Field 1

Karen Field
Dr. Franks
Children’s Literature
6 June 2009

Reading Log 1: Traditional Literature and Modern Fanta...
Field 2

2.   Title and Date of Publication: Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ear, 1992
3.   Genre: A West African Tale
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     attempted to find out the princesses’ secret was given an elixir that made his
     death-like. As Peter fo...
Field 4

     alone (21). As I read, I quickly made a connection to Harry Potter and his
     connection with Voldemort; ...
Field 5

7. Strategies:
A. This is a good read aloud, especially with the accompanying illustrations. You
   could read e...
Field 6

   Students can also discuss the risk Jonas and the Giver take to awaken their
   community to the impact of rel...
Field 7

    is about Equality and Liberty that make it impossible for them to continue
    following their old beliefs o...
Field 8

B. Although Despereaux’s father was responsible for his son’s banishment to the
   dungeon, Despereaux is able t...
Field 9

D. Students can create their own fantasy world, connecting back to strategy 1 where
   they demonstrate their un...
Field 10

     realize the actions have consequences, and we must like with the decisions that
     we make. Choices and ...
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Reading traditionalliterature


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Reading traditionalliterature

  1. 1. Field 1 Karen Field Dr. Franks Children’s Literature 6 June 2009 Reading Log 1: Traditional Literature and Modern Fantasy. 1. Author/Illustrator: Retold by Ai-Ling Louie; illustrated by Ed Young 2. Title: Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China, 1982 3. Genre: Folktale 4. Format: Picture Book 5. Award: None indicated 6: Summary: This folktale closely follows the traditional Cinderella story. A young, usually kind and attractive girl is left in the care of a evil stepmother and two stepsisters. Like the traditional Cinderella, Yeh-Shen has assistance from a supernatural being, attends a ball, and is chosen to marry the king. Unlike Cinderella, Yeh-Shen is Chinese, has a fish as a companion, who the evil stepmother kills, and is given golden slippers versus glass. Another usual feature, but true to Chinese culture is the small size of Yeh-Shen’s feet. Like the traditional Cinderella, the evil stepmother and stepsisters are not taken to the castle. In the end, they live in a cave and are eventually killed by flying stones. 7. Strategies: A. This is definitely a good book to use as a read aloud. However, because the fish and the evil mother and sisters are killed, perhaps it is better suited for an older audience. B. Since so many different cultures tell some version of the Cinderella story, using this book as a comparison to other such tellings would also be a good strategy. If I did this, I would choose some of the others that gave some additional insight into the culture and spend some time discussing why the changes occur in the different versions. C. As a high school teacher, I think that this version of the Cinderella story could be used to introduce a unit on Chinese culture. We currently do research of foot- binding, family relationships, and the role of women in Chinese culture before reading The Good Earth. This folktale is a nice way of hooking students and making a connection back to the stories they enjoyed so much as children. D. As a writing assignment, you could have any age group write a version of a folktale that describes a contemporary archetypical character. What would people who read this tale believe about the American culture in the 21st century. E. For an older audience, I would have them analyze stylistic differences in the different versions of the Cinderella story. I especially like the use of language in Perrault’s “Cinderella: or The Little Glass Slipper” (Norton, 217). They could also analyze and assert why the endings in the versions are different. One version has Cinderella forgiving her stepfamily, while the China version punishes their cruelty. What does this show about these cultures? 1. Author: Verna Aardema; illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon
