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Author Study: Laurie Halse Anderson

Biography of award-winning author, Laurie Halse Anderson
by

Shelley Battaglia

on 28 June 2011

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Transcript of Author Study: Laurie Halse Anderson

Watching her father write poetry and read
Working on her father’s old typewriter to write newspaper columns, stories and letters
Her second grade teacher, Mrs. Sheedy-Shea who taught her to write haiku poetry Laurie Halse Anderson Author of the Month Born October 23, 1961
in Potsdam, NY Anderson never planned to be an author. After college, she worked various jobs such as
cleaning banks
milking cows
working as a stockbroker
reporting for the Philadelphia Inquirer
freelance writing and editing for a magazine Early Influences: gardening, hiking, and
training for and running marathons Hobbies: During her senior year in high school, Laurie Halse Anderson was an exchange student in Denmark, learning to speak the Danish language (that she can still speak today). For 13 months she lived and worked on a pig farm.

While “dabbling” in writing during her freelance writing years, she received numerous piles worth of rejection letters from publishers. Although the experience was intimidating and discouraging, Halse Anderson continued to pursue her goal. It took her eight long years to finally publish her first story. Interesting Facts: Young Adult Novels: 1999 2000 2002 2005 2007 2008 2009 2010 Read Speak and Catalyst. These two stories take place in the same school, Merryweather High School. What connections link the two books?
Read Wintergirls and Prom. These two stories contrast greatly. Compare Lia’s parents to Ashley’s parents and compare/ contrast the girls’ relationships with their parents.
Select any one Laurie Halse Anderson modern young adult novel and explain how it connects to today’s teenagers and their issues.
Read Twisted. How well does Anderson write from a teenage male perspective? Where/what are her strengths and weaknesses? Some food for thought: Halse interview on her lastest book, Forge Freshman year at Merryweather High isnotgoing well for Melinda Sordino. She busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, and now her friends—and even strangers—all hate her. So she stops trying, stops talking. She retreats into her head, and all the lies and hypocrisies of high school become magnified, leaving her with no desire to talk to anyone anyway. But it’s not so comfortable in her head, either—there’s something banging around in there that she doesn’t want to think about. She can’t just go on like this forever. Eventually, she’s going to have to confront the thing she’s avoiding, the thing that happened at the party, the thing that nobody but her knows. She’s going to have to speak the truth. In 1793 the Cook Coffeehouse outside of Philadelphia is a haven for those fleeing from the fever sweeping across the mosquito-infested city. Fourteen-year-old Mattie Cook loses her childhood playmate to the fever and struggles to keep her family and its business alive.During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out. Meet Kate Malone, straight-A science and math geek, minister's daughter, ace long-distance runner, new girlfriend (to Mitchell "Early Decision Harvard" Pangborn III), unwilling family caretaker, and emotional avoidance champion. Kate manages her life by organizing it as logically as the periodic table. She can handle it all-or so she thinks. Then, things change as suddenly as a string of chemical reactions; first, the Malones' neighbors get burned out of their own home and move in. Kate has to share her room with her nemesis, Teri Litch, and Teri's little brother. The days are ticking down and she's still waiting to hear from the only college she applied to: MIT. Kate feels that her life is spinning out of her control-and then, something happens that truly blows it all apart. Philadelphia high school doesn't care about the prom. It's pretty much the only good thing that happens there, and everyone plans to make the most of it -- especially Ash's best friend, Natalia, who's the head of the committee and has prom stars in her eyes. Then the faculty advisor is busted for taking the prom money and Ash finds herself roped into putting together a gala dance. But she has plenty of help -- from her large and loving (if exasperating!) family, from Nat's eccentric grandmother, from the principal, from her fellow classmates. And in making the prom happen, Ash learns some surprising things about making her life happen, too. High school senior Tyler Miller used to be the kind of guy who faded into the background. But since he got busted for doing graffiti on the school, and spent the summer doing outdoor work to pay for it, he stands out like you wouldn’t believe. His new physique attracts the attention of queen bee Bethany Milbury, who just so happens to be his father’s boss’s daughter, the sister of his biggest enemy— and Tyler’s secret crush. And that sets off a string of events and changes that have Tyler questioning his place in school, in his family, and in the world. At the start of the Revolutionary War, Isabel is sold to a cruel loyalist family, even though she has been promised freedom by her former owner. Soon faced with the choice of working for or against the British, Isabel chooses to work with anyone who can help her. If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl? Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend's restless spirit. The Patriot Army was shaped and strengthened by the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter. This is where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of discovery, for he is an escaped slave passing for free. And then there is Isabel, who is also at Valley Forge—against her will. She and Curzon have to sort out the tangled threads of their friendship while figuring out what stands between the two of them and true freedom.
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