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Allan Public Library Presents: Author Chris Crutcher - Where Stories Come From


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Blog -Swear Words in Young Adult



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Whale Talk Essay Materials

  Thesis Statement Worksheet

  Topic Sentence Worksheet


Whale Talk Essay Examples

   "A" Paper

   "C" Paper

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What Chris Crutcher says about the book:

"Whale Talk" is a tough book, but it is also a compassionate book, about telling the truth and about redemption. I didnít draw the tough parts out of thin air; they are stories handed to me by people in pain.

I think people who believe we can protect our children by keeping them ignorant of hard times and the language those times are told in, donít realize that by showing our fear of issues and language that are "everyday" to our children, we take ourselves off that short list of people to turn to in a real crisis.

Censors can make a case for zero tolerance in language. They can make the argument that since we donít allow our children to use that language in schools, we also shouldnít give them stories in which it is used. But thatís an easy thing to deal with, and Iíve seen it done a hundred times. Teachers bring up the offensiveness of the language and talk about why itís used to make a story real. We donít have to use the language to talk about the story in the classroom, but we can certainly talk about the raw power of any good story told in its native tongue.

With these words, author Chris Crutcher confirms the importance of stories - sometimes ugly, sometimes beautiful, always authentic - in people's lives.  It is not by chance then that we begin our essential question - Why do people tell stories? - by questioning why the protagonist tells his own story. 

For The Tao Jones, the complex hero of Whale Talk, that question encompasses a range of possible responses - perhaps it is to connect with others, to share the human experience;  perhaps it is to speak for those too weak, too small, too abused to speak for themselves; perhaps it is to merely express his own truth, to confirm the history of his time on earth. 

In examining TJ's motives for telling stories, we begin our examination of why people have told stories throughout time.  And like TJ's motivations, we will find that the reasons for telling stories are as compelling as they are diverse, as consistent and they are ageless.  Ideally we, like TJ, will find our own motivations and voice to tell our own story at the end of the course.



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