Our 8th grade Social Studies classes begin their unit on African history with Lit circles: students read Historical Fiction novels or narrative nonfiction in small groups as a way to spark inquiry and develop empathy. Because there are a group of students who've experienced the same book and the history behind it, we saw this as a great opportunity to meet the books' authors. This week we were lucky enough to meet and speak with Jan Coates, the author of A Hare in the Elephant's Trunk . As a group we created, discussed and assigned wonder questions for Mrs. Coates in addition to reviewing procedures and responsibilities related to participating in a virtual conversation.
The experience was informative and enjoyable for all those involved. We learned that Mrs Coates lives in a small college town in Canada. Her local newspaper asked her to set up an interview in order to write an article about a Lost Boy from Sudan who was now attending the college. We learned that by the end of the interview, both Mrs. Coates and Jacob Den were in tears, and that this interview was the inspiration for her novel.
I especially love a quote form Mrs. Coates' thank you for our visit; she wrote, "The traveling potential of books was something I hadn't thought of before being published." Thank you Jan Coates for your time and inspiration!
Courtesy of AllSides.com