When the kids in Ms. Vallis’ eighth grade writer’s workshop learn that rock superstar Nick Thompson is come to speak with them they are thrilled. Suddenly writing seems a lot more exciting.
When the day finally comes and Nick Thompson actually walks in the classroom door it seems too good to be true. Of course the kids have a lot of questions about Nick’s music career and other subjects, and Nick answers them. But then he guides the kids back to the subject at hand: writing.
According to Nick Thompson the songs he writes are like a bowl of fruit. Just like a million artists could all paint that bowl of fruit from a different perspective, even a simple subject can be covered in an infinite number of ways through the power of writing.
Nick challenges the class to write a story in any style that they want. The plot is simple: a boy drops his pencil while taking a test in school. As he picks up the pencil he bumps a girl’s arm and the girl is very angry at him because he joggled her arm. The girl accuses the boy of dropping his pencil so that he could bend over and cheat by looking at her test. Later that day the boy tells his friend a joke that is so funny it makes him spew milk out of his nose all over his lunch. Both boys throw away their lunches.
The plot seems boring and totally simple. The children are incredulous. Is this the best that Nick Thompson can come up with? But then Nick Thompson tells them the point of the project. You can make any subject interesting. You just have to choose a unique perspective, just like the artists that are all painting an image of the same bowl of fruit but from different angles.
So the children of Ms. Vallis’ class embark on the Fruit Bowl Project, a project that will have exciting and fantastic results.
I really enjoyed “The Fruit Bowl Project” by Sarah Durkee. The book’s introduction is fairly short. Readers don’t get much of a chance to meet and bond with the characters. However, in the large view the point of “The Fruit Bowl Project” is not the characters, the students who will be the writers. Rather the focus is on their written work.
More than half of “The Fruit Bowl Project” is devoted to the finished product: a volume of forty-nine different pieces written about the same event. Among the eclectic results are raps, poems, sonnets, monologues, screen plays and musicals, newspaper articles, fairy tales, interviews, cross-examinations and horror stories.
Sarah Durkee must have had fun writing “The Fruit Bowl Project” and it comes through in her writing. The idea of portraying one simple event in so many different ways is simply genius and very inspiring as well.
I highly recommend that all young readers or aspiring writers experience “The Fruit Bowl Project” by Sarah Durkee.
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