Archive for the ‘Music & Language’ Category

Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth Video

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

Mary Mae is played by Jane Ackermann, and the video was made by CuriousCityBooks. (http://visitcuriouscity NULL.wordpress NULL.com/)

Praise for Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth
 “You’re going to love getting to know Mary Mae.”
              Zilpha Keatley Snyder, three-time Newbery Honor Winner and author of The Egypt Game
 
“Dutton sensitively navigates the sticky debate between creationism and evolution. . .”
              Publishers Weekly, Starred
“It is both a lovely coming-of-age story and a lesson in respect between religion and science.”
              School Library Journal
“Very few books for this age group tackle religious subjects as this one does, in a way that shows respect for all sides.”
              Kirkus Reviews
“I could tell the moment I opened the cover of this book that Sandra Dutton was penning a pitch-perfect tale.”
              David Crumm, www.ReadtheSpirit.com (http://www NULL.ReadtheSpirit NULL.com)
“A celebration of the wonderful intricacy of the natural world, with acknowledgment of the different ways people can approach that celebration.”
              Project MUSE, Johns Hopkins University
“Delves into several taboo subjects such as ignorance, hierarchy, religion, and even politics, but in a way that is endearing, captivating, and comprehendible.”
              San Francisco Review of Books
 “[Dutton’s] use of the everyday speech of her characters is rich and pitch perfect, and her theme, that no one as an absolute answer to the questions of life, is crafted with the respect than cna only come with love and the love than can only come with respect.”
              BooksforKidsBlog.com
“shows the importance of fostering a critical mind.”
              ReadSchmead:  Tales of the Book
“With humor and sensitivity, Sandra Dutton explores the idea that faith and science do not have to be kept separate.”
              Through the Looking Glass
“Provocative in the very best way, this is a brave and timely book that leaves you the better for having read it.”
              Planet Esme
” Sandra Dutton has written a gem of a book.”
              Welcome to My Tweendom
“No matter what kinds of truth you adhere to, and just how long you think this old world of ours has been around, you’re going to love getting to know Mary Mae and her granny–the songs they sing, and their courage in facing up to the fact that there is no mention of trilobites in Mama’s Bible.”
              Zilpha Keatley Snyder, three-time Newbery Honor Winner and author of The Egypt Game
 
“Dutton has tackled a thorny subject–creationism versus evolution–in a way that treats both arguments with respect by channeling the whole controversy through the inquiring mind of the disarming and delightful Mary Mae.  And that’s the gospel truth!”
             Amy MacDonald, author of Little Beaver and the Echo
 
“Sandra Dutton demonstrates here that the quest to integrate faith with the fossil record can be a most enriching experience, and that it is never too early to allow our children to experience the joy of integrating their religious beliefs with a solid science education. This is a delightful — but also serious — work. It will appeal to parents, pastors and educators. We need more works like this.”
            John F. Haught, Ph. D. Georgetown University, author of Making Sense of Evolution: Darwin, God, and the Drama of Life
  
“Dutton’s brave book sings out the truth with humor and love.”
            Robin MacCready, winner of the Edgar Award and author of Buried.
 
Nominations
Nominated for 2012 Ohioana Book Award (http://www NULL.ohioanabookfestival NULL.org/2012/05/ohioana-announces-2012-book-award-finalists/).
Nominated to the  “Amelia Bloomer List,” (http://ameliabloomer NULL.wordpress NULL.com/) which highlights “books notable for feminist content, quality of writing, and appeal to young readers.”
Nominated for “Mock Newbery,” Falmouth Library (http://falmouthmemocknewbery NULL.blogspot NULL.com/2010/10/mock-newbery-book-club-for-students-in NULL.html), Falmouth, Maine.

Norwood High School Hall of Fame

Thursday, October 6th, 2011
Sandra Dutton, Crowne Plaza Hotel

Recently I was inducted into my Norwood, Ohio, high school’s “Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.”  It was an exciting day with first a tour of the middle school (my old high school building), then the new high school, with its planetarium and TV station.   At an assembly in the auditorium students introduced the honorees–a scientist who’s written widely on herpetology, a nuclear engineer, a musician, a military advisor to presidents, and posthumously, Vera-Ellen the dancer-singer-movie star, who also attended Norwood High School.  In the evening we had a formal induction in the ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blue Ash, Cincinnati.  To the left you see me making an acceptance speech, describing some of my favorite teachers.  (I never like to stay behind the podium if I can grab a microphone and move around.)  It was a lovely day, an honor to be recognized, and I enjoyed seeing many old friends.

