In 1952, Paul Fleischman was born on this day.
Novelist and poet Paul Fleischman was born in Monterey, California, in 1952. He is the author of the Newbery Award-winning book Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices, and numerous works of fiction, non-fiction, drama, and poetry, as well as picture books. Fleischman won the Scott O'Dell Award, which is awarded to the year's best work of historical fiction for children or young adults, for his Civil War novel Bull Run.
Fleischman grew up in a home where reading and writing were very important-his father, author Sid Fleischman, won the Newbery Award for the novel The Whipping Boy. Paul Fleischman has fond memories of his father reading books aloud to the family, of listening to the radio with his mother, and exploring the many books in his father's study. Share some of Fleischman's memories with your class by reading his essay "My House of Voices."
Invite students to brainstorm a list of the voices that fill their own homes (or another location, such as their school or a community building). With their lists for inspiration, ask students to write a descriptive essay, similar to Fleischman's essay, that gives a tour of the voices in these places. Younger students might write a collaborative essay, with individual students or small groups cataloguing the voices of different areas of a place that they have all visited, such as the school or a nearby park.
In addition to reviewers' comments, this site includes excerpts, biographical information, and articles, including "From Seed to Seedfolks," which provides background on Seedfolks.
Candlewick Press offers this guide to Fleischman's first published play, Zap. Included are discussion questions and activities.
This teacher's guide to Fleischman's Seedfolks includes an interview with the author and specific activities and curriculum connections.
EduPlace offers this brief biography of Paul Fleischman, in which the influences of his childhood and of music on his work is highlighted. Also included is a selected list of Fleischman's books.