I recently had the privilege to watch a video of a school group in New Jersey perform my Treasure Island for Kids, and of course, it was AWESOME! That being said, one thing I kept noticing…. they were saying “Rum” incorrectly… but wait! No, they weren’t, they were saying “Gum”!
When re-writing classics tales like I do, I do my best to stick to the original plotline as much as possible. However, there are several times where that’s not possible. Sometimes with the length of the story or around specific content covered in the stories. And Treasure Island is no different, because, when it comes to pirates, they drink rum! And there are no mixing words when Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Treasure Island, those pirates drank their rum!
I specifically remember wavering around this point when writing, if I should talk about rum or not. In the end, I stayed to the storyline and hoped that schools and directors would make modifications as they felt necessary. Well, good for this school… as those pirates were constantly searching for their GUM!
So, if you are performing Treasure Island, and don’t feel comfortable using the word rum, you are MORE THAN WELCOME to substitute GUM in there!
I’ve received many compliments and questions about my cover artwork over the years, and I thought I would let everyone see behind the curtain as to who is the master of this whimsical art that I’m so lucky to have grace my covers. I did a short Q&A with him. His name is Ron Leishman,…
I have had many requests for signed copies of my books for students, classes, and teachers. I have finally set up my site so I can accommodate these requests easily! So, you can now buy your books directly through me and they will be signed! (yeah!) You can purchase them here.
The following testimonial touched my heart so much, I had to share it.
I was following up on a Goodreads book giveaway that I did for my latest book Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for Kids. When a mom came back with two paragraphs of glowing sentiment. Here’s an excerpt of what she wrote:
Thank you again so much. I can’t even begin to thank you enough. It was so fun watching them put on this play and the memories we all made will never be forgotten. This is definitely going to be a play they put on every year I’m sure, they just had so much fun! Seriously when his friends came over he was showing all of them that it was signed by the author for him! It’s so great to see him and his friends getting into having so much fun with a classic
I was so excited about this testimonial that I shared it with my wife and when I looked up she was crying. The fact that we were able to touch children with these books the way that we did really moved her and, to perfectly honest, really motivates me to continue this journey.
To all the moms and teachers out there who carry the torch of excitement about education to the children, thank you.
Fellow blogger and Shakespeare fan, Alan Peat, (@alanpeat) was a bit bored one day and decided for his 50th birthday to tweet all of Shakespeare’s plays in 50 tweets or less (not in one day, cuz, that’d be a bit crazy). So, he knocked out his first “Shakestweet”, Henry V.
That leads to my thoughts on another Shakespeare lesson plan, the ShakesTweet. What a great way to engage technology with Shakespeare. As I’ve said before, probably half your kids already have a twitter account, and what a great way to get the basic storyline across? 140 characters can actually go a long way.
When I write my books, I start by making the play as short as possible, with as few characters as possible. Only then do I have the basic core of the story, the frame. From that frame I can scaffold on more characters, details, and subplots of the play that I deem fit for the kids and the level of melodramatic non-sense I want to incorporate. (It’s pretty fun!) I’m no Shakespeare aficionado, I just love engaging kids and seeing them grow from learning through excitement and passion.
So, get your kids engaged with the ShakesTweet lesson plan, and be sure to mention me in the process, so I can follow along: @Shakespeare4kid #ShakesTweet
These are the late nights. Writing Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island for Kids has been a BLAST! Possibly because it is my first foray outside of Shakespeare, possibly because it is about pirates (I mean, who doesn’t want to write about pirates, right?!?!) or possibly it’s because when it comes down to the launch of a new book, it’s always exciting! But, it’s finally here!
I always get a bit nervous; did I make any formatting errors, any spelling errors (my nemesis) or any grammar errors? Did I completely blow it and put the cover of 12th night on the book of Treasure Island? Oh, no! Go check again and again…. it’s paranoia at the worst level. However, one of the things that I have realized is that there will ALWAYS be mistakes. If I continue to try and make it perfect, I would still be working on my first book, and the funny part, I have found errors in my books, but ONLY ONCE, has someone emailed me and called me out on any of my errors. Which is rather ironic, I mean, my main customer is an English teacher! So, who better to catch my bumbling English skills then someone skilled in the art of English! (I knew there was a reason I went to school to be an engineering!)
It’s also great fun to see it all come together. From the story, to the cover art (which has to “paint the picture”) to the editing… there are several pieces and people in play, and they all help create the “final sculpture”.
Well, I have rambled enough today, and I hope you like my rendition of Treasure Island, I know my kid has!