Voices of Pearl Harbor

Sunday, December 3, 2017
In December, we teachers plan lessons around many special events and holidays. There is one I always mean to get around to (whether it's directly in my curriculum or not) but up until now I never have. This year, I've got a class of mostly boys, many of whom love to talk about history and war, so I'm finally working in a lesson to recognize Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day this week (December 7th).

If you've never been to Pearl Harbor but Hawaii is on your bucket list, let me say this: don't go to Hawaii without going to Pearl Harbor. I'm not even that into war history, national monuments or really any activity that requires you to be quiet, but this is one that is worth every minute. The USS Arizona Memorial, the tour, and the surrounding exhibits are all extremely well-done and I guarantee you will leave with a changed perspective on service, sacrifice, and reconciliation. 

Just like many of you I'm sure, I tend to leave gift shops with a souvenir for my classroom. On my visit to Pearl Harbor last summer, I picked up this book: Voices of Pearl Harbor by Sherry Garland. It is also available on Amazon at this link. It's a beautifully illustrated book and it's the perfect length for an upper grades read aloud. However, my very favorite thing about this book is how it is written.  It presents many different perspectives of that fateful day, from the mother of a Japanese pilot to a mess hall attendant on one of the ships to a vice-admiral of the US Navy to the young son of a naval officer riding his bike just across the harbor. It's an ideal book to use as a tool for teaching or reinforcing point-of-view and perspective!

Today I posted a Book Walk companion worksheet to the book which you can grab for FREE here through this Thursday, December 7th. After that, it will go to my normal Book Walk price of $1.50. Whether you can squeeze in this book right away or have to wait until later in the year or next December 7th, I highly recommend locating a copy and using it in your upper grades classroom. I imagine my students will be as entranced as I was by the various accounts.

As an added bonus, Barnes and Noble has paperback copies of another wonderful Pearl Harbor novel listed at $1.99 right now.  Check out a A Boy at War here.  I'd love to hear what other high interest topics you guys use to teach literacy skills in your classrooms, especially if you have a boy-heavy classroom like I do this year.  Comment below with your ideas...

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