35 Live and Learn
Children like stories to be served with a good helping of humour and a dollop of self-recognition. Even though Kevin Sands’ Mark of Plague is set during the late-17th-century reign of King Charles, children will likely see themselves in 14-year-old Christopher Rowe, apprentice to kindly apothecary, Master Benedict Blackthorn II. Christopher is a code cracker, a puzzle solver, and a catcher of bad guys. What kid doesn’t, as some point, fancy themselves one or all of those things? Kids will also connect with the characters in Frank Viva’s Sea Change, in which Eliot’s mother ships him off for a summer with strange relatives at the very edge of the world: a fishing village in a remote part of Nova Scotia. There are lessons underlying each story—the importance of connecting with family, the perils of focusing on one thing to the exclusion of all else—but there’s also a whole lot of mischief and fun.
- Slacker, Gordon Korman
- Sea Change, Frank Viva
- Creative writing process
Discuss: What story do you have to tell? How do you think this story is similar or dissimilar from your classmates’?
Have students describe something interesting about themselves or something that they are passionate about and write about it.