The Exquisite Prompt Write It, Film It Video Contest
More about Katherine Paterson
Watch this interview to learn more about how Katherine Paterson worked with her son David to bring her book Bridge to Terabithia to the big screen.
Award-winning author and literacy advocate Katherine Paterson says that one of her most important activities is her service on the board of the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance (NCBLA). Last year, after eight years in the making, the organization published Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, an anthology and outreach project Katherine was excited to be involved with as it encourages young people to read more and to discover America's rich history and culture. She's also involved in the NCBLA's Exquisite Corpse Adventure with the Library of Congress and penned the second and fifteenth episode of Nancy and Joe's perilous journey.
Katherine Paterson is no stranger to writing about children who have to take risks — like Lyddie who strikes off for the mill town of Lowell, Massachusetts so that she can earn money to save the Vermont family farm or like Rosa who is sent to live with strangers when her mother joins other mill workers on strike in 1912 Lawrence, Massachusetts. She thinks of the characters she's created not as role models, but "people in circumstances of difficulty."
If you had left home at the time of the Industrial Revolution to find work in a factory, you would have written letters in order to stay in touch with your family. Nowadays, you could just call or even record your experiences to share. Imagine that you are a young person working in a textile mill (a factory where cotton cloth is made) and the year is sometime between 1820 and 1890. Create a vlog or a video diary entry about your new job. Describe what your new job is, what your working conditions are like, who your co-workers are, and how you feel about working in a factory.
With this prompt, you are creating historical fiction. You've got to develop your character and research the time period he or she lives in. Your video diary entry is a narrative and since this is a story about your character's day at work, you'll need to discover those interesting everyday details about what it was like to live and work at that time—the kinds of clothes worn, food eaten, educational and leisure opportunities—things that conjure up times past and bring your character to life.
Submit a character sketch along with a bibliography of the resources you used to develop your character.
Often a video diary is filmed by the person presenting it—by holding the camera in hand or sitting in front of a camera placed on a table or tripod or built into a laptop. Though the point of a video diary is to focus on the diary keeper and capture what he/she has to say, incorporating images that help to illustrate points of the narrative could add interest. Consider appropriate dress and setting for your diary character—someone who just came off a 19th century spinning room floor isn't going to be wearing nail polish, ear buds, or a Star Trek t-shirt.
Upload your finished video interview.