Rachelle Burk is a children’s book and magazine author who writes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She also provides writer critique services and teaches writing workshops. Her presentations are aimed at helping kids tap into their own creativity. As a professional clown and storyteller, Rachelle’s programs promise to be as entertaining as they are educational. Her highly visual and interactive workshops are tailored for pre-K through 6th grades.
Tree House in a Storm
Nine-year-old Kenny and his sister build their dream-come-true tree house in 1960s New Orleans, a special hideaway where they share stories and await the peanut butter and sliced banana sandwiches that their obliging mother sends up to them in a basket on a rope. But when Hurricane Betsy strikes–“A hurricane. . . is like a storm having a terrible tantrum”–their tree house and its host tree are among Betsy’s casualties. Undaunted, Kenny plants one of the fallen tree’s acorns, and several decades later, the narrator, Kenny’s daughter, plays in her own tree house, eating her own peanut butter and sliced banana sandwiches, in the resulting tree. Child readers will likely enjoy the vicarious experience of spending time in Kenny’s tree house and be glad of the come-full-circle ending to the story. It is hard to beat the fantasy of a tree house of one’s own, and sandwiches hauled up in a basket. 2009, Stemmer House, $16.95. Ages 6 to 9. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D. (Children’s Literature).
Rachelle’s presentations are aimed at helping children tap into their own creativity. They are generally geared for K through sixth grades. She can work with small or large audiences, and will tailor programs to fit your needs, depending on venue, grades, and audience size.
After a magical introduction, Rachelle gives the audience a peek at her sometimes comical life which includes concurrent careers as a clown and storyteller, social worker, rescue squad volunteer, and writer. She takes the audience on the journey from her first cardboard-and-scrap-paper book (age seven), to her first magazine stories, and to the publication of her first book, Tree House in a Storm, emphasizing the importance of research, revision, and not giving up.
Children will learn how to tap into their own “creative genius,” including how to come up with story ideas. Rachelle discusses how a writer often combines real and fictional events when writing a story. She also discusses the important work of the illustrator, and shares the story behind the hidden frogs in her book.
Rachelle conducts a lively group writing activity to demonstrate brainstorming and story development. The children are encouraged to follow up this activity by writing their own story, and are rewarded with publication of their work on her special website www.rachelleburk.com.
A teacher’s guide to Tree House in a Storm, as well as classroom and home activity sheets, can be printed directly from her website. These include a crossword puzzle, word search, find-the-differences, draw-a-treehouse, and coloring pages.
Small group writing workshops are available and can be scheduled separately or combined with assembly programs.
Fees: $350 for local, single sessions. $150 for each additional session, up to 4 per day.
To learn more about Rachelle Burk and her publications please visit www.rachelleburk.com.