Sandra Dutton Reads from “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth”

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

People have asked me why I wrote this story in Appalachian English.   First, I grew up in southern Ohio where many families from Eastern Kentucky lived, and many of them spoke the way Mary Mae speaks.   Her family is from Eastern Kentucky.   It is also the language of many fundamentalist preachers, the ones I heard on the radio, and still hear, when I’m in Southern Ohio or Eastern Kentucky.   

Driftwood at Falls of the Ohio

My choice of language wasn’t something I debated as I worked–it just came–I liked the voice of Mary Mae, and it seemed appropriate for the story.  I enjoyed seeing things through her eyes, especially science.   When her mother insists that the world is only 6000 years old, that the Lord put fossils in the ground as “a test,”  Mary Mae thinks to herself, “But if Mama’s right, the Lord had to mix up a whole lot of dirt all different colors and drop them shells in like nuts in cookie batter.”

I was also influenced by my maternal grandparents, who lived in Springfield, Missouri, and spoke Ozark English, which is similar to Appalachian English.  (For more on this, go to my entry “On Voice.”)

Many people have told me how much they enjoy hearing the story read aloud and have urged me to put an excerpt on my blog, so here it is, a short (one-minute)

Reading from Chapter 7, “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth”.  

Puppet-Making Workshop, Reading, and Art Show Saturday

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Paper Bag Puppets

Saturday, November 20 at 11 am, I’ll be at the Coastal Children’s Museum, Sharp’s Point South,75 Mechanic Street, in Rockland, Maine, reading from “Dear Miss Perfect:  A Beast’s Guide to Proper Behavior.”  Afterward, I’ll have a puppet-making workshop for children.  The workshop is free for members and included in the price of admission for non members.

At 1 pm, at Bootstraps Gallery (just across the street from the Children’s Museum),  I’ll be reading from “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth.”  The event is free and open to the public.  A show of my paintings will also be on display.

Saturday’s events should be great fun, and I hope you can stop in for one or both events!

A portion of any art and books sold through Bootstraps Gallery will benefit a family in need served through Oasis Services, LLC, a home and personal care agency.  For more information, call Kristin Tescher at (207) 542-8564.

Falmouth Library Book Club

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Last Friday I had a wonderful time discussing “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth” with Mrs. C.’s girls’ book club at the Falmouth Library. The girls, Meghan, Ally, Olivia, and Lisa, asked great questions and want to be writers themselves.

Sandra Dutton at Coastal Children’s Museum and Bootstraps Gallery

Sunday, November 14th, 2010
“Grassharper” by Sandra Dutton

 

Saturday, November 20 at 11 am, I’ll be at the Coastal Children’s Museum, Sharp’s Point South,75 Mechanic Street, in Rockland, Maine, reading from “Dear Miss Perfect:  A Beast’s Guide to Proper Behavior.”  Afterward, I’ll have a puppet-making workshop for children.  The workshop is free for members and included in the price of admission for non members.

At 1 pm, at Bootstraps Gallery (just across the street from the Children’s Museum),  I’ll be reading from “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth.”  The event is free and open to the public.  A show of my paintings will also be on display.

Saturday’s events should be great fun, and I hope you can stop in for one or both events!

A portion of any art and books sold through Bootstraps Gallery will benefit a family in need served through Oasis Services, LLC, a home and personal care agency.  For more information, call Kristin Tescher at (207) 542-8564. 

Reading, Horn Book, and Bloomer

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Had a wonderful time at Kennebooks (http://www NULL.kennebooks NULL.com/) in Kennebunk, Maine, with a great audience for the reading and discussion.  Thank you to Ann Carmichael and the Kennebooks staff for all their hard work and great publicity.

