Go Trick or Treating With Me. . .
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by Margo Dill, www.margodill.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
In the spirit and fun of Halloween, I am participating in a trick or treat event with the ladies at the Fatal Foodies blogspot (http://www.fatalfoodies.blogspot.com). I’ve decided to provide a TREAT for Halloween–an insight into three books that have SOMETHING to do with Halloween–(you’re going to have to use your imagination here)–and a couple activities to go with them. For those of you who are used to the regular format of this site–don’t worry, it will be back with the next post. You know, nothing can be normal on Halloween.
For Young Adults. . .
What’s better than the Twilight series? New Moon, book two, is the one I will tell you about on this spooky day. Think vampires. Think werewolves. Think enemies for eternity. Think an 18-year-old girl mixed up in the middle of them. Pretty scary, huh? It does help to read book one, Twilight, before you read book two–it’s not really one of those series you can pick up in the middle. And I don’t know for the first, oh 400 pages, I was extremely angry with Edward; but at the end of the book, I couldn’t wait to get to the next one, so happy reading to you teens or to you parents and teachers who love teen books.
Activities/Discussions for New Moon:
*Bella is feeling terribly depressed through most of this book. This is a great chance to talk to teens about positive ways to deal with problems that are bothering them and not to get to the state Bella is in in the book. Sometimes it is easier to see this in a character. Teens can journal about Bella’s character and her emotions in this book. Friendship is also a huge theme in this book, especially the bond between Bella and Jacob. How should Bella deal with her friendship when love comes back? How do teens feel about the dilemma she is in? What would they do in this situation? Even though teenagers don’t have werewolves and vampires to deal with, they are often stuck between two friends or two peer groups or a friend and a boyfriend. These are real problems teens must face every day, and Meyer’s books can get them talking and thinking.
For Middle-Grade Readers. . .
An old classic that is new to this age-group, The Lion, the WITCH, and the Wardrobe (Go with me here–the WITCH–Halloween, you get it, right?). Kids love this book. It is a great read-aloud. It is a great individual reading book. It is a great reading group book. Okay, it’s a great book. Most of us know the story, so I’ll only bore you for a line or two–the children go through a wardrobe and fall into Narnia during a game of hide and seek. They are thrown into the middle of a huge battle between good (Aslan) and evil (the White Witch). They must work together with Aslan and other creatures from Narnia to save the beautiful land.
Activities/Discussions for The Lion, the WITCH, and the Wardrobe:
*For teachers, this book is great to teach character motives, developing strong characters, and character emotions. Just look at the four children–Lewis managed to give each of them a personality and traits that are different and believable. Not to mention, a character study can be done on the beavers, Aslan, the White Witch, and Mr. Tumnus, too. The reason why we love this book so much and want to share it with today’s children is because of the characters. Okay the characters are actually second–how many of us haven’t tried to knock out the backs of our closets?
*For parents, this book is a great discussion starter for telling the truth and talking to strangers. Edmund learns his lesson quickly that strangers are not always who they pretend to be.
For younger children. . .
You must check out In a Dark, Dark Room retold by Alan Schwartz. This book has a few “scary” stories in it–all of them retold and perfect for Halloween. From the green ribbon that holds on Jenny’s head to teeth that seem to get bigger and bigger, your child or your students can laugh and screech their way to Halloween. Kids love fun, spooky stories, and this book is full of them.
Discussions/Activities to go with this book:
*Students should make up their own scary story, and you can have a scary story telling afternoon. You should probably make some rules and explain how the scariest stories often have NO blood and guts. Let students write a draft in their journals and practice telling their stories out loud. You can also do this activity in pairs or cooperative groups, depending on what you think will work best for your class!
Thanks for trick-or-treating with me today. If you like to USE books with me, please visit often and leave a comment. If you know someone else who loves to USE books, then let them know what TREATS they can find here.
photos by Joe Shlabotnik and faeryboots at www.flickr.com