May 23, 2018
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Middle-schoolers write, publish novels


ROCKLAND — In the first joint academic project between Rockland District Middle School and Thomaston Grammar School — now Oceanside West — six seventh- and eighth-grade students known as The Elite Team have written, revised, and published their own novels.

The novels will be unveiled to the public 2:30-4:30 p.m. Friday, July 15, at an event hosted, free of charge, by The Reading Corner, 408 Main St. Students will read from their novels; refreshments will be served.

It happened under the guidance of writer and parent volunteer Sherry Barker Abaldo, also a substitute teacher and Rockland After School Alliance instructor. Given a classroom plus a handful of students from Gifted and Talented Program coordinator Anne Pietroski, Abaldo created a college-level creative writing workshop to develop the six novels.

They are:

• “A Redneck in the Process” by Catherine Abaldo: A rich California boy travels to Maine, where he learns the truth about rednecks and finds a secret that rocks his world.

• “Lemonade for Lizzy” by Emily Protheroe: Leukemia. We’ve all heard what it’s like from the cancer patient’s point of view — but what about the best friend?

• “Bloody” by Kalie McGuirl: A harmful virus is released on a small town, and only a few people survive. What will happen to them?

• “Time-Slip” by Rhiannon Jones: When a class of unfortunate ninth-graders falls into the Mesozoic Era, they have bigger problems than grades.

• “Shadows of the Moon” by Anna Walker: A 17-year-old girl searches for her missing friend, while learning more about herself.

• “The Stone of Cartasas” by Julian D. Abaldo: One summer, three siblings find themselves caught up in an adventure with magicians, an all-powerful stone, dragons, a yeti, a dark plan at the bottom of it all — and a reluctant, funny hero named Julian, who gets by on what he knows from movies and video games.

As a jumping-off point, Abaldo used November as National Novel Writing Month, which she had used home-schooling her own two kids the year before.

“I was going to do it anyway with my own two kids, again,” Abaldo said, “so if more wanted to join, I thought ‘the more, the merrier.’”

Abaldo added to the mix her own experiences as a professional writer and full-time artist.

“There are so many things I wish I had known then,” she said. “I thought, why not be the sort of voice of experience I never had, for all these kids?”

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