This must have been my fantasy summer. I'm usually not a fan of the fantasy genre, but this summer, many of the middle grade and young adult books that I read were fantasies. And one of my favorite fantasies was Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh.
This Newbery winner is an enchanting tale and a great teaching tool for illustrating the importance of world-building in any novel. This is a clear example of setting driving the story in much the same way that geography shapes history. (Mrs. Frisby must move from her winter home if she and her children are to survive.) Starting with the author's description of the winter home on page four, the relevance of setting to the action is evident throughout this book.
It is easy to speculate that this 1975 publication has probably launched many a school year and lay the foundation of lessons on the literary element of setting. However, this classic is also very timely in the way in which it lends itself to the Common Core Standards adopted in 45 states. After reading this novel, students can write an argument for or against the use of animals in research and experiments. (Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.) Now that is writing that can stand the test of time!
Literacy Connections Blog