There is a lot of lore in my family about how terribly inept I was growing up on an orchard. Mostly, I was better at destroying trees than nurturing them (my sister will happily recount an incident between me and a certain apricot tree).
Yet, I finally found the one tree that I can actually cultivate: A Character Family Tree.
See, I am always looking for new ways to get my students to think about characters and how to build personal histories for them. Finally, I think I have an activity that will help my students—in a fun and illustrative way.
In truth, this idea comes from one of my teaching partners, Kallie George, but since I did a lot of the grunt work on preparing the workshop package, I’m going to take my share of the credit.
I designed the tree template, and then to test it out I ended up filling in Kendra Kandlestar’s family history. Most of this history has rattled around in my coconut for years, but I have never actually transcribed it on paper before (at least not in this way). So, here’s a look at Kendra’s family tree:
It’s a fitting exercise as I work on Kendra Kandlestar IV, because in this book I’m really exploring Kendra’s family history. A few weeks ago, I posted a sketch of Uncle Griffinskitch in his younger days. I liked that idea so much, that I’ve inked a final version of the drawing and am going to try and find a way to work that into this latest book.
Poor Uncle Griffinskitch. He sure became hunched in his old age. And if you thought he was grumpy NOW, you should have seen him back in those days. EEK!
By the way, Kallie and I decided that we should also do a family tree for a villain. I haven’t gone to the lengths of filling out one for my own villainous character, but maybe I will in the weeks ahead. What do you think? Who would have the most interesting family tree? Burdock Brown? Pugglemud? Rumor the Red Dragon? I’m thinking it’s probably Agent Lurk (but then again, I know something that YOU do not).