“The weight of history hangs on Joe’s shoulders
as he ducks through ropes…”
But just as the fight is about to begin, the author, writing now in the past tense, takes us back in time. We learn the story of Joe Louis and how he became a hero for his Harlem neighborhood. We learn the importance of this fight and how it came to represent America’s war with Germany. And then, once again, we are watching as Joe Louis defeats Schmeling.
“The streets of Harlem once again dancing
for their hero
But all of America dancing this time”
Butterfly Tree (2011, Peachtree) by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Leslie Wu tells the story of a young girl who experiences a wonder of nature - the migration of monarch butterflies - as she is out walking along the beach with her mother in early fall. In the author’s note found at the end of the story, Sandra Markle lets us in the inspiration for the book – a personal experience with migrating monarch butterflies. What a wonderful example for young readers about using their memories to fashion stories. As with A Nation' Hope, the use of the first person and present tense pulls the reader in from the very beginning of the book. The author provides additional information about monarchs and several books and websites where more information can be found. This is a book that creates a sense of wonder and excitement, then helps the reader continue the journey.
I think there are lots of writing, reading and cross-curricular lesson opportunities with A Nation's Hope and Butterfly Tree. They are both beautiful books that I think should find a place in your school, classroom, or personal libraries.