Mechanics & Literature: August 2022
August is ripe with opportunities for adventure, enchantment, and discovery.
This month’s Quill reveals the wonders of wordless picture books. August’s Dart, Arrow, and Boomerang will transport you back in time.
Take a ride on the pages of this month’s stories to visit:
- a medieval setting,
- the mountains of Maine during the Great Depression,
- and boarding school in 1968.
Read all about it as you and your family explore writing mechanics and literary devices in meaningful new ways.
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Wordless Picture Books
In this Quill we’ll inquire about cover art and discover that books have anatomy; put words into action to develop vocabulary; play with pens and paper to engage with the symbols of writing; wallow in quantities to make numbers meaningful; and go on a shape hunt and have big juicy conversations about the shapes we see and what they mean.
NOTE: You can use any wordless picture books you have in your stacks or find at your library.
- Brave Molly by Brooke Boynton-Hughes
- The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee
- Field Trip to the Moon by John Hare
- Flashlight by Lizi Boyd
- The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett
- Hike by Pete Oswald
- I Got it! by David Wiesner
- I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoët
Get the Quill.
The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo
In a time of war, a mysterious child appears at the monastery of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. Gentle Brother Edik finds the girl, Beatryce, curled in a stall, wracked with fever, coated in dirt and blood, and holding fast to the ear of Answelica the goat. As the monk nurses Beatryce to health, he uncovers her dangerous secret, one that imperils them all—for the king of the land seeks just such a girl, and Brother Edik, who penned the prophecy himself, knows why.
The Literary Device in this Dart is Foreshadowing.
- marvel at metaphors,
- launch an avalanche of adjectives,
- go on a proper noun scavenger hunt,
- time-travel with verb tense,
- imagine a world without nouns,
- ponder paragraphs, and so much more!
Get the Dart.
Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk
A story for dog lovers—and nature lovers. Our protagonist found more freedom, a new strength, and a love of the natural world after her family lost almost everything in the big financial crash, and moved to the mountains. An accident has left her father in a coma, and she is determined to try anything—even sting him with bees—to get him to wake up!
The Literary Device in this Arrow is Suspense.
- announce: colons,
- cut to the chase with short paragraphs,
- look up, down, and all around for prepositions,
- have a good, good time playing with repetition,
- talk all about dialogue,
- notice nouns and all that they can do, and so much more!
Get the Arrow.
Just Like That by Gary D. Schmidt
Following the death of her closest friend in the summer of 1968, our protagonist goes off to St. Elene’s Preparatory Academy for Girls, where she struggles to navigate the boarding school’s traditions. In a parallel story, a boy has wound up on the Maine coast near St. Elene’s with a pillowcase full of money and a past that has him constantly looking over his shoulder. Both young people gradually dispel their loneliness, finding a way to be hopeful and also finding each other.
In this Boomerang, we’ll:
- probe point of view,
- admire allusions,
- bask in bold writing choices,
- dig into dialogue,
- survey a script,
- wade into worldbuilding, and so much more!
Get the Boomerang.
For ages 15-18, check out the Slingshot.