Your Turn: User Nominations

Elementary 'In Character': Squirrel

Nominated by Mark, Isaac Dickson Elementary School, Asheville, N.C.
From A Dog's Life by Ann M. Martin

A Dog's Life

Squirrel, a stray dog from A Dog's Life, is an important character because she represents kids like me. I have been a foster child for four years. She and I have been through the same things. We have both moved from house to house, family to family and life to life in hopes of a family. Squirrel and I have been separated from our big brother and mom.

We were hopeful with each family we moved in with but were then disappointed when we had to move again. Squirrel and I kept going because we knew there was a family waiting for us out there, somewhere in the real world.

Both of our stories have happy endings. Two months ago I was adopted into a loving family and at the end of the book, a nice lady adopted Squirrel.

Hear Mark read his essay:



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This story moved me. It shows all that is right in "public" - public education, public radio, foster care. Thank you for illustrating hope and valuing the insights of children. Kudos NPR

Sent by mary turner | 7:26 PM | 5-27-2008

I really enjoyed reading your essay, Mark. It was very well written and from your heart. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

Sent by Joanne M. | 8:42 PM | 5-27-2008

Mark's essay about his connection with Squirrel is so moving and inspirational that I haven't stopped thinking about it since I heard it on All Things Considered yesterday. At the end of the interview when Mark shared that he'd been recently adopted by a loving family I literally leaped for joy. It's exciting that students are able to make connections with fictional book characters that can actually help them move through very difficult experiences in their lives. Bravo, Mark!

Sent by Shannon Fields | 9:33 PM | 5-27-2008

I am very impressed and proud of these students from Isaac Dickson.
Adults should take some of the compassion that these children have and use it on a daily basis.

Sent by Carmen Mangum | 9:03 AM | 5-28-2008

This is a touching story - in the book and the one conveyed so eloquently by Mark. Thank you, Elizabeth, for helping Mark and his classmates bring these characters to light and learning that they have a voice, and that people are listening to them and reading their work. These kids will always remember this. Who knows what great things this will inspire in their lives?

Sent by Dave Turner | 9:20 AM | 5-28-2008

That was wonderful. I loved it . It shows that you should never give up hope. I loved how you told about how you found just the right foster faimly for you. I think this book represented your story perfectly.

Sent by Isaac Dickson 5th grade student | 1:53 PM | 5-28-2008

Your are a great story writer. That story touched my heart. It also was fantastic.

Sent by Isaac Dickson 5th grade student | 1:53 PM | 5-28-2008

This is very sad and touching at the same time. I loved the way that you connected to your own life. Great job on this.

Sent by Isaac Dickson 5th grade student | 1:54 PM | 5-28-2008

I loved what you did, it was very touching and sad. Iloved the whole thing.

Sent by Isaac Dickson 5th grade student | 1:55 PM | 5-28-2008

I love the way you wrote your ''In Character'' essay went. You connect it to your life and make it sad and touching. I love it.

Sent by Isaac Dickson 5th grade student | 1:59 PM | 5-28-2008

That was realy sad.I love that you told us about how you found a home that you like. And how you are so much like the dog.I fell sorry for you that you were separated from your mom and dad. P.S you are a good writer.

Sent by isaac Dickson 5th Grade Student | 2:00 PM | 5-28-2008

Mark I think that was a great essay. I can see why that relates to you from the discription of you. I bet that that story means a lot to you.
Great job.

Sent by isaac dickson 5th grade student | 2:02 PM | 5-28-2008

This was the most touching thing I have ever heard. It was sad but just very good in the same way.You must have a hard life. I loved the way you would talk about the story then describe how it is similar to you and your life.

Sent by Isaac Dickson 5th grade student | 2:10 PM | 5-28-2008

Mark your book that you said on the air, it was nice to let us read it today. I like this story. I wonder who else likes this story?

Sent by Isaac Dickson 5th Grade Student | 2:10 PM | 5-28-2008

What a truly wonderful story, love the ending or is it the beginning? Mark I wish you and your family all the best.

Sent by Jane Robinson, Asheville, NC | 4:00 PM | 5-28-2008

This was an excellent activity that combined all the skills needed to use persuasive writing, learning about character development and helping children find their voice. I am so glad that literature was the key focus and the children feel so passionately about it. I hope this excitement will carry over into next year for them as they move on to middle school.

Sent by Martha Hayes, Media Specialist at Isaac Dickson | 5:53 PM | 5-28-2008

Thanks to NPR for letting this students post their thoughts about characters. What a great writing/learning experience for them!

Sent by May Castelloe | 6:50 PM | 5-28-2008

Just when I had lost hope in W's "no child left behind" train wreck, I see that there are teachers actually educating -- and NPR is taking notice. Well done. I was moved.

Sent by catherine g. | 10:20 PM | 5-29-2008

I loved this NPR story. I was touched by Mark's essay. I'm so glad his story had a happy ending.

Sent by Manuel | 10:52 PM | 5-29-2008

I really like this novel and this an really great opertunity to tell you that your an great author and to tell you that i go to isacc dickson elementry school and my teachers name is ms.smitka and my assistant teacher
is robin wells

Sent by al-asia | 12:49 PM | 5-30-2008

I had the same problem but i did not move as much.

Sent by Nancy | 12:55 PM | 5-30-2008

This is the same thing that happend to my dog Tuck,and my other dog Jack got droped off on a median when he was 3 months old!!!!!!!!!OMG!!!

Sent by Evan Hayes @ Isaac Dickson Elementary | 1:01 PM | 5-30-2008

Mark, this is such an inspiring essay. What a powerful message you are getting across to so many people, never give up hope! We all need to be reminded of that! You are a great writer.

Sent by Cindy Srijayanta | 9:26 PM | 6-2-2008

We have so much to learn from children. Kudos to NPR and Dickson Elementary for recognizing and sharing the wisdom of our students.

Sent by Donalyn Small | 8:50 AM | 6-3-2008

Thank you for doing this story on "All Things Considered". I love what our students and teachers are doing with reading and writing. And what a gift to have this audience beyond the classroom!

Sent by Lisa Gibson | 11:45 AM | 6-8-2008

I cried when I read your story, Mark. It was beautifully told. Thanks to NPR for encouraging these fine students from Dickson!

Sent by Sandra Wells | 8:50 AM | 6-9-2008

This essay was very touching and inspiring. Mark, I know we will hear great things from you in the future- I look forward to it!

Sent by Elise Jones | 4:54 PM | 6-9-2008


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