Recently, I blogged about the Drama Work Station and received a comment from Alexis O’Neill, the author of The Recess Queen. I had mentioned that this is a great book for students to retell and dramatize at the Drama Station. After hearing from Alexis, I emailed her and asked her to be a Guest Author on my blog, and she agreed. What would you like her to tell us about?
In the meantime, she sent me some info about why she wrote The Recess Queen, the story of a bully, Mean Jean, and her transformation through meeting a new girl at school. Here’s what Alexis had to say:
Q: How did you come up with your story?
A: This is going to sound incredibly silly, but I began the story because I liked the sound of “mean” “Jean” and “queen” together (and I do hope that any of my friends named Jean do not take my book personally . . . ) Then I wondered what Mean Jean would do – and what she kingdom she would reign over. Since recess was (and still is) my favorite part of the day, I made her queen of the playground. The character of Katie Sue was inspired in part by my niece, Megan Rose, who on the surface looks quiet and shy but is the most energetic player I know. Other parts of the book were inspired by my younger nieces Stephanie, Allison and Laura, but mostly by my sister, Donna, who has a great sense of humor.
Q: How long did it take you to write your story?
A: I wrote notes for The Recess Queen in 1992. The first title was, “Mean Jean, the Playground Queen.” But I just kept putting notes into a folder off and on for a long time. I wrote the first two pages in 1993. I wrote the first full draft in January 1999. Then I workshopped about 6 revisions with my writers group before I sent my story to a publisher in June 1999.
Q: Have you written any other books?
A: In addition to The Recess Queen, my other books include Loud Emily and Estela’s Swap. My newest book, The Worst Best Friend, is a companion to The Recess Queen.
I hope you’ll read aloud these books written by Alexis O’Neill to your class and try them soon at a Drama Station. Let us know what you try! We love pictures, and so does Alexis! Leave your questions in the Comments area and send your photos of your drama station to email@example.com.