Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Music and History, Part Two

Soldier Song: A True Story of the Civil War
by Debbie Levy
illustrated by Gilbert Ford
Disney Hyperion, 2017
review copy provided by the publisher

"That's amazing!" Zak said, after reading Soldier Song yesterday. "All that happened because of a single song!"

My 5th graders recently completed work on a standard that asked them to describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described. We talked about first- and secondhand accounts. Then in writing workshop, they crafted a piece of narrative nonfiction, blending researched facts (secondhand information) with invented firsthand points of view. I shared this book with them to show that the thinking they'd developed via the reading standard and their own writing are not just standards to study or hoops to jump in school, they are alive in books being published out in the "real world."

In Soldier Song, Debby Levy focuses small, on one standoff of the Civil War -- the battle at Fredricksburg and what happened within both sides and between the two sides via a musical volley across the Rappahannock River. Woven throughout the facts are snippets of actual soldiers' letters and journal entries. The woodcut illustrations perfectly invoke the mood/tone of the story.

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