Prompts and resources:
As a child, Shannon Hale began writing books, mostly fantasy stories where she was the heroine. As an adult, her re-tellings and riffs on fairy tales, reach a new generation of kids less familiar with these classic stories.
The Goose Girl, her critically acclaimed first book, is an ALA Teens' Top Ten and Josette Frank Award winner. Enna Burning, River Secrets, and Forest Born are companion books to Goose, continuing the Bayern books series. Princess Academy is a Newbery Honor Book and a New York Times best seller — with the sequel Princess Academy Palace of Stone coming out in 2013. Book of a Thousand Days, a fairy tale retelling, received a CYBILS award. Hale's two books Austenland and Midnight in Austenland were inspired by Jane Austen's classic novels. She and her husband Dean co-wrote the graphic novel Rapunzel's Revenge, which was selected by Today's Al Roker for Al's Book Club for Kids. Its sequel, Calamity Jack, followed in 2010.
Prompt for Grades K-2 (Level I)
In Shannon Hale's contribution to The Exquisite Corpse story, the bad guy talks out of his rear end and sits on his face! How crazy (and creative) is that? Take Shannon's lead and write us a little story where one of the character's body parts has a special talent. Maybe he sings through his nose or she walks on her elbows. If you'd like to draw a picture, too, send it along.
Prompt for Grades 3-5 (Level II)
Fables are short stories that teach a lesson. Most fables are filled with animals that have the characteristics of humans. Think about The Tortoise and the Hare — it teaches us that slow and steady wins the race; or The Lion and The Mouse, which teaches us about cooperation. Create a story, using at least two animals, which will teach an important lesson.
Prompt for Grades 6-8 (Level III)
Many legends and folktales are pourquoi tales. Pourquoi tales — sometimes called "origin stories" — are fictional stories that explain why something is the way it is ("pourquoi" means "why?" in French). Before people were able to use science to explain nature, they used these stories to make sense of the world around them. In honor of Shannon Hale's graphic novels, use a comic format to share a pourquoi tale and to explain something in nature, like why the sun rises and sets or why the peacock has such colorful feathers.
A comic panel consists of one drawing that depicts a single moment. In daily newspapers, comic strips usually include either four panels or three panels all of the same size. The shapes of panels and the number of panels on a page in a comic book or graphic novel often vary widely. You may choose your own panel format to come up with a 12-24 panel comic on 1-2 pages.
Prompt for Grades 9-12 (Level IV)
In Rapunzel's Revenge, Shannon Hale starts with the familiar Rapunzel story and changes the setting to the Old West. Now, we'd like you to do something similar. Choose a popular fairy tale and give it a new setting. Be sure to include lots of details that help us get a sense of the place.