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SMS Students Skype with Author/Illustrator

posted Feb 26, 2018, 11:12 AM by The School District of Oconee County, SC
The innocence and literalness of youth is a wondrous but fleeting thing.  For Matt Faulkner, those qualities of young children proved to be inspirational in the development of a children's booth he both authored and illustrated.  A Taste of Colored Water tells the story of segregation through the eyes of two small children who read the "Colored" sign above a water fountain in a totally innocent and literal way but soon learn the harsh realities of Jim Crow segregation.  Seneca Middle School teacher Cassondra Moore first read the book shortly after it was originally published almost ten years ago, but the moving story so captivated her that she still uses it to this day.  Although intended for a younger age group, Moore uses the brilliantly written and illustrated picture book with her seventh grade English/Language Arts classes as a discussion starter during Black History Month.

Recently, Moore tracked down the author and arranged an online Skype session between her students and Faulkner.  After hearing him ready the story aloud, the students learned how hearing an NPR radio interview while driving home planted a kernel of a story idea in his mind and how the idea festered within him over several years before he and his editor finally developed his initial idea into fully realized characters and the final storyline.  Following his comments, Moore's students asked wide-ranging and insightful questions.  Moore said of the session, "It was amazing to be able to use current-day technology to allow my small-town South Carolina students to 'meet' and pick the brain of a renowned author in California about his historically important story.  They were able to not only gain valuable insights into the story and its origins but also about the writing and publishing process."