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Morgan DiFelice

Dr. Blasingame

ENG 471-First half of reading lists

13 October 2016
Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, 2008. 374 p.

Genre: Dystopian

Summary and Analysis:

In the dystopic future of Panem, the world we know now is divided up into 12 different

districts categorized by what they produce: District 1-luxury items, District 2-masonry, District

3-electronics, District 4-fishing, District 5-power, District 6-transportation, District 7-lumber,

District 8-textiles, District 9-grain, District 10-livestock, District 11-agriculture, and District 12-

coal. Each district is required to draw (out of a bowl full of paper slips) the names of the

districts 2 tributes (a male and a female). These tributes partake in The Hunger Games which is

an annual fight-to-the-death event that is displayed live like a sports game. The tributes must

fight to survive until there is only one woman or man left standingkilling the others in the

arena along the way. Hunger Games follows a 16-year-old teenager as she is ripped away from

her family after she takes her sisters place when her sister is picked as District 12s tribute.

This novel will get any dystopian fiction fan flipping the pages, in the dark, past their

bedtimes. Collins relates to pretty much all teenagers with the feelings they have about their

family life, social life, and love life. The story is never dull and each chapter ends with a

painstaking cliff hanger. This book can challenge the way young teens look at government,

family values, and friendships. Katniss Everdeen becomes the hero we all want to be within the

direst circumstances.

Teaching Ideas:

Since Katniss Everdeen is 16, The Hunger Games would be best suited to teach in a high

school classroom setting. There are many comparisons to be made about the way the different

government systems work (in Panem and in the United States). Students could come up with
multiple ways of framing what a democracy means and how different a dictatorship is compared

to a democracy. While analyzing the literary aspects of the novel in my class, students could also

use the text in any U.S. government class to write a comparative essay. I think Literature Circles

would work very well with this text since it is very complex dealing with relationships,

government style, etc. I would use this text as a class read then break off into smaller literature


DiFelice, Morgan. The Witch Who Stole the Golden Shoes. Get A Rope, 2004. 16 p.

Genre: Fantasy

Summary and Analysis:

In an alternate universe filled with goblins, trolls, and witches, lives a young boy and his

parents. They are not very well off, but their family is filled with love and hard work. The

parents make clothes and shoes for the townspeople, and the young boy always helps his parents

work. The young boy only wants one gift for his birthdaya pair of golden shoes made by his

mother and father. So, the parents decide that if he works hard enough to help them pick up the

slack, they will have time to make him his shoes. Once the young boys birthday comes around,

he is presented with the shoes his mother and father made with love and their own hands.

However, there is an evil witch that steals childrens shoes within his town, and one night she

makes a visit to the young boys room. Once the witch steals the boys shoes, theres nothing

that will stop his parents from getting them back.

The Witch Who Stole the Golden Shoes is a classic fairytale with many clearly displayed

tropes: nameless characters, evil/wicked witch, pretty equals good, ugly equals bad, heroes in

disguise, happy ending, etc. It is a short book that gets directly to the main problem within the
first couple pages. Any lover of classic fairytales would love this storyespecially those

fairytale lovers that dont want love in the fairytale. This book is a story of how far a family will

go in order to get back what is rightfully theirs.

Teaching Ideas:

This text could be used in a unit on common tropes found in fairytale and fantasy writing.

Even though it reads at a younger reading level, this text could be used in any middle school

grade when learning how tropes come up in novels. Since students will most likely have a

background of common fairytales, they can compare and contrast the tropes they already know

to those found in The Witch Who Stole the Golden Shoes. This text would be most successful in

smaller group discussions to go over the tropes found within it and the tropes that are absent in

the book. I dont think the entire class would choose this fairytale as a trope discovering activity,

but I would give it as an option for one group to choose along with other fairytales.

Spiegelman, Art. Maus. Penguin, 2003. 296 p.

Genre: Autobiography/Graphic novel

Summary and Analysis:

Maus was the first graphic novel that I ever read, and it blew the genre out of the water.

The most interesting part about the graphic novel was the time hops that it made. Art, the son

who the graphic novel was written by and about, jumps from how his fathers relationship

affected him when he was a boy and how that relationship still plays a role in his adult life. The

father-son relationship displayed in Maus is one filled with misunderstanding and

miscommunication Art Spiegelman was able to get a tragic and difficult story onto pages in

Maus in an easily accessible, comic book format.

Maus is the story of Art Spiegelmans father, Vladek, who went through all of the

holocausts tragedies being Jewish in Western Europe at the time. Through the stories that

Vladek shares with his son, readers can easily see the tension between the father and son that has

grown from the generational differences. This tension also stems from Arts fathers obvious

horrific and scarring experience of going through the holocaust and surviving it. The graphic

novel is split into sections that chronologically tell the tale of Arts father while having breaks of

their present day struggles as father and son coming from different life experiences.

Teaching Ideas:

This text is definitely for an older crowd, high school 11th and 12th graders, simply

because students will need to understand the history and seriousness behind the text. There are

many disturbing moments within the text, so a more mature audience would be ideal. I would

teach this text as a history as well as to explicate how humans are made to be objects within the

text. This graphic novel would definitely be a class read because I think students would enjoy the

change to format (from normal chapter novels to a comic book layout). I also think this text

teaches an important aspect of how society dehumanizes and others people throughout history.

Reader response or literature circles would work well with this text, but most importantly I

would like the entire class to be engaged in discussions with me as well as the rest of the class

about the text.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Bloomsbury Children's, 1997. 336 p.

