Friday, September 7, 2012

One Dead Spy

Title: Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy
Author: Nathan Hale
Illustrator: Nathan Hale
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Publication Date: August 1, 2012
Genre/Format: Nonfiction/Graphic Novel
Goodreads Summary: Nathan Hale, the author’s historical namesake, was America’s first spy, a Revolutionary War hero who famously said “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” before being hanged by the British. In the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series, author Nathan Hale channels his namesake to present history’s roughest, toughest, and craziest stories in the graphic novel format.
     One Dead Spy tackles the story of Hale himself, who was an officer and spy for the American rebels during the Revolutionary War. Author Hale highlights the unusual, gruesome, and just plain unbelievable truth of historical Nathan Hale—from his early unlucky days at Yale to his later unlucky days as an officer—and America during the Revolutionary War.
What I Think: I really enjoyed this book. I'm loving this new trend of nonfiction graphic novels. I think that it will really help get more students reading nonfiction. 
     Nathan Hale, the author/illustrator who was born in 1976, tells us the story of Nathan Hale, the American Revolutionary spy who died in 1776, in a fun, humorous yet informative way in this new graphic novel. What makes this informational graphic novel the most unique, I believe, is its format. It is set up as a conversation between Hale, the hangman and a British officer who has taken Hale to be executed. Hale is our narrator and the hangman and officer add comments and are quite hilarious. This story is more than just a biography of Hale, it really goes through much of the early American Revolution as it follows Hale's career. Also, at the end of the GN, there is a mini-tale about Crispus Attucks, one of the men who died at the Boston Massacre, which was a nice addition. 
     Overall, I liked how it was drawn and written. It'll be one I definitely will want for my classroom.
Read Together: Grades 4 to 7
Read Alone: Grades 5 to 8
Read With: Nonfiction books about the American Revolution, Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, Crogan's Loyalty by Chris Schweizer
Snatch of Text: 
Mentor Text for: Humor, Paneling, Dialogue, Research
Writing Prompts: In One Dead Spy the officer and Nathan Hale disagree with who caused the American Revolution and who is at fault- Americans or British. Why did Americans feel like they needed to revolt against the British? Why did the British feel like the Americas belonged to them?; Do you think the humor in Nathan Hale's graphic novel helped make the history more interesting? What was your favorite funny part from the book? 
Topics Covered: American Revolution, War, Spying, Boston Massacre
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