Sara teaching writing at The American School in Japan

RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS, COUNSELORS & BOOK CLUBS: English Teachers, American History Teachers, School Counselors & Book Clubs

Born Under an Assumed Name: Resources for School Counselors

January 7, 2012


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS for
SCHOOL COUNSELORS and COUNSELING GROUPS

Think about Sara’s friendships with Lucy and with Candy in Holland. What do you think about them? Why was she drawn to each?

Read the passage about Lizzy in the chapter “My Father’s Bath.” Why was Sara so comfortable with Lizzy? What makes a comfortable friend?

When Sara first sees the girls on the playground in Holland, she thinks “belonging in this school seems like it will involve human sacrifice.” Why might she feel that way? Have you ever felt that way? How did she cope with her feeling that she had to sacrifice part of herself in order to belong? How might she have coped better? (more…)

Born Under an Assumed Name: Resources for Book Clubs

January 7, 2012


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
for
BOOK CLUBS, MOTHER-DAUGHTER GROUPS, GIRLS’ FRIENDSHIP CLUBS

Think about Sara’s friendships with Lucy and with Candy in Holland. What do you think about them? Why was she drawn to each?

Read the passage about Lizzy in the chapter “My Father’s Bath.” Why was Sara so comfortable with Lizzy? What makes a comfortable friend?

When Sara first sees the girls on the playground in Holland, she thinks “belonging in this school seems like it will involve human sacrifice.” Why might she feel that way? Have you ever felt that way? How did she cope with her feeling that she had to sacrifice part of herself in order to belong? How might she have coped better? (more…)

Born Under an Assumed Name: Resources for English Teachers and College Counselors

January 7, 2012


PERSONAL ESSAY QUESTIONS
for class discussion or writing

Write about a friend like Lucy and about a friend like Candy. Write a scene in which you are interacting with each. Try to bring out the character of those relationships through the dialogue.

Read the passage about Lizzy in the chapter “My Father’s Bath.” Write about a friend you were really comfortable with.

Recall the incident with the eggs, or Sara’s experience at the skating rink in the chapter “Dutchies.” Have you ever felt threatened by other kids? Write about it.

Think about all of Sara’s difficult social encounters. Write about your most socially miserable or embarrassing moment. (more…)

Born Under an Assumed Name: Resources for English Teachers

January 7, 2012


WRITING CRAFT QUESTIONS
for class discussion or writing

What is this story about? What was the author’s intention?

What is the basic structure of Born Under an Assumed Name? Why do you think the author chose this structure? What other choices might she have made?

What are the pivotal moments in Taber’s story? How does she highlight them?

What does Taber show in scenes? Why are the scenes, scenes?

How does Taber SHOW and TELL? (more…)

Born Under an Assumed Name: Resources for American History Teachers

January 7, 2012


QUESTIONS ABOUT THE COLD WAR AND ESPIONAGE
for class discussion or writing

What do you make of the skating rink scene in the Holland?

What did being an American mean during the Cold War, according to the young Sara?

What do you think of Sara’s view of what it means to be an American? How did her views change over time, and why?

What were Sara’s views of people in other countries, and how did this change over time? (more…)

Teacher Resources: Podcast on Memoir Writing

November 9, 2011


Please find below an podcast of a lecture on memoir writing I delivered to the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program.

Sara


Selected Works

Memoir
A story of growing up in the world of espionage
"A poignant chronicle of the diaspora of the heart--and the heart's quest and longing for that universal place called home." Wall Street Journal
Opinion/Cultural Commentary
In Britain or France my aging mother would have gotten better health care.
Travel
An exploration of Argentina’s past tyrannies, and my own
Literary Journalism
"...One of the most compelling, knowledgeable, and graceful books about the French soul that has ever been written by an American." -Richard Goodman, author of French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France
"The stories remain...etched in the reader's mind, etched as if by the harsh wind of Patagonia itself. Extraordinarily fine writing." -St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Essay
"An eloquent essay." -New York Times