  2. 2. Field 2 2. Title and Date of Publication: Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ear, 1992 3. Genre: A West African Tale 4. Format: Picture Book 5. Award: Winner of the Caldecott Award 6. Summary: This tale provides one explanation why mosquitoes are such buzzing pests. The tale begins with a mosquito telling an iguana about something that he saw the previous day. The iguana says that he will not believe what the mosquito has told him and then the iguana puts sticks in his ear to keep from hearing anything else that mosquito says. Everything that happens from this point on revolves around the mosquito first disturbing the iguana. Many critters in the forest are affected and ultimately the owl will not bellow for the sun to come up. As the story continues each critter faults the previous critter for causing the chaos that ensues. Finally, the fault is attributed to the mosquito and his punishment is to whine in people’s ears asking if they are angry at her! 7. Strategies: A. This is a good book for a younger audience to act out. Sometimes we don’t understand how our actions affect others and the impact it has on other people’s lives, even when our behavior is innocent. This is a direct correlation to John Donne’s philosophy message is “No Man is an Island.” This children’s book reinforces a universal message that everyone is affected by other’s actions. I could also tie in The Five People You Meet in Heaven to reinforce this message. B. There are many examples of these kinds of tales that students could use to choose from and explain to the class how a culture explains natural occurrences. C. This book employs a lot of repetition. It could be use as a means of getting younger student to recognize repeated phrases and sounds. This is a skill that high school audiences focus on. This book could reinforce to high school students that even picture books use D. Cause and Effect. Any grade level could use this tale to understand and write about cause and effect. E. You could compare this picture book to the Chinese Fable “How the Elephant Got His Trunk.” 1. Author: Marianna Mayer; Illustrated by K.Y. Craft 2. Title/Date of Publication: The Twelve Dancing Princesses/1989 3. Genre: Fairytale 4. Format: Picture Book 5. Award: 6. Summary: Each night, even though the king locks his 12 daughter away for the night, the next morning their slippers are worn. The king works to unravel the mystery behind what his daughters are doing in the wee hours of the night. A young man, a commoner, comes to work in the garden. Upon seeing the 12 princesses, he is quickly is smitten with Elise. Peter, the young gardener, finds a struggling plant and nurtures it. From this plant emerges a bud with golden leaves. When he places the bud in his buttonhole he becomes invisible. His invisibility enables him to follow the sisters undetected. While he is following them he realizes their secret of dancing all night. All previous princess who had
  3. 3. Field 3 attempted to find out the princesses’ secret was given an elixir that made his death-like. As Peter follows the princesses, he becomes more enamored with Elise, who soon discovers that he knows their secret. On the evening when the sisters are going to give Peter their elixir, Elise decides to reveal her love for Peter and the spell is broken. Peter and Elise and married, and we assume a happily ever after fairytale ending. 7. Strategies: A. This children’s book could be used to introduce mystery as a genre. I know that our 9th grade text included this fairytale. Students could use this shorter version to look for the elements of a mystery. B. An older audience could also use this fairytale to write about how it qualifies as a narrative involving a quest. When the story begins Peter is labeled a “dreamer,” who wanted to “leave the village and seek his fortune.” C. Since the story has an ironic twist at the end, students could predict what they think will happen to Peter (we assume he will be in the princesses’ trance). D. This fairytale also addresses the idea of trust; Peter assures, even when offered large sums of money, that he will not tell the princesses’ secret. This fairytale is a good springboard to discuss trust and its importance in relationships. E. Students who are familiar with Hogwarts can compare the ballroom where the princesses exist in a fantastic world to their knowledge of Hogwarts. F. Students can also discuss the idea of young people who need to have a place that is uniquely there’s. G. High school students could compare Peter’s quest and test to that of Odysseus, hero of The Odyssey. 1. Author: Robert Nye; illustrator: none 2. Title: Beowulf: A New Telling; Copyright: 1968 3. Genre: Legend 4. Format: Chapter Book 5. Award: A Hornbook Fanfare Best Book 6. Summary: This is a new telling of the oral tradition story of Beowulf. Like the original, Hrothgar’s kingdom is being destroyed by the evil fiend, Grendel. Just when it seems that Grendel is beyond defeat, Beowulf shows up to save Hrothgar’s kingdom. Beowulf is successful in defeating not only Grendel, but when Grendel’s mother avenges her son’s death, Beowulf kills her as well. Beowulf becomes a king of his homeland and eventually dies battling a dragon. 7. Strategies: A. I would like to begin this section with an explanation of the differences in style with regard to the original epic poem and this new prose telling. Nye clearly states that his telling is not a translation but an interpretation. As such, they are distinct characterization differences that affect the story. In this telling, Beowulf is able to defeat Grendel and his mother because he admits that he has a combination of good and evil within himself. He has to fight hard (inner conflict) to keep the “mark of Cain” from prevailing. There are several examples where Beowulf is described this way. For example, when Beowulf speaks, it is with “quiet strength” and Beowulf admits that the monster cannot be killed by strength
