Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Teaching Laurie Halse Anderson's Fever 1793

Discussion Activities: Explore and select one or more of these activities to complete. 

1. If the primary obligation of historical fiction is to be true to the past and to tell a compelling story that engages its readers, does Fever 1793 meet this criterion? Defend your argument. 

2. What separates Fever 1793 (historical fiction) and An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 (dramatic narrative)?  

3. Below is an edited transcript from Reading Rockets' interview with Laurie Halse Anderson. Read the clip entitled Digging up the facts and connect it to Betty Carter’s “When Dinosaurs Watched Black-and-White TV” in the Sutton book.

4. Teen Ink, a national teen magazine, book series, and website devoted entirely to teenage writing, art, photos and forums posted a book review entitled Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
The teen author claimed that “Fever 1793 was the book that led me to challenge myself and go for books outside of my recommended age group.” How might a book like Fever 1793 challenge a YA reader? 
5. Matilda's narrative (her story) may be firmly planted in the late eighteenth century, but her prose, along with much of the novel's dialogue is of the twenty-first century. While you might find an eighteenth-century word or phrase thrown in here or there for color, the language has been, for the most part, modernized(Taken from shmoophttp://www.shmoop.com/fever-1793/writing-style.html Historical fiction is believable as a portrait of the past. How can this novel remain believable despite its often obvious historical inaccuracies? 
6. Anderson’s first historical fiction novel, Fever 1793, published in 2000, is used in schools all over the country. After receiving multiple national and state awards, it was adapted into a stage play in May of 2004 and performed at the Gifford Family Theater in Syracuse, New York. (Taken from Anderson’s bio at http://madwomanintheforest.com/laurie/ ) This book speaks to a variety of readers. As a librarian how would you display this book and its historical topic to attract students and adults?
7. Scan the five book praises below for Fever 1793 and decide if historical fiction has the potential to replace realistic fiction as the most popular form of YA fiction.
"Extremely well researched, Anderson's novel paints a vivid picture of the seedy waterfront, the devastation the disease wreaks on a once thriving city, and the bitterness of neighbor toward neighbor as those suspected of infection are physically cast aside.  - Publisher's Weekly

"Readers will find this a gripping picture of disease's devastating effect on people, and on the social fabric itself." - Kirkus Reviews
“Readers will be drawn in by the characters and will emerge with a sharp and graphic picture of another world.” -School Library Journal, starred review
“A gripping story about living morally under the shadow of rampant death.”- The New York Times Book Review
“A vivid work, rich with well-drawn characters.”- VOYA
8. Author Laurie Halse Anderson has created a Pinterest board for Fever 1793. https://www.pinterest.com/halseanderson/fever-1793/ Which of her pins align with the Common Core ELA Standards? Could you see a teacher or a librarian using her board as a resource for this book?

9. According to Aronson and Bartle in the article Wondering how to put Common Core into practice? It’s easier than you think, “Clustering is the art of exploring a topic with a number of related resources, and it typically involves arranging those materials in attractive, student-friendly displays”. Create a cluster that includes Fever 1793.

10. When I researched the topic  Fever 1793 and the Common Core, only a few teacher created lesson plans came up.
 Review the two lesson plans (summarized) below and create your own lesson idea that connects to one of the Common Core Standards.