Just learned that “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth” has been nominated for the “Amelia Bloomer List,” (http://ameliabloomer NULL.wordpress NULL.com/) which highlights “books notable for feminist content, quality of writing, and appeal to young readers.”  I am honored they nominated “Mary Mae. . .” for their list.”

Also learned that The Horn Book (http://www NULL.hbook NULL.com/)will be publishing an essay I wrote on “dialect” sometime in 2011.

Please, everyone who visits this site, take a look at the video on YouTube, which you can reach by scrolling down (or sometimes up—I change the date to keep it near the top).  It was produced by Kirsten Cappy’s Curious City (http://visitcuriouscity NULL.wordpress NULL.com/), features young Portland actress Jane Ackermann, and introduces the main themes of the book.

Sandra Dutton Reads at Owl & Turtle Bookshop

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

I’ll be reading from and signing my new novel

Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Saturday, Sept. 11, 10am-Noon       

at the Owl and Turtle Bookshop

32 Washington St.

Camden, Maine 04843

(207) 236-4769  

“Dutton sensitively navigates the sticky debate between creationism and evolution.”

                          Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

On Voice

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

I was born in Springfield, Missouri, “Gateway to the Ozarks,” where my grandparents called anything they liked a “dandy,” made “throwed biscuits,” and lived down the street from “The Poor Boys Market.”   I loved the way they spoke, with a Missouri twang, and was always aware of the difference between their speech and mine because we left Springfield when I was only two.  I think that’s what made me sensitive to language, able to imitate different kinds of speech and loving the sound.  And probably why I have a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition, because I loved learning all about language.

In “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth,” Mary Mae speaks Appalachian English, the speech of many of the kids I knew growing up in Norwood, Ohio.  Appalachian speech is a “dialect,” a way of speaking common to a group of people from a certain place or of a certain group and differing from standard English.  Many writers of children’s books use dialect.  Sharon Flake writes stories in black English.  Several characters in Because of Winn Dixie speak non-standard English.  And in  Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski, which I read when I was ten, I remember enjoying the backwoods Florida dialect of the Slater family. 

My own character, Mary Mae, is 10 years old and excited about digging up fossils.  One night she sees a crab swimming around in a restaurant tank:  “There’s this little crab a-setting in the corner all by hisself.  If you ain’t seen a crab, here’s what one looks like.  He’s got a top like a mushroom, only it’s hard, and all these little legs that come sprouting out like a spider’s, and then under his chin, he’s got these two little feelers he’s a-rubbing together like he’s trying to think of what to do next. . . . And I know just by watching that crab that my trilobite was alive, whether Mama thinks so or not.”  Mary Mae’s observations grow out of her voice (not out of my head) and when I was working on this book I would read aloud because the voice could send me further into the story.  

A farovite building in my hometown--it used to be a locksmith's

Often, when I visit my hometown, I carry a notebook and jot down words or phrases I overhear.  Sometimes I drive around with a tape recorder, reading the names of the stores:  My Humble Abode—a second hand furniture store, Gabbie’s Home Cookin’, Riddle’s Tree Service.   I like to soak myself in the language.  It’s what feeds the voices of my characters.

“Lovely Coming of Age Story”

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Following is a nice review of “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth” by “School Library Journal.”

Gr 5-7–Mary Mae has always accepted the conservative, religious teachings of her family, including a very literal interpretation of the Bible. However, the arrival of her granny and a new teacher cause the 10-year-old to question everything she has ever known. When Miss Sizemore starts to teach the class about fossils, Mary Mae begins asking questions of the adults in her life, and her mother decides it would be better for Mary Mae to be homeschooled. At no point in the story does the child ever question the existence of God; she only sees God doing things in a different way. While her mother chooses to see science as an enemy to her beliefs, Mary Mae sees it as an extension of God’s work. Miss Sizemore opens her up to a new world, where inquisitiveness is not only valued, but is key. Here the relationship with Granny is also crucial to the story; she is always there to listen to Mary Mae and does not discourage her. This simple act of support gives the child the confidence she needs to not give up her quest for knowledge. This is a great story with valuable lessons. Told in an Appalachian dialect, it not only depicts real feelings about religion, but also shows the people behind them as good. It is both a lovely coming-of-age story and a lesson in respect between religion and science.–Kerry Roeder, The Brearley School, New York City