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Gary Schmidt



Gary Schmidt
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.55

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    hora, menorahs, mitzvah, unsurprisingly, diversity, teaching, historical, literature, passionate, outlook, helping, preacher, academic, fiction, chemotherapy, well-respected
     content words:    Gary Schmidt, Irish Catholic, Sin Eater, Lizzie Bright, Buckminster Boy, Newbery Honor Award, Wednesday Wars, Calvin College


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Gary Schmidt
By Brandi Waters
  

1     Diversity is when things are different. It makes us more interesting. It makes us more accepting. It makes us better. Just think how boring life would be if peanut butter were the only thing to eat. Would you want a group of friends that were all exactly like you? Of course not! Food is much more enjoyable when you have a variety of different things to eat. It is nice to have friends from different neighborhoods, from different cultures, and with different interests, too. They can expose us to new ideas, new foods, new games, and new people.
 
2     Gary Schmidt has always enjoyed diversity in his life. He grew up in a community with both Jewish and Irish Catholic families. Both faiths were very different from his own Baptist upbringing. He saw Christmas trees decorated with menorahs. He went to a Baptist summer camp. He danced the hora at his friend's bar mitzvah. Even though his friends had different beliefs, he enjoyed learning about and participating in their traditions.
 
3     As he grew up, he continued to celebrate diversity in his life. He had a lot of different interests and even had trouble deciding what he wanted to do for a living. He thought about being a lawyer. He thought about helping run a town. He also thought about being a soldier. He loved the idea of an exotic, adventurous job, especially one on a ship. In the end, though, Gary Schmidt decided to study English. After many years of schooling, he accepted a job as an English professor at a small college in Michigan. During his free time, he tried his hand at writing. The results, unsurprisingly, have been very diverse. He has written textbooks and picture books. He has written folk tales and historical fiction. He has written biographies and also stories of fantasy.

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