...what would you take?
That's one of the questions we asked ourselves this week as we started reading "The Green Book" by Jill Paton Walsh.
I love this book although I'm aware that it gets mixed reviews from other people and my co-teachers aren't terribly fond of it :(
It's a science fiction story about a family that leaves a dying Earth and travels on a one-way journey to the planet Shine.
It begins with Father saying that the family can't take very much with them - each traveler is allowed a few basic necessities, one small luxury personal item and ONE book.
I always ask my kiddies what luxury item they would take and every year I get answers like a computer, an iPad, a phone... When I point out that there won't be any power on the new planet, that batteries don't last forever and that there's no return to Earth I generally get blank stares and then they start coming up with creative ways to GET power for their devices. Usually they refuse to accept that their choice isn't very practical.
This year was slightly unusual in that almost my entire class wanted to take a stuffed toy (I have a very young group - they're all October to December birthdays) but they reverted to form when we got to the book...
...the ONE book that you can take on a one-way trip through space; that you will have to read for four years on a space ship and then for the rest of your life on a new planet with no power.
"I'll take my Kindle," said one child immediately.
"What will you do when the battery runs out?" (me)
"Recharge it," she replied (looking at me like I had two heads)
We went over the facts again: No Earth, old spaceship, one-way trip to new planet, no power.
"Well, I'm sure I'd find a way to charge it and it has tons of books on it."
We moved on.
Today we got to the point in the story where the crops are failing, the wheat is turning to glass, the rabbits have died and fear is growing as quickly as the wheat, which is the colonists' last chance for survival.
To combat their worry and boredom the colonists have started to share their books - and are realizing that they have made poor choices. There are several copies of Robinson Crusoe, one battered and torn Grimm Fairytales, an Iliad and a few pony books.
Father begins to read the Grimm aloud at nights and the adults try to remember the stories they used to know on Earth, recognizing that they didn't appreciate what they had until now, when it's too late to do anything about it.
I asked the girls if they would change their book choice now that they knew what Shine was like and how important stories would be.
My Kindle child, bless her, immediately said, "I'd take the complete set of Shakespeare."
THAT'S MY GIRL!!
The next child changed her choice from Dork Diaries to Junie B Jones.
Off they all went to their Lifeskills lesson and came back with library books (the teacher did a combo lesson) and...
...someone signed out Hamlet!! Because it was mentioned in the story and she wanted to know what it was about!
Woot!! Success!! We are connecting :)
Next week we make predictions.
Why is it such a good thing that the colonists left out trays of tree candy? WHAT is going to happen next? :)