A Tennessee native who began his professional life as an eighth grade English teacher, Gratz is visiting ASIJ to work with all grade levels in the Middle School, with a focus on seventh grade language arts and social studies. Introducing students to the writing process — researching, outlining, plot and character development, critiquing, and revision — Gratz is guiding them toward producing a short story anthology of historical fiction. With sixth graders, he’s working on short story writing, and with eighth graders, on writing one-act plays.
On the last day of Gratz’s stay, the Middle School student body will gather in the Ricketson Theater for a “writing celebration,” a multimedia presentation featuring highlights of his time at ASIJ.
Samurai Shortstop was named one of the American Library Association’s 2007 Top Ten Books for Young Adults. His second novel, Something Rotten, was a 2008 ALA Quick Pick for Young Adult Readers. Gratz has two other novels currently on bookstore shelves — Something Wicked (2008) and The Brooklyn Nine (2009), with three more under contract. Gratz has also written plays, magazine articles, and, occasionally, for TV.
Alan Gratz’s work at ASIJ was funded through the generosity of the 2008–09 Annual Fund and the Chofu PTA. The next Scholar-in-Residence, Dr. Robin Bradbeer of the City University of Hong Kong, will mentor robotics students in the fall of 2010.
— MATT WILCE