Tag Archives: Assassination

All Black Lives Matter – Duck Plucking Time

The new anthology published by Saturday Writers

The centuries long struggle for racial justice and equality continues. I am honored to have two stories about this struggle included in the Saturday Writers’ new anthology, “Duck Plucking Time” and “Sockdologizer”. 

         Some decades ago, I recall sharing a campfire with an old friend. Campfire talk led us to recalling childhood experiences, his in a Jim Crow borderland state, mine in deep South Alabama. This conversation eventually sparked a fictional exploration of our shared history – “Duck Plucking Time”.

         Historian Jim Bishop did a stellar job of detailing the traumatic events surrounding Lincoln’s assassination in his book The Day Lincoln was Shot.

I saw a chance to employ his work in a fictional treatment of those events. By creating characters, adding dialog and basing my story on Mr. Bishop’s sequence of events I hoped to pull young readers into the history by putting them next to the characters, both historical and fictional. “Sockdologizer” is the result. It won first place in the Saturday Writers contest for youth fiction.

Please view the teaching materials I’ve prepared for Sockdologizer on TPT. I’ve made both scripts for the story and classroom activities:


Here are the classroom activities: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Assassination-teaching-activities-for-part-1-of-the-RT-script-4923109

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King City High School Students help this author!

Creative Writing students perform "Assassination".

King City High School creative writing students perform “Assassination”.

Some of you might recall “You Are There”, Walter Cronkite’s great, long-running TV series. Cronkite served as host and interviewer in historical reenactments of critical events from our shared past. The show brought history to life with unprecedented immediacy. I’ve tried to capture that immediacy in a readers’ theater script about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. I based my retelling on Jim Bishop’s excellent book The Day Lincoln was Shot.  By adding several fictional characters and some dialog to the events Bishop detailed, I hoped to create a narrative that would open history for young readers. I decided I needed to find some young readers and hear their thoughts!

King City High School Creative Writing teacher Ashley Russ invited me to share the script with her students. I made two visits to her creative writing class. On the first visit, advanced students Axel Solis, Irie Flores, Gabriela Valencia, Martin Delgado, Emma Deleon, and Gabriel Aguilar read the script twice and made editorial suggestions. I used their suggestions to revise my writing and took it back for a final reading. It went exceedingly well. Both the students’ performance and their intelligent comments afterward convinced me to go ahead and publish “Assassination” on TPT. Here’s the link to the script:


P.S. I also created vocabulary and reading comprehension activities to accompany this script. They’re also on TPT.Here’s the link for the activities:


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