Encounter

Bibliographic Information: Yolen, Jane, and David Shannon. Encounter. San Diego: Voyager Books, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1996. Print.

Brief Annotation: A young Taino boy has a prophetic dream of mysterious visitors coming to his land. When these mysterious white men actually arrive, the boy warns his people not to welcome them, but is pushed aside because he is young.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Grade Level: 3-5

Readers who will like this: Children who are interested in American history; children who enjoy poetic language; children who prefer books from the point of view of children.

Rating/Response: 5 The writing is very powerful and has lots of descriptive imagery. This book offers a point of view that isn’t usually told in the story of Columbus’ arrival in 1492.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What do you know about Christopher Columbus coming to America? How do you think the Native Americans felt? Specifically, how do you think the children understood the situation?

Reading Strategy: Visualization, Social Studies

Rationale for Strategy: The book would obviously make a very powerful Social Studies lesson, but additionally, there are many beautiful passages describing the boy’s dreamlike perception of the new visitors. You could read the story without showing the pictures, asking students to make illustrations based on the words they hear, then compare to the book. It would really put the students in the same shoes as the boy in the story and help them see what he saw.

Posted by: Caitlin Miller

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