133. The Well by Mildred D. Taylor
Retell: During a drought, the Logan family shares water from their well with anyone who needs it, be they white or black. Hammer, the narrator’s brother, finds it difficult to share with the Simms family who have tormented the Logans for being black. After Hammer defends his brother David and beats up Charlie Simms, he and David are forced to work on the Simms’ farm to avoid jail. Hammer, however, never quite manages to swallow his pride and gets involved in another altercation that causes Charlie to take revenge.
Topics: drought, racism, segregation, bullying, fighting, family
Units of Study: Historical Fiction, Talking and Writing About Texts, Social Issues
Tribes: mutual respect, right to pass, appreciations/no put-downs
Habits of Mind: managing impulsivity
Reading Strategies: inference, synthesis, interpretation, envisionment
My Thoughts: I’ve been trying to locate shorter chapter books to read aloud. I’m finding that some of my favorite chapter books are too long to complete before the end of a unit. The Well is short, only 92 pages and can be completed within a month-long unit. I think this could be a great book to read if a class is struggling with the issue of revenge. In this story, Hammer cannot control his temper. The situation is extremely unfair, and you empathize with Hammer for fighting with Charlie. But on the other hand, his decision to take revenge led to his family’s well getting poisoned. It raises the question whether or not it’s better to fight back with violence or fight back in other ways.
Entry filed under: African-American Authors, Chapter books, Female Authors. Tags: appreciations/no put-downs, bullying, drought, envisionment, family, fighting, historical fiction, inference, interpretation, managing impulsivity, mutual respect, racism, right to pass, segregation, social issues, synthesis, talking and writing about