  4. 4. Field 4 alone (21). As I read, I quickly made a connection to Harry Potter and his connection with Voldemort; this connection gives him insight into Voldemort’s thoughts, while reminding him that he never wants to go over to the dark side (another connection to Darth Vader). With these connections, you could use the book to discuss man’s battle of good and evil. You could even tie in The Garden of Eden story or Pandora; this is a reoccurring theme that all students can see. For upper level students, you could also tie in Stephen King’s novel The Stand. You could use any combination of these texts to differentiate reading abilities of students. B. Another strategy could be focusing on society’s need for a hero. Students could complete a comparison of Beowulf to Odysseus, Achilles, Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, and other famous storybook heroes. I would use Geraldine McCaughrean’s adaptation of The Odyssey and Padraic Colum’s The Children’s Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy for both Odysseus and Achilles. You could bring in a video of Star Wars in order to use visual text to support this task. The comparison for a younger (middle school) audience could be a visual character diagram which analyzes the characters thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. C. I also think that this would be a good read aloud for an older audience; high school students like to be read to as well as elementary. The chapters of the book are short enough that you could do a chapter a day, keeping them interested in the plot and wondering what will happen. You could use the chapter at the end of the class period as an incentive to get the day’s tasks accomplished. D. Students could write their own version of a hero’s adventures. Perhaps the class could create a hero and each person writes a portion of the story. The students would have to understand the qualities of the hero to accurately represent his words, actions, and feelings. Students could also write or role play an additional adventure for the hero from any of these texts. E. This chapter book is also a good text for analyzing the values and beliefs of ancient people. 1. Author: Retold by John Cech; Illustrated by Martin Jarrie 2. Aeosop’s Fables, 1995 3. Genre: Fable 4. Format: Picture Book 5. Award: Boston Globe/Horn Book Award 6. Summary: This is a compilation of 36 different fables. Some of these are those most commonly known, such as “The Tortoise & the Hare,” and “The Shepherd and the Wolf.” I will focus on “The City Mouse & the Country Mouse” because it is one of my favorites. A city mouse visits his cousin in the country, but he does not appreciate the simple country life. He invites the country mouse to the city to see how great life can be. Unfortunately, the country mouse doesn’t like the danger the city presents, even though it offers apparent delicacies. The moral of the fable is “It’s better to eat bread and cheese in safety than to run for dear life among delicacies” (8). Each fable has a moral stated at the end that teaches universal truths, regardless of culture.
  5. 5. Field 5 7. Strategies: A. This is a good read aloud, especially with the accompanying illustrations. You could read each fable, and discuss the message behind each fable. B. Students could be assigned a fable to read, summarize and share with the class. C. You could take the morals at the end of the story and have students write a story that reinforces this message. D. After reading the fables, students can discuss how these truths have been present in their lives or the lives of people they know. E. You could also bring in and compare and contrast fables from other cultures. From these multi-cultural fables, students would learn the different values and beliefs from different cultures. This is an important message since today’s society is so diverse with so many different cultures. Modern Fantasy 1. Author: Lois Lowry; no illustrator 2. The Giver; 1993 3. Genre: Science Fiction 4. Format: Chapter Book 5. Award: Newberry Medal, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book, An American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults, An American Library Association Notable Book for Children, Winner of the Regina Medal, Booklist Editor’s Choice, and A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year 6. Summary: Jonas, Lowry’s protagonist, is reaching a point in his life, his twelfth birthday, when his community will assign him his task in the community. Jonas is honored to be selected to be the community’s “Receiver”; the person in their community to be the keeper of memories. During Jonas’s training period with “The Giver,” the previous “Receiver” shares the truth about their utopian society —much is being lost and sacrificed in the name of “sameness.” Jonas realizes that his world is really not what he had believed and he and The Giver plan a way for him to escape to Elsewhere and assist the community seeing all that is being lost as they impose equality and sameness. 