Laurel’s Dream

Like millions of others, I long ago fell in love with the book Christy by Catherine Marshall. I read it in middle school about five years after publication (1967). That was my first introduction to the Smoky Mountains, delving into 1912 southern Appalachia, seeing the...

Stories That Bind Us

When my daughter got married, I made a recipe book as a gift. In scrapbook fashion, I assembled recipes and anecdotes that told the story of our family in terms of special meals, snacks, holidays, and celebrations. I had a blast making it, recalling the times we...

All Manner of Things

In Michigan in the 1960s, I was a kid with little understanding of the world outside my small town other than TV news footage of hippies, flower children, race riots, and the Vietnam War. I attended kindergarten with both black and white children, with no clue why...

The Nature of Small Birds

A funny thing about stories--within ten minutes of starting a good one (whether reading a book or watching a show), I’m compelled to find out what happens to the protagonist as soon as possible. I’d be perfectly fine without meeting said hero or heroine, but once I’m...

Welcome to Standout Stories!

At the beginning of each middle school and high school writing class, I ask my students: “If writing were a food, what kind of food would it be and why?” Here are some answers I’ve received: Writing is like spinach. It’s good for me but I hate it. Writing is like...

Coming soon: Fifteen Minutes with Mr. Baum, a novel

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