April has a master's degree in psychology and has experience teaching special populations from preschoolers to adults.
When you write a story, you probably write about things you are familiar with, like your favorite sport or what you did over the summer. This makes stories interesting because you can put your own feelings and thoughts into them.
Mark Twain also wrote about his experiences, but instead of using himself as the subject of his books, he created characters that were like him and people he knew. His books for children have been popular for over 100 years. Maybe you have heard of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer--they are two young boys Mark Twain created.
His Early Years
When Mark Twain was young, he wasn't called Mark Twain. That's what he called himself after he became a writer. His parents named him Samuel Langhorne Clemens, and he was born in a town called Florida, Missouri on November 30, 1835. When he was four years old, his family moved to a town next to the Mississippi River called Hannibal, Missouri.
Hannibal is where Sam got a lot of ideas for the characters, settings, and themes he later wrote about. He listened to stories told by slaves working on his uncle's property, worked for a newspaper printer when he was only 11, and had boyhood adventures in a small town near a big river.
A Writer with Many Jobs
When Sam was 17, he left Hannibal and soon realized he was a good writer. He wrote newspaper articles, short stories, and books on many topics for adults. People enjoyed his writings because he made them laugh and also made them really think about important topics like government and poverty.
Sam returned to Hannibal for a few years to be a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River. He was also a soldier, miner, reporter, and even secretary to a Senator. He also traveled to many states and countries. All the while, Sam kept writing about his experiences.
A Father and Author
At age 35, Sam married Olivia Langdon in 1870, and over time they had four children. While a father, Sam wrote his famous children's stories as Mark Twain. In fact, he read each chapter to his wife and children as he completed them. Maybe you too would like to read these books! Here they are:
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) -- Tom Sawyer likes to do things that get him in trouble. His best friend is Huckleberry Finn, and he likes a girl named Becky Thatcher. Some of their adventures are fun and some scary, like those involving Injun Joe.
The Prince and the Pauper (1882) -- A rich prince and a poor boy switch lives for awhile. Each learns the good and bad things about having too much and not having enough.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) -- Huck and his friend Jim, a slave escaping the South, travel by raft along the Mississippi River. They have lots of funny and sometimes dangerous adventures.
Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894) -- Tom joins Huck and Jim on their adventures, but this time in a hot air balloon to Africa. They meet lions and robbers and see famous places like the great pyramids in Egypt.
Tom Sawyer Detective (1896) -- Now Tom has become somewhat of a detective with Huck. Most of this story takes place at Huck's Uncle Silas' home as the boys try to solve mysteries involving the family.
Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens and grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, where he got a lot of inspiration for the children's stories he wrote. He had many different experiences like being a riverboat pilot, soldier, and world traveler. Most of his famous children's books are about the characters Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.
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