Fun with Illustrations Worksheet
Our books tell fictional stories about characters we created, but the characters are always placed in historically accurate settings. Our books realistically portray the times, places, and situations our characters would have faced had they actually lived.
We were news reporters before we were novelists, and we're committed to informing our readers, not just entertaining them.
As a teacher, you can rely on our accuracy in describing geographic and social settings, historic time periods, social norms and values, and actual places, historic events, and well-known people. Our books will not contradict what you teach or what your students read in their textbooks and other reputable sources.
Our books are ideal for exploring the social and cultural diversity of Kentucky and readily fit the state's fourth grade Kentucky history requirement. They are primarily aimed at third to sixth-grade readers but are also enjoyed by older readers who like "gentle fiction."
We do not claim to be teachers and are not trying to tell you how you should teach. The tests, assignments, and class projects cited here are merely resources that may save you time and effort if you choose to use them.
We hope you find our books and teacher resources useful.
Rebecca & Marie
Download a Teacher's Guide
We've put together a handy, helpful packet of background information for you and assignment ideas, discussion questions, and sample tests you can use with your students. And, it's all in a single pdf file you can download. Then, you can copy, print, or modify any or all of it to fit your students and your personal teaching style.
The Teacher's Guide for Road to Pleasant Hill is 14 pages and includes:
Our teacher's guide for `Tis a Gift isn't finished yet, but it will be available soon.
Shall we come to your class?
All three of us -- co-authors Rebecca and Marie; illustrator Pam -- love talking with young readers about our books and how they were developed. We also enjoy talking about broader aspects of writing and illustrating. If you and your students would like to talk with us, invite us to come to your class.
It could involve one, two, or all three of us and it could focus on a single narrow topic or a more diverse bouquet of ideas. The format could be a formal pedagogical presentation, an informal discussion, a hands-on workshop, or some combination of these.
We don't have canned presentations that we pack up and take on the road wherever we go. We'd work with you to develop a program to specifically serve you and your students. It could be a drop-in, one-period classroom visit, a half or full-day workshop, or a more intense multi-session "author or illustrator in residence" mini-course conducted throughout an entire academic term.
And, you wouldn't have to be the only teacher involved. We'd be thrilled to work with a group of teachers to develop a program that would cut across classes to serve several different age groups and/or subject matters.
Send us an e-mail to discuss the possibilities.
Kentucky's Shaker villages
Click for a one-page overview of the Shakers. (Also included in our 14-page Teacher's Guide.)
Our books are set in the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill near Lexington, Kentucky. Readers who go there can see the actual locations and still-existing buildings described in the stories. They can even walk some of the same routes taken by the characters. The village's website contains current and historic information about the village and the activities that occur there.
The Shaker Village at South Union, near Bowling Green, Kentucky, and its website are further resources for understanding Shaker culture and its lifestyles. Visitors here will also see Shaker characteristics -- large "family residences" for communal living," separate doorways and staircases for each sex, special purpose outbuildings, etc. -- in its surviving buildings even though they aren't exactly the same, nor in the same arrangement, as those at Pleasant Hill.
There are other Shaker villages outside of Kentucky. The Shaker Historic Trail website maintained by the National Park Service has information about them.
How about a field trip?
There are no Shakers living in Kentucky today but the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill still exists as a living history farm. A visit will let you see the places described in our books and better understand Shaker life.
Before Road to Pleasant Hill was published, we field-tested the manuscript with 4th-graders from Berea Community School in Berea, Kentucky. During classroom discussions these students told us they cared about the characters, could picture Shaker life in the 1830s because of our descriptions, and loved the action scenes. After our visit they asked for, and were subsequently taken on, a class trip to the living history museum at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill.
After that trip, their teacher Jennifer Green wrote:
"The kids were very anxious to visit the village and see first-hand where Betsy had lived. Many children commented on the buildings they saw and (related them to) scenes from the book.