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Take a Journey to Self-acceptance and Growth in The Summer of the Swans

Take a Journey to Self-acceptance and Growth in The Summer of the Swans

The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars is a great coming of age novel to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, in small book groups, or with individual book studies to explore the character’s path to self-acceptance and the growth to understand what is really important in her heart.

The Summer of the Swans was published in 1970 and went on to be awarded the Newbery Medal in 1971. Betsy Byars is well-versed in tapping into the mind of a young teen while giving empathy to characters who face adversity in a relatable way. Protagonist, Sara is going through all the normal doubts and fears of all 14-year-old girls while also dealing with feelings of grief over her mother’s death, abandonment by her father, and the hardships of having a brother who is disabled.

From the Book Jacket:

Sara’s fourteenth summer was turning out to be the most confusing time of her life. Up until then, things had flowed smoothly, like the gliding swans on the lake. Now she wanted to fly away from everything—her beautiful older sister, her bossy Aunty Willie, her remote father, and, most of all, from herself.

But could she fly away from Charlie? She loved her younger brother in a way she couldn’t understand, though sometimes she grew tired of his neediness. But when Charlie himself took flight, Sara suddenly knew what she had to do….

I offer a complete novel study to accompany The Summer of the Swans for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

Swans gliding over water

This book shows the reader how our perspective can change in an instant when the things we truly care about are threatened. Byars’ incorporation of the beauty and fascination with swans is symbolic of the loyal nature of a swan. It helps to show Sara where the true loyalty of her heart lies.



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank

*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

The Persevering Pinballs

The Persevering Pinballs

I was a voracious reader as a child. One of the many books that I read that has stuck with me as special and memorable was Betsy Byars’, The Pinballs. It is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

 

 

The Pinballs was published in 1976, so it is a little dated, but the underlying themes in the story will still resonate with kids today, and in today’s turbulent times maybe even more so! Kids can relate to the feeling of having no power and being bounced around like a pinball only going where they are pushed to go.

From the Book Jacket:

Carlie knows she’s got no say in what happens to her. Stuck in a foster home with two other kids, Harvey and Thomas J, she’s just a pinball being bounced from bumper to bumper. As soon as you get settled, somebody puts another coin in the machine and off you go again. But against her will and her better judgment, Carlie and the boys become friends. And all three of them start to see that they can take control of their own lives.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany The Pinballs for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

pinball machine

Kids will find something to relate to in Carlie, Thomas J, and Harvey’s experiences. Topics of foster care, child abuse, alcoholism are as relevant today as they were in 1976. Byars hits these themes head-on and kids will appreciate the bluntness of the reality. Students will feel the pain that these protagonists experience and they will also journey with these characters to find that ray of hope that can lead you to a better place. Perseverance is the name of the game with these characters and it is a good lesson for any young reader to see and feel to help with their own personal struggles.



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank

*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

How Do you Outsmart the School Bully?

How Do you Outsmart the School Bully?

Newbery award-winning Betsy Byars, is a legend for writing books that get to the nitty gritty of tween/teen inner anxiety. The 18th Emergency is one of her classics that deal with how to survive the class bully. It is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

 

 

 

The 18th Emergency was first published way back in 1973, even though so much time has passed the problem of dealing with bullies endures. Your students will get a chuckle out of some of the dated content in the age of TV’s without remotes before the internet and cordless phones. The core of the story is modern though, the small, anxiety-filled kid who tries to stay under the radar makes a mistake and the consequences are threats from the class bully, Marv Hammerman.

From the Book Jacket:

So what if Benjie “Mouse” Fawley likes practical jokes? He’s a good kid who never meant to harm anyone. The same cannot be said for Marv Hammerman, a boy in Benjie’s middle school who is as big as a high-schooler but has the temper of a two-year-old. When Benjie (in a fit of insanity) writes a joke about Marv for all to see, he soon realizes he’s stumbled into the biggest emergency he’s ever faced. Now Benjie must decide whether to stay at school and face a clobbering, or run off and live the rest of his life hiding in the woods. The 18th Emergency is a hilarious account of the trials of surviving the school bully.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany The 18th Emergency for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

Students of all kinds can find something to relate to in this book. Byars doesn’t give us the “happily ever after” ending we find so often when the underdog triumphs and the bully learns the error of their ways. Instead, Byars does what she does best and sticks to a more real ending, one that students can relate to and identify with and at the same time leave them laughing with Benjie and all his emergency scenarios.


Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank


*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.