Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Next Books

Here is a window into one of the rows on the massive wall chart--row ten, to be specific: the Cities books.

Returning families may remember last year's Literature Circles, in which small groups of students read novels together in the winter and early spring. I have adapted this approach for our third theme, on Cities. First of all, as with the Explorers and Identity themes, I will be publishing and assigning a coursepack of readings on the topic. The Cities coursepack will be shorter than then previous two, however, with a half-dozen excerpts. Here is the table of contents for that collection:

Quality of LifeOtis White
Why Detroit?Frank & Arthur Woodford
Melting PotRichard Bak
Detroit Goes to WarDennis Wrynn
It Happened in HitsvilleLisa Robinson
Master of his FateBruce Catton
Reimagining DetroitJohn Gallagher

Between them, these readings address five foundational questions about cities.

What draws people to cities?
What work is found there?
What inequalities develop there?
Why are cities diverse?
What culture develops there?

In addition to these readings, our class will read six novels about city life. Two students apiece will be assigned to each book. Some of these books are classified as Young Adult and some are not. Five of the six are told from the perspective of a child of approximately middle school age (the protagonist in the sixth is a nun). Unsurprisingly, some of the characters encounter unsavory situations. These books would all be rated either PG or PG-13.

The kids will read these books with the baseline questions in mind. Our project work on Cities will engage these questions as organizing principles.

Below are the books, which will be handed out this week or next.

titleauthorcityadd'l material
House on Mango StreetSandra CisnerosChicagoLatino USA (all)
Girl with a Pearl EarringTracy ChevalierDelftEmbarrassment of Riches (chapter)
We Need New NamesNoViolet BulawayoHarareThe African City (chapter)
Q & AVikas SwarupMumbaiSnakes and Ladders (three essays)
When You Reach MeRebecca SteadNew YorkIsland at the Center of the World (chapter)
City of SilverAnnamaria AlfieriPotosiThe Devil's Miner (watch all)

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