Monday, May 25, 2015

Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street
 by Toni Schotter
Illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker

A perfect book to inspire and encourage our writers!

Book Talk
I guess you really never know what is going to happen in the course of a day—and Eva starts the story rather bored with her prospects.  Her teacher has told her to “Write about what you know” (ala Ralph Fletcher?!), yet, as she sits on her stoop with her blank writing pad and her blank mind, she is convinced that nothing happens on 90th Street.

She begins to get writing advice from her neighbors and friends. 

Some favorite lines:Eva answered, “But nothing ever happens on 90th Street!” “You are mistaken, my dear,” Mr. Sims said. “the whole world’s a stage-even 90th Street-and each of us plays a part. Watch the stage, observe the players carefully, and don’t neglect the details,” he said.”

Eva then starts zeroing in on, observing and taking notes about  'small moments’ happening in the neighborhood. She is amazed how the neighbor people and their personalities start revealing themselves to her!  

As a hilarious sequence of events begins, she soon finds that she has plenty to write. It is like she is watching a play unfold before her very eyes as she listens and observes her neighbor interact. Events seem to domino and the details seem to make the story even bigger and funnier.

An actor, a ballerina, a homemaker, fish monger and a mother with a baby in a stroller all stop by and talk to Eva.  The baby looses his ball and starts to cry. A pizza delivery man runs over the ball and flips off his bike. The ballerina (who never smiles) runs to the rescue and immediately falls in love with the pizza man (and finally smiles).

And Eva writes.  The neighborhood action—and interaction—continues and Eva happily observes and continues to write.

Her result? A fun twist—her result is the book, that the reader is holding in her hand!

 Suggested Use as a Mentor Text
 Book Genre: Realistic Fiction
Reading Workshop strategies: Predicting, Analyzing, 
Writing Workshop genre: Narrative, Small Moment, Inspiring Writers, Strong Lead

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