7. Strategies: A. Students can compare and contrast other utopian societies, such as Fahrenheit 451 and Anthem. In all three novels, readers can clearly see that when man gives up the privilege of choosing from himself, he opens the door for other rights and privileges to be taken away. This understanding sets the stage for young readers to understand the necessary part citizens must play in order be true members of a society rather than mindless drones. B. Students can create their version of the perfect society. Different learning styles could be addressed here. Students could create a model of their society, a musical score, a play, or skit. Their final representation should somehow touch on elements such as religion, ethics, family, and government. C. The ending of the novel is somewhat ambiguous, students can write or discuss a possible beginning chapter of Jonas’s new life. Many students will wonder whether Jonas dies as he hears the music and reflects on The Giver’s Christmas memory, while others will assert that this is a promise of hope for the future.
  6. 6. Field 6 Students can also discuss the risk Jonas and the Giver take to awaken their community to the impact of releasing, lack of love, family, and questioning society. D. Students can discuss the benefits of the advances addressed in The Giver. What is lost when family units are established by the government, when man no longer has a choice about a spouse, children, jobs, etc? E. Compare Stephen Crane’s poem “Think as I think” to Lowry’s theme in The Giver. The poem focuses on the speaker admitting that he would rather be a toad than give us his right to think for himself. Students can create a visual or an argument that discusses the power man has when he thinks for himself versus what must be relinquished when man allows someone else to make day-to-day choices for him. 1. Author: Ayn Rand; Illustrator: None 2. Title: Anthem; copyright: 1995 3. Genre: Science Fiction 4. Format: Chapter Book 5. Award: None 6. Summary: This futuristic novel begins with a re-telling of previous events. The narrator, Equality 2525, has committed the ultimate sin; he thinks thoughts that are different from his brothers. During his retelling the reader comes to understand the society in which Equality lives. There are no families, no friendships, no love; everyone is made to believe that absolute equality exists, but the level of oppression is overwhelming and destructive to the individual. At the age of 15 Equality is given the Life Mandate of Street Sweeper, although he aspired to go into the Home of Scholars where he could be a part of great scientific discoveries. Since birth Equality has felt that he is cursed; although he has attempted to be like his brothers, even the inferior brothers, he cannot. For that, he is punished. Equality discovers an underground tunnel and begins to conduct illegal experiments where he learns more than he had in his previous schooling. He meets Liberty 5-3000, a young woman much like himself, for she defies to be tamed. Because relationships are forbidden, Equality and Liberty must keep their feelings hidden. Equality discovers the power of nature and creates light, a means of making life easier for his brothers. Unfortunately, in order to keep his brothers powerless, the council casts off Equality’s invention as evil, since he has created this on his own and without permission. His penalty is death. Equality escapes with his light into the Forbidden Forest, discovers the secrets of the past, the use of the word I, and decides that he will sneak back into the city and save the brothers who are like him. 7. Strategies: A. Compare Gabriel from The Giver to Union from Anthem. Why does each author have these characters cry in the night? B. Focus on characterization: Rand clearly characterizes Equality and Liberty in such a way that the reader clearly sees, hears, and feels how they are different from others in their society who mindless following what the councils tells them is true. Students can pick out examples of characterization that illuminates what it
