Running Mates - by Libby James

This little book is available from Amazon and the author, ( and at Trimble Court Artisans Coop in Fort Collins and Rabbask Designs in Loveland, Colorado starting October 1, 2014. More locations available soon. Price: $8.50.

Running Mates Full Cover

Using Running Mates to create a writing lesson.

How does a story come to be? Here’s what the author of Running Mates says about the story:

I hope you enjoyed reading about Henry and his grandma. Perhaps you would like to know how the story came to be.

A few years ago, when I first got the idea for this story, I called it Gert Wonders and there was only one character. Her name was Gert and one day she began to wonder what it would be like to run a marathon. My grandma’s name was Gert.

All her life Gert had been wondering about all sorts of things and usually her wonderings got her into quite a lot of trouble. The story told about how hard it was for her to start running and build up to the point where she could run for more than 26 miles.

I worked hard to make her funny and interesting to kids. But guess what. When I first wrote the story, there were no kids in it! When I realized this, I started over.

I kept Gert, the lady who wondered about things, but I added Henry. I decided to have Henry tell the story. The person who tells the story is the narrator.

Because Henry was 13, I had to make him talk like a young teen. That wasn’t too hard because I had a grandson who was 13. I thought about what is important to kids that age, what they like to eat and wear, how much they like to sleep, how important their friends are and how a relative can make them feel uncomfortable.

Every story starts with a problem. What was Henry’s problem?

What was Gert’s problem?

As the story goes along, the characters need to grow and change.

How did Henry change?

How did Gert change?

In what ways are Gert and Henry alike?

In what ways are they different?

After you finished reading chapter one, what did you think might happen? Were you right? What else could have happened?