Author Feature-Julie Murphy



Spirit of Texas Reading Program-High School

Featured Author

Julie Murphy 

Julie Murphy

Dumplin'

Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. When she's not writing or trying to catch stray cats, she can be found reading, traveling, or watching movies so bad they're good. Her debut contemporary young adult novel, Side Effects May Vary, is out from Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins and has been well-received by Kirkus, School Library Journal, VOYA, Booklist, Seventeen Magazine, and Teen Vogue. Dumplin', Julie's sophomore novel has received glowing reviews including two stars from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Film rights have been optioned by Disney.

 

 

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Book Quiz/Discussion Questions

Printable Copy

  1. Why do you think the author had Willowdean's mom have such an unglamorous job of working in a nursing home, as opposed to the one month a year she devotes to the beauty pageant.
  2. How has the relationship between Willowdean and her mom changed with the death of Aunt Lucy?
  3. Why do you think Lucy always stuck up for Willowdean against her mother?
  4. Do you think Willowdean is as confident as she seems when she first meets Bo?
  5. In what subtle ways did Willowdean's mother show her disapproval of her weight?
  6. How do you think Willowdean felt when Bo started attending her high school? Why?
  7. We never find out Willowdean's exact weight. Do you think it mattered? Why or why not? Do you think the author left that information out intentionally?
  8. For the opening number at the pageant, each girl is assigned a Texas landmark. What Texas landmark would you want to represent?
  9. We never find out who won the pageant. Who do you think won the pageant and why? Why do think the author chose to leave out that information?
  10. Willowdean is inspired by Dolly Parton and her music. Who inspires you and why?


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Academic Programs

Printable Copy of Program

Supplemental Documents

Brainstorming Web

Expository Writing Rubric

STAAR 26 Lined Paper

Activity 1: Who Inspires You? Expository Essay (STAAR Writing Practice)

Introduction

Finding inspiration is what keeps us going. It gives us hope and strength to which we can aspire. Everyone needs someone to look up to. Write to the prompt:

"Write about someone who inspires you. Give specific details to support your response."

TEKS

  • ELAR - 1a, 1b, 1c, 1e, 2a, 6, 10, 13a, 13b, 13c, 13e, 15a, 15d, 17a, 17b, 17c, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23

Books to Display

Display a variety of biographies that teenagers would enjoy. Some examples are listed below.

  • El Deafo by Cece Bell
  • This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl
  • Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
  • Positive by Paige Rawl
  • No Summit Out of Sight: The True Story of the Youngest Person to climb the Seven Summits by Jordan Romero
  • I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

Supply List

Detailed Description of Activity

Begin with a discussion of inspiration. What does it mean? Inspiration can come from different places. Ask students to think about a person who inspires them and how they inspire. When talking about someone who inspires, we look for positive qualities that encourage us to be a better person.

The teacher (or adult) will share an example of who inspires them and why. Create a brainstorm web as an example.

Have students think about someone they would go to for advice. Students will create a brainstorm web about who inspires them and why. Students will share their web with a partner.

Discuss the setup of an expository paper:

  • Thesis- answers the question what/why
  • Body paragraphs- details to support thesis
  • Conclusion- Restate thesis

Students will use their brainstorm web to write a 26 line expository essay to the prompt:

"Write about someone who inspires you. Give specific details to support your response."

Activity Resources

Activity 2 Music as Poetry

Introduction

Ask most teenagers what they think of poetry, and you most likely get an eye-roll. For most teens, poetry is not an appreciated genre, it is something they have to listen to their teachers analyze in English class. Talking about poetry and making the connection between music and poetry helps teens start to appreciate poetry. In Dumplin', Willowdean appreciates the things that Dolly Parton conveys in her songs.

TEKS

  • ELAR: 1c, 3, 7, 13a, 13b, 13c, 13d, 13e, 24, 25, 26

Books to Display

  • Hip-Hop Poetry and the The Classics by Alan Lawrence Sitomer and Michael Cirelli
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  • Various Poetry books from your collection

Supply List

  • CDs with various genres of songs (Suggested songs: What a Wonderful World- Louis Armstrong; Lego House- Ed Sheeran; Firework- Katy Perry; Hotel California-The Eagles; any current popular songs)
  • Printed lyrics for songs on CD
  • CD Player
  • Meeting room
  • Chairs

Detailed Description of Activity

Have the CD playing as teens are entering the room.

Have copies of the different song lyrics printed and available for all attendees.

Discuss how song lyrics can be considered to be poems set to music. Often times we listen to music and don't really think about what the words are saying; we just appreciate the beat of the music. By reading aloud the words of a song, we can better understand what the song is about.

Read aloud What a Wonderful World. Discuss what the poem/song might be about. There is no right or wrong answer, as long as there is a reason to support it. Play the song after the discussion.

