Tag Archives: Winter

JUST LOVED READING: Tru and Nelle: A Christmas Tale

JUST LOVED READING: Tru and Nelle: A Christmas Tale

Tru and Nelle: A Christmas Tale

by G. Neri 

Middle Grade/Fiction


Neri, G. Tru and Nelle: A Christmas Tale. New York: HMH Books for Young Readers, 2017.

Tru moved away from his mother’s cousins home in Monroeville, Alabama. He thought living in New York with his mother and step-father would be fun but after a stint in a military academy, Tru runs away.

He hops on a train with other hobos and heads back to Monroeville. He becomes friends again with Nelle who lives next door to his cousins. It’s the Christmas season but events happen which dampen everyone’s spirits: the house the cousins live in burns down and they move in with Tru’s aunt and uncle on their farm outside Monroeville.

Nelle’s father takes on a case of two black men accused of robbing a store and killing its owner. Nelle blames herself for arrest. Reminiscent of the case in To KIll A Mockingbird, this case doesn’t end happily, either.  The story does reaffirm the better side of the human spirit when Tru and his family and Nelle and her father celebrate Christmas with the accused in the local jail.


In a surprising twist, Tru’s cousin, Sook, invites a member of the KKK to the celebration. Only his son, the local bully, shows up and demonstrates how beautifully he plays piano.  It doesn’t turn everyone into good friends but the incident highlights how complex race relations were during the Jim Crow era in the South.

Tru and Nelle: A Christmas Tale is the continuing narrative of the friendship between Truman Capote and Harper Lee which continued into adulthood (until Truman Capote became jealous of Harper Lee’s literary success).

Monroeville, Alabama was founded in 1815 on lands ceded by local Native americans. It was later formally incorporated in 1899 and named after President James Monroe. Monroeville is the seat of  Monroe County, Alabama. In 1997, the Alabama legislature designated Monroeville as the “Literary Capital of Alabama.”




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Our Imaginations! Paper Cut-outs: Winter/The Four Seasons Mural

Our Imaginations! Paper Cut-outs: Winter/The Four Seasons Mural
Four Seasons Paper Cut-out/Winter

Winter Panel Four Seasons Paper Cut-out Mural


Papers Scissors

Tracing paper

Glue Stick

  1. Research the paper cutouts of Henri Matisse which are a mix of symbolic and abstract shapes. “I have attained a form, filtered to the essentials,” Matisse once said and this sums up his philosophy as an artist. Study the paper cutouts for color and form; www.henri-matisse.net/cut_outs.html.
  2. There will be four panels or sections for the Four Seasons Mural. The first section will be winter. Plan the design for the season. The sample shown features barren trees. There are other symbols for winter: ice sickles, snowballs, snowflakes, snow-capped mountain peaks, mittens, scarves, knitted caps, etc. Sketch your design on tracing paper.
  3. The sample features three colors that evoke winter: black, silver and white. Other colors that evoke winter include shades of gray and cool shades of blue but mittens and other winter clothing come in a variety of colors. Limit the palette to three colors.
  4. Decide the size of the paper cutout. The sample shown is 4” x 6.” Cut the background paper to the size you want for the paper cutout. The sample shows black as the background color. Silver and white are the color choices for the trees.
  5. Sketch the design on tracing paper. Decide the colors for each part of the design. Blacken the back of the design and flip it over on to the papers you will use. Trace the outline of the shapes.
  6. Use embroidery scissors to cut out the shapes. Embroidery scissors enable you to cut inside larger shapes.
  7. Glue the shapes down and you have the first section of the Four Seasons Mural. Winter is here!


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