My sixth graders just completed blogging about their historical fiction book club books, and the results have been fantastic. Each group had their own blog page (our school website allows for this) with open ended discussion prompts. I thought they would need these simply to lend structure to their thinking, so that their points could be focused. The initial meeting required for each student to post one “juicy response” and at least one comment on each others’ responses. After that, I left it up to the students to continue posting as they moved through the three weeks of book club.
· When I first read this story, I thought it was just about…. but now that I think more about it, I realize that really, it is about…..· Often people…. but this story shows that it’s possible people should…· I used to think… but now after reading this I think… because…· I learned from (the character, the event) that in life, it could be important to…· A topic I see in this text is…and the text wants readers to know…· One idea this book suggests is…. One example that shows (this idea) is…because… Another example that shows (this idea) is…because… This makes me realize/think that…· These two books are similar because they both teach that… On the one hand, though, in the first book… On the other hand, in the second book… This makes me realize/think that…
Use one or more of the above prompts to structure your thinking. You may also respond to your novel’s possible themes or symbols. Something important to consider is the historical time frame and the nonfiction reading you have done to give you background knowledge of the time period.As always – share your evidence from your text and back up your theories with examples to share why you feel the way you do.
Margaret also impacts the story later because it is her brother Eddie who is missing in action. Lily feels horrible about this. One night she dreams about them and wakes up crying. This is when she realizes that things will never be the same because of the war, even though her dad told her that they would be the same. She and her grandma have a talk about this and it helps them become closer.
I agree. I never noticed it but I thought of Margaret as just a character who I thought was just a add-on. Great point!
I had always thought that the world is split up into countries, Japan, and America, and that the people in the country are connected to their country. In this book I realized that that is not true. Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor had nothing to do with Japanese people all over the world. It had to do with the military agency and the government. People in Japan might have not liked it either. That also happens with America. The government might do something that they alone decided on (President and Congress). Many people may not like it but they still pass it. Tomi’s father and grandfather got arrested even though they both felt that it was a disgrace to Japan. The grandfather entirely separated himself from Japan after he heard what happened. He even called himself an American. Still he gets blamed like all the Japanese-American people.
In this book, there was a lot about friendship. What Billy did when he denied seeing anyone wave the flag was very brave because he could have been killed and he knew that. Also, he wasn’t Japanese, he was haole so it proves that he did it to protect Tomi and his family, not himself. Tomi’s grandpa did get arrested at the end, but if Billy told, Tomi’s grandpa would be shot immediately. So would probably the whole family. Billy is the definition of a best friend. He would do anything for Tomi. <<<Great points here Avi! It was interesting to hear your thoughts in the first paragraph. I especially liked when you shared how you have always read books with the American being the “good guy.” I also really like how in your second paragraph, you mentioned something about the President and the Congress. It showed that you were not only thinking about the book, but the government and the laws behind it. I also agree with you when you said in your third paragraph, “Billy wasn’t Japanese, he was a haole so that proves that he did it to protect Tomi and his family, not himself.” This was a very interesting point that I have never thought of. We should talk further in class about the friendship between Billy and Tomi. It is a very important part to the story.
You picked some awesome points in your response Avi! I agree on the part where you talked about how in this book, the author writes the Americans as if they were the bad people. After thinking hard about this, I realized the unique way the author wrote this book. She is probably an American so I assume she didn’t want to write the Americans strongly as villains. On the other hand, she tried to make the reader feel bad for the Japnaese. I think that was realy hard, trying to balance the two, and to write it in a way that the reader would understand must have been harder. Thanks to your response, I found a new feature that was hidden in this book
I think the brown bomber is a symbol in this story because i think it brings them closer together as a family.
The sword also represents Matilda’s bravery and strong desire to keep her family in one piece throughout these troubled times. Matilda used the sword to try to protect her family when thieves broke into their house and were going to kill Grandfather, which was saying a lot about Matilda’s determination because it was extremely rare in a time like that, that a woman would pick up a sword and chase someone down the street in the middle of the night with it.
Mrs. Smith: Good point! I am so glad that you chose to back up your thinking about this symbol with examples from the text! Now, let’s see what the other members of your book club have to say.
All in all – this is the way we will go about books clubs from now on.