Audio for April Henry Interview
April Henry is an interesting and amazing author, even if you don’t like her books. She can captivate her audience in a few words. It’s like magic what authors like her can do. We found out a lot about her when we asked her a few questions. She became an author by liking to read, and then trying to write a book (yes a whole book). She said it was hard (well duh) throwing herself into the world of writing. For all the 6th graders out there, April Henry had tried to find an agent but couldn’t do so until her second book.
Something many might not know is that she was reading an article about a teen going to boot camp, and wanted to write a book about a 16 year old girl who was good but from a bad place. In doing so she had created a YA (young adult) book instead of the other adult books she wrote. Contrary to popular belief she doesn’t know everything about her books before researching it a little. April Henry does though pay a lot of attention to the things she researches. She told us that she hadn’t seen a full on asthma attack and needed it for her book, so she had searched online and found videos about it and what it looks like. The amount of detail she looks at is insane! In the video she noticed that there is a hollow triangle in your chest when you are trying to breath with the asthma attack happening, and picked up on that and many other things!
A genre that a lot of people don’t know that she likes is humor. You can probably see why that is confusing because she writes murder mysteries. But nevertheless when she finds a good, funny/humorous book she loves it.
Some advice for young aspiring authors, read more critically (which might take the joy out of reading). Also follow the genre you want to whatever it may be, romance, adventure or even murder mysteries! Another thing is don’t be discouraged if you can’t finish your book, she said herself that endings/how to end a book is hard and may take a couple of rewrites and/or edits to get it perfectly right. If you want to hear more about what she had to say to us (Ruina and Ritaja) check out the DW Voice page
Scraps Are A Start
Short story taken place in 1996, Alabama
Everything here is dreadfully boring. Every house is stacked brick, and they all stand shoulder to shoulder. And everyday, I must wake to the sound of my clock, not the birds chirping or the hellos of our neighbors. Even the barks of a dog would be nice, but the only two dogs here live five houses down and are pampered like little children. We went over with a loaf of bread and cheese, and the two devils reclined in their small beds, and stared at me, beady eyes glistening. Lacey, they bore holes in me, as if they were waiting for me to tap dance, play them a tune, and provide them dear old majesties some entertainment.
I refused to visit any neighbors after that.
If school is the same, I fear that my inner demon will emerge and I must take drastic measures- perhaps even hitchhiking all the way back home or painting the house a cheerful, bubblegum pink. That would bring a certain kind of pandemonium, don’t you think?
And now, Ma is calling me. She must want me to dust off the mailbox!
Rolling her eyes, she clicked the cap on her pen.
Donna folded her letter, and slipped it into a envelope, addressing, stamping, and sealing in one flourish.
“God.” She muttered. “I can’t make it down in five flat!”
She clutched her letter, and slid down the stairs. Before reaching the kitchen, she ran outside, stuck the flag up, and sent off the letter with a kiss. Then, she dashed to her mother in the kitchen.
Her mother’s back was to her, but Donna could still feel the disapproval from her mother.
“I want you to clean out the basement, is that alright with you?”
Donna perked up. The basement was full of old letters, articles, and trifles.
In other words, the basement was almost an adventure.
And before her mother could change her mind, her long legs kicked open the door of the basement and tore down the stairs.
Her first thought was about the darkness. She fumbled around for a switch, and turned on a dusty lamp. Her second thought was—
From floor to ceiling, cardboard boxes were stacked high, lost pages sticking out, worn. Fancy vases leant on each other, and glass trifles scattered colorful light across the room,
It was absolutely a sight.
Shivering, she walked over, when a red, leather bound book caught her eye.
Walking over to it, she peeled it from the sticky residue that had hardened over time, connecting to the cardboard box, and opened it.
It was an album. Pictures immediately exploded from the book, tumbling to the floor as she opened it.
Donna smiled. Some had her best friends, some had her family- one even had a picture of her first cousin feeding a little Donna an ice cream. She closed it, and tipped a blue covered book into her expecting hands.
This one was a scrapbook. Laughing, she remembered making it. Messy bows of tape and glitter adorned the pages, and hearts were drawn in red crayon.
“How many of these are memories?” She asked herself. She set down a box with a thud, sending a cloud of dust into the air.
She looked into a yellow book, another red one, and a fancy gold one. She laughed once more. This was her childhood!
The yellow one from the trip to the beach, the red one during her food exploration in primary school, and the gold during her first gala, where she waddled ungracefully around in inch long heels.
The next box also had books. Albums, scrapbooks, anything. But they were empty.
Blank, clean. And it was somehow drawing her in.
“Ha.” Donna thought. “One day, all of this will be filled.”
She smirked. “And there’s no time— I’ll need to start now, don’t I?”
Orchestra and Band
By Ruina and Ritaja
Many people do band or orchestra. They are very popular and many people enjoy it. And some of those talented musicians are right here in our school. When you read this article, whether you are sitting in a noisy cafeteria or in a classroom where you are supposedly “paying attention”, take a glance around you. Get a good look. What if I told you more than fifty percent of the world played a musical instrument? Did you see it? Look again. See that person tapping their feet on the floor? Maybe they play percussion. What about that person fidgeting with their fingers? Perhaps they play piano. I’m pretty sure that you have heard of orchestra and band even if you have been in this school for only a few days. It’s pretty popular but there are some things even we, people of orchestra and band, have learned from asking the teachers/conductors of orchestra and band. These 2 teams of instruments are both a part of the fine arts one with percussion and wind instruments and the other purely strings. The band instruments sections consists of many different unique instruments.
We interviewed many students and both directors. Many students, such as Ella G. and Pranav H., play percussion. Others, like Abby M., play woodwind instruments. Then there are those students that played stringed instruments. Those are all the instruments in our orchestra, along with the piano. Seven of the students we asked informed us of playing a stringed instrument, and five of them are currently in the orchestra. Everyone we interviewed were inspired by many different reasons. Margaret, Erin, Killian, and Rahul all mentioned that their friends and/or family inspired them to join. Many students take lessons outside of school, while others don’t. We also asked how the students felt about their conductors. All of the students believe the directors are kind and caring. One refers to Ms. Buffa as “bubbly”, or cheerful, and “compassionate”, while another refers to Mr. Owens as “lighthearted” and “humorous”. One states,
“How Mr. Owens can get 60 kids to make beautiful music is astonishing to me. Mr. Owens is great because he is super funny and nice. He is also a good conductor because he doesn’t pick favorites and also doesn’t care if you know everything anyone could ever know about music. Mr. Owens is also very nice if you make a mistake. He does an amazing job making sure that there is an amazing learning environment. This is awesome because then you can feel comfortable if you make a mistake because no one will blame you.”
We also asked the teachers questions about their experiences. Both of them love to work with their students and to work with music (obviously). They believe that students from all grade levels can join band or orchestra, whether it’s pre school and nobody has started playing an instrument yet, or 10th grade where many people have already started or mastered playing an instrument. Before Mr. Owens leaves he wants to give one more piece of advice to his students and anyone who would like to join band,
“Practice makes all the difference and progress is sometimes slower than we want so go home and practice some more.” Many students have become close to Mr. Owens and will be sad to see him go. Mr. Owens, if you are reading this, know that you will be missed and that you have made a great impact in the lives of many future musicians.
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