There were a lot of short stories that worked well for my history students. “The Fog on Pemble Green,” by Shirley Barker “Sowing the Wind,” by Bruce Catton, and “A Spy for Washington,” by Leonard Falkner are just three that quickly come to mind when I think about reading to my classes. Students appeared to like listening, too. Their usual frenetic teenage energy melted away, and the kids seemed to remember their first grade sense of wonder.
Over thirty years I read those pieces, changing the dramatic rise and fall of each story; a girl falsely accused of witchcraft to hide a real murder plot, bitter ante-bellum violence foreshadowing the Civil War, and a brave nondescript man who made General Washington’s attack on Trenton possible with his secrecy.
And reading aloud worked, providing literary backdrops to historical events. Evidently, despite one’s age, everybody loves a good story.
Tomorrow I have the opportunity to record my first book, River of January, at the Commission for the Blind. I earnestly hope to revive that voice that once held kids still, captivated and comforted. However, an extended reading session is both exciting and a bit terrifying–I’m not sure the old pipes are still as flexible. But, hopefully the flow of the story will compensate for any vocal deficiencies I’ve acquired.
Perhaps you might enjoy a preview of tomorrow’s narrative
Gail Chumbley is the author of River of January and River of January: Figure Eight.
For the remainder of March, 2017, all purchases of book two, Figure Eight includes a complimentary ebook of book one, River of January.