"Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education." ~ Charlotte Mason

Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Club Sharing Monday - Jason's Gold

January's Book Club selection was the historical fiction: Jason's Gold.  This book is set in the era of the gold rush to the Klondike.  A young boy (15) decides to embark to Alaska for the promise of gold found in the river near Dawson City.  He plans to go home and ask for his brothers to help sponsor him for this grand adventure but upon returning home finds that both his brothers have already set out for the Klondike and with his part of the inheritance!  Through a letter they left for him, they assure him they will share their gold with him but Jason is disheartened as he wanted to participate in this adventure himself.  All his time and energy go in to catching up with his brothers and getting himself to 'The Golden City' (Dawson City) to earn his share of the riches.  The book details the people, obstacles and challenges he must face along the way for the promise of gold in the river.  He meets all sorts of people from robbers to shady fellows, to adventures, to those who help him, to mysterious figures and to his loyal, loving friend King (a husky).  Some of the characters he meets are people who actually lived through the gold rush to the Klondike, including famous author Jack London and Royal Mounty Col. Sam Steele.  

This book started out slowly and didn't capture my children's attention right away.  They complained a bit at first as the other books we had previously read had them from the first chapter.  I encouraged them to persevere through a couple more chapters before making a judgement.  Sure enough, they were begging for me to read more and more each day.  What I appreciate about this book is that it did not hold back on the reality of how difficult it was for those who participated in the Klondike gold run.  It was a hard, pain staking journey that was often frought with danger.  The Chilkoot pass was not an easy pass to climb and many gave up because of how difficult it was to climb.  The gold rushers needed to make their own canoes, risk starvation, injury, scurvy, harsh winter conditions and whatnot to get to their destination.  All of this only to find that the gold was gone by the time they got there.  I felt like Jason's Gold gave the kids a true picture of the dangers and excitement of the Gold Rush to the Klondike.

Book Club

I run the junior division of a children's book club, the ages range from 7-11, and there are 16 kids in my group.  It has honestly been one of the highlights of the school year for both me and my children!  Wonderful time to encourage the kids to develop narration skills in a group setting while reading good literature!

The kids at book club all enjoyed the book!  They were eager to answer the questions and chat about the book.  I asked them questions like:  Who was your favorite character, least favorite character and why?  What parts of the book did you enjoy most, what parts did you enjoy least?  How do you think it will feel to be Jason?  What would it be like to live in that time?  We talked about how much food the gold rushers had to carry, what it would be like to climb the pass, build a canoe, brave the rapids of rivers and portage canoes and supplies across land.  We also did some map work, talked about what characters were not fiction and which ones were.  We delved a bit into the Mounties, I read a loud from The Mounties Canada Discovery Series Book to give them a taste for how the Mounties came to be and what their responsibilities were.

The hands on activity for book club was to make a canoe!  The Gold Rushers had to make their own canoes so I thought this activity would be good for the kids to do.  I got the idea from The National Park Services list of activities for the Klondike area.  That was a good site with lots of good ideas ranging from drawing a character, journal writing, creating a gimmick for the Klondike era and many other activities.  

The canoes were made from card board boxes, glue, tape, popsicle sticks, and dowel.  The kids had a great time cutting out their canoes and making them.  Some of them tried them out in the water when they got home. :)  It was a great way to end off the book club.

Building their canoes!
Working on the details!

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