When I was in elementary school I wrote tons of stories. Unfortunately, I only know where two of them are. From fifth grade I have one story which is laminated and another, my first “chapter book,” which was typed by an aide or volunteer who must have deciphered my handwriting. Bless them. We made fabric book covers, but apparently no one knew how to assemble the books, so I have ditto printed pages stacked inside the cover with an old rubber band to keep it all together. No matter. I’m so glad I still have the first chapter book I ever wrote!
I pulled my old book off the shelf recently and was amused to see the similarities between what I wrote in fifth grade and my latest book, Sam and the Dragon: A Medieval Mars Story. Both books are intended for middle grade readers. My original book, “Family on Mars,” is a story about a family who moves from earth to Mars. The main character, Greg (age 13) lives with his parents and his sister (age 10). Sam and the Dragon takes place on Mars. Sam (age 14 in earth years) lives with his aunt, uncle and cousin Ahni (age 12). But what really tickled me was how the story begins. Compare my fifth grade story opening to the opening of Sam and the Dragon.
From “Family on Mars”
On April 1, 2010, the never-forgotten day, Greg rushed in with the newspaper. “Hey, Dad,” shouted Greg, “there’s an ad in the paper that says we can go to Mars!”
From “Sam and the Dragon”
Sam burst through the doorway of the red brick hut. “Uncle Al! Uncle Al!”