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Imagine being born into royalty, then finding yourself a slave in the hands of your enemy. Imagine marching across the snowy Alps, running from lions and wolves, and navigating subterranean reservoir. Imagine being orphaned by the war and enslaved by Odysseus himself, only to learn that even your captors are not the demons they were said to be, but people like yourself.

Through this historical fiction book club, young people learn that despite huge differences in time and culture, people are not all that different from each other, that we have more in common than those things that set up apart, and that respect and understanding can triumph over unforgiveness and hate, and lead to peace both without and within.

This historical fiction book club uses narratives that unfold in settings that realistically portray what life would have been like for young people thousands of year ago. The literature also matches the grade 7 social studies program and covers many of the requirements of grade 7 language arts.  

Classes will be held on Mondays at noon PST and run for 10 weeks from January 7 – March 11, 2019.  Classes will take place in Zoom on a weekly basis.  All session will be recorded and made available to participants.

Students will spend 3-4 weeks on each book and discussions will be in the form of literature circles with specific roles such as discussion director, vocabulary enricher, literary luminary, and homework checker assigned to each student. Roles will alternate on a weekly basis. The book club is based on grade 7 standards but is open to students from other grades as well.

A list of formative assessments will be provided ahead of time and reports will be provided at the end of the course.

  • The Cat of Bubastes – G.A.Henty

Get swept away in this action-packed thriller set in ancient Egypt. The Cat of Bubastes follows the fortunes of the beleaguered young prince Amuba. Enslaved after an enemy invasion of his country, Amuba’s fate is intertwined with that of a mystical cat-like creature. Will he ever find his freedom?

  • The Young Carthaginian – G. A. Henry

During the time  of the legend of Hannibal who crossed the Alps with his herd of elephants, a relative of Hannibal, a boy named Malchus, joins in Carthage’s march against Rome. Malchus has an unsullied energy that allows him to escape attacks from lions and wolves while employing the use of a raft to maneuver through Carthage’s subterranean reservoir. Even though Carthage is eventually defeated, the clashes are thrilling enough and the dilemmas vexing enough to gain a reader’s undivided attention.

  • Torn from Troy – Patrick Bowman

In this re-creation of Homer’s classic as a young adult novel, we see the aftermath of the Trojan War through the eyes of Alexi, a fifteen-year-old Trojan boy. Orphaned by the war and enslaved by Odysseus himself, Alexi has a very different view of the conquering heroes of legend. Despite a simmering anger towards his captors, Alexi gradually develops a grudging respect for them. As the Greeks fight off the angry Cicones, weather a storm that pushes them far beyond charted waters, and nearly succumb to the blandishments of the bewitching Lotus-eaters, he realizes that they are not the demons they were said to be, but people like himself.

Students will cover the following social studies curricular competencies in the book club:

  • Use Social Studies inquiry processes and skills to — ask questions; gather, interpret, and analyze ideas; and communicate findings and decisions
  • Assess the significance of people, places, events, or developments at particular times and places
  • Determine which causes most influenced particular decisions, actions, or events, and assess their short- and long-term consequences (cause and consequence)
  • Explain different perspectives on past or present people, places, issues, or events, and compare the values, worldviews, and beliefs of human cultures and societies in different times and places (perspective)
  • Make ethical judgments about past events, decisions, or actions, and assess the limitations of drawing direct lessons from the past (ethical judgment)

Students will cover the following language arts curricular competencies in the book club:

  • Apply appropriate strategies to comprehend written, oral, and visual texts, guide inquiry and extend thinking
  • Synthesize ideas from a variety of sources to build understanding
  • Recognize and appreciate how different features, forms, and genres of texts reflect different purposes, audiences, and messages
  • Think critically, creatively, and reflectively to explore ideas within, between, and beyond texts
  • Recognize and identify the role of personal, social, and cultural contexts, values, and perspectives in texts
  • Recognize how language constructs personal, social, and cultural identity
  • Construct meaningful personal connections between self, text, and world
  • Respond to text in personal, creative, and critical ways
  • Understand how literary elements, techniques, and devices enhance and shape meaning
  • Exchange ideas and viewpoints to build shared understanding and extend thinking
  • Use writing and design processes to plan, develop, and create engaging and meaningful literary and informational texts for a variety of purposes and audiences

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