Or to be more precise, the value of $5.00.
That was the question I got today while chatting with the entire class of Ms. Emann's fourth graders who'd just finished THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY.
Literally finished the last sentence this morning. How cool is that.
And were their questions excellent!
When I explained how carefully copyeditors eye manuscripts, I used a financial transaction for my example.
Theo goes into the laundromat.
He stuffs two quarters into the machine.
The copyeditor thinks that's too much.
After all, it was the dark ages of 1974.
I polled my friends.
Most agreed that it should be a quarter.
But just in case, off I went to the county library, checking the Cost of Living index. And promptly changed the sentence to a quarter (p. 23).
While sharing this story today, a student raised his hand. I'd told them about a poetry prize from Captain Jerry's Kids Page in the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper when I was much younger than they are.
My prize was $5.00.
He asked what does that mean in today's dollars?
(Okay, I told you these kids were bright, right? And resourceful.)
I promised I'd look it up.
Though I don't really remember what exact year it was, I picked a decade.
$43.97 is quite a lot of money for a second-grader to win for a really terrible poem.
I challenged them to write a much better poem tonight.
It was fun chatting, kids at Kings Road School!
And a special thank you to my friend Sheila who invited me to my local, easy-to-find, nearby school -where she taught for a few happy years.
(And kudos to sharp copyeditors.)