As Sherry and I giddily browsed the book shelves at Barnes and Noble with gift cards in hand, I picked up this book that is on the Lone Star list for 2014. After reading the teaser on the back I wasn’t entirely sure if it was a “Jessica book” or a “Sherry book”. For those of you who know us well, know that is highly unusual. We are experts at deciding which book is best for each other. It had historical references, which generally means Sherry, but there was a mystery and real life adventure which screams me. Since Sherry was already clutching three books and trying to decide which to read first, I went with it. Not 100% sold, but excited to get into the book and find out who should claim it.
Why I finished it
One chapter in and I decided it was definitely a me book! The main character, Georgie, is spunky and slightly sarcastic. She plays on the line of obedience, a character I know well. She is a young tomboy in Wisconsin circa 1870s. She has an older sister who is not fitting in the town or time period. Georgie’s sister wants to spread her wings, go to school, and avoid early marriage, but the book begins with her funeral. Georgie’s adventure begins, because she is certain that her sister is not deceased. She leaves the town in an effort to get answers and/or find her sister. While on this journey, she recalls memories of her and her sister that add life and dimension to Georgie’s character. I finished this book because I was on the edge of my seat wanting to find out if Georgie’s sister was still alive, if Georgie would be safe on her journey, and to find out more about the sisters’ relationship.
Who I would give it to
This is a great read aloud for upper elementary and middle school students. The book would appeal to both boys and girls and students of all levels. I passed it along to my son who loves adventure and I can’t wait to talk with him about it.
Build Prior Knowledge (Schema)
Before beginning this lesson, provide students with pictures of Wisconsin in the 1870s. You can find pictures at https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/, http://recollectionwisconsin.org/, and www.historypin.com. Place printed pictures at student tables. Ask the students to study the pictures and ask questions. As the students are asking questions and studying the pictures, they are visualizing the setting of One Came Home. As the students study the pictures, ask them questions to make them see how times were different. Ask questions about transportation, communication, clothing, stores, streets, etc.
Check out my post on the necessity of historical pictures: http://goo.gl/Pi3m3i
Georgie is a well rounded character who grows and changes throughout the story. Teach students to stop and make inferences and ask questions when she has a memory or acts in an unlikely manner. How is she feeling? What text evidence do you have to support the feeling? What events in the book made her feel that way? How is the rising action of the story tied to Georgie’s actions and feelings?
Tech tool to try: http://www.storyboardthat.com/ Students can use up to 6 squares with a free account on Storyboard That to show the changes that Georgie’s character undergoes, creating a “character map” of sorts. Students can include text evidence and significant settings in their map. This is a great tool for students of all grade-levels and drawing abilities, and it’s lots of fun!
Have students write a narrative about a person they would do anything for. Who is this person? Why are they so special? Was there a time you went out of your way to help this person?
Another writing connection would be tapping into Georgie’s guilt. Have you ever felt guilty about something? Felt like you created a situation that was bad for someone else?
Use the guiding question, “How do you know if your relationship is positive?”