Title: Forge (Seeds of America #2)
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher: Anetheum Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 2010
Genre/Format: Historical Fiction/Novel
Summary: After their adventure in Chains, Cruzan was abandoned by Isabel and after working for a crooked boss, he must find a way to survive. As he is running away, he stumbles across a Revolutionary War battle and ends up, through a series of incidences, enlisting.
What I Think: I am a sucker for a good historical fiction novel! I think it is the best way to learn about history because it makes the reader "experience" the historical event which truly leaves an impression (much better than memorizing dates!) and puts history into perspective. Forge, just like every other Laurie Halse Anderson book I've ever read, is beautifully written and completely accessible. On top of that, it is historically accurate and informative!
Cruzon is as headstrong and brave as he was in the first book. He will do whatever it takes to be independent and free. In Forge that means enlisting in the army, which is the last thing he said he'd ever do, but it is the only option to keep from returning to servitude. Within the army, he finds allies like he's never had before, but also enemies like he has known. With his troop, he embarks on one of the hardest winters ever for American military, Valley Forge, where hardships are worse than we can even imagine!
One thing that I truly loved throughout the book is the multiple weavings of "forge" and what it means. There's the meaning as described in the Goodread's summary: "the tale of what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own path in a world of obstacles." Then within the book, they also use it in its truest meaning: to shape metal by heating and hammering. And then of course: Valley Forge.
(The next book in the series, Ashes, will be out October 1, 2011.)
Read Together: 4 - 12
Read Alone: 6 - 12
Read With: Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson, Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes, My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier, Meet Felicity by Valerie Tripp, The Winter of Red Snow by Kristiana Gregory
Snatch of Text: "Gunpowder smoked covered the field like heavy fog, turning men into ghostly smudges. The fire erupting from the musket barrels looked like exploding lanterns, and then there was more smoke. Unseen cannons blasted without cease, shaking the ground and splintering the air with unholy roars. The commands of officers were matched by the screams of the wounded and panicked whinnying of terrified horses, and underneath all of the layer of sound, the drums pounded like the heartbeat of a tremendous beast." (p. 22)
"'No, blunderhead,' Silvenus said. 'This camp is a forge for the army; it's testing our mettle. Instead of heat and hammer, our trials are cold and hunger. Question is, what are we made of?'" (p. 121)
"March melted into April, and Valley Forge reeked of the foul stench of rotting horseflesh and the thawed privy trenches that had been filled by ten thousand soldiers. The noxious miasma caused birds to fly around the encampment instead of over it." (p. 209)
Reading Strategies to Practice: Asking questions, Making connections, Vocabulary, Looking for Details, Making Inferences, Predicting, Background Knowledge
Writing Strategies to Practice: Descriptive, Figurative Language, Primary Sources
Writing Prompts: Is it ever okay to steal?; Write about a time in your life where you suffered (physically or emotionally). How were you able to make it through?; The living conditions of Valley Forge were horrendous. What would you have done to pass the time?; Would you risk everything to be free?
Topics Covered: Integration- History, Revolutionary War, Slavery, Adventure, Adversity, Challenges, Courage, Death, Fear, Heroes, Prejudice, War