Genre: Bildungsroman/Fantasy

Summary and Analysis:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone serves as the first book in Rowlings series of 7

Harry Potter books. Harry is a young boy who is emotionally and verbally abused by his aunt,
uncle, and cousin whom he lives with. Little does Harry know, he actually belongs to a magical

family who were murdered by the evilest wizard of all: Voldemort. As Harry begins to receive

his letters to attend Hogwarts (the school of witchcraft and wizardry), his real but hidden life

begins to unfold. When Harry finally escapes from his aunt and uncle to Hogwarts, Harry and his

friends must overcome several obstacles their first year at school including ones that put their

own lives at risk.

Rowlings world that she creates is unlike any seen before in young adult literature. Her

balance of connecting with young people while suspending their belief of reality is what makes

her novels so page-turning and popular. Every young person (even older people) wants to believe

they are going to receive a magical letter from a school full of magic! The Sorcerers Stone

highlights strong friendships and the never-ending fight for what is right and good. Harry is

growing up in a world full of mystery and questionsjust like every teenager in the real world

as well.

Teaching Ideas:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone is definitely a class read. It would have every

student hooked and engaged with whatever assignments and activities I would attach to it. This

novel would work in grades 6-12 (more likely in higher level classes when in middle school).

The text is complex enough to write about as a senior in high school, but it is also accessible

enough for a 6th grader. I would use this novel to discuss the genre of bildungsroman. I feel like

in my past the most classic bildungsromans are Catcher in the Rye and The Jungle Book.

However, I think The Sorcerers Stone is the perfect beginning to what a bildungsroman

ultimately attempts to capture: a protagonist who is coming of age and deals with a young

persons formative years. Throughout the novel, Harry is faced with several challenges that
questions his morals and genuine goodness just like adolescents deal with in everyday life. I

would love to explore this aspect of the novel with my students within reader response groups.

This would give the students a real chance to compare what Harry and his friends are going

through to what they go through in their real lives.

Funke, Cornelia. The Thief Lord. Scholastic, 2000. 338 pages.

Genre: Speculative Fiction

Summary and Analysis:

The Thief Lord is packed with adventure and mystery all the way through. Set in one of

the most magical places in the world, Venice, Italy, the novel follows young orphan robbers who

are living in an abandoned movie theatre. No adult supervisionno problem. The story revolves

around two brothers, Prosper and Bo. The two brothers are on the run from their evil aunt and

uncle who want to separate them by only adopting one of them, the younger brother, Bo. As the

brothers plunder their way through Venice with the help of other orphan friends, they meet the

mysterious Scipio who will open the doors to their wildest dreams and imaginations.

This novel is every young persons escape fantasy written out. Theres an abandoned old

movie house turned into living quarters, an underground robbery game in Venice, Italy, and

every day is full of adventure and not knowing whats going to happen next. The fact that there

is almost no adults within the novel really rings true to what adolescent literature is all about.

The kids are able to completely manipulate their world in the way they want to without having to

answer to reality, rules, or adults.

Teaching Ideas:

The Thief Lord would fit perfectly into a lesson specifically about young adult literature

the genre. I think it would be most useful in a middle school setting since the text is about
younger people around 12-years-old. This novel might be a little boring and redundant for older

grades to handle. If I were to use the thief lord when teaching about the genre of adolescent

literature, I could use it both as a class read and as an individual read. If I was doing a unit of

what the genre of adolescent literature is, I could allow my students to choose their own novel

and then we would explore how the definition of adolescent literature plays into the novel, and I

could offer The Thief Lord as an option. However, I could also see myself using The Thief Lord

as a class read so we could all together dissect what components the novel has in comparison the

adolescent literature. I wouldnt want to use literature circles or reader response for this novel,

but rather I would like to come up with a guide to follow along in the novel where students could

easily identify components of the novel that tie into its genre of adolescent literature (no adults,

writing about young people, etc.)

Meyer, Stephenie. Twilight. Little, Brown, 2006. 498 p.

Genre: Fantasy

Summary and Analysis:

Twilight is where the craze for vampire fantasy novels all began. The story begins with a

young woman named Bella who is new at her high school in Forks, Washington. She has just

moved there with her estranged father, and is trying her best to overcome her awkward social

skills that are reinforced when she meets Edward Cullen. Edward belongs to a notoriously

mysterious, overly-attractive, and prominent family in Forks. Bella is assigned to be Edwards

science partner, but he seems to not be able to stand her. Little does she know that the Cullens

are hiding a bloody secret that she becomes enthralled with. After Edward and her start dating,

more secrets about the world around Bella develop and even her closest friends are not who she

thinks they are.

Even though Twilight gets flack for being cheesy and poorly written, it is the first novel

of its genre to get really popular, and there is obviously a reason for that popularity. Meyer turns

everyday life into a fantastical world that teens can escape into and imagine that their world

could have this mysterious element to it as well. She bases a love within a high school between

the seemingly normal, nerdy girl and the handsome, mysterious boy. This is every teenagers

fantasy love story, and that is what make Twilight as successful as it is among teens. Although, I

personally view it as an abusive, creepy relationship, everyone has their own opinions on what

love is!

Teaching Ideas:

All of the main characters in Twilight are in high school, so this text would be

most applicable to high school students grades 9-12. However, Im sure middle schoolers would

view the text as very accessible as well. If I were using this text in my classroom, I believe it

would be best used as a students choice novel. I would never require my entire class to reach

Twilight since I know not a lot of people like Twilight. However, a lot do, so those who enjoy

this type of novel would be able to choose it as a free read. I would encourage students to look at

the relationships played out within the text. Are the abusive? Are they transformative? Are they

positive? Students could use Twlight as a showcase for abusive relationships or compare the

relationships in Twlight to other texts they have read or we are reading in class. I think reader

response theory would benefit this text. As the students were reading, it would be interesting to

see them break down how they are reacting to certain parts of the plot and explore why they are

reacting that way. Reader response would tie in greatly with looking at the relationships within

the novel.