Monday, November 17, 2008

The Not-So-Random Shelf: Easy Chapter Book

The Not-So-Random Shelf posts are a great way for me to read books that I’ve always meant to read but, for some reason, just haven’t made the time to read. The Courage of Sarah Noble is just one example.

Eight year old Sarah Noble is a very courageous girl. You have to have courage if your family is going to be the first family to build a house in New Milford, CT. You have to have courage if your father leaves you with a strange family in order to bring the rest of your family to your new home.

The fact that the strange family is Native American does give Sarah some pause, but her father reassures her that everything will be just fine. For a book that was first published in 1954, The Courage of Sarah Noble does display some outdated images of Native Americans, but overall, the portrayal of the Native American family is positive. For readers not quite ready for Caddie Woodlawn or Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, The Courage of Sarah Noble is a good start for pioneer fiction.

For early chapter book readers wanting a more modern slice of life, The SOS File
should do the trick. Mr. Magro has asked his class to submit stories to the SOS File. The stories must be about the time they wish they could have called 911 for help. If they read them out loud, they get extra credit. When all the stories have been collected, Mr. Magro informs the class that everyone except one person received extra credit.

We then read each student’s crisis story. Some stories are funny/scary, such as the story in which a student escaped a bear attack by reciting the Gettysburg Address. A story in which an adopted girl finds the man who found her in a dumpster is touching and heartfelt. After all the stories but one are read, Mr. Magro reads the one story that didn’t receive extra credit: a story about a boy who get held back in the first grade. You’ll have to read The SOS Files to find out why that story didn’t receive extra credit. If you do, you’ll find a fun easy chapter book filled with zany stories and a thoughtful teacher anxious to impart life lessons to his students. Definitely one of my favorite easy chapter reads so far!

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