Using Historical Fiction to Jump Start Book Clubs

It's another snowy day in Michigan, which I really don't mind if I don't have anywhere far to go.  I just wish I could move my computer desk right in front of the fireplace!  I'm linking up a few days late for Workshop Wednesday by Ideas by Jivey.  Better late than never, right?

I was inspired by Jivey's Workshop Wednesday this week which is all about using historical fiction.  I'm getting ready to start our first book club of the year using The Hidden Girl. It's an autobiography written by Lola Rein Kaufman, a Jewish Holocaust survivor.  It's a fascinating and moving story, which makes for great book club discussions.  After reading Jivey's post I was motivated to try something new.  I got to school extra early Friday morning and dug out one of my favorite historical fiction books, Rose Blanche by Roberto Innocenti.

I love this book, because it requires a great deal of inferring.  The illustrations are beautiful and add a tremendous amount of meaning to the text.  I created a packet to go with the story along with a PowerPoint slide show of a few of the illustrations that I wanted the students to be able to look at closely.  

This is one of the pictures we looked at in the PowerPoint.

It's not the best picture, but you get the idea.  I loved the discussion that we had throughout the book!  It was interesting to hear who already had a lot of prior knowledge about the topic (one student brought up Jewish ghettos, wow!) and those who didn't have much at all (one student responded to another with, What's the Holocaust?).  But they totally figured out everything in the book!  They figured out it was about the Nazis in World War II, the Holocaust, the Jews in concentrations camps...all of it!  And by the end of the discussion, everyone had some prior knowledge about the subject. This is the class anchor chart we started together.

I'm hoping this activity will have really piqued their interest on the topic, so they will be raring to dive into The Hidden Girl next week!

If you would like to try this inferring lesson with your students, you can find it at my TPT Store.

You can also check out my book club unit based on The Hidden Girl by Lola Rein Kaufman.  

Make sure you check out other ways of using historical fiction in your classroom by stopping by Workshop Wednesday at Idea's by Jivey!

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