Just as songs can be poetry, poetry can be music.

Give small groups of teens (3-4 in a group) a poetry book and have them pick a poem and then create a beat for it. They can drum on the table, beat-box or any other creative way of making a beat.

Have groups share.

Resources for Teens, Teachers & Librarians

Activity 3: The Bully Project: Film Festival and Discussion

Introduction

Unfortunately, Willowdean's friends are often bullied by their fellow classmates, which is one of the reasons one of the reasons why some of them set out to prove themselves in Clover City's Miss Teen Blue Bonnet.

Bully is a 2011 documentary film about five teenagers and the varieties of harassment that they went through. The film jumps back and forth between the teens to describe their lives.

TEKS

  • ELAR: 14C, 18B, 19C, 25B, 25A, 18C, 23B
  • Health 2C, 2E, 5C, 5H, 5K, 5L, 6A, 7A, 7B, 10A, 10B, 10D, 10E, 11A, 11B, 11C, 11D, 11F, 12D, 12E

Books to Display

  • Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
  • We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Neilsen-Fernlund
  • A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima
  • Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
  • Avengers: No Bullying (Marvel)

Supply List

  • Bully (2011 Film)
  • Movie Licensing
  • Seating for screening
  • Discussion questions
  • TV and DVD Player/Computer or Projector and DVD Player/Computer

Detailed Description of Activity

Screening the documentary alone is not enough raise awareness about bullying. Questions and commentary from the audience should follow the screening in order to encourage discussion.

A panel of fellow staff may be necessary in order to get the discussion going and keep it going doing any lags in the conversation.

If you are not able to find a copy of the film at your library, you might consider ordering your own DVD and toolkit here for $40 which includes a copy of Bully (2011) film, in-house public license, poster, stickers and a flash drive full of additional resources. The film's website even offers a free workshop to better prepare you in a leading a discussion following the film as well as a variety of resources for educators, teens and parents. (http://www.thebullyproject.com/)

Activity Resources

Discussion questions:

Before the film:

Do you believe that bullying is an issue?

What would you like to "get" from the film?

How do you feel about watching the film?

After the film:

How do you feel after watching the movie?

What do you think would need to happen in order to stop bullying behaviors?

What kind of changes would you like to see?"

Resources for Teens, Teachers & Librarians

 

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Active Programs

Printable Copy of Program

Supplemental Documents

Duct Tape Direction Sheet

Flip Your Formal Wear Flyer

Teens Got Talent Program Flyer

General Introduction to Active Program

Dumplin' tells the story of self-proclaimed fat girl, Willowdean. Willowdean has always been comfortable in her own skin until she becomes attracted to former jock, Bo. Despite Bo's affections for her, Willowdean starts to doubt herself and sets out to prove her self-worth by entering the town's famous Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant. Willowdean idolizes Dolly Parton and channels her confidence in the talent portion of the pageant. In these programs, teens will have an outlet to share their individual passions and talents.

Activity 1: Teens Got Talent

Introduction

Teens will have an opportunity to express themselves in front of peers and their community at this open mic event. Teens can show off their musical skills, stand-up comedy, poetry, dance skills, etc. The more variety, the better.

Books to Display or Book Talk

  • The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
  • Breakout by Kevin Emerson
  • For the Record by Charlotte Huang
  • This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Supply List

  • Stage area
  • Chairs (seating area)
  • Microphones
  • Sound system
  • CD player/MP3 player
  • Decor (based on theme)
  • Signup sheet
  • Refreshments, optional
  • Incentives for all participates, optional

Detailed Description of Activity

You must first choose when and where your event will take place. A large space whether outdoors or indoors with an electric connection works best with plenty of space to provide both seating and any possible props or equipment that might be used. Choosing a successful date may depend on your specific library. An after-hours/evening event tends to work best.

Promotional materials such as flyers and social media is important to get the word out about your event. If you do not have a marketing team or you are not familiar with creating flyers with Photoshop or Microsoft Office, there are many easy-to-use websites that will provide free templates such as Canva. If you do have a marketing team, find out if your library already has a social presence; if not, suggest that you create one. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat are all free social media sites that can help to spread the word for your event. You should also have the event information posted on your school/library's website.

Simple refreshments such as fruit punch, water, and pre-packaged snacks like fruit snacks, animal crackers, pretzels, cookies or granola bars are optional but are highly recommended. Seeking out donations from local restaurants or grocery stores can be another option.

Decorations can add ambience to the event. If the event takes place in December, winter might be fun theme. If there is a holiday occurring close to the event such as Valentine's Day that might be another option.

