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As a child: I had an idyllic childhood ten blocks from the Pacific in Santa Monica, California. My two sisters and I had a big house to roam, one that included a telescope, shortwave radio, and a door that opened onto a wall. We also had a hand printing press and all learned to set type and to read backwards, since that's the way type is arranged in the composing stick. I had my own printing business in my teenage years. We also grew up with an author in the house, my father, Sid Fleischman, whose books we were privileged to hear read aloud, chapter by chapter, as they were written. That turned out to be a huge part of my education.
As an adult: I took classes in everything but writing in college -- from astronomy to folkdancing to film history. I took off two years and lived in a colonial-era house in the woods of New England. That experience kindled an interest in history and nature, just as playing recorder in an early-music consort there awakened me to the joys of chamber music. Many of the books I've written since have come out of those interests, from historical fiction to poems for multiple voices. After living in many parts of the U.S., I'm now a short distance from Monterey, California, where I was born.
As an artist: I like variety, and have written in just about every genre, from the wordless book to opera. I like to feel fresh ground under my feet and am drawn to new types of books: using newspaper clippings with text (Dateline: Troy), writing for consorts (Big Talk), bridging prose and plays (Seek and Breakout). The sound of the human voice excites me, and the idea of bringing people together. I often write books that lend themselves to performance, scaled not for the theatre, but for the living room -- where my father read his books.
Things you didn't know about Paul Fleischman:
1. I joined fifteen other writers and artists in a book devoted to the letter "a.".
2. I have a border collie named Jingo.
3. My high school friends and I had an alternate world a bit like Weslandia, complete with an invented sport called Skrugby and our own underground school newspaper.
4. Some of those friends successfully stole the copy of Gainsborough's The Blue Boy from our high school library and held it for ransom.
5. As no staff members noticed, we had to print a story on the theft in our newspaper.
6. Writers need a day job when they're starting out. My first one was as a bagel baker.
7. I rode a bicycle from Los Angeles to Vancouver when I was 19.
8. In my teens and twenties my handwriting was so small that I could fit four or five lines between the lines on a page of notebook paper.
9. For several years I hosted a party in which we competed in reading the worst passages from Christmas newsletters we'd received. Medals were given.
10. I have frequent daydreams in which Beethoven returns to the present and I am his guide.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2010. Miss Breakbone is a fearsome teacher: she shouts, she confiscates, she makes kids cry. Until the Dunderheads – an unlikely band of kids, with extraordinary hidden talents, decide to teach Miss Breakbone a lesson she won’t forget. CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal SHORTLIST 2010: Judges’ comments This enjoyable story makes great use of a wide range of styles and periods in a book which works well for older readers as well as younger ones. The different personalities of the children are beautifully conveyed and the book is further enlivened by its filmic references, visual and literary puns and touches of humour. The LoveReading Comment: A wild and wacky adventure as the Dunderheads take on the horrible teacher Miss Breakbone after she treats them even worse than usual. There is nothing good to be said about Miss Breakbone and she is certainly no match for the combined and remarkable talents of the Dunderheads in this hilarious and subversive classroom adventure. Only truly special books make the shortlist of the prestigious Greenaway Medal and this is one.
A breathtaking immigration tale with appeal across generations. When a little girl visits her great-grandfather at his curio-filled home, she chooses an unusual object to learn about: an old cigar box. What she finds inside surprises her: a collection of matchboxes making up her great-grandfather's diary, containing objects she can hold in her hand, each one evoking a memory. Together they tell of his journey from Italy to a new country, before he could read and write - the olive stone his mother gave him to suck on when there wasn't enough food; a hairpin he found on the boat; a ticket still retaining the thrill of his first baseball game. With a narrative entirely in dialogue, Paul Fleischman makes immediate the two characters' foray into the past. With warmth and an uncanny eye for detail, Bagram Ibatoulline gives expressive life to their journey through time - and towards each other.
The story of a child confronting a man-eating giant or witch is told the world over. These heroes go by many names and might be normal in size or no bigger than a thumb. Though they're often scorned for being the youngest and smallest, they're well-armed with cleverness and courage. In this companion to Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal, Paul Fleischman and Julie Paschkis combine elements of this story from different traditions - Jack and the Beanstalk, Tom Thumb, Kihuo, Vasilisa - to create one narrative, one complete picture of a small boy's triumph.
In the beginning there was only darkness...There was fire and ice...There was a single drop of milk. Combining elements of the creation story from different traditions, this narrative weaves together one complete picture of how the world began. It is a celebration of the many and varied peoples of the earth, of their commonalities and their differences. It is a celebration of life.
Paul Fleischman is a master of sound, incorporating a soaring, energetic musicality into his writing. His poems for two voices-"e;Joyful Noise"e; and "e;I Am Phoenix"e;-make for irresistible listening. Whether funny, sad, boisterous, or serene, each poem is a virtuoso performance, skillfully illuminating a unique personality from the natural world.
New to town, Brent Bishop longs to stroll around school with the popular Brianna on his arm. But when Brianna begs him at a party full of schoolmates to stop hounding her, Brent's hopes are shattered. Trying to escape his humiliation, he attempts to destroy himself in a car crash-and ends up killing Lea, an innocent teen unfortunate enough to cross his path. Lea's mother asks one thing of Brent: that he create four whirligigs from a picture of Lea and set them up at the four corners of the United States. Lea's mother believes that by spreading the joy that whirligigs gave Lea as a child, Brent will keep Lea's spirit alive. And so Brent goes off with an unlimited bus ticket and the tools he needs to memorialize Lea. On his journey, he rediscovers his own love of life, and he begins to realize how-like the pieces that form the intricate whirligigs-people come together to affect each other in surprising ways.
