The News & Record
South Boston News & Record
and Mecklenburg Sun
Home   •   News   •   Sports   •   Classifieds   •   Community   •   Health   •   Entertainment   •   Obituaries   •   Opinions   •   Weather
Advertising | Contact | Register
Advanced Search

HCSA says farewell to outgoing directors

VIR wells, broken lines and cow poo dominate agenda

Wilkerson leaving HCMS for job as Bluestone principal

Storm hits hard in southern part of county


HCHS athletic meetings set





Students meet a favorite author, up close

South Boston News
HUGE FANS —Rustburg author Mary R. Bailey (center, back) is surrounded by EGP students from Clays Mill, Meadville, Scottsburg, Sinai and Sydnor Jennings yesterday following their hour long discussion of her book "Zhan Zeely and The Time Prevaricators." (SOMcL photo) / September 30, 2010
Fifth grade EGP (Elementary Gifted Program) students on Wednesday afternoon bombarded author Mary R. Bailey with questions about her book they are reading in their class, “Zhan Zeely and The Time Prevaricators.”

Gathered at the second floor meeting room of the Mary Bethune Complex in Halifax, 26 fifth graders from Clays Mill, Meadville, Scottsburg, Sinai and Sydnor Jennings elementaries wanted to know if the main character in the book is ever going to get home.

“Who is your favorite character?” asked one student while another wanted to know if Bailey is writing a second book.

The 176 page book so captures the reader’s interest that it’s hard to put down, but EGP instructor Donna Elliott said she asked her students to only read so many pages prior to each discussion session to prevent anyone from giving away the book’s ending. The book tells the story of a girl celebrating her 12th birthday after a “boring” summer vacation with her best friend out of town.

“I wanted to write about a normal family,” Bailey told the students, “but you can see that this young girl was very upset with her parents for not telling her about her brothers.” Zhan discovers that she has brothers, whom she never remembered, the day before her friend arrives home from her summer trip. Her parents explain the boys have traveled back in time to find their grandfather with the aid of a special timepiece.

The young girl and her friend then set out on a bizarre journey through space and time as they try to find her brothers, her grandfather and her parents (who have suddenly disappeared). She hopes to rescue them from the Prevaricators — evil pursuers who will stop at nothing to possess all the special timepieces that would allow them to time travel and rewrite history.

It turns out that the boys had traveled back to 1775 to find their grandfather.

The book, said Elliott, has the wonderful effect of expanding students’ vocabularies and imparting lessons of history — helpful with SOL testing — since the tale touches on the famous ride of Paul Revere with the coming of British soldiers prior to the Revolutionary War.

The author is a secondary English teacher in Rustburg and the mother of two children. She shared with the young students her longing to write a book and spoke about all the time she spent researching the different time periods that figure into the story. Noting that she spent four weeks attending a writer’s project at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville prior to writing the book, she said she had done lengthy research on Paul Revere’s ride.

“One of your teachers said she thought Paul Revere was alone when he had made his famous ride to alert residents of the coming of the British, or Regulars,” as she termed them.

The students pushed for more answers about what might be coming in the second book, but Bailey’s response was simply “We’ll see.” The one clue she left with her young listeners was that one of the people in the book they were studying probably will not be one of their favorite people. “But you may find that you like her a lot better in the second book.”

Several students were quick to guess that the character might be the disagreeable Mrs. Pierce, who was Zhan’s neighbor in her Boston home.

In addition to the fifth graders who Bailey met at the Mary Bethune Complex yesterday, she also visited with fifth grade EGP students at both Cluster Springs and South Boston Elementary Schools earlier in the day.

Tell-a-Friend | Submit a Comment


Advertising Flyer

Find out how you can reach more customers by advertising with The News & Record and The Mecklenburg Sun -- in print and online.