Two Novellas for the Elementary Set

Reading Time for both: 1.75 hours
Combined pages: 193
Total time spent reading and blogging for the 48-Hour Reading Challenge: 20 hours
The Arrow Over the Door by Joseph Bruchac,
Family Reminders by Julie Danneberg.

Both of these historical fiction titles for elementary age children would be great curriculum choices for a study of U.S. history. In fact, the first, The Arrow Over the Door is already on the Sonlight reading list for next year for my World History class covering 1500-1900. That’s why I had it in my stack to preview/review.

The Arrow Over the Door is based on a story told among Friends (Quakers) about a group of hostile Indians who came to a Quaker Meeting House during the Revolutionary War and seeing that the people gathered there were peaceful and non-threatening, went away without harming the assembled worshippers. In fact, as the story goes the Indians and the Quaker settlers became friends and ate together and promised not to fight each other. Bruchac’s version of this story is told in alternating chapters from the point of view of Samuel, a Quaker young man who is unsure about his commitment to nonviolence in the face of war, and Stands Straight, an Abenaki young man who is confused about why his tribe is considering fighting on the side of King George and the British in this “white man’s war.” The story is short, only 80 pages long, but it should provoke discussion about pacifism and cultural rapprochement and give students some rudimentary insight into the many facets and perspectives involved in the American War for Independence.

Family Reminders takes place in Cripple Creek, Colorado over a hundred years after the Revolutionary War in the late 1800’s. Everything changes in Mary’s family when her beloved miner father loses his leg in a mining accident. Although the events of the story are fairly predictable to an adult reader, a child would probably find the story suspenseful enough and want to know whether Mary’s father will be able to recover physically and emotionally from his injury.

I liked both stories enough that I’ll be recommending them to Betsy Bee (10) and maybe Karate Kid (12). Or we may read the stories aloud so that Z-baby (7), whose reading abilities still aren’t quite up to “chapter books,” can listen and enjoy, too.

Joseph Bruchac’s Author Website:For over thirty years Joseph Bruchac has been creating poetry, short stories, novels, anthologies and music that reflect his Abenaki Indian heritage and Native American traditions.”

Julie Danneberg’s Author Website: “First of all, being a writer has given me the chance to learn all sorts of new things, go new places and meet new people, including all the kids I meet at school visits. Also, being a writer gives me the excuse to read, read and read some more!”

A woman after my own heart!

1 thought on “Two Novellas for the Elementary Set

  1. Hope you have indeed been able to grab time here and there to continue reading. I have had a great ride through books over the last three days and met lots of new people through the blogs! Continued Happy Reading!

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