Merlyn's Pen Library of Teen Writing

In lore, young King Arthur was tutored by the timeless wizard Merlyn. Before Merlyn Climate Grants, there was Merlyn's Pen: The National Magazine of Student Writing. It mentored and published serious teen writers for a classroom readership that peaked at 100,000. Many novelists today, including Amity Gaige, Dara Horn, Jennifer E. SmithAlex Taylor, Theresa Meyers, David Barr Kirtley, and Curtis Sittenfeld, found early encouragement and publication in Merlyn's Pen. Here in the NEW LIBRARY OF YOUNG ADULT WRITING, their early works are showcased alongside hundreds more of the most memorable works from Merlyn's Pen. Beautiful illustrations by premier artists attend many selections, and scores of the most popular works have companion lesson plans and compelling audio recordings. For a quick introduction to the Library's many treasures, simply click "Editor's Choice" selections or "Illustrated Works" or both.

There are 975 works

Displaying records 1 to 100

1. Before the Rain
2. The Glue Jar
1. "Prophets" Lesson Plan
By Jo-Ann Langseth for Merlyn's Pen
Grade Level: 7,8,9,10,11,12
2. "Prophets" ESL/EFL Plan & Discussion Starters
By Janet Isserlis for Merlyn's Pen
Grade Level: 7,8,9,10,11,12

Discussion Starters:

1. Like Mark Twain, the author often uses a combination of down-to-earth regional dialect (“Ain’t nothin’ gonna stop me from it,” “The days passed by like a slug through warm beer,” “all liquored up”) and complex, even lyrical narrative (“Decaying words, wafting from my grandfather’s mouth like dust through sunlight,” “above the schoolhouse shingles, beneath the innocent stars,” “The fireworks took flight over the small pond and winked back at me”). What effect does this “dual” narrative voice have for you as a reader? Do you find the contrast in language funny? Jarring? 2. Fleamont, Oklahoma, is described as “one of the quietest and dullest towns there had ever been.” How important is setting to this story? Would Jim’s “feat” have attracted much attention in a large, busy city?

3. Does the grandfather’s saying, quoted in the first paragraph of the story, have any connection to the plot? Does it have a symbolic meaning? In your opinion, is this a good opening, one that “hooks” the reader into the story, or would you have preferred an opening paragraph that introduced Jim Charlton and focused on his character?

4. Tall tales usually focus on a larger-than-life character (for example, Paul Bunyan) who accomplishes amazing deeds of strength, cleverness, or daring. Would you describe “Prophets” as a modern-day tall tale? Why or why not?

5. Is there any practical benefit gained by Jim’s “battle against the odds?” Is it heroic or pointless? Must a deed have a useful purpose to be great, or is it enough for a hero to scale Mt. Everest, like Sir Edmund Hillary, “because it’s there”?

6. “Mt. Flea was the last time I ever saw Jim try to overcome his weaknesses. Mt. Flea was the first time he failed, and I guess this is what changed him.” Based on the context of the story, would you say that Jim has changed for better or worse? Can failure ever be a positive experience? If so, how?
3. "Prophets" ESL/EFL Plan
By Janet Isserlis for Merlyn's Pen
Grade Level: 7,8,9,10,11,12
4. Moment in the Headlights
1. "Moment in the Headlights"
By Brenda Vumbaco for Merlyn's Pen
Grade Level: 7,8,9,10,11,12
5. Chauvinist Knights and Feminist Damsels
6. Virginia Mud
7. Lake Makwa
8. Hiding Mrs. Barnes
9. More Than Human
10. Ming Li's Eyes
11. Glitter Pixie Girl
12. Affection
13. A Girl and Her Rock Star
14. Biology
15. My Stay in a Wounded Town
16. Letter From Croatia: Language of Love
17. Egyptian Mystery Tour
18. Present Glory
19. Bookstores
20. I See My Father
21. Welcome to Hum, The World's Smallest Town
22. The Secret World of Chestnut Drive
23. La Fete du Pla
24. Popularity: An Outsider's View
25. Are We Having Fun Yet?
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