  7. 7. Field 7 is about Equality and Liberty that make it impossible for them to continue following their old beliefs once they discover that things are not as they appear. C. Because The Giver and Anthem are so alike in their message, the strategies could be the same. Anthem is written on a young adult level, while The Giver is more appropriate for a middle school audience, so strategies would need to be modified to address each level of learned. D. Discuss how each of the main characters reacts when he realizes that the truth he has been told is very different from reality. This is a good place to tie in Fahrenheit 451. Like Equality and Jonas, Guy Montag, Bradbury’s protagonist meets a young woman who poses the question, “Have fireman always burned books? to make Montag begin to question. E. The Ayn Rand foundation has a yearly essay writing contest with monetary awards. Teachers could have students enter this contest which asks young writers to consider Rand’s philosophy about individualism versus collectivism, a theme from both Anthem and The Giver. Additionally, the foundation offers classroom sets of the novel, free, for any teacher willing to teach the novel. **The issues on page 305 of the text are good discussion points: “What could happen if people do not strive to retain freedom of choice.” Kurt Vonnegut’s satiric short story “Harrison Bergeron” and the movie Gattacca are good additional resources for this issue/theme. In both, as in these two novels, the main character overcomes the restrictions place on individuals in society. 1. Author: Kate DiCamillo; Illustrator: Timothy Basil Ering 2. Title: The Tale of Despereaux; Copyright: 2003 3. Genre: Modern Fantasy 4. Format: Chapter book 5. Awards: Newberry Medal 6. Summary: The main character, a mouse, is born under unusual circumstances; his eyes are open, he is unusually small, and he had rather large ears. Because Despereaux is not like his siblings, his family believes that there is something terribly wrong with him. Despereaux develops an unusual fascination with a princess in the castle he inhabits. Overcome by the King’s beautiful music, Despereaux commits an unforgivable sin and sits too close to the King and allows the Princess to pet his head. For these crimes, Despereaux is sentenced to the dungeon where it is expected he will perish. Lucky for Despereaux, he develops a relationship with the jailer and he is spared because of his story-telling abilities. While Despereaux attempts to survive the dungeon, another story unfolds; it is the story of Mig, a girl sold into servitude by her father, who is also sentenced to the jungle. A third story interwoven into Desperaux’s focuses on an evil rat named Roscuro who plots to kidnap the princess. Despereaux works to save her and Mig and her father are reunited. 7. Strategies: A. Even though The Tale of Despereaux’s protagonist is a mouse, what connections can be made to man’s struggles through Despereaux’s experiences?
  8. 8. Field 8 B. Although Despereaux’s father was responsible for his son’s banishment to the dungeon, Despereaux is able to forgive him, would you be able to forgive someone for this kind of betrayal? C. Younger readers can draw pictures of Despereaux as a means of showing their understanding of how his physical appears affects his ability to overcome the obstacles placed before him. D. How does Despereaux qualify as a hero in literature? E. Create maps of Despereaux’s movement throughout the castle and the dungeon. F. How should people treat others who are different? A lot of Despereaux’s problems stem from how he seems to go against social/family expectations. It is more important for people to be comfortable with themselves or is it important to conform? G. Compare and contrast Despereaux and Roscuro or compare and contrast Despereaux and Furlough. H. Discuss the use of the direct address to the reader. This might be a strategy to use with an older audience. How does the use of direct address add a layer to the story. Does this writing strategy make the story more dramatic and emotional? I. The Tale of Despereaux is a good read aloud for all audiences. As chapters are read aloud students can role-play specific instances where choices are made or considered. 1. Author: Angie Sage; Illustrator: Mark Zug 2. Title: Septimus Heap; Copyright: 2006 3. Genre: Fantasy 4. Format: Chapter Book 5. Awards: New York Public Library Books for Teens Award 6. Summary: In Book II of Septimus Heap’s adventures, Septimus’s brother Simon kidnaps their adopted sister, the future Queen. Septimus decides he must rescue Jenna, but he finds it hard to convince others that some evil plot is taking place. During Jenna’s kidnapping and Septimus’s rescue, a world of talking trees, Land Wurms, and charms is revealed. Septimus successfully finds Jenna, who has managed to escape on her own from Simon and they collectively find a way to defeat the evil working against them. 7. Strategies: A. This is a perfect book of which to have students track and discuss the elements of fantasy. B. Compare and contrast Simon with other fantasy antagonists (Malfoy from Harry Potter). Even though the antagonists commit evil acts against our protagonist, since the protagonist is a representation of good, he must overcome the temptation to allow the dark side to prevail. C. Discuss evil characters such as Darth Vader, Voldermort, Capricorn, and DomDaniel. How does their characterization make them seem darker and almost undefeatable? Students can pick out specific text to demonstrate the power of language. Students can share and discuss other dark characters they have experienced in other texts.
