Saturday, July 12, 2008

Focus Titles: Peak and Stepping On the Cracks

We had to have a major read-a-thon the last couple of days of school in order to finish our final two focus novels of the year, but we knocked them out. The AM class read Peak by Roland Smith, and the PM class read Stepping On the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn.

Roland Smith is one of the most popular current writers in the adventure fiction genre, and this story about a young man who makes an attempt on Everest is one of his best. I'm glad we were able to fit this novel in before the end of the school year, although we definitely cut it close. Two of the commonalities among the characters that populate Smith's books are a young person in some kind of trouble and an older wise person who fills the role of mentor. Another feature of Smith's books, in addition to the action-filled plots, is that they usually include international or domestic air travel. As a teacher, I can appreciate this element because it creates an inclusive worldview in the minds of young readers and by default teaches them not to limit their potential.

Stepping On the Cracks is a perennial favorite of mine. Set in a suburb of Washington, DC, during the Second Great War, this novel was the perfect follow-up to our World War II and Holocaust unit. Complete with bullies, a mysterious stranger, and engaging dialogue, this novel shows the internal and external conflicts of both soldiers and civilians on the homefront while the war raged overseas.


Sydney said...

Wow I bet that Stepping on the Cracks would have been a good book for the class and us to read. I guess.

Georgette said...

hey mr.blount
how come you write back to sydney and not to me when i write a comment.mean mr.blount!
from your dangerous not funny mmost annoying student georgette salem

Nathan's Uncle said...

Hey Georgette!
Sorry I didn't respond sooner, but I have read all of your comments. You are definitely not the person you described. You are intelligent, pretty, and a wonderful reader. Thanks for keeping up with the class blog.

Mr. B

georgette said...

hey mr.blount!thank and i where only joking BUT IT WAS SYDNEY IDEA1!LOL!
SUMMER IS ALMOST OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fidelis said...

Deltoras much better and once i finish the book id tell u i love u but then id have to kill u (i havent started it yet though) im goin to read the twilight series and deltora #1

Your former student,

Topaz Fidelis