Last Fall (yes, I’m really late on this post- but stick with me and I’ll tell you why it is still timely. You’ll thank me later! :))
Young adult author, Mike Mullin came to visit our school. His plan was to teach a writer’s workshop throughout the day to over 200 students and then give a presentation to all of the students about his books. I was nervous about hosting an author and having him spend the day with us. Would the kids respond to him, would they be interested, what if they asked “stupid” questions (even though there is no such thing! ;))
I have to say that it was one of the best experiences of my teaching career. The kids LOVED him! Sometimes authors are more reserved, by nature, but Mike Mullin was charged! He interacted with the students, brought a large volcano replica with him, and even broke a cinder block with his bare hands! In the writing workshop part he taught the kids how to come up with some writing ideas and how to write a compelling story. He even told the kids that if they want to be good at something they need to practice for at least 10,000 hours to become really good at it. That really stuck with my kids throughout the rest of the year.
In the presentation part, he talked to the kids about how he got his ideas for the first two books in his trilogy, Ashfall and Ashen Winter. Sunrise is due out in the Spring (3/17/2014 according to his website).
Ashfall and Ashen Winter are stories that I blew through! I was so intrigued with the story line and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.
I was trying to decide how to write a good explanation of Ashfall without giving away too much (that’s my downfall!) I found a great review from Sarah I emailed her to see if I could include it on my blog and she obliged. Here’s her perfectly put review of Ashfall:
“Alex, just your average teenage guy, is home alone for the weekend. He’s just chillin’ in his bedroom playing WoW when, all of a sudden he hears a massive crashing sound and the house practically caves in on itself. This is within the FIRST CHAPTER. To pretense here! Mike Mullin does not mess around!
A supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park has erupted, spiraling the world into darkness and chaos. Alex doesn’t waste time in leaving to find his family. Only, they are over 100 miles away in Illinois. How will he ever make it there? He sets out on foot (and skis!) on a journey that changes his life forever.
It’s a battle to survive. People are starving, freezing to death, getting stuck and trapped in their homes in the two and three feet of ash, and the snow on top of that. The ash and darkness isn’t even the biggest issue at hand. There are people with guns around every corner. Then you have your looters, murderers, rapists and let’s not forget the cannibals.
”For the first time ever, I felt ashamed of my species. The volcano had taken our homes, our food, our automobiles, and our airplanes, but it hadn’t taken our humanity. No, we’d given that up on our own.”
The numero uno thing I truly appreciated about Ashfall was how real it was. This isn’t a paranormal book. It’s about a natural disaster that alters everything about the way people live or die. Mullin describes the aftermath of the eruption in wonderful detail. The ashfall, the noise, the darkness, the weather changes, etc. It wasn’t outrageous and it wasn’t just for shock value. The survival tactics described were realistic and honestly, I found myself making mental notes for future reference! LOL It was FANTASTIC.”
So, now that you are intrigued, go check out the book!
After Mike Mullin left our school for the presentation day, I had a long waiting list of students who wanted to read his books. They loved Ashfall and were just as excited about Ashen Winter. They really struggled with having to wait for the third book to come out (don’t we all? :))
If you are able, you MUST get him to come to your school, he’s an author that won’t disappoint. Check out his website to get more info. He also has some great educator curriculum guides and information and awesome book trailers you can entice your students with!
As to why you will thank me, I’m warning you now to go out there and get Ashfall and Ashen Winter and read them… you will be counting down the days until Sunrise’s release! :)