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The Soloist By Steve Lopez - The Peay Read

Creative Response Guide

The Peay Read is intended to help you open your mind to new ideas and to think critically about issues that face our society.  Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference by Warren St. John was selected for the Fall 2014 Peay Read because it presents rich themes for the reader’s consideration.

Thematic Topics in Outcasts United:

Building Camaraderie around Common Interests: Sports, Art & Music
Different but Same
Building Character through Adversity
Overcoming Barriers through Sports
Clash of the Cultures
Ethics and Philosophy
Choices and Consequences
Life's Chilling Truths
Violation of Human Rights
Discipline and Success
Social, Economic, and Political Aspects
Cultural Experiences and Connection to Identity
Personal Perception of Individuals over Time
Overcoming Poverty to Achieve Education
Family and Community
What Constitutes Family?
Expectations and Influence of Family
What's in a Name?
Role of Mentors

While this list of topics is not an exhaustive list, we would like you to keep these topics in mind as you are reading the book and to then explore them further by developing one of them into a creative response to the book. Your response can take the form of a poem, essay, screenplay, sculpture, video, choreography, photography, musical composition, painting, drawing, or anything else you come up with! We want to see what your mind can create.


  1. Your creative response should be in a format that is compatible with Microsoft (.doc, .docx, .ppt, .pptx).  If you complete a piece of art or a visual project, please upload a digital image of the work in an easily viewable format (.jpg, ppt.).  Videos should be uploaded to YouTube, and the link should be submitted.  Any work that is submitted as a video must be limited to three minutes.
  2. ALL projects must be accompanied by a brief written description (no more than 100 words) explaining what the project is, why you created it, which theme(s) or topic (s) it relates to, and how it connects to a specific passage or passages in the book.
  3. An essay project should be no more than two double-spaced pages in 12-point Times font submitted in the format (MLA or APS, for example) the APSU 1000 instructor specifies.
  4. It is imperative that you cite the sources for your creative response properly. You must complete the Plagiarism: Making the Right Choices tutorial (watch the video and take the quiz) via your APSU 1000 course D2L shell prior to submitting your project.  Your APSU 1000 instructor will give you more information about this tutorial in your class.

Grading Criteria:

All projects will be reviewed by your APSU 1000 Instructor as well as the APSU 1000 judges. These criteria are what they will be assessing in your projects:

  • Evidence of original thought and rigorous approach to interpreting the book
  • Evidence of a clear relationship to the themes listed above
  • Evidence of clear connections to the book
  • Evidence of critical and/or creative analysis
  • Evidence of quality (You can see examples of last year’s top projects here.)
  • Evidence of proper citation of sources
  • Evidence of distinctive quality

Adapted from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s Life of the Mind Consortium.