Mechanics & Literature: December 2021
Whether searching for home, new community connections, or a piece of the American Dream, the characters in this month’s Dart, Arrow, and Boomerang are all on a quest to find their place.
Read about it while exploring writing, mechanics, and literary devices in meaningful ways with your family.
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Heartwood Hotel: A True Home by Kallie George
When Mona the Mouse stumbles across the wondrous world of the Heartwood Hotel in the middle of a storm, she desperately hopes they’ll let her stay. As it turns out, Mona is precisely the maid they need at the grandest hotel in Fernwood Forest, where animals come from far and wide for safety, luxury, and comfort. But the Heartwood Hotel is not all acorn souffle and soft moss-lined beds. Danger lurks, and as it approaches, Mona finds that this hotel is more than a warm place to spend the night. It might also be a home.
This delightfully enticing start of a new chapter book series tells a tale of friendship, courage, and community, with exquisite black-and-white illustrations throughout. -Amazon
The Lion of Mars by Jennifer L. Holm
Bell has spent his whole life — all eleven years of it — on Mars. But he’s still just a regular kid — he loves cats, any kind of cake, and is curious about the secrets the adults in the US colony are keeping. Like, why don’t they have contact with anyone on the other Mars colonies? Why are they so isolated? When a virus breaks out and the grown-ups all fall ill, Bell and the other children are the only ones who can help. It’s up to Bell—a regular kid in a very different world—to uncover the truth and save his family . . . and possibly unite an entire planet. Mars may be a world far, far away, but in the hands of Jennifer L. Holm, beloved and bestselling author of The Fourteenth Goldfish, it can’t help but feel like home.
Great American Short Stories (Dover Thrift Editions) edited by Paul Negri*
Featuring 19 of the finest works from the most distinguished writers in the American short-story tradition, this new compilation begins with Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1835 tale “Young Goodman Brown” and ranges across an entire century, concluding with Ernest Hemingway’s 1927 classic, “The Killers.” Other selections include Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Melville’s “Bartleby,” Harte’s “The Luck of Roaring Camp,” “To Build a Fire,” by Jack London, “The Real Thing” by Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Bernice Bobs Her Hair,” plus stories by Mark Twain, Sarah Orne Jewett, Charles Chesnutt, Kate Chopin, Stephen Crane, Willa Cather, Ambrose Bierce, Theodore Dreiser, and others.
*A note about this Boomerang: These stories touch on mature themes of human experience—love, unexpected windfall, but also danger, stolen luxuries, race, poverty, and death (including suicide in “Paul’s Case”). We highly recommend you preread each story before sharing it with your teen and review the content provided in the Boomerang to help you teach these stories in historical context.