The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy)

Author: Barbara Kerley Illustrator:Edwin Fotheringham
Genre: Biography


(description from book jacket)
According to Susy, people were just plain wrong about her papa. The thought they knew Mark Twain--after all, he was a world-famous author. Thousands of people had read his books and attended his lectures. Some of them even considered themselves Mark Twain experts. But they didn't really know him.

Who was the REAL Mark Twain?
Mark Twain AKA (also known as) Samuel Clemens
Credit: A.F. Bradley, New York, copyright, Mark Twain, three-quarter length portrait, seated,
facing slightly right, with cigar in hand 1907. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens was the REAL Mark Twain. He was best known for his career as a writer and humorist, but he held many different types of jobs throughout his lifetime including piloting a steamboat on the Mississippi River.Once when he finished writing a funny story about traveling, he decided to sign his name as "Mark Twain"
According to "This name comes from something shouted by crewmen on a boat. To test the depth of the water, a crewman shouts "mark twain!" The crewman is calling for two fathoms, or a depth of 12 feet, which is barely enough for a boat to navigate safely. "Twain" is an old-fashioned way of saying "two" and a fathom is six feet."

Mark Twain was the Pen name of Samuel Clemens.

What is a Pen Name?

A pen name is a fictitious, or made up name, that an author uses when writing. Many authors use pen names for many different reasons. A long time ago, it was not considered proper for a lady to publish stories, many lady authors published their stories under what appeared to be a man's name. George Elliot (AKA Mary Anne Evans) is one example. Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women wrote under two known pen names: "Flora Fairfield" and "A. M. Barnard" for her more thrilling and terrifying tales. Other authors want to avoid political pressure and censorship. In the 1950's, several Hollywood screenwriters used pen names after being "blacklisted" (the "do not hire them" list) during Senator Joe McCarthy's anti-communist Congressional hearings. Some people just like to use them for fun as in the case of Lemony Snicket.

Other words that mean the same as a pen name are: Nom de plume, Nom de guerre, alias, moniker or pseudonym.

See if you can match up the pen name with the real author of these children's books.

Pen Name
Real Name
Lewis Carroll
Theodore Geisel
Lemony Snicket
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson
Dr. Seuss
Daniel Handler

bluebonnet_clipart.gif Bluebonnet Book Club Activities:

Create your own Pen Name Activity

TWAIN QUOTES-collect your favorite quotes in a small booklet and share them with friends.

"Always obey your parents, when they are present. Most parents think they know more than you do; and you can generally make more by humoring that superstition than you can by acting on your own better judgement."
- Mark Twain/ Advice to Youth, April 15, 1882

Mark Twain was a humorist, an entertainer who used words to amuse people. He joked about the kinds of things most people were interested in. He was often quoted. This means that people liked to repeat the funny things that Mark Twain said.Click here to read some Mark Twain Quotes. and More Mark Twain Quotes.

What is a BIOGRAPHY?

Write Your Own Extraordinary Biography
Step One: Click on the link below and read the article entitled:
//Writing an Extraordinary Biography (According to Barbara Kerley).

Step Two: Now that you have decided who you will write about, organize your thoughts with this:
Time for Kids Biography Organizer:

ani_haha.gif "Remember to carefully check your facts and document your resources. Keep a list of websites, books, or magazines that you have read and what information you took from them. Always give credit where credit is due."

Write Your Own Extraordinary Autobiography
Write about the person you know best-Yourself! This is what an autobiography is-the story of your life, written by yourself. Many great books have been autobiographies. Scholastic has a very good "Write Your Autobiography" lesson plan for grades 9-12 but it can be easily adapted for elementary grades.


Thank you for the resources!
Barbara Kerley
Edwin Fotheringham
Mark A. Hicks-Discovery Education
Time for Kids
Kim's Korner
pen name. (n.d.). Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition. Retrieved July 19, 2011, from website: name