Sixteen voices-not the heroes, not those who would become eulogized in history books and synonymous with the glory of war. No, these are the voices of the common soldiers and their leaders, their families, their comrades. North/South, white/black, adult/child-a disparate and compelling choir of voices. Newbery Medal winner Paul Fleischman has written a tour de force that lends itself perfectly to multivoiced narration. From eager eleven-year-old Toby Boyce to Colonel Oliver Brattle, who has seen it all and knows the true face of war, these many voices are skillfully woven together-creating an intimate tapestry of naivete, broken dreams, and carnage that transports the listener to the front lines of the Battle of Bull Run. Paul Fleischman makes an appearance as the voice of James Dacy and concludes this unique production with a personal author's note-allowing us to glimpse into his beginnings as a writer, as well as how Bull Run came to be written.
What's in a name? Meet the Dunderheads, an unlikely band of kids with extraordinary hidden talents! Never, shrieked Miss Breakbone, have I been asked to teach such a scraping together of fiddling, twiddling, time-squandering, mind-wandering, doodling, dozing, don't-knowing DUNDERHEADS! Miss Breakbone, the school mistress, hates kids. She shouts, she confiscates, she makes kids cry. But one day she goes too far. She confiscates the one-eyed cat that Junkyard is going to give his mum for her birthday. So the children pool their many weird and wonderful talents to break into Breakbone's house and get Junkyard's cat back for him...
What's in a name? Meet the Dunderheads, an unlikely band of kids with extraordinary hidden talents! 'Never,' shrieked Miss Breakbone, 'have I been asked to teach such a scraping together of fidding, twidding, time-squandering, mind-wandering, doodling, dozing, don't-knowing Dunderheads!' Miss Breakbone, the school mistress, hates kids. She shouts, she confiscates, she makes kids cry. But one day she goes too far. She confiscates the one-eyed cat that Junkyard is going to give his mum for her birthday. So the children pool their many weird and wonderful talents to break into Breakbone's house and to get Junkyard's cat back for him...This is a delightfully subversive, outrageously funny tale from Newbery Award winner Paul Fleischman and Nestle Children's Book Prize winner David Roberts. It is a celebration of the unusual talents that make us unique and - and a welcome reminder not to underestimate children! It is a second thrilling adventure for the Dunderheads is in the pipeline!
Joyful NoiseWritten to be read aloud by two voices, sometimes alternating, sometimes simultaneous -- here is a recording of irresistible poems that celebrate the insect world, from the short life of the mayfly to the love song of the book louse. Funny, sad, loud and quiet, each of these poems resounds with a booming, boisterous, joyful noise. Winner of the 1989 Newbery Medal.I Am PheonixI Am Phoenix is an exultant celebration of the sounds and essence of the bird world. A companion to Joyful Noise, written to be spoken aloud by two voices and masterfully performed by Lloyd and Twomey, these poems perfectly capture the beauty of birds in their singing, soaring and rejoicing.Performed by John Bedford and Anne Twomey
A gloriously illustrated celebration of individualism from an award-winning author. Wesley's an outcast from the civilization around him - he's not into pizza or football or haircuts. But during the summer holidays, he has a brilliant idea: he'll found a civilization of his own - in the back garden! From this seed a whole world grows and blooms - the extraordinary, imaginative world of Weslandia! Wesley creates his own food, clothing, shelter, games, language even, and gradually wins over the other children.
Paul Fleischman spins three engrossing stories about the unexpected ways an artist's creations reveal truths - tales whose intriguing plots and many moods will entertain readers and inspire future writers.Can wood, copper, or marble communicate? They can if they are the graven images in Newbery Medalist Paul Fleischman's trio of eerie, beguiling short stories. If you whisper a secret into a wooden statue's ear, will anyone find out? Can a wobbly weathervane bearing the image of Saint Crispin, the patron saint of shoemakers, steer a love-struck apprentice toward the girl of his dreams? And if a ghost hires a sculptor to carve a likeness of him holding a drink to a baby's lips, what ghastly crime might lie behind his request? And, in a brand-new afterword, the acclaimed storyteller reveals how he found his own author's voice.
?Los Angeles! City of tanned shoulders! Smog-spewing, pay-per-viewing, sit-com maker for the world!?Del?s put in 17 years there, bouncing among foster homes. Smart, sharp-tongued, a master mimic, she?s fed up with her world and with being Del. So she?s faked her own death and is leaving both herself and L.A. behind?until her escape lands her in an all-day traffic jam.Fast-forward eight years. It?s opening night for the one-woman play she?s written and is starring in?a show called Breakout, about a Los Angeles traffic jam. Wildly funny, she seems to be skewering workaholics, road ragers, pickup artists, and car culture in general. But readers will see what her audience can?t?that the show is a portrait of herself, of her hunger for her mother and her terror of rejection, her free-floating identity and yearning for connection.Flashing between Del?s present and future, Breakout gives us a backstage pass into a young playwright?s psyche, letting us watch her life being transformed into a art, heartache into comedy, solitude into community, and anger gradually giving way to acceptance.
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