Welcome to Day #2 of the One Good Thing About America Blog Tour!To celebrate the release of One Good Thing About America by Ruth Freeman (3/14/17), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Ruth and 10 chances to win a copy of One Good Thing About America, as well as a chance to win a Skype visit with Ruth in the Grand Prize Giveaway!
Is It Ever Easy Being New? by Ruth Freeman
Who hasn’t been new somewhere, sometime in their lives? There’s the first day in kindergarten, moving to a new school or town, the first day at a new after-school program or summer camp. I’m wondering: is it ever easy? I don’t think so. Not if you’re by yourself, without friends or family.
And what would it be like if you couldn’t speak the language? If you wanted to ask a question or say the answer, but didn’t know the words? I was in Paris once by myself for a week. I knew some French but it was pretty rusty and I certainly couldn’t get the words out quickly. I remember looking, watching what everyone else was doing. I felt like my eyes were so big. That’s why I described Anaïs as “a big cat with yellow eyes.” She tries “to read what the faces say” but the words go by too fast. I remember thinking to myself, am I in the right line? what does that sign say? where do I put my ticket?
There were other times when I was new somewhere: the first time I slept over at a friend’s house, the first time I went to a summer camp, my first night at college. Those memories are still so clear and sharp, probably because I was scared and homesick! An older man I know told me he can remember everything about his first day at a new school in 4th grade…more than 50 years ago. No one had told him he needed a nickel to buy a carton of milk so he just took one without paying and got in trouble. It was so embarrassing he’s never forgotten it. Being new is not easy. And imagine what it would be like if you didn’t know the language.
While I was working on my story I asked my students about when they were new in America. Several told me about saying, “Yes, yes, yes” and smiling at everything anyone said. A girl told me the school cafeteria food looked so awful she didn’t eat it for weeks. She said, “it looked like something from my nose!” Watching students shiver and slip on the ice, but also stop in their tracks with the first snowflakes. These memories all became
Anaïs’ memories in the story.
Everyone has been new at some point in their lives. It’s not easy, is it? But we learn to fit in, to make friends. If we don’t know the language, we start to learn it. And the next time we’re new somewhere, it will be a little easier.
by Ruth Freeman
Stop by Mrs. Mommy BookNerd tomorrow for the next stop on the tour!
Blog Tour Schedule:
April 10th – Geo Librarian April 11th – Late Bloomer's Book Blog April 12th – Mrs. Mommy BookNerd April 13th – Kristi's Book Nook April 14th – Life Naturally April 17th – Books My Kids Read April 18th – Chat with Vera April 19th – Word Spelunking April 20th – Middle Grade Mafioso April 21st – The Hiding Spot
ONE GOOD THING ABOUT AMERICA is a sweet, often funny middle-grade novel that explores differences and common ground across cultures. It's hard to start at a new school . . . especially if you're in a new country. Back home, Anaïs was the best English student in her class. Here in Crazy America she feels like she doesn't know English at all. Nothing makes sense (chicken FINGERS?), and the kids at school have some very strange ideas about Africa. Anaïs misses her family . . . so she writes lots of letters to Oma, her grandmother. She tells her she misses her and hopes the war is over soon. She tells her about Halloween, snow, mac 'n' cheese dinners, and princess sleepovers. She tells her about the weird things Crazy Americans do, and how she just might be turning into a Crazy American herself.
About the Author: Ruth Freeman grew up in rural Pennsylvania but now lives in Maine where she teaches students who are English language learners, including many newly arrived immigrants. She is the author of several acclaimed nonfiction picture books. One Good Thing About America is her first novel..
GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY
- One (1) winner will receive a signed copy of One Good Thing About America for their personal collection, as well as a 30 minute Skype visit with Ruth Freeman to the school of their choice and a signed copy for the school's library.
- Enter via the rafflecopter below
- US Only
- Ends 4/23 at midnight ET