Gabe in the news

Gabe and Benj participated in a turn off the TV week long challenge. Gracie was participating too until she fell ill and realized that not being able to watch TV when you are sick is a fate worse then death. She made it about 5 days though.

Gabe is quoted in the article below. Poor tragic little boy who finally, finally was permitted to play outside, in the fresh air, instead of being forced to watch iCarly in a darkened living room. (When I started reading his quote I feared that he was going to say, "I like to play board games but my mom won't play them because she hates them and would rather play on her computer".)

Because that would be totally untrue.

You can't trust anything the papers say (they said he was 9 when he is really only 8 and 10.5 months)

(He's the kid who is completely obscured by the author's head)
'Weird' works to get kids to read books



Written by By DEBBIE ROGERS Sentinel Staff Writer
Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Kenwood Elementary fifth-grader Rosa Flores knows her favorite story in the book "Weird Ohio."
The 11-year-old's just not sure that she can discuss it.
Dropping her voice to a whisper, she said, "It's about H-E-double toothpicks. The town."
That would be the unusual story of Hell Town, one of hundreds of strange tales that make up "Weird Ohio," which was co-written by James Willis, who also founded The Ghosts of Ohio, a paranormal research organization.
With "Weird Ohio" and his fascination with spirits, Willis is charged with proving - or disproving - the real story behind the lore. Take Hell Town. Legend has it that this northern part of Summit County is haunted.
In the late 1960s, concern over disappearing forests led to legislation allowing the government to take homes, demolish them and use the land for parks. Almost overnight, Hell Town turned into a ghost town. The area is still filled with vacant houses, roads that go nowhere and overgrown brush - but no ghosts, Willis said.
One weird story from Wood County made the book. (All you readers out there who share a "weird eye" with Willis will know exactly where this is heading.)

"The pickled fingers," Willis said immediately, when asked about this area. "It's probably the only museum in Ohio, maybe in the United States, that you can say you want to see the fingers and they know what you're talking about."
Now, for readers staring blankly at the newspaper, an explanation: In the 1880s, a man, apparently upset with his wife's cleaning skills, hacked her to death. He saved her fingers and turned himself into the sheriff the next day. The fingers and the rope used to hang him are on display at the Wood County Historical Center and Museum.
Willis said he often uses the "Three Fingers of Formaldehyde for Mary Bach" story when talking to groups across Ohio.
"It's one of those things that brings the house down," he said.
Willis was at the Bowling Green elementary school on Monday, speaking to all the grades and eating lunch with a group of 12 students who had turned off the television for a week. They were among 50 students, out of the 480 at Kenwood, who participated in National Turn Off the TV Week from April 20-26, said Tiffany Richter, PTO president. Their names were drawn randomly to eat pizza with Willis and his wife, Stephanie, who live in Columbus with a parrot and three cats.
The lunch conversation revolved around the critters, Cedar Point and what the children were reading.
Rosa said she loved to read books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and Meg Cabot.
Third-grader Gabe Sayer said he enjoyed spending more time with his parents, two brothers and sister the week the TV went dark.
"I got to play outside a lot. Sometimes I want to play board games with my siblings and they watch TV, but we played more," said Gabe, who is 9.
Willis said "Weird Ohio's" popularity among children shows that sometimes it's not important what they're reading, just that they are picking up a book.
"It's kind of a cliché, but it's incredibly touching to me to see something I've written have an impact on a child," he said.
History doesn't have to be boring. For example, Willis said a teacher's lesson about President Abraham Lincoln may draw some groans from the class.
"But if you start throwing it around that he was on a funeral train and people tried to steal his body É That's the kind of thing that will get kids and adults running to the Lincoln section of the library."
Books like his and others about world records and strange things get kids' attention.
"They're short stores and they're weird enough where it will get them to read," Willis said. "There's a whole weird world out there. You just have to look out around the corner."

Author James Willis with Kenwood Elementary students. 5/11/09 (Photos: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)

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6 comments:

Koala Green said...

Ok, I thought you were going to give out props on this one! Like whose great idea it was to have the whole week of no TV and who is the greatest neighbor ever. I am just not feeling the love on this one.

Lynn from For Love or Funny said...

Dang! I'm bummed that Gabe was blocked by that author's head...but all of us aspiring writers can acknowledge that writing makes your brain huge.

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

Just left you an award at my blog - love yours!

Janet said...

Yay Gabe! I'm glad you all survived. ;)

The Cookie Girl said...

Hiya Kirsty!
Just stopping by from SITS to say hello. You were ahead of me on the blogroll.
Have a great weekend

Aunty Shona said...

Good for you Gabey Baby and Benj and Gracie too !

I also get so much more done (and more sleep) when the TV is off !