Dear Mr. Henshaw
by Beverly Cleary, Morrow Jr. Books, Newbery Winner 1984
Activities 2000 Nancy Polette

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Activities:
Leigh Botts has been Boyd Henshaw's Number One fan ever since his second grade teacher read aloud Ways to Amuse a Dog. Now in the sixth grade, Leigh lives with his mother and is "the new kid" in school. Troubled by the absence of his father, a cross-country trucker, and angry because a mysterious lunchbag thief steals all the "good stuff" from his lunch, Leigh feels his only friend is Mr. Fridley, the school custodian. Then Leigh's teacher assigns a project that requires writing letters asking questions of authors. Naturally Leigh chooses to write to Mr. Henshaw, whose surprising answer changes Leigh's life.

Told through a series of letters to Leigh's favorite author, and later through Leigh's diary, this is a wise and funny book about finding one's own place in the world.
Activity One:
Follow the directions on this web site for finding your favorite living author. You can read about the author and either write or email the author depending on the information given.

Email or write to an author: 
http://www.carolhurst.com

Learn About Authors and Find Addresses in Books:
Something About the Author by Anne Commire. Gale Research Series.

Plan your letter by answering these questions.
1. Which of the author's books have you read? 
_____________________________________________ 
_____________________________________________ 
_____________________________________________
2. Of all the author's book you have read, which was your favorite and why? 
________________________________________________________________ 
________________________________________________________________ 
________________________________________________________________
3. What do you hope the author's next book will be about? 
________________________________________________________________ 
________________________________________________________________ 
________________________________________________________________
4. What other thoughts would you like to share with the author? 
________________________________________________________________ 
________________________________________________________________ 
________________________________________________________________ 
________________________________________________________________ 
________________________________________________________________ 

Activity Two: A Poetic Description 

Leigh gives up writing a story and tries to write a poem. He rigs up a burglar alarm for his lunchbox. His classmates are impressed with the alarm. Leigh writes a description of riding in his father's rig for the yearbook.

Leigh seems to have many creative talents from invention to poetry writing. Visit the poetry web site and read the poem by Shel Silverstein, "Somebody Has To Polish the Stars". Write a poem as Leigh might have written it about riding in his father's big rig. Write about the rig as if it were a person by completing the information on the lines below.

Title: Somebody Has to Drive A Big Rig
Where does it play?___________________________________
Where does it rest? ___________________________________
Who is its best friend?_________________________________
What does it eat?  ____________________________________
What does it fear?____________________________________
What makes it happy?  ________________________________ 

Books: 
Big Rigs by Hope Marston. Cobblehill, 1993
Monster Trucks by James Koons. Capstone, 1998.

Poetry:
http://www.poetry4kids.com

 

Activity: Bumper Stickers 
Leigh's mother had challenged him to do something with his brain and that he enjoyed while the TV was broken. So he began making some bumper stickers and they became over-night successes! He makes them now for truckers, for catering services, and even for authors! Design a special one that you think Leigh might make for Mr. Henshaw. You might get ideas by looking at the bumper sticker web site.

Bumper Stickers
http://www.angelstar.com/bumper.htm
Believe in your dreams!

Attitude Changes Everything!

One Day at a Time!