Former South Putnam school teacher publishes second work

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

P.J. Farris grew up on a farm in rural Indiana and remembers playing sports until it got too dark to see the ball. It was this obsession to sports that led her to write a children's book revolving around a young boy who loves basketball.

The former reading teacher for South Putnam Elementary schools published her second book "Crossover Dribble" last November.

"Everyone played outdoors in freezing weather until their fingers were numb with cold. No one stopped playing until someone scored 21. If you got hurt, you took a deep breath, bit your lip--and played on," says Farris in her Web site biography.

Her book is realistic and engaging with believable characters. It is the story of Joe, who is determined to make the starting lineup of his school's basketball team. Joe encounters a tragedy that forces him to step up and help his family instead of attending a premier basketball camp.

In the course of working on his grandfather's farm with a hired hand that happens to the star of the high school basketball team, he learns a few lessons.

Included in the book are real drills to improve the reader's game.

P.J. Farris' passion for sports is obvious in her writing. In real life her breakfast is a bowl of cereal, juice and ESPN. She keeps up on the latest sports news.

Her family members are all sports fanatics. Her son Kurtis played T-ball, soccer, basketball, tennis, track and Tae Kwon Do. Her stepson Ron played football.

Her bio claims that even her dog, Ginger, is a top-notch tennis ball catcher.

Her favorite movie is "Hoosiers" and her favorite players are LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Kevin Garnett.

Farris was also named as a Distinguished Teacher Professor at Northern Illinois University (NIU), where she taught children's literature and reading courses. She currently splits her time between Illinois and Arizona.

Farris' book is ideal for teen and preteen boys. And the author offers a number of curricular ideas to enhance student understanding in reading, writing, math, science, agriculture in the classroom and physical education. Teacher links are available on her Web site

A portion of the proceeds from her new book "Crossover Dribble" goes to the NIU Scholarship Fund. The book is available from, Barnes and Noble and Borders.

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