Meet the Author Author Online Go to thinkcentral.com . KEYWORD: HML7-375 Aut o Onlin Go to thi KEYWOR 375 Cynthia Rylant born 1954 Humble Beginnings Award-winning author Cynthia Rylant grew up in the mountains of West Virginia. Rylant lived with her grandparents for four years while her mother was in nursing school. Her grandfather was a coal miner, and the family lived in a small house with no plumbing. When Rylant’s mother nished school, she found an apartment for herself and her daughter. Rylant says she “felt rich” living there because the building had running water and an indoor bathroom. background to the story Inspiration In Kent, Ohio, where Cynthia Rylant once lived, a man sometimes brought owers to the waitresses at a little diner. He was Rylant’s inspiration for one of the main characters in “A Crush.” Next to the diner was a hardware store. “That’s where my imagination found Dolores,” said Rylant, referring to another character in the story. Rylant says she enjoys taking “people who don’t get any attention in the world and making them really valuable in my ction—making them absolutely shine with their beauty!” text analysis: theme and character Paying attention to what characters say, do, think, and feel can help you identify a story’s theme, or message about life. The following questions can guide you: • What important statements are made by the characters or about the characters? • What lessons do the characters learn? • Do any characters change over the course of the story? If so, how do they change? As you read “A Crush,” keep these questions in mind to help you determine the story’s theme. reading skill: identify cause and effect Seeing how things are related can help you understand them. Events in a plot are often related to each other by cause and effect. Sometimes, an effect becomes the cause of another event, and so on until the end of the story. This is called a cause-and-effect chain. As you read “A Crush,” record events in a chain graphic organizer like the one shown. Effect/Cause Effect/Cause Cause Effect vocabulary in context The words in column A help tell Rylant’s story about giving. For each word, choose the word or phrase in column B that is related in meaning. Column A Column B 1. cherish a. overflow 2. usher b. tall tale 3. improbable c. Valentine card 4. excess d. escort 5. taut e. barely noticed 6. discreetly f. strong knot Complete the activities in your Reader/Writer Notebook.