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Bar News - June 6, 2008

Law Related Education: Author of Leapholes Visits NH Students

James Grippando signs copies of Leapholes.

The author with students from Belmont Middle School.

Timberlane students Zack Bishop and Kody Bonanno with Leapholes quilt.

James Grippando, author of Leapholes, the fantasy/suspense book which takes students on a trip through time to visit famous civil rights’ cases, visited the NH Bar Association on May 21 to meet with classes from the Belmont and Timberlane middle schools. The two schools had prepared special projects related to the book and shared them at the meeting, where Grippando spoke to them about how the book came into being.

An attorney, Grippando, who has written many mystery novels, told the students that Leapholes was his first children’s book. He decided to write it after his daughter Kaylee asked him, "Was Rosa Parks a real person?" Grippando assured her that she was. Kaylee said, "I want to meet her," but when her dad started to tell her more, she added mischievously, "No—I want to go back to 1955 and meet her."

Every case studied in Leapholes is a real case and the protagonists (named after Grippando’s daughter Kaylee and son Ryan, go back in time through "leapholes," and interact with characters from the past, such as Parks and Dred Scott. They live through some exciting and scary adventures with these characters and return to their own time with a greater understanding of significant events in US history and law.

The students’ projects reflected the lessons they had learned through their study of the book—and the fun they had while learning. Timberlane crafted a quilt showing events from Leapholes, which was accompanied by a scrapbook depicting their journey. Belmont created the Leapholes Restaurant, with menu, a newspaper and a video following their adventures.

Grippando signed copies of his book, (provided to each student through the program), chatted with students and answered questions. New Hampshire is leading the way with this Law Related Education (LRE) pilot project, geared to helping students achieve better reading, writing, research, and debating skills, while learning the value of the rule of law and the role of legal professionals in our society.

Information on NHBA’s Leapholes Program was reported in the ABA’s Division for Public Education Spring E-Newsletter LAWMATTERS and will be featured in the summer edition of the Bar Leader magazine.

Learn more about the NH Bar Association's Leapholes Pilot Project.

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