  9. 9. Field 9 D. Students can create their own fantasy world, connecting back to strategy 1 where they demonstrate their understanding of the elements of fantasy. E. Students could role play some of the plot from this text. Groups or individual students could be given “what if” scenarios to act out or what would you do scenarios. 1. Author: Cornelia Funke; Illustrator: none (Translated from the German Tale by Anthea Bell) 2. Title: Inkheart; Copyright: 2003 3. Genre: Literary Folktale 4. Format: Chapter Book 5. Awards: Teens Top 10 Award 6. Summary: Meggie learns that her father has the power to read characters out of books. Unfortunately, when a character appears from the book, a character from the real world disappears. Mo, had been responsible for making his wife go into the world of Inkheart, a cold calculating killer, since then Mo has refrained from reading aloud. Mo has been on the run for many years attempting to stay ahead of the characters of Inkheart that he brought into his world; he has yet to figure out how to send them back and recapture his wife. These evil characters continue to chase Mo because he has kept a copy of Inkheart in the hopes of sending them back and recapturing his beloved wife. Mo and Meggie are kidnapped by the evil Capricorn and Meggie discovers that she, too, has the power to read characters out of books. During a convoluted escape and recapture, Mo is able to locate the writer of Inkheart and he proves to be helpful in helping Maggie and Mo overcome Capricorn while also locating their missing wife and mother. 7. Strategies: A. Since Funke uses a quote from other fantasy selections, you could use several strategies collectively. First, as either an introduction to the text, or an after- reading exercise, students could make connections to the quote for a designated chapter. For example, in chapter 17, Funke uses a quote from Fahrenheit 451 that addresses the burning of books. Students could either research the connection to this quote/text, or they could read the text. Time permitting, the teacher or the media center specialist could do literature circles and have a separate group read each of the texts discussed as chapter preludes. This reading, research, and discussion would add multiple layers to the text. B. I could see many of these fantasy books being on the banned book lists. Students could discuss and write arguments about the literary value of these texts. This would help them understand how a media specialist has to be able to justify the inventory housed in the media center. Another strategy that would involve using multiple fantasy texts, would be the students creating a multi-media presentation highlights the benefits of their assigned text or they could create movie posters, or DVD covers to entice others to read their text. C. Like Harry Potter, Meggie has powers that she has to control. It would be easy for her to use her power to alter her world, but she understands how that power has an opposing dark side to it as well. As young adults mature, they come to
  10. 10. Field 10 realize the actions have consequences, and we must like with the decisions that we make. Choices and consequences is always a good discussion topic. D. Students could create a visual story board to help them remember the elements of fantasy or the main plot to review the story. E. If you were doing literature circles, students could have a debate as to which author has created the best fantasy; in which story is the suspension of disbelief the strongest. In which fantasy world were they most captivated? F. Since The Chronicles or Narnia and Harry Potter Lord of the Rings all fit so nicely into these other fantasies, they would be added as additional resources. Students could watch one of the films from these series while watching for the elements of fantasy. G. Teachers could do a whole unit on fantasy, or assign group the different genres so that the class could be exposed to multiple genres. **All of the books that I chose to read for this section address the quest. Students could discuss the quest that these characters go on and how that quest changes them as characters. Students could complete a writing assignment that has them write in a cameo appearance of someone who offers additional help or insight in solving their problems or the appearance of a much needed tool/item. The students would need to be able to explain what/who they chose to add.