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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Pouring history onto the page

  “The values transmitted through oral history are many - courage, selflessness, the ability to endure, and to do so with humor and grace. I got those values listening to my dad's stories about the Depression and how their family survived. It gave me courage that I, too, could survive hard times.” – Ann Turner

Born in Massachusetts on this date in 1945, Turner has often used segments from her own background and family's oral history in her writing.  The results have been some 40 novels, picture books, and poetry collections, primarily for children ranging in age from kindergarten through high school.

Turner started writing while still in college, winning first prize in the Atlantic Monthly’s college creative writing contest.  After teaching for a couple years, she decided writing was what she really wanted to do and followed that dream instead.  Her novel A Hunter Comes Home was an American Library Association “Notable Children's Book,” and her first picture book, Dakota Dugout, received the same honor.  Since then she has won dozens of awards, both in the U.S. and internationally in every category in which she writes.   Among her other books are Abe Lincoln Remembers, an NCSS/CBC Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, and Through Moon and Stars and Night Skies, a Reading Rainbow selection. 

There is the magical moment when words begin to pour out onto the page — words which surprise and confound even me,” she said.  I am as interested in seeing what happens to my characters as any reader; that is why I tell kids that writers write for the same reason readers read - to find out the end of the story.”

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