Ms. Ila’s Middle Grade Reading Club: A Many Feathered Thing by Lisa Gerlits

Lisa Gerlits' A Many Feathered Thing looks like an unassuming book.  However, if you are looking for a book that is very different, this book is for you!  You can find this book in Hoopla.  All you need to borrow from Hoopla is your library card and your PIN. In Hoopla, there is no waiting, you can borrow an item right away!

Artist Clara's life seems like everybody else's: having a loving, but annoying family, sharing a wonderful friendship with the kid across the street, and having an interest that she loves.

But, the day that her best friend Orion breaks one of their neighbor's things, her life changes completely:

  • Interning with a real artist, she becomes discouraged at his lack of interest in her artwork
  • The new girl in school wants her to do the one thing that she fears the most
  • Her sixth grade teacher asks her to do things that she has never done before
  • Orion seems to be different, but she is not sure why
  • She loses her room to her baby brother and moves in with her critical sister

Learning how to paint at an art camp was something she wanted to do.  But, like everything else, her plans change when she volunteers to assist the neighborhood artist in reparation.

Kids' Crafts in the Hobbies and Crafts Reference Center Database

If you go to our online databases, you will find a section that will give you lessons and tips about various arts and crafts.  Click on DIY Home & Hobbies, Hobbies & Crafts Reference Center, and Kids' Crafts.

In Kids' Crafts, you will find a section about painting.  Painting, as you know, is the one thing that Clara wanted to learn at art camp.

As you scroll, you will find instructions, a section called Basic Technique, The Artist's Eye, Decorative Painting, etc.  You can learn all kinds of arts and crafts here besides painting!

Clara wants to learn how to paint.  Ms. Tink and her brave new friend Elsie, though, want her to do something that she doesn't want to ever do: public speaking.

Jeff Ansell's "Communicating with Confidence"

After many ear infections as a baby, Clara needed to see a speech therapist to help her to catch up to other kids.  Clara is finally caught up and can speak in front of her class like everyone else.

Are new challenges or change difficult for you?  It is most certainly scary for Clara!  She has never had to speak in front of the class and she doesn't think she speaks well at all.  She is wrong, of course!  Her speech therapist thinks she is ready and so does Ms. Tink and Elsie.

Clara finds the courage to speak by creatively creating a newscast with Elsie.  You can learn how to become a great public speaker, too.  All it takes is practice, practice, practice!

Some people love speaking so much about what interests them, that they go around the country giving public speeches!

You can also learn how to practice public speaking on our database, Linked-In Learning.  One lesson that really helped me was by a speaker called Jeff Ansell, who spoke about "Communicating With Confidence."  You can use this database with your library card and PIN!

Questions to Think About

Here are some questions that you can think about:

  • Why did her neighbor, Mr. Vogelman, let Clara help him in his work?
  • Why do you think Clara likes the painting in the living room so much?
  • What do you think of found object art?
  • How do you think she could have been a better friend to Orion?
  • How do you think Elise helped Clara and Clara helped Elise?
  • Do you think that Clara's family are as ignorant of her as she thinks they are?

Next month, lets read Just Jaime of the popular series Emmie & Friends by Terri Libenson.  This will be our first graphic novel!