Having a sign-up sheet or online registration (depending on your location's capabilities) before the day of the event is highly recommended. This will help determine if you may need any other equipment and/or supplies as well as help to create a schedule of events. A speaker system and microphone, a cd player, and/or a MP3 player are ideal, though not necessary. Pre-registration can also help to avoid having too many similar acts one after another, and it will help to allow time for last minute acts.

Incentives are optional but highly suggested for participants. T-shirts and canvas or drawstring bags can display a school or city logo; this can be great publicity when the teens are seen displaying the item at school or home. Books, especially advanced reader's copies, can also be an incentive that both the participants and the audience receive.

Incentive Suggestions:

  • Canvas bags or drawstring bags (with school or city logo)
  • Books (Advanced Reader's Copies)
  • T-shirts (with logo)

Activity Resources

Activity 2: Duct Tape Dress Design

Introduction

Duct Tape Dresses are all the rage. Fancy dresses are an important part of The "Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant" that takes place in Dumplin'. Creating new and unique looks using duct tape lets teens creative juices flow. Teens are even using duct tape to even create prom dresses. This program will allow teens to create mini creations and display their work on dolls. As a follow up, teens will have information on how they can participate in the Duck Tape Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest.

Books to Display or Book Talk

  • Dazzling Duct Tape Designs: Fashionable Accessories, Adorable Décor, and Many More Creative Crafts You Make At Home by Tamara Boykins
  • Duct Tape Mania by Amanda Formaro
  • Official Duck Tape Craft Book: 15 Easy Duck Tape Projects (Design Originals) by LLC ShurTech Brands
  • Duct Tape: 101 Adventurous Ideas for Art, Jewelry, Flowers, Wallets, and More by Forest Walker Davis

Activity Supply List (assuming 10 participants)

  • 20 Rolls of Duct Tape (multi colors and designs) which will be shared among participants
  • Scissors
  • Newspaper
  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Sharpies
  • 5 Tables
  • 10 Chairs
  • Room
  • 10 Barbie-like dolls
  • Directions Sheet

Detailed Description of Activity

Set the tables and the chairs so that two people can work at a table. Have 1 roll of duct tape, scissors, paper (if students want to sketch or create a pattern), newspaper (to cover tables), pencils, sharpies and dolls available for each person at the table.

The following directions for this duct tape dress are relatively easy, so if the teens want to create their own pattern, encourage them to do so. Place the directions sheet at each table.

Step 1: Pull off and cut off 4 strips of duct tape (approx. 6 inches each). Overlap them slightly to make a square (or rectangle). Teens can use 2 different patterns if they wish.

Step 2: Rip more strips of about the same length and, putting sticky sides together, line up the pieces of duct tape. When you are finished, you should have one big rectangle or square that is not sticky and is patterned on both sides.

Step 3: Trim the edges and make sure everything is lined up and not sticky.

Step 4: Use sharpies or other pieces of duct tape to decorate the square. You can line the top and bottom of the square with a different color or pattern of duct tape.

Step 5: Use another piece of duct tape to make a strip to be a belt for your dress.

Step 6: Put decorated square around the doll and tie it on with the belt.

Activity Resources

Activity Resources for Teens, Teachers & Librarians

Activity 3: Flip Your Formalwear

Introduction

Dumplin's Willowdean, along with a few of her classmates, enter the famous Blue Bonnet Beauty Pageant. Willowdean finds an amazing red dress that makes her feel confident and beautiful for the formalwear portion of the pageant. The clothing a person wears may not be in the most important thing about them, but it can be a form of self-expression, especially in the minds of many teenagers. Dances and parties are often the most anticipated moments in teen adolescence. Unfortunately, these milestones in one's life can be very costly. Hosting a dress/formalwear swap can help ease some of those expenses and even provide an opportunity for some to attend that may not have thought it was possible.

Books to Display or Book Talk

  • New Dress a Day: The Ultimate DIY Guide to Creating Fashion Dos from Thrift-Store Don'ts by Marisa Lynch
  • Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts, and More by Tina Sparkles
  • The Sewing Bible for Clothes Alterations: a step-by-step practical guide on how to alter clothes by Judith Turner
  • Sew Many Dresses, Sew Little Time: The Ultimate Dressmaking Guide by Tanya Whelan

Activity Supply List

  • Garment racks
  • Tickets (or tokens)
  • Hangers (as many as you can get)
  • Full-length mirrors
  • Volunteers, volunteers, volunteers

Detailed Description of Activity

A clothing swap is a fun way to trade dresses, dress pants, button-up shirts, shoes, and accessories that a person may no longer wear. "Bring what you can. Take what you need." is often used as the mantra for clothing swaps, but you want to be a specific as possible for your event's promotional materials. You want to encourage only clean, gently-used items to be donated. Specify what you WILL NOT accept.

