Saturday, December 7, 2013

Book talk: Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

Hold up your right hand. [Wait for kids to do this.]

As a 14-year-old silversmith apprentice, this hand is your most important tool. Yes, you'll be working with other tools, but your hand needs to be strong, flexible, and capable of delicate, little movements, like carving or engraving. You live in Boston around the time of the Revolutionary War, and your hand   insures your job, your right to live under your master's roof, and your future. That hand is your whole life.

Put your hand down. I have some bad news. You spilled burning hot silver on your hand - it wasn't your fault, but it is your problem. Your hand doesn't work right anymore, and you can't be a silversmith in this town with one working hand.

Parents? I forgot to mention. You don't have any. You're an orphan, and now you've got nowhere to go…

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes. Winner: Newbery Award, 1944. Published 1943. 320 pages. Booktalk to upper elementary, middle school.

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