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Tag Archives: Coming of Age

Alanna: The First Adventure

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

First published 1983

Plot Description: Alanna of Trebond yearns to be a knight, but she is a girl.  Her twin brother, Thom, wants to be a mage, but he is the only son and must take his rightful place among the knights and protect the kingdom.  So what are the pair to do?  Trade places of course.  Deceiving their father, who is always too busy with his books in his study to care much for them anyways, they trade places and Alanna is off, with a forged letter of introduction as Alan of Trebond, to become a page and begin her knights training.  The path to knighthood is hard, but she is as smart, strong and clever as any of the boys and is ready to prove herself and one day will reveal herself and show that a female cane be just as great a knight as any male in the land.

Quantitative Reading Level: Grades 5-8

Evaluation: This is a more grown up version of The Princess Knight, except Alanna isn’t a princess.  However, we still have a strong female character who, against the norm, wishes to go into a profession that is only for males and must prove herself.  This is an empowering tale for both male and female as the watch Alanna struggle against the odds and puberty to become who she truly wants to be.

Content Area: ELA


The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Story of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Published September 12, 2007

Plot Description: Based on the authors own personal experiences, this is a blatantly true story of Junior, a budding cartoonist who leaves his school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white high school. This heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written tale, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character’s art chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he seems destined to live.

Evaluation:  One of the most challenged and banned books in schools since its release, The Absolutely True Story of a Part-time Indian not only shows the brutal truth of what it means to be an adolescent high-school boy, but also many of the issues that students have to deal with outside of their school life, such as alcoholism, poverty, fighting, bullying, etc.  Yes, it is set in the environment of an Indian Reservation that almost none of us will ever get to see with our own two eyes, but it also shows students that many of the same issues that struggle with someone else has too.  That they are not alone.

Quantitative Reading Level: Grades 6-12

Content Area: History/Social Science

TEKS Subject Standard: SS 6.1A, SS 6.1B, SS 6.15A, SS 6.15B, SS 6.15C, SS 6.15D, SS 6.15E, SS 6.15F, US.26B, US.26C