Where Are They Now? Kristianne Hassman—Student and Author

Jun 14, 2019 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


We love to hear from our customers. One of them recently contacted us to share her daughter’s success using IEW materials. Her daughter, Kristianne, had been working through Student Intensive Continuation Course Level C* and had finished a lesson that impressed her mother so much, she wanted to share it with us. The assignment was a rather fun one—imitate an author’s style. Kristianne submitted her assignment, a retelling of the fable “The Tortoise and the Hare,” imitating the style of Clement Clarke Moore, who penned the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” Impressed by Kristianne’s retelling as well, we reached out to her to learn more about her. Among other things, we learned that she has published a book. We hope you enjoy learning more about her. At the end of the interview, we also share her poem. We think you’ll agree that it’s quite catchy!


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’ve grown up on the mission field since I was just a few years old and have been homeschooled since kindergarten. I’ve lived in Quebec, Benin, Cameroon, and South Africa and am the oldest of five—four girls and a boy.

Right now, I live in Johannesburg, South Africa. I just finished 10th grade. When I’m not doing school, I practice violin and piano, do housework, and help with the ministry at our church, doing things such as teaching and playing the piano.


How old were you (or grade) when you used IEW? What IEW courses did you take?

After completing Student Writing Intensive Level C, I took the Student Intensive Level C Continuation Course* and The Elegant Essay courses over 9th and 10th grades.


What was your favorite part of IEW?

My favorite part of IEW was learning to write many different types of pieces, like a letter to the editor, a story in a certain author’s style, and a college application essay. I enjoyed trying my hand at those different types of writing.


Did you notice that IEW helped you in school?

IEW has definitely helped me in school. Mr. Pudewa really simplified the essay model for me and helped me to understand its structure a lot better. I find writing essays much easier and quicker than I did two years ago. Learning to vary sentence patterns and openers has also been beneficial to me as it has helped my writing to be much more vibrant and interesting.


Do you have any plans for the future where writing and communicating will be needed? If yes, how?

I would like to study English or creative writing in college with the goal of becoming an accomplished author. Also, besides writing books, I would like to work for a Christian magazine or website.


What one piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Get down to the basics. This can be applied not just to writing, but to other areas as well, such as math and theology. Everything can be condensed down to a basic model, outline, or concept, and once you understand that foundation, it makes it that much easier to understand that field as a whole as well as concepts and ideas that branch off from the basics.


What is your book titled? What is it about, and who is your target audience?

My book is titled Let the Children Come to Me, and it is the first volume of a series entitled When Jesus Walked the Earth. It is a collection of five fictional short stories (actually, four short stories and one which is more like a novella) about children who lived during Jesus’ time on earth and met Him. Each story has its own important theme, but the entire book is written to show children that they matter to God and that even at their young ages, they can do important things for God. My target audience is 8–12 years.


What motivated you to write it?

I’ve enjoyed writing stories since I was probably six or seven and have always wanted to eventually publish a book. Last year after my aunt self-published a book on Amazon through KDP, she offered to help me self-publish a book, and I jumped at the chance. Specifically, I decided to write stories about children in Jesus’ time because I want younger kids to realize that Bible characters were real, flawed people a lot like them. Ultimately, I want to help them learn to love God’s Word and see it as a relevant message for them from a personal, loving God. My love for biblical fiction started at an early age, and I want to encourage that in other young readers. I also want my young readers to realize that they can start serving God at a young age—that they don't have to wait until they are grown up to serve God.


What process did you use to frame your book? Did you outline it before you wrote it, or did you start with a basic idea and develop it from there?

Since my book is a collection of short stories, the planning process wasn’t quite as involved as it would be if I had written a novel. I chose five different interesting or less-well known incidents in Jesus’ life where children were (or may have been) present. I also wanted to introduce my readers to as many different and interesting aspects of the Palestinian culture during Jesus’ time—like different occupations, lifestyles, and settings. I don’t really do the typical outline format with Roman numerals and numbers when I’m planning my stories. I prefer to type some notes on a Word document and work from there. But once I had planned the characters, events, and themes, it was fairly easy to write a story from those notes. Also, some of the stories I included I had already written, so I just rewrote them, still working with the basic plot and characters.


