Sing to the Stars Mary Brigid Barrett Illustrated by Sandra Speidel
Meet the Author Mary Brigid Barrett says that no one taught her how to write, but she adds, "I got my love of literature from my father and learned to read from my grandfather." Her father told her stories "from Shakespeare to Charlotte's Web," and Barrett retold the stories to her younger siblings. She wrote her first story in high school and won a prize for it.
Author’s Inspiration Sing to the Stars grew out of experiences Ms. Barrett had as a child and as an arts and crafts director in the Cleveland, Ohio, parks system. For one festival in the park, Barrett convinced a boy named John to play the piano. The relationship between Ephram and Mr. Washington is based on Barrett's relationship with her own father. advises young writers to "write about inside you."
Author’s Advice Mary Brigid Barrett advises young writers to "write about something you absolutely love or absolutely hate. Passion is important, whether it's railroads or baseball or fingernail polish. Risk letting other people see inside you."
Selection Summary Young Ephram loves to play the violin - but not in public. When he discovers that a blind neighbor was once a musician, Ephram encourages the man to return to his music. Each encourages the other, and they perform together at a community concert.
Genre Realistic Fiction Realistic characters Events come to life in a fictional plot
Realistic Fiction • The story problem is true-to-life. The plot could have really happened, even though the author created it. • The characters are believable. They look, think, feel, and act like people we may know. • The setting is realistic. Readers can identify with the time and place.
Key Vocabulary amplifiers (noun) devices that make sounds stronger or louder blaring (adjective) making a loud, harsh noise classical (adjective) relating to a musical style from 18th century Europe
Key Vocabulary debut (noun) - the final t is silent a first performance in public jazz (noun) a style of music with a strong pattern of beats murmur (noun) - word contains identical syllables a low, constant sound
Key Vocabulary rhythm (noun) movement or beats that repeat in a regular pattern strides (verb) walks with long steps
Additional Vocabulary • sprightly - lively • broadly - widely • fundraiser - a way to make money for charity • open mike - a microphone that anyone can use to show their talent • stammers - speaks with pauses and repeated words • glaring - very bright • squalls - cries
Additional Vocabulary • sultry - very hot and humid • hubbub - noise, turmoil • clasping - holding • beam - ray of light • pulsating - beating • brownout - when the electricity goes out • grasps - takes hold of • forearm - lower part of the arm
Story Structure • Characters: The main people or animals in the story • Setting: Where and when the story takes place • Problem: What the main character sets out to do • Plot: the sequence of story events
Compare/Contrast Ephram Mr. Washington Both
Making Judgments • Evaluate, or make judgments, about a character’s actions, opinions, motives, or values. • Consider all the facts before making a judgment.
Making Judgments • Think about the good and bad points or different sides of the issue. Include both facts from the story and personal experience and beliefs. • Weigh both sides to arrive at the best judgment.
Making Judgments • What judgment did Mr. Washington make? Locate details on page 497. • What was the outcome of this judgment? • What might have happened if Mr. Washington had decided to tell Ephram about his musical career?
Making Judgments • Reread page 497 • What do you think about Grandma’s decision to tell Ephram about Mr. Washington’s past? • Make a Pro (advantages) & Con (disadvantages) Chart to help you make a valid judgment.