Saturday, February 9, 2013

Alone: The Journey of the Boy Sims

I mentioned during parent teacher conferences that I volunteer at a nature center and wouldn't mind helping make some literary and nature connections with the book, The Sign of the Beaver, the class is currently reading. I've read it several times myself, read it to my older boys, they've listened to the audio version , and we've watched the movie version. I knew of several furs, tools, etc. that might be neat to let the students see up close and personal that connected with the story. I also mentioned that I was working on an event, The Hunger Games: A Nature Study, which looked at survival skills, nature, tracking, archery, birds, insects, etc. She brought out the next book the class was going to read, Alone: The Journey of the Boy Sims.

I finally started Alone: The Journey of the Boy Sims a day later and COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! We live in northern Indiana and the story is set in this general area up through Detroit in the 1830s. This historical fiction book looks at homesteading, the journey westward. fugitive slaves, American Indians in the area, the state of natural resources, transportation (canals, Michigan Road, Sauk Trail), etc. An orphaned young man (age 13) works on building Michigan Road (which I now assume is US 31 and we've traveled it many times from Indy to South Bend) to save his family's homestead land. I took several pages of notes that relate to nature and natural history to use in curriculum planning. I found this teacher's guide to go with it, which is a nice start, yet I had many other ideas for the book and related activities. The whole book just fell into place with many recent conversations and themes. I'm looking forward to doing more with this! I'm even thinking of a weekend road trip in the next few months documenting many of the places/things in the book since it is relatively close to home.

I am interested in learning more about the topics in the book and other Indiana/midwest history, nature, cultures, and the like. I found this booklist from the Ft. Wayne Library as a good place to start.

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