You must first decide what kind of donations you would like to accept. Perhaps space is an issue and you would just like to swap clothing and not accessories. Either way, make your decision known on any promotional materials that are created. Promotional material is important to get the word out about your event and to begin collecting donations.

You must also choose when and where the public can drop off their donations. Discourage any drop-offs the day of the event. That can be very chaotic. Plenty of storage is key for this type of event.

Every person who attends the event should be able to take 3-5 items home with them the day of the event. As an extra incentive to encourage donations, for every item that someone donates, they will be able to take an extra item (depending on your attendance). As participants begin to donate items, you can mark down on a spreadsheet how many tickets they will be receive the day of the event.

Organize the donations beforehand by type of item and even style depending on your space. Obtaining garment racks and hangers by donations would be ideal, but you may be able to work with a local department store as well. Creating them out of PVC pipes are also an option, but that would involve more work and funds. Full-length mirrors would be a great addition for teens but aren't really necessary.

Sample PVC Clothes Rack

A large room or access to multiple rooms is almost a necessity for the day of the activity. If you are lucky and have multiple rooms available for your event, designating a room or two as a dressing room is recommended but not necessary. Makeshift changing stations can be created with room dividers, bed sheets hung from the ceiling, or PVC pipes and bedsheets depending on your space.

Everyone will need to check in the day of the event. A minimum amount of tickets will be handed to every participant with those that donated beforehand receiving their share.

What to do with the leftover swap items:

  • Goodwill: Contact your local Goodwill to find out whether pickup service is available in your area (800-664-577), or go to goodwill.org.
  • The Salvation Army: Call 800-728-7825 or go to satruck.org to find a local branch or to see if there is pickup service in your area.
  • Dress for Success: This organization accepts women's interview-appropriate attire. Drop off items at one of its locations (in 46 states), or mail donations. To find a location near you, go to dressforsuccess.org.

Volunteers or other employees are a must for this event, both before, during, and after. If you get teen volunteers, an extra incentive to volunteering would be that they get to check out the donations first and/or receive extra tickets to redeem.

Activity Resources

Activity Resources for Teens, Teachers & Librarians

 

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Passive Programs

Printable Copy of Program

Supplemental Documents

Music as Art Sample 1

Music as Art Sample 2

Activity 1: Music as Art

Introduction

In Dumplin' music restored the power and confidence that had once lived resided inside of Willowdean. Willowdean's love of Dolly Parton taught her to love herself for who she is as well as those around her.

Teens will create visual works of art based off inspiring and powerful lyrics by displaying the images provoked by these words. Teens will use typography as a form of illustration.

Books to Display

  • Creative Doodling & Beyond by Stephanie Corfee
  • Words to Live By: Creative Hand-Lettering, Coloring and Inspirations by Dawn Nicole Warnaar
  • The Art of Whimsical Lettering by Joanne Sharpe
  • Hand-Lettering for Everyone by Cristina Vanko
  • Any of books on lyrics you may have in your collection

Supply List

  • Cardstock
  • Markers
  • Color pencils
  • Rulers
  • Lyrical sheet music books for inspiration (optional)
  • Computers available to look up lyrics

Detailed Description of Activity

Set out all of the materials with a description of the project citing http://www.fontspace.com/ and www.drawmeasong.com for inspiration as well as the books on display. Provide an example on the bulletin board or area where they will be displaying their completed works of art.

Activity Resources

Music as Art Sample 1 (downloadable image at top of page)

Song Lyrics as Artwork

Music as Art Sample 2 (downloadable image at top of page)

Song Lyrics as Artwork

Resources for Teens, Teachers & Librarians

Activity 2: Who Are You? Everyone has a story- What's yours?

Introduction

Willowdean has always been comfortable in her skin. She knows who she is, but she sees her friends who aren't quite as confident. Because of this, she works hard to help her friends find their voices. This passive program encourages teens to think about and succinctly share who they are.

Books to Display

  • Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure by Rachel Fershleiser
  • I Can't Keep My Own Secrets: Six-Word Memoirs by Teens Famous & Obscure by Larry Smith
  • It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure by Larry Smith

Supply List

Detailed Description of Activity

Display the following:

Legend has it that when Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a six-word novel, he came up with, "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Inspired by Hemingway's short story, SMITH magazine, launched online in 2006, challenged readers and famous writers alike to submit their own six-word memoirs. People of all ages sent in short life stories in droves, and the results were poignant, hilarious, devastating and good lessons to all. The six-word memoir showcases the efficiency of language.

Think about who you are. Think about what makes you memorable or what makes you tick or what makes you who you are. Write your six-word memoir on a Post-it and share who you are.

Resources for Teens, Teachers & Librarians

 

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Created on Apr 8, 2016 | Last updated April 18, 2016