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Brave New World/ Allegiant

Brave New World by Aldus Huxley/Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Brave New World: First published 1932/Allegiant: First published January 1st 2013

Plot Description: In Allegiant, the last book in the Divergent series, we learn that the faction system was created because the government believed that society’s problems were caused by people’s bad genes.  Divergents are therefore the genetically pure individuals whose genes have corrected themselves. Tris and Four, now outside the city of Chicago, are able to see the destruction that was caused during the Purity Wars and believes that it is still happening.  This is very similar to that of Aldus Huxley’s Brave New World.  Here we see a futuristic Utopia that has adopted genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs to keep the members of society subdued and happy.  Bernard alone seems to be unhappy in this place and finds solace in one of the few Savage Reservations left on the world where there is no eugenics or caste society. Bernard, along with his friend Helmholtz, are exiled to the Falkland Islands for their non-conformist behavior, to live with other freethinkers.

Quantitative Reading Level: Brave New World: 7.5/Allegiant: 5.7

Qualitative Reading Analysis: Moderately to Very Complex.  Between Brave New World and Allegiant we are looking at how future governments have experimented with the human body and genome.  The government is striving for neutrality and “pure genes” and the concepts of dystopian societies are a more complex idea to handle and discuss.  What makes the government want to change the people? What makes the people fight back?

Content Area: History/Social Science, Science, English-Language Arts/Writing

CC Content Area Standard: Biol/LS 9-12.2, RL 11-12.1-4, RL 11-12.9, RI 11-12.1, RI 11-12.3-4, RI 11-12.8, W.11-12.1-2, W 11-12.4, W 11-12.7-8, W 11-12.10

Curriculum Lesson Plans:

Dark Materials- Reflecting on Dystopian Themes in Young Adult Literature –

Allegiant –

Brave New World –

Other Fun Resources:

  • Allegiant Characters – Tobias Eaton, Beatrice Prior, Peter, Caleb Prior, Christina
  • Brave New World Characters – John, Bernard Marx, Lenina Crowne, Helmholtz Watson, Mustapha Mond

The Ghost Map: the Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic — and How it Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World

The Ghost Map: the Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic – and How it Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson

Published October 19th 2006 by Riverhead Hardcover

Plot Description: This riveting nonfiction narrative tells the story of London’s Broad Street Cholera outbreak in the summer of 1854.  During a time when every other scientific mind, including every other doctor, believed that the epidemic was caused by an airborne virus, Dr. John Snow and Reverend Henry Whitehead fought to find the true culprit of the outbreak.  Using mapping, Dr. Snow was able to pinpoint the center of the disease and ultimately prove that it was being spread through the drinking water of one local pump.  This book not only takes a look at epidemics and a historical aspect of disease control, but also the lay outs of cities and future developments of urban environments.

Quantitative Reading Level: 11.2

Qualitative Reading Analysis: I would classify this work as Moderately Complex for the age group.  Steven Johnson does a wonderful job of weaving a tale and making it not only interesting for the modern reader, but keeping the story flowing. There are a few things that students may not be familiar with, such as the layout and daily lives of London and Londoners in the mid 19th Century, but using the information Johnson provides, the story is easy to follow.

Content Area: History/Social Science, Science

CC Content Area Standard: RLST.9-10.1, RLST.9-10.2, RLST.9-10.3, RLST.9-10.5, RLST.9-10.9, RLST.9-10.10, SL39-10.1, SL.9-10.6

Curriculum Lesson Plans:

Other Fun Resources:

The Brothers Grimm: Two Lives, One Legacy

The Brothers Grimm: Two Lives, One Legacy by Donald R. Hettinga

Published October 15th 2001 by Clarion Books

Plot Description: In this biography of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, we get to learn what the brothers were like growing up, how they were raised, and the education they received, before they became the famous Brothers Grimm.  Jacob was a natural scholar and enjoyed poetry, music, and language, while Wilhelm enjoyed teaching and storytelling and both were librarians and lovers of books.  They were involved in politics, and along with the social and historical influences of the time we are able to see how their lives and stories took shape.

Quantitative Reading Level: 5

Qualitative Reading Analysis: I would give this text a Slightly Complex analysis.  The vocabulary and language of the piece is very conversational and easy for young readers to grasp.  The information presented is done son linearly, in the progression of the brother’s lives from infancy to adults and is very easy to follow.

Content Area: History/Social Science, English-Language Arts/General

CC Content Area Standard: R 1-10, W 3-6, W 9-10

Curriculum Lesson Plans: Enchanting Readers with Revisionist Fairy Tales

Other Fun Resources:

The Cay

The Cay by Theodore Taylor

First published 1969

Plot Description: Set during World War II, this is a story about survival and acceptance.  As the war wages on, Phillip and his mother leave the German invaded Netherlands enroute for the United States.  Along the way their freighter is torpedoed.  Phillip is rescued by a West Indian man named Timothy.  Phillip holds prejudices against Timothy due to the color of his skin, something he was taught growing up, but he learns to rely on the old sailor now that he has become blind and cannot fend for himself. The theme of color and discrimination is beautifully illustrated in this work.  We get to see through Phillip’s blindness that race and color are really only skin deep and it is what’s on the inside of a person that matters.

Quantitative Reading Level: 5.3

Qualitative Reading Analysis: Moderately to Very Complex. We are faced with a wide variety of vocabulary and cultural knowledge of the time period that makes this piece a bit more complex than simply Moderate.  However, the temporal flow of the book is pretty straightforward and is relatively easy to follow.

Content Area: History/Social Science, English-Language Arts/General

CC Content Area Standard: W 1, W 10, RL 1, L 4, SL 3, RLHSS 6-8.7

Curriculum Lesson Plans:

Other Fun Resources:

  • Characters – Phillip Enright, Timothy
  • Awards
    • An ALA Notable Children’s Book
    • Jane Addams Children’s Book Award
    • Lewis Carroll Shelf Award
    • Commonwealth Club of California: Literature Award
    • Southern California Council on Literature for Children and Young People Award
    • A Child Study Children’s Book Committee: Children’s Book of the Year

The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System

The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System by Joanna Cole

Published February 1st 1992 by Scholastic Press (first published October 1st 1990)

Plot Description: Thanks to the planetarium being closed, Ms Frizzle decides to take her class on a whole different type of class trip, to outer space.  In this book we get to explore all the planets, including the sun and the moon. Throughout the story we are given scientific facts that are presented not only in an interesting but humorous way.  Ms Frizzle ends up being separated from the students for a time, leaving them to explore on their own, but are finally reunited at the end where they summarize their adventures using a chart and mobile.

Quantitative Reading Level: 3.7

Qualitative Reading Analysis: I believe this is a Moderately Complex text.  The information is given in a way that is interesting to the students, however there is still a lot of information that may be new to them given in such a short amount of time that they may be unable to absorb all of it at once.

Content Area: Earth Science, Mathematics (Number Sense)

CC Content Area Standard: ES 3.4, ES 5.5

Curriculum Lesson Plans:

(Also has plans for other Solar System books)

Other Fun Resources: