Monday, May 26, 2014

Marr and Armstrong Share Love of Norse Mythology

That's me holding the Viking shield with Marr on the left and Armstrong on the right
On Monday, May 19th, we were treated to a visit by authors, Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong. They are friends and co-authors of the series, Blackwell Pages, which is a trilogy telling a fast-paced adventure story about some kids who are descendants of the Norse gods. The story explains how these descendants of Thor and Loki join together to find a way to save the world from destruction during Ragnarok. The authors spoke to the entire sixth grade and seventh grade classes in two presentations. That made it easy for me because I could take lots of pictures during the first presentation, and then concentrate on what they were saying the second time around. I am not always the best multi-tasker.

Seventh graders listen intently
Both authors have many books for older teens, but this series is designed for the middle grades. The impetus of these books was threefold. First was their own children--their sons wanted them to write books with great adventures that have a connection to mythology. The two authors have been friends for a long time and wanted a chance to work together. Thirdly, both of these women love monsters. So they put their brains together to come up with a story that would appeal to boys, have lots of action and would play on their interest in Scandinavian folklore.

Kelley explains how monsters were created from found bones
During the presentation they mixed it by alternating between the two of them. They spoke about the series and the various inspiration for certain story elements. Like the fact that after the first book was complete, their sons said the story needed more goats. It seems that Thor had two immortal goats that pulled his cart. Each evening, he would feast on the goats, and each morning they would regenerate to be ready to pull his cart. The authors added more than two goats to their story, and their sons were satisfied. 

Logan lover of Norse mythology is hiding beneath the helmet
Armstrong and Marr also spoke about Norse mythology and Viking lore. Do you see the boy in the helmet in the picture above? Vikings never had horns on their helmets. They looked much like what you see above made of leather or metal. Also, the shield that you see above was commissioned by the authors to be made in the style of a true Viking shield. This particular one is child-sized. Marr said that the adult-sized one that they also had commissioned is almost too heavy for her to even lift. The metal plate that you see in the center can be used for either offense or defense. Check out the pictures below where Marr spars with several students to show just how the shield could be used in battle. 

See how the shield protects your mid-section and organs

The shield could be used to break the arm of your enemy

That shield is pretty cool

The size of the shield helps to protect your body

Showing how the shield can be a weapon


Defending oneself from stabbing

It may have been the beginning of the last week of the school year, but we all had a great time listening to Armstrong and Marr weave their tales. Many students decided to buy not only the first book in the series but the second one as well. I have read the first one, and a copy of the second is sitting on my nightstand. They are going to make great summer reads. I want to thank Little Brown, publishers, and Judith and Tom from Octavia Books for making this visit possible. I am always awed to have books that I recommend to students come to life by the authors who write them. You can see lots more pictures from this event on the PFTSTA library website

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