Trouble Don’t Last by Shelley Pearsall
August 22, 2008 in Middle Grade Novel, Pearsall, Shelley Tags: historical fiction, middle-grade fiction, the Underground Railroad, Trouble Don't Last, United States Civil War, Venn Diagram, writing activity
Review by Margo Dill, www.margodill.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Middle-grade historical fiction
11-year-old boy, Samuel, main character
Rating: A page turner with great hooks
Short, short summary: Samuel is a slave in Kentucky in 1859. He runs away with another older slave, Harrison, and they travel on the Underground Railroad to freedom. Samuel uncovers secrets and meets many characters along his journey.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. This is the perfect book to go with any Civil War/slavery unit. Students can learn facts about the Underground Railroad, slavery, and the tough journey to freedom while falling in love with Samuel and Harrison. Children are more likely to learn and remember facts when they are connected to a story.
2. A writing activity to go with this book would be journal entries written in the point of view of Samuel or Harrison. Students can pretend they are one of these characters and write about a day on the run or some of the conductors on the railroad from Samuel’s or Harrison’s viewpoints.
3. When students are finished reading the book, they can compare and contrast with a Venn Diagram the life of Samuel with their lives today. There will be many differences, but Samuel has a family that cares about him, and he is an eleven-year-old boy, so there will be similarities, too. This will help students make connections between the literature and their lives.
Do you have a suggestion for a book you’d like me to read, review, and then create three activities? Email me at email@example.com with your suggestions, and I’ll see what I can do!