Wednesday, August 12, 2020

"Voyagers: The Third Ghost" ~ A Great Book for the Middle-Grade Classroom!

If you cannot read fluently and with comprehension, you will have a tough time succeeding in today's world.  This fact drove me as a teacher throughout my twenty-five-year career in the classroom.  My constant goal was to improve the reading skills of each student I taught.  To accomplish this, I knew I had to hook each of them on reading, and my best lure was great books.

If I were not retired, I would choose Voyagers:  The third Ghost for my classroom with enthusiasm!  Please put aside the fact that I wrote one of the stories in this anthology.  I am wearing my teacher's hat and looking at the book objectively. 

I always filled my classroom with the best books I could find, every genre, every reading level, every subject.  I hunted for appealing books that supplemented the content of our curriculum.  I chose books to read aloud to the class, for the class to read together, for small group instruction, for buddy reading, and for silent reading.  I searched for books that matched the interests of my students; and if I found one that piqued the curiosity of a reluctant reader, I was thrilled.

                     The Anthology Containing My Short Story
                     "Dare Double Dare"
                         The IWSG on Instagram 
                         Background Photo by Louise MacBeath Barbour

Voyagers checks off each item on my list of criteria.  This collection of ten middle-grade stories is so varied!  Written for kids between the ages of eight and twelve (Grades 3-6), each story in the collection centers on a voyage that leads to a historical adventure.  Some stories will fill your heart, others will make you laugh, some will give you a chill, and some may introduce you to an unfamiliar place or time.
The stories crisscross the globe, cultures, and time.  There is something for everyone, and the possibilities for connecting to middle-grade subjects are numerous.  More importantly, the stories tackle some difficult topics with sensitivity and have an emotional impact.

As a teacher I could use this book so many ways.  I would chose a story to read aloud to the class, select other stories for small reading groups, pick another one or two to tie into curriculum subjects, and choose another for classroom discussion.  I could team my class up with a class at a different grade level, share a story, and do some fun activities together.  There is rich material in this book for lively discussion and debate, and the stories can be a jumping off point for all kinds of writing.  

Zharptica, the Mythical Firebird
in "Feathered Fire" by Roland Clarke
(The Second Sun by llifi-kei  Deviant Art)

To give you an idea of the variety and the richness of the stories in Voyagers: The Third Ghost, here is a list of the stories, with a brief description of their characters and historical settings.

"The Third Ghost" by Yvonne Ventresca:
Among the darkened, arson-damaged streets of Hoboken, New Jersey in 1981, Lewis stops to help two ghosts until he realizes his own family is in grave danger.

"The Ghosts of Pompeii" by Sherry Ellis:
Mount Vesuvius is about to erupt in 1944, and it's up to Bubba and Squirt to warn everyone, so they don't end up like the Ghosts of Pompeii.

"The Blind Ship" by Bish Denham:
Twelve-year-old Jacques experiences the impact of a highly contagious eye disease on a slave ship's cargo and crew as they sail from France to the Caribbean in 1819.

A Source of Inspiration for "The Blind Ship" by Bish Denham

"Dare Double Dare" by Louise MacBeath Barbour:
Sara and her brother Kelsey find themselves in dire circumstances at the Habitation in Port-Royal, Nova Scotia in 1605 after a rash "Dare" and "Double Dare."
"Return to Cahokia" by L.T. Ward:
Tonalli, a young Warm Weather God, embarks on a spring journey with her mother and siblings back to Cahokia in Pre-Columbian America.

"Feathered Fire" by Roland Clarke:
Two brave sisters Vasy and Kalyna, with the help of the mythical firebird, fight the Germans invading their Soviet motherland during WWII.

"The Orchard" by Beth Anderson Schuck:
Can Nels, with her magical connections to nature, and Della help each other survive in a remote area of Utah over a century ago?

Fruita Schoolhouse
 Capitol Reef National Park, Wayne County, Utah, United States.
Photo by Beth Schuck

"Simon Grey and the Yamamba" by Charles Kowalski:
Simon and his friend Oyuki try to escape a famous yokai monster on a mountain during their journey to Hirado in seventeenth century feudal Japan. 

"A World of Trouble" by Rebecca M. Douglass
Mattie and her friend Gordon get into serious trouble when they sneak off to the fair in Conconully, Washington to see an aeroplane fly in the early twentieth century. 

"Winter Days" by Katharina Gerlach:
On a Christmas visit in 1979, twelve-year-old Katie, whose father fled the German Democratic Republic 20 years earlier, fears her family’s arrest when a blizzard hits.

Border controls at the East German checkpoint Marienborn on December 1989
 Wikimedia Photo by Günter Mach ~ License

If you are looking for a great book for your middle-grade classroom or for a middle-grade reader in your life, check out Voyagers:  The Third Ghost.  You won't be disappointed!

Our next post will be on Wednesday, August 26, 2020. 
Stay healthy and well until then!

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.  If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales."
                                                 Albert Einstein

* * * * * * * * * *

Reviews of Voyagers: The Third Ghost:

1. Check out lots of reviews and ratings at Goodreads.

2. Excerpts from Amazon reviews:

"It's been a long time since I've read a collection of various genre stories that had me so overwhelmed with emotion at the end, and the fact that it's a middle-grade collection still boggles my mind."

"What do slave ships, ghosts, time travel, Pompeii, WWII, aeroplanes, and the Iron Curtain have in common? They all appear in this absolutely fantastic collection of short stories by the Insecure Writer's Support Group."

"The amazing thing about themed anthologies is that, while there's a single theme, the stories are incredibly varied. In the case of Voyagers: The Third Ghost, not only are the stories varied, but each is well-crafted and engaging... All take the reader on a short, but rewarding journey."

You can order a copy of
VOYAGERS: The Third Ghost 
at the links below.

Print 9781939844729 $13.95
EBook 9781939844736 $4.99

Juvenile Fiction - Historical / Action & Adventure /
Fantasy & Magic


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The historical aspect of the stories make it great for the classroom.

Fundy Blue said...

Right on, Alex!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

And that's one of the reasons I wanted historical.

Fundy Blue said...

An astute choice, Diane!

Sherry Ellis said...

This was such a nice summary of the historical aspects of all the stories in the book. Thank you!

Fundy Blue said...

Thank you, Sherry!

Roland Clarke said...

Many thanks Louise. Such a wide range of historical periods - all making for engrossing and educational reads.

Fundy Blue said...

It's pretty awesome, isn't it? The IWSG picked a great theme for the anthology. Stay safe, my friend!

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

Thanks for doing such a great post about using the book for teaching!

Fundy Blue said...

You bet, Rebecca! Take care, my friend!

Computer Tutor said...

Great idea to address this from a teacher's perspective. I taught in a classroom for, well, ever it seemed, now teach grad school virtually. Love the way you tied this book into what's important about education.

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