Friday, July 29, 2016

  Racecar Driver's Night Before Christmas

         Pelican Publishing Co. has a series of "Night Before Christmas" stories. My book is the Racecar Driver's Night Before Christmas. I've had fun presenting it to young children. I always tell them that after looking at Rick Anderson's illustrations, they know that Santa was able to drive a sleigh much better than a racecar. Rick did a great job on the illustrations!
        When I wrote this book, I wanted to have a page in memory of some of the drivers who were no longer alive. I picked out four names and Rick drew helmets with the names Dale (Earnhardt, Sr.), Adam (Petty), Fireball (Roberts), and Davey (Allison) on them. He added "Elfis" as a tire changer.

        If a teacher has time for some activities to go along with the book, here are a few. I encourage  teachers to make up a list of driver's names. Students can alphabetize the list and give each driver a nickname.
       Using the list of names, students can write a funny story about a favorite driver.
       They can write about his driving record, his list of wins, or how he lost the race.
       Students can have their "pretend" drivers write to their fan clubs.
       Students can give each driver a number for his car. Then, they can write those numbers in Roman numerals.
        Students can make up mazes, crossword puzzles, and word searches using some "racecar" words. Some of my favorites are the following:  racecar, driver, tires, pit road, windshield, gas can, battery, helmet, gloves, pole, fireproof, headgear, officials, track, entry, wall, crash, swerve, fender, checkered flag, fan, and wreck.
       They can make up a word search using the names of the tracks or track locations that are available for the races.
       Students can design and decorate their own cars on paper. Some used wood chips, glitter, leather pieces, feathers, foam pieces, construction paper, etc. to make their cars special.
       Students can design their own helmet and their own fireproof suit. They can make up their own list of sponsors, too.
       Racecar Driver's Night Before Christmas is a fun book for Christmas.

A few years ago, Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City would ask certain authors to light their fireplaces for Christmas. They don't get to do that anymore, but I was asked to light one of the fireplaces at that time. I also read a story to children that day. It was quite an honor to be able to read my new book and light the fireplace.

   I  wish I could say that the real Junior was a fan of the book, but I was just glad to get a picture with him (actually a cardboard cut-out) at a local convenience store.

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