Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Watch that Ends the Night

The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the TitanicTitle: The Watch that Ends the Night
Author: Allan Wolf
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: October 2011
Genre/Format: Historical Fiction/Novel in Verse
Summary: Told from 24 different perspectives in multiple genres as letters, undertaker's notes, telegrams, forms and booklets but primarily in verse, this harrowing tale takes the reader through the journey that different people took on the Titanic. The points of view range from workers like lookouts and stokers, 3rd class passengers like an immigrant and refugee, 2nd class passengers like a tailor, 1st class passengers like a millionaire and socialite as well as the captain, ship builder, the business man, the ship rat and the iceberg. The story begins on April 1st, 1912 with preparing to sail and ends with the survivors aboard the Carpathia on April 18, 1912.
What I Think: This novel obviously takes the reader through the complete tragedy of the RMS Titanic and the amount of research that Allan Wolf must of done makes this novel not only a wonderful piece of writing, but an essential part of Titanic-lore from now on. I specifically liked how after the story was completed, an afterword was added with Titanic information and a clarification of the fact vs. fiction within the novel specifically when it came to the characters. This novel will be used in classes learning about the Titanic for years to come because of the historical accuracy and the interesting and in-depth way the story is told. It is also a perfect addition to any English Language Arts classroom because it has perfect examples of different types of poetry (each character has their own style), using dialogue in poetry, historical fiction, figurative language and other literary devices and using multiple-genres. I feel that this book is a great way to teach these elements because the Titanic is such a well known topic which would lend well to students connecting with and understanding the text. This book truly makes history come alive.
Read Together: Grades 8 - 12
Read Alone: Grades 9 - 12
Read With: Titanic series by Gordon Korman, I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 by Lauren Tarshis, Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady, RMS Titanic, 1912 by Ellen Emerson White, Exploring the Titanic by Robert Ballard, Any nonfiction book about the Titanic
Snatch of Text: "dash-dash dash-dash-dit dash-dit dash-dash
Looking upward, I imagined the invisible words filling the room.
I watched them swirl about, then fly up and out
through the skylight, past the masts and rigging,
on their way to heaven, I guess-
a kitten's small mewl swallowed up by cold, empty space." (Harold Bride- The Spark p. 42)

"A shadow, cast by my prodigious bulk,
becomes a phantom finger stretching out
to mark the route Titanic's bow needs trace
across the sea's gray-rippled endless face.
The pinnacle of these humans' ingenuity
means nothing to the Iceberg's cold enormity;" (The Iceberg p. 121)

"Reggie Lee and me, nesting like two old married pelicans.
Two hours on and four hours off.
If I was more of a thinkin' man,
this lookout business might drive me batty." (Frederick Fleet- The Lookout p. 129)
Reading Strategies to Practice: Foreshadowing, Making connections, Visualizing, Cause/Effect, Compare/Contrast (primarily the classes), Vocabulary
Writing Strategies to Practice: Figurative language (specifically similes and metaphors), Personification, Onomatopoeia, Imagery
Writing Prompts: What could have been done to avoid the sinking of the RMS Titanic?; Write a poem using the style of one of the characters in the novel.
Topics Covered: Integration- History, Titanic, Classes, Telegrams, Death, Loss, Differences, Family, Immigrant experience
Translated to Spanish: No

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