As part of its “In Character” series, the National Public Radio program “All Things Considered” has solicited listeners around the country for essays about the characters of the screen and page they find inspiring.
Here in Asheville a while back, Issac Dickson Elementary School literacy coach Mary Turner turned the essays into an assignment for her students. On Monday, “All Things Considered” spotlighted the Dickson students’ essays, and especially that of Mark Federman.
Four years ago, Federman was removed from his family situation in Haywood County and placed in foster care, and has since lived in several homes. In his “In Character” essay, Federman likens his own life to that of Squirrel, the stray dog who’s the lead character in the book “A Dog’s Life” by Ann Martin, which Federman received as a Christmas present from his foster mother, Cristina Skillin-Federman.
“We both have moved from house to house, family to family and life to life in hopes of [finding] a family,” Federman writes of his affinity for the stray dog protagonist. “Squirrel and I have been separated from our big brother and mom.”
In recent months, the 11-year-old’s life has taken a turn for the better. The Federmans adopted both Mark and his younger brother, and are now in the process of adopting his older brother.
Listen to Federman’s thoughts, as well as those of his fellow Dickson students, recorded at Asheville’s WCQS studios, by clicking here.
The Asheville Citizen-Times also commemorated the occasion with both a story and a photo gallery.
— by Kent Priestley, contributing editor