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Year of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

MFA: Children's Literature

Directing Professor

Claudia Mills


Introducing Nelson!

A voracious reader with few friends, Nelson loves dogs, hates sports, and dislikes school. In What Are the Chances? (MG novel), Nelson stands up to mean Miss Anita, plays poker with the principal, and plots against sports-loving Scott. Dreaming of Dad’s return, the last thing he needs is Mom’s goofy athletic boyfriend moving in. He got rid of Bad News Brad, but Scott is different. Smart. Persistent. Irrepressible. Like Nelson himself. As if things aren’t bad enough, it’s National Poetry Month. When weaponizing poetry fails to deter Scott, Nelson takes advice from sixteen-year-old twin brothers. As one hilarious plan after another bites the dust, will Nelson realize his mistake before it’s too late?

Hot on the heels of What Are the Chances?, comes “Until the Magic Beans Germinate, Stick to Your Story.” Exemplifying Stockholm Syndrome, this quasi-critical essay exposes a creative mind held hostage by the notorious ADD and shows the bond Noren develops with her captor. Tomfoolery her calling card, Noren discusses her Hollins journey, highlights her crusade to let mothers apply for asylum in the hallowed halls of Children’s Literature, and pays homage to numerous mentor texts.

Disclaimer to students with ADD who’re tempted to read further: Don’t waste your time! Take advice from Claudia Mills, who kept Noren on track with encouragement and mentor-love that, rare in the world-at-large, is abundant at HU. Claudia recommends Pete Seeger’s “Garden Song.” Instead of: “Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow,” sing: “Word by word, line by line, gonna make this novel grow.” Now just do it!


Approximately half of the novel (chapters 1-27) is included here.

Contact Information

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The purpose of preserving this thesis document is to provide a definitive record of student progress upon completion of the degree. This text will not reflect any revisions to the manuscript made after degree completion. For the most current version of the work, please contact its author.