ICE ISLAND (Random House)
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PURPLE DAZE SCRIPT (158.3KB)
Check it out: Readers Theater Script. Which part will you play?
IT'S 1965: DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR COUNTRY IS?
PURPLE DAZE is the powerful story of an unforgettale year.
It's a story about war, riots, rock 'n' roll, love and loss. Set
in suburban Los Angeles in 1965, six high school students
share their intense experiences and feelings through journal
entries, notes, interconnected free verse and traditional poems.
Love is like sticking
your car keys in a pocket with
your sunglasses and thinking
your glasses won't get scratched.
Pages of the new testament fill my pillow,
gospels on a recon in search of a soul.
Praise for PURPLE DAZE:
"Shahan's PURPLE DAZE puts us on the front lines of†funky times,
from Los Angeles to Da-Nang.†A far out, implosive, psychedelic
trip that ends in indictment. This is spectacular."†
-- Rita Williams-Garcia, author of ďOne Crazy Summer,Ē
National Book Award Finalist, Newbery Honor, Scott O'Dell
Historical Award, Coretta Scott King Author
Judith A. Hayn (VOYA, April 2011)
Six teens attend a Los Angeles suburban high school in 1965. Their stories interweave through poetic prose, free writing, and free verse. The Vietnam war, riots, civil rights battles, and protests combine with teen angst, young love, and rock and roll. Donís hippie parents tune in and out, while Cheryl, his college-bound girlfriend, tries to bond with her single mom. Mickey ditches his alcoholic dad for the Navy, and his discarded girlfriend, Ziggy, seeks comfort in meaningless sex and drugs. Phil is drafted and sent to íNam, while his girl, Nancy, moves on to feminist stances and independence. Letters from Phil and Mickey to Cheryl provide powerful, realistic images of the war that dominated the decade and ripped apart their friendships. A brief time line begins and ends the book, along with a historical chronology. Shahan captures the tension and desperation of 1960s young people who were caught up in the events while highlighting the chaos with song lyrics. "Purple Daze" will enable young adults to identity on a personal level with "The Things They Carried" by Tim OíBrien (Houghton Mifflin, 1990), which is often included in curriculum lists. (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2011, Running Press, 208p., $15.95. Ages 15 to 18.
Some readers have a weird idea of what it means to be a writer.
They think Iím locked away in a dingy room with only a computer
to keep me company. It's true. I have calluses on my fingers from
typing more than 30 fiction and nonfiction books on a plastic keypad.
(Okay, so a few titles were tapped out on a typewriter.) But that's only
part of the story.
As part of my research, Iíve ridden on horseback into Africaís Maasailand, hiked through a leech-infested rain forest in Australia, shivered inside a dogsled for the first part of the famed 1,049 mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska, rode-the-foam on a long-board in Hawaii, and spun around dance floors in Havana, Cuba. True!
My adventure novel "DEATH MOUNTAIN" (Peachtree) is based on a true story. While attempting to hike to the highest peak in the contiguous United States, Mt. Whitney in California, my group was caught on an exposed ridge in a deadly electrical storm. The pack horse and mule were struck by lightning and killed. Three women in my party were airlifted off the mountain by helicopter and flown to a nearby hospital. Thankfully, they were released shortly after a doctor examined them.
For my middle-grade novel "FROZEN STIFF" (Random House), I spent a week kayaking to the largest tidewater glacier in North America, Hubbard Glacier in Alaska. Like my main character, I battled renegade icebergs and had a close encounter with a bear. Again, true.
When I decided to write and photo-illustrate "DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW: THE STORY OF THE JR. IDITAROD" (Mondo), I stayed with a family of mushers in Alaska. Everyday, I followed them with my camera while they trained their dogs. You know that's a true story since "DASHING" is nonfiction.
When Iím not traveling around the world or dodging lightning bolts, I like to dance. Sometimes I even enter contests at dance conventions. Even though Iíve never won one -- at least not yet -- itís fun to wear clothes that sparkle and glue on false eyelashes. True story.
Since I like to hang out with my readers, Iíve been part of the Kern Reading Assn. Young Author Fair, Author-Go-Round in Santa Barbara, StoryFest in Ventura, Eureka Author Festival and others in California. I teach an online writing course through UCLA and hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
I also like to meet teachers and librarians. Iíve been a speaker at many professional conferences, such as Colorado Council of International Reading Assn., Texas Library Assn., California Reading Assn., California School Library Assn., California Teachers of English Conference.
Okay, now itís time to plop down in my writing chair....