“When his deeds go unnoticed, he prays to San Ysidro, the saint for farmers everywhere. And his prayer is answered…but with devastating consequences.” This book blurb is the shrewdest ploy I’ve ever read. Actually, not even necessary because the ending of this coming-of-age story was completely satisfying. I was infected with Miguel’s burning desire to enter the adult world of his family and community. And I think that eighth graders as well as seventh graders would identify with Miguel and learn some important lessons. I’m writing another lesson plan that will allow me to use the 1953 movie version for …and now Miguel produced by the author, Joseph Krumgold. RS
If life is like a candle bright
Then death must be the wind
You can close your window tight
And it still comes blowing in
So I will climb the highest hill
And I’ll watch the rising sun
And pray that I won’t feel the chill
‘Til I’m too old to die young
The song Too Old To Die Young is referenced at the start of Deadline when Ben first receives the diagnosis that he has a terminal blood disease. It comes around again toward the end of the book when Ben makes a playlist about loss that starts and ends with the song that signals the beginning of the end for him. Finally the music comes full circle with Dallas and Cody listening to it together after Ben’s death.
The song symbolizes one of the central themes of the story that Ben makes clear in the letter he leaves behind for his family and friends when he says he realizes the truth about the quote ‘Live every day like you’re going to live forever and every day like it’s going to be your last.’ Ben has learned that the essence of living life is to be thoughtful about the decisions you make because they have consequences that will leave a lasting impact but to live your life to the fullest and take chances because you may not get another opportunity.
In his final year Ben does seize life and lives it to the fullest. Despite the fact that he’s only 18, he crams enough living into that final year that he does live until he’s “too old to die young.”
I loved this book when I read it as an adolescent, and after reading it again as an adult, I fell in love again. As a child, I loved the story, the suspense and the struggle to survive, but as an adult, I noticed elements like Paulsen’s voice and literary techniques such as repetition and the rich lesson it provides on the human condition in terms of its environment. I also admire the way the book navigates through the main character, Brian’s, mind. He becomes a different person because his environment demands it. One of my favorite moments in the book, especially as a life-skills teaching tool, is when Brain observes, “the second most important thing about nature, what drives nature. Food was first, but the work for the food went on and on. Nothing in nature was lazy.”
The version of Hatchet that I have attached is especially prolific because there are notes from the author spread throughout the book. Paulsen often chooses a theme or an action that Brain preforms in given chapters and writes a personal connection, or non-fiction information as compliments. For example, he gives information about how to detect and respond to a heart attack, how to rid yourself of skunk odor, facts about bears, shares his experience with making a mistake and learning from it in chapter 14 when Brian realizes how crucial they are. Students will thoroughly enjoy this novel and it ignites rich discussion and debate.
*P.O*- Walk two Moons is realistic, magical and honest. Many coming of age stories connect with adolescent behavior and ideas. I felt that creating a mini poem on Sal name would help other’s understand the character better.
S– Spunk- Sal has spunk! She was the first one to doubt Phobe, however, she never let her suspicion’s get in the way of their friendship. One must have spunk in order to not let the hardships of reality get in the way of her goals.
A– Adventurous – Sal role in the novel is very adventurous, she tries really hard to understand why life has dealt her the cards it has. Her drive for adventure allows her to escape her reality, not until the end does she realize that her escape was always her answer to the big void in her life.
L– Loving- Sal is a loving character, who tries to hold on dearly to the small love she feels she receives from others.
The Giver by Lois Lowry is a book that is widely read among adolescents in various school settings. This particular book was out during my period of adolescence, and there is a copy of the book that is still sitting in my personal library. The text is primarily based upon the themes of whether it is better to have a safe world where there essentially aren’t any emotions; or is it more beneficial to have a complicated environment where people can express their true feelings/opinions. This movie is expected to come out in August 2014 and talented actors such as Meryl Streep participated in the film. Ultimately, showing this featured presentation along with the book, will be a good lesson for adolescents to learn in a classroom setting, as it is always great to provide a thematic visual to a text. -JC
Here is a link to the Official Trailer Teaser as well: