FABLES, FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES, AND FIFTH GRADERS – How Much Truth Lies in Fiction?

I believe that fiction sometimes reveals more of a writer’s true nature than nonfiction. In nonfiction we filter what we wish to reveal, but in fiction our hidden dreams and nightmares may sneak out without us even knowing. This is no less true of the young writers I’ve mentored this past year for Denver’s Lighthouse Writers Workshop.

Throughout March, a class of fifth graders and I explored Fables, Fairy Tales, and Folktales. We read examples, and then the kids wrote their own tales, making up characters, problems, obstacles, and new-fashioned happy endings. As they inflicted problems on their heroes and villains, I wondered if they were reflecting real life: a sister who doesn’t get along with her brother but needs him to rescue her, a girl who is bored by a world that doesn’t let her express herself, a princess who is good and happy and loved until another, unhappy girl tries to ruin it for her.

But maybe our truest natures as writers aren’t shown so much in the problems we invent, as the happy endings we imagine. After all, our problems sometimes stem from external events, but our dreams come from within. That’s not to say it means anything macabre if a fifth-grade writer decides to kill off her princess’s competition. So never fear, and enjoy a few of the imaginative, hilarious, charming stories written by the thirteen students from my Fables, Fairy Tales, and Folktales Workshop. You may find yourself wondering how it will all turn out…

5 thoughts on “FABLES, FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES, AND FIFTH GRADERS – How Much Truth Lies in Fiction?

  1. Cindy Brown

    I can’t get the link to work, darn it! But I do have other good news. I put in a Top Commentators widget on my site and you are in there. If people click on your name to check you out, it takes them to your site! It’s free promotion for you just for having your say on my site frequently 🙂 You are my number two follower! Yay! Love what you are doing with these kids, by the way. What fun! Maybe I should do that. I love little ones (you know, before they hit tween and teen years and you want to kill them).

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  2. Cara Lopez Lee Post author

    Thanks for letting me know about that glitch in my link, Cindy. I fixed it. You may not want to read all of the stories, but any one at random will likely give you a chuckle of delight. Funny what you said about tweens, because now I’m teaching poetry to seventh graders: who seem weirdly tall and vaguely angry. I’m glad to hear I’m you’re number two fan: I swear I’m not stalking you, I just really get a kick out of your blog.

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  3. Lisa Weinstein

    Hi there – I too am one of Cindy Brown’s followers and that’s where I saw your blog! I read one of your student’s stories – A Love of Books and it was adorable. Being a Harry Potter fan myself, I saw similar themes. There is also a book series called Fablehaven which is magical and focuses on a brother and sister, your students might like it! The author is Brandon Mull. Feel free to stop by my blog if you have a free moment, http://www.lisagradessweinstein.blogspot.com

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  4. Cara Lopez Lee Post author

    I though “A Love For Books” was a very imaginative story, Lisa! I’m glad you liked it, too. I love how the young writer described living inside the pages of an old book: dark, lonely, the pages whitish-brown, cut off from the outside world. I’ll look up “Fablehaven” for my next class! Meanwhile, I’ll stop in and visit your blog now…

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