Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cleopatra's Moon

Cleopatra's MoonTitle: Cleopatra's Moon
Author: Vicky Alvear Schecter
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication Date: August, 2011
Genre/Format: Historical Fiction/Novel
Goodreads Summary: Selene has grown up in a palace on the Nile with her parents, Cleopatra & Mark Antony--the most brilliant, powerful rulers on earth. But the jealous Roman Emperor Octavianus wants Egypt for himself, & when war finally comes, Selene faces the loss of all she's ever loved. Forced to build a new life in Octavianus's household in Rome, she finds herself torn between two young men and two possible destinies--until she reaches out to claim her own.

This stunning novel brings to life the personalities & passions of one of the greatest dramas in history, & offers a wonderful new heroine in Selene.

What I Think: Once again, a historical fiction novel that taught me as much as entertained me. And it taught me A LOT. Before reading this novel, I had some very basic knowledge of Cleopatra and Marc Anthony and none about their children or the crazy war with August (Octavianus) Cesaer; so, my background knowledge of this time period was quite weak. Now, this both helped and hurt my interest in the novel. It helped because I wanted to finish the book. I truly wanted to know what happened and get to the end and learn as much as I could. It hurt because it took me a long time to read this book because for me it was slow going- not because of the plot or story, but because of my lack of background knowledge (I wish I'd read Shecter's nonfiction book about Cleopatra first). For the first half of the book, there were many Wikipedia searches and flipping back to the character list that is provided at the front of the book. As you can imagine, this really slowed down the reading for me. However, once I got into the swing of things (and that happened for a bit while the book was set in Egypt and again for the last half set in Rome), the book was quick. It is scandalous and sexy and full of revenge and mythology- GOOD STUFF!  

Now, as a teacher: I would love to share this with world history teachers! There are some great parts that would add to any curriculum! And the author's notes really sum up everything nicely.

Read Together: Grades 7 to 12
Read Alone: Grades 8 to 12
Read With: Cleopatra nonfiction books, Nonfiction books by Vicky Alvear Shector such as Cleopatra Rules! and Alexander the Great
Snatch of Text: 
 I will follow you, Mother, as I will follow Isis, unto my death, I swore to her then. May I live as you live, may I rule as you rule, may I die as you die. (p. 35) 

"But it did not take long for everyone to learn that it had been all for show.  Mother had not 'won' at Actium; she had merely broken through the enemy's blockade. Father had broken through with her buth then sailed for Libya to prepare his legions there to engage the enemy on land. We - along with all of Alexandria - only learned the truth of Mother's ruse after she executed traitors, those who had secretly and not so secretly supported Octavianus."  (p. 55)
Mentor Text for: Writing a historical fiction novel, Characterization, Background knowledge, Plot Development, Flashback
Writing Prompts: What aspects of history did you learn about in Cleopatra's Moon? What did you find to be the most interesting part of history that you learned about. 
Topics Covered: Curriculum connections- Social Studies/World History, Egyptian Mythology, Family, War, Fitting in, Alliances, Enemies, Choices


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