How did you juggle your school work along with your writing? Do you take a break from your other lessons to focus on the writing or do both at the same time?

I started writing during the end of our summer break (which is actually winter for us!) last year and then continued into the school year, writing on the weekends or after I was done school for the day. I most often wrote on Sunday afternoons when I had a few hours to myself.


*The Student Writing Intensive series was discontinued in November 2019 and replaced by the Structure and Style for Students program


Many thanks goes to Kristianne for sharing about her life and her book. We wish her well as she continues her education and begins working on the second book in her series. It sounds like she is off to a great start! Her poem follows below:

                                         The Hare and the Tortoise
                                               Kristianne Hassman

                                                    ‘Twas a clear summer morning when all through the forest,
                                                    The creatures all gathered beneath the black locusts
                                                    To watch as the Tortoise and Hare took a stroll
                                                    Down Blueberry Meadow and up Grassy Knoll.
                                                    The Hare flexed his muscles and turned to his foe,
                                                    And sneered with contempt at his gait oh so slow.
                                                    “I’ll beat you,” he bragged, “and I’ll leave you behind
                                                    So far you’ll take days to catch up, you might find.
                                                    “You cannot keep up with such fast legs as mine,
                                                    You’re soon to be proven the slowest Testudine.”
                                                    Then like the gnat as he flew from the lion,
                                                    The Hare sped away with proud condescension.
                                                    The Tortoise, a meek soul of hardly great fame,
                                                    Was a little crestfallen at Hare’s boastful claim.
                                                    He plodded along to the starting point there
                                                    And took up his place beside swaggering Hare.
                                                    The old owl, Greyfeather, lifted his wing,
                                                    The mood was tense, as taut as a sling.
                                                    The Hare and the Tortoise bent low to a crawl,
                                                    Then the cry “dash away, dash away! Dash away all!”
                                                    Away bound the Hare, his long legs sped by
                                                    The poor little Tortoise so quiet and shy.
                                                    He bounded o’er hill and he bounded o’er river,
                                                    Never e’er doubting that he would be victor.
                                                    Near halfway through the very long race,
                                                    The Hare took a break from his very fast pace—
                                                    Decided to snooze just a bit until noon,
                                                    ‘Til the Tortoise should happen to come along soon.
                                                    Though rather disheartened as Hare disappeared,
                                                    The Tortoise trudged on like a stalwart pioneer.
                                                    The sun shone so brightly, the breeze blew quite gently.
                                                    The morning gave way to noon consequently.
                                                    When suddenly what should the Tortoise discover
                                                    But Hare fast asleep beneath waves of green clover.
                                                    The Tortoise brightened, his timidness gone,
                                                    And picked up his pace as the Hare slumbered on.
                                                    The animals cheered and urged on the Tortoise
                                                    As steadily closer he came through the forest.
                                                    “On, Tortoise,” they cried, “we know you can win.
                                                    We know you can make it, our friend Terrapin.”
                                                    The Hare soon awoke and saw with dismay,
                                                    Tortoise’s prints in some wet, miry clay.
                                                    He realized he’d better get going right soon
                                                    If he wanted to make it before late afternoon.
                                                    Just as he rounded the very last bend,
                                                    He saw the Tortoise at the race’s end.
                                                    The animals crowned him the race’s victor
                                                    And Hare was crushed by defeat, to be sure.
                                                    Greyfeather stepped to where Hare stood alone,
                                                    And putting a hand on his shoulder he softly intoned,
                                                    “Pride never leads somewhere good, my friend.
                                                    ‘Twas your pride that led to your unfortunate end.
                                                    “Take a lesson from your mistake today,
                                                    For ‘tis best to learn from life that way.
                                                    Though you may think that you’re better than all,
                                                    Be sure that your pride will be your certain downfall.”

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