Saturday, March 17, 2012

Secret Stories from Peachtree Creek

One of the things I was doing while I was on blogger hiatus was finishing up a book I wrote to help my second grade students learn about and better understand the history of Atlanta.

Several years ago, I was visiting The Atlanta History Center with my class when the docent mentioned the Civil War battle that later became known as the Battle of Peachtree Creek. At that point, several of my students remarked that they live on Peachtree Creek. I was excited to think about the historic connections they could make between then and now, but later, I realized that they still thought history happened some place else and not where they currently live.

 And so, I created six fictional kids, each living in the same place on Peachtree Creek, each sharing a secret for over 200 years. The secret has to do with the history of Atlanta. Tuck was a boy who lived in the Village of Standing Peachtree in the late 1700s; Susannah, an early 1800s settler with a secret best friend who happened to be Cherokee; James, a maybe slave who set out with his father to join the Union Army during the Civil War; Rosie, a factory worker from Whittier Mill who was visiting her seamstress aunt in the rich part of Atlanta in the early 1900s; Carl, a black kid helping his father build houses in White Atlanta as he worried about the changes the Civil Rights movement would have on his personal life; and Frances, a current Buckhead kid, who gets the story started and finishes it up at the end.

I believe the book turned out well and I’ve gotten good responses from kids, parents, and teachers. However, one of the most exciting aspects of researching and writing the book is what I learned about the history of my new home town. Being from Savannah, the City Too Beautiful to Burn, I believed that all of Georgia history happened there – other than that stuff I read about in Gone with the Wind when I was seventeen. But now, in learning about the native peoples who once lived here and the early settlers and the Siege of Atlanta and the mill towns now within the city limits, I was reminded that, by creating human faces to go along with the history, I was better able, as the author, to internalize it. And that, of course, is what I wanted for my students.

Based on all of the wonderfulness described above, if any of you would like to order the book for your children or grandchildren or nieces or nephews or the kid next door or that one you saw at the grocery store or the school in your neighborhood or any other school any other place, you can find it at amazon.com for a mere $6.99. Here’s the shameless link.

13 comments:

Stephen Hayes said...

You sound like a creative and dedicated teacher. Your students are lucky to have you.

Vagabonde said...

This sounds like a real neat book – for what age group would you say?

marciamayo said...

Vagabonde, I wrote it as a read-aloud to second graders but older kids have been reading it to themselves. I've had parents say that kids as young as 3 have enjoyed having it read to them, but I have a hard time believing that. It's a short chapter book.

LC said...

Congrats!

Celia said...

What a great way to make history come alive for kids. I hope it gets picked up by Scholastic.

MerCyn said...

Good luck with your book. Sounds wonderful - will buy a copy for the grandkids.

Friko said...

You got a book completed, accepted, printed and published in a few short months?
Congratulations.

marciamayo said...

Friko, I published it myself. I've sent it out to a "real" publisher. We'll see if they are interested.

Sue Rodman said...

It's a wonderful book, I highly recommend it. I read it myself and am going to read it to my son next. I love how the area around the creek changes, but there are some things that never change.

marciamayo said...

Sue, thank you so much! What you think as a parent means so much to me.

LC said...

I just ordered the book and am eagerly awaiting its arrival. I look forward to sharing it with my four grands who live in Marietta, Ga!

marciamayo said...

LC, thanks! I hope they (and you) enjoy it.

joared said...

The book sounds really creative and one young ones would really enjoy.

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