Friday, June 4, 2010



Title: Gaff
Author: Shan Correa  
Publication Date: 2010
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction - Teen Issues/Novel  
Summary: Paul Silva lives in Hawaii with his family.  They have raised roosters ever since his father was hurt in a lumberyard accident.  Paul is proud to help his dad raise the roosters and sell them for cockfighting until he actually gets to watch his first cockfight and realizes he is horrified that his family is involved in any way.  He is determined to do whatever he can to disconnect his family from the cockfighting business.   
What I Think: I have to say I was nervous to read this book because I knew at some point I was going to have to read about the actual cockfights...but the book really does focus more on Paulie with only one truly graphic cockfighting scene - and it was necessary to understand Paulie's experience at his first cockfight.  I loved reading a book set in Hawaii - I'm ready to go now!  Correa incorporated Hawaiian culture into the book which I think would be great to give students perspective.  
As far as the plot goes, I finished the book feeling fulfilled in how the story ended and I love that.  This book has elements of friendship, family, romance, and standing up for what you believe in despite what others might think.  
Read Together: 6 - 8  
Read Alone: 6 - 8   
Read With: Non-Fiction about Hawaii or cockfighting;   
Snatch of Text: "Finally Sal wiped his chin with his napkin and told his grampa, 'Paulie like know bout ole days in da Philippines, kay?  An bout da roostas?' 
     Grampa Salvador looked across the table at me, his eyes crinkling at their corners, 'You like, Paul?"
     I wondered if he meant did I want to hear , or did I just like roosters.  So I just said 'Sure' to both.  
     Mr. Salvador - Alberto - leaned his head back, remembering.  'Was six den.  Maybe seven.  Da fadda take me see his bes roosta first fight.  Was prize winna already, dat bird, an was da first fight.  But da fadda, he know.  An he know I need see um.  Can neva forget.'" p. 37
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Visualizing, Using Context Clues, Asking Questions, Rereading
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Descriptive Writing, Dialogue, Slang, Setting, Characterization
Writing Prompts: Write about a time when you listened to a family member tell a story from their childhood.  Write a short story and the rewrite the short story in a different setting - choose a different time period or a different place for your story to take place.  Brainstorm/free write about a character - develop who your character is, where your character is from, what your character might say.
Topics Covered: Family, Friendship, Integrity, Challenges, Courage
Translated to Spanish: No

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