A storyteller at heart, Paul McAllister hopes to reach out to children in New Brunswick with his book “There and Back Again, a Herman Tale” and help promote the importance of reading and writing at a young age.
If you told one of his teachers from the past that he would be a published author they would be surprised. He would identify well with students who have a hard time listening, sitting still, and who aren’t too concerned with the lesson. He was never a strong academic student (and went through school with undiagnosed ADHD and Dysgraphia) but was always creative and kept those around him busy! Much of “Herman” mirrors Paul’s own experience of feeling like he didn’t quite belong, going away, finding his own way back, and taking action to make his own success when he returned.
Paul will take time at the end of the reading to answer questions. In past readings, students have made a connection with him and his message that anyone can read and write, that they can be comfortable with who they are, and that we can all achieve goals with hard work. Perhaps you could have a few students come up with a question beforehand so they are prepared when the time comes. Making Monster Art to display the day of the reading can be a fun art lesson leading up to the presentation.
Possible discussion points depending on level:
– Why was Herman unhappy at the beginning of the book?
– How do you think Sarah felt having a monster under her bed? Can you find any clues in the illustrations?
– How do you think Herman felt when the Street Monsters were laughing at him?
– Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong?
– Is it okay to do something differently from your friends?
– How did Herman change his life?
– How do you think Herman felt when he saw the café instead of his house?
– Would you prefer to be a House Monster or a Street Monster? Why?
– What did Emily Brown use to make her illustrations? Do you think she was inspired by another artist (Specifically if your students are familiar with Van Gogh)
– As Herman is skipping home, the child and the dog notice him, but the adults don’t. Why do you think this is?
Monster House Publishing is a new twist on a children’s book publishing company. Offering publishing services with access to the local artist community is a large part of our mandate. Our main focus, however, is job creation and literacy awareness here in New Brunswick. Using the new “Herman the Monster” series as its foundation, Monster House Publishing strives to encourage our youth to embrace the joys of reading while reiterating the potential each child has through book tours and the “Herman’s Literacy Fund.”