Are you an instructor looking for some fresh classroom ideas--new ways to introduce or use my MGs?


In THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, Auggie and Gus become folk artists. But they're not content to simply make a few fun trinkets, paintings, or small sculptures. Instead, they turn their entire home into a regular folk art environment!

For teachers looking to jump-start interest in the concept of folk art--and to give young readers some idea of just how incredibly wild Auggie and Gus's house must look--consider sharing a few of these real-life folk art environments with your students:

1. The Watts Towers in California - Hundred-foot tall spiraling structures made of rebar and covered in concrete and broken glass or pottery shards.

2. Vollis Simpson's Whirligig Park - Auggie and Gus make whirligigs to put in their own front yard!

3. The Orange Show - This one defies explanation. But Houston (the city where the Orange Show is located) also hosts an Art Car Show--which would certainly spark many boys' imaginations.

4. Thunder Mountain - A Native American monument.

5. Bishop Castle - Your kids will love this one! It includes an actual fire breathing dragon.

Fair warning: Folks art environments are completely addictive. Once you get started looking at these amazing, imaginative structures, you just won't want to stop. Here's an additional list of folk art environments to feed your new addiction.


Mr. Dosch is just one of those teachers--open-minded and fun and on the lookout for new projects to
stir his students' imagination.

I met Mr. Dosch last year, when his class wrote letters to Auggie, the main character of THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY. (Of course Auggie wrote them back!)

This year, he got his reading class off to a running start with my latest release, WORDQUAKE.

I wrote WORDQUAKE thinking of the "kinda-sorta" readers; the book features the misadventures of Izzy Ashby, a girl who'd rather be anywhere but the library.

To encourage both close and creative thinking, Mr. Dosch posed two questions to his class:

1. Izzy accidentally removes all the words from her school, making it impossible to do any bookwork. Shortly thereafter, the Izzy Ashby Fan Club is formed, and is said to have 100% membership. Dosch asked his class if they think this is a true 100%, considering the fact that Alexander Gum (a fourth grade scientist / inventor and the only person in all of Eastwood Elementary with working knowledge of wordquakes) loves his reading so much. Did Alexander join? Why would he? Or do you think that the membership of the fan club was 99.9%? Why?

2. Before reading the last chapter, Mr. Dosch asked his class to imagine how the book would end. Would Izzy save the day? How?

Mr. Dosch's class at work.
Mr. Dosch was kind enough to share the responses with me, and they were all just an utter delight! I loved getting a chance to hear how his students were interacting with the book--I especially enjoyed their predictions regarding the book's end. Some were already feeling Izzy's change of heart regarding the power of words; others had really imaginative ideas on how Izzy would put the words back in their rightful place. (Ideas involving wind or evaporation or scooping the words into a bag or even using her head flashlight To melt them back into place...)

Thanks, Mr. Dosch's 4th grade! I'm so glad I got to be a part of your new school year. Keep up the great work!


My MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, is brimming with opportunities to introduce your class to figurative / descriptive language. Auggie, the main character, becomes a folk artist, making sculptures out of "upcycled" materials. In order to do that, she can't see the world in a literal way--she sees a rusted pipe and thinks, "ballerina." Her ability to see the world in a poetic way is a big part of the reason why I felt her voice ought to be filled with metaphor and simile throughout--it only made sense that her poetic vision should be apparent even in the line-by-line descriptions.

I've made a small graphic including some of my favorite descriptive / figurative phrases from the book. Feel free to grab the graphic and use it in your own classroom:

I've also begun to create some boards on Pinterest featuring ideas for using my books in the classroom--and I'd love to get teachers involved! If you've used / are using THE JUNCTION in the classroom, and would like to take part in a collaborative board where we all share ideas on how to incorporate the book into classrooms or introduce the work to young readers, email hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com. You can also leave a comment at the board, if you'd prefer.

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