Resources for Remote Learning from Terry

A big welcome to you where ever you are in the world. I live with my family and dog near a creek and the ocean in southern Maine. Here, I’ve put together some reading and writing ideas. They’re for you to explore wherever you are connecting from. If you’re reading my books, I also welcome you to ask me questions or connect with me by e-mail and we can explore Skype visits. Oh, and here’s Clara, my dog. She’s in many of my books. She also loves books and has eaten several.

Something For All Ages

“A Page Before Midnight” is a series of Images with Writing Prompts for all ages. I’m posting on Instagram.and my blog

Grades K-3

Joseph’s Big Ride, a picture book. A boy new to the United States wants one thing – to ride a bike. Listen to the story read aloud by a school principal in the school’s series, Champions Read.

Here’s an art Project: Joseph’s Big Ride-building a bike, a magnificent activity created by students at the Maine College of Art beginning with your own hand!

Grades K and up and all who love cats.

“Once upon a time….” Write your own story based on Barry’s Roots illustrations of the The Cat Who Liked Potato Soup. See Barry’s pictures and follow the prompt to write your own tale.

Middle and High School Readers

The Good Braider, a novel in verse. A girl’s journey from Sudan at war to Portland, Maine. Read the first fifty pages in this PDF The PDF is from the galley of the book. When you click, you’ll see what’s called an uncorrected proof. It’s almost a book. But it’s still going for final editing, that touch your teacher gives to you when you turn in a final paper.

The Good Braider Reading and Thinking Guide from I’m Your Neighbor

I’ll be adding to this list of resources and posting on Instagram. We’re alone together, reading and writing. Best wishes, Terry

A Page Before Midnight

Do you like to write? Maybe you don’t know, but there’s something important that happened. What if you wrote it down? Where to start? “A Page Before Midnight” is a series of writing prompts to begin or build a story. Small ideas. I’m gathering prompts I do to help me write, and want to share them with you. Everybody has a story and it’s made up of moments – this moment – of a story. The prompts are about a moment. Scribbles on a page. (I do mine really early in the morning, but if you’re a teen, you might do yours on the phone in the dark.) These are for everybody, teens, kids, adults. No rules. Be a poet. Write a text. Write a paragraph. Make it true. Make it up. Turn the prompt upside down. You are creating the world! If the prompt has a cat, you can turn it into a fox. The prompts are to tap into your experience, your memory, your imagination. Stay in touch. What happened? I’ll post a new prompt on Instagram every Friday. Here are five to begin.

A Page before Midnight #6 A Microplay

Leslie Pasternack, Creative Director “Where does one start? Leslie IS theatre.”

I’m sharing a prompt from Lemon Punch Theatre’s director, Leslie Pasternack. Leslie is running a Lemon Live Microplay Festival adapted from work of the Dramatist’s Guild. I loved this prompt.

Prompt: Write a two-character tiny play – a microplay – that’s no more than 150 words. Relate the play to the theme, no matter how subtly, of the corona virus.

A Page before Midnight #5 The Dance

Girls dancing at Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival

Do you remember a dance – any movement – you learned when you were younger or are learning now? Can you remember the steps and the way you felt when you were dancing. “How is it that I can remember the movement sequences I learned back then….My body, not me, remembered it,” Alma Guillermoprieto wrote about dancing.

Prompt: Write about being in the moment of dancing. Show the movement and what the rhythm feels like in your body. How does the dance make you feel? or Imagine one of the girls in the photo and write about this moment for her.

A Page before Midnight # 4 Sounds of the Doves

“My father kept birds – about 15 beautiful white doves – behind our house in Kabul,” Aqila Sharafyar wrote when she was a student at The Telling Room in Portland. In this memory of her father, Aqila brings him to life through the sounds of the doves that he loved. “He put bangles on their ankles, which would jingle when they walked.” “He loved to hear that, especially when they were walking at the same time. It sounded a little like raindrops.” (from “The Faithful Doves of My Father” collected in I Remember Warm Rain, (c) 2007, The Telling Room.)

Prompt: Describe a person, or a moment when something happens. Tell it with attention to the sounds you connect with that person or that moment you are describing.

A Page before Midnight #3 The Telling Rooms’ “A Prompt a Day”

Ayat Basil reads on the window sill at The Telling Room in Portland. The program uses poetry, prose and nonfiction as a way to teach language and leadership skills. Troy R. Bennett | Bangor Daily News

Telling Room readers and writers in Maine are creating “#Writing Prompt of the Day” – prompts written by kids for kids. The composers of prompts are amazing, emerging writers themselves. See The Telling Room’s “Writing Prompt of the Day” on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Also check out the events, publications at the

A Page before Midnight #2 A Dialogue in Questions

illustration by Barry Root from The Cat Who Liked Potato Soup

I went to an improv workshop. In one of our activities, I had a conversation with another person. (The cat, above, is not holding herself back from talking to the old man.) In our improv, my partner and I talked, but everything we said had to be a question. This screamed to also be a writing prompt. Thank you, Boynton Improv Education & Korabek Training, Fiercely Human Mindfulness and Improv

Prompt: Write a conversation between you and somebody else, or your imaginary characters. Build the conversation so that you show the relationship between the two. And each thing that’s said is a question. Maybe you reveal a conflict. Can you make it into a tiny story?

A Page before Midnight #1 The Painter and the Cat

I met a painter named Saad Hindal. That’s his cat, Hantouse. And his studio. Saad is from Baghdad, Iraq and now lives with his family in Concord, New Hampshire. He loves cats. He paints cats in many of his brilliantly colored paintings. He says cats connect his memory of Iraq with his depictions of New Hampshire. He wants his paintings to say, “Iraq is more than war.” I dedicate this first prompt to Saad.

Prompt: Write about a cat – or other animal – that connects you or your character with two different places, real or imagined. Include a color. Include a cat. OR, paint a cat with your words.

Announcement! OD Bonny and I collaborated on a picture book and it’s coming out with Groundwood Books

OD and I met when he wrote a rap song for Viola (in The Good Braider). Now we’ve done a book together, Aii Yee, Joseph! I love this book because with OD, it’s an Acholi story. OD says, this is me when I was growing up. He came to Portland from Kyangwali refugee camp in Uganda. And now our Joseph was a small boy in Kyangwali before he came to Portland. We’ve made discovery after discovery together about Joseph. For instance, in Kyangwali, he played the awal, a percussion instrument you hit with a wire comb. Now our book has moved to the art department at Groundwood where the art director will do a rough layout. Then the book goes to Ken Daly, the artist of Joseph’s Big Ride. Final art in 2020, then printing in Asia. Aii Yee, Joseph arrives in 2021!