Inquiry Project

Hello! Welcome to my Inquiry Project presentation. My project is about stories about children who do not look like the Pevensies (white, able-bodied, living in England during World War II) going on magical adventures in magical lands. It’s important for children of every sort to see themselves in fantasy books and imagine themselves going to fantasy worlds, even though the sliding glass door in this case might have to stay firmly as a fictional one.

In this project, I would have students break into five groups (possibly divided by reading level, or have them choose which book they wanted to read) and read one of five books: Aru Shah and the End of Time (yellow), Dragons in A Bag (purple), Breadcrumbs (green), Midsummer’s Mayhem (blue), or Furthermore (red).

In Aru Shah and the End of Time, the titular Aru Shah goes on a magical journey through the Kingdom of Death with her soul sister, Mini, to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers from the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata. I compiled some questions to ask during the book club, and a project to do before or after reading the book; a presentation about Who’s Who in Hindu mythology!

In Dragons in a Bag, Jaxon is sent to spend the day with a mean old lady who turns out to be a witch, who needs his help transporting baby dragons to a magical world, using the magical Guardhouse, which can take you anywhere in space or time. There’s some questions for the book club here, and at the end of the book club, there’s a short project based on imagination about what might be in your own bag (including but not limited to dragons).

In Furthermore, Alice goes from one magical world to a wholly different magical world, Ferenwood, one that is only a myth, to find her father. In the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be right and very, very, wrong, Alice learns how to find herself, and how to be different in a way that she can live with, never mind everyone else. After the book club, students will learn how to make an origami fox (the villain and/or helper from Ferenwood) and discuss what role the fox played in the story, as well as inventing their own Furthermore village.

In Breadcrumbs, Hazel goes on a magical adventure in the woods to rescue her friend Jack, in a reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”. There’s a number of projects for students to choose from after reading this book, including reading the original Snow Queen and making a chart of the connections between the Snow Queen and Breadcrumbs.

In Midsummer’s Mayhem, Mimi is drawn into the woods behind her house by a strangely familiar song, and these woods seem more magical than usual. In a retelling of Midsummer Night’s Dream, Mimi uncovers the mystery behind the magical woods and the mischief that’s going on in her own life. This book has a strong emphasis on food, and one of the activities after is to make the recipes from the back of the book, and to use descriptive words to describe those treats or your favorite treat.

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