literally: All four of us turned out remarkably well, despite losing our parents when we were so young. Our father died in a car accident in 1982, and our mother succumbed to cancer in 1985. When we became orphans, our eldest sister Amanda was nineteen; Liz was sixteen; our brother Dan was fourteen; and Diana had just turned eight. Since no local family would take all of us in, we were separated, each sent to live in a different place. Our book, The Kids Are All Right, tells (in four different voices) how being separated was the most painful part of dealing with the loss of our parents. It also tells the story of how, after five years living apart, we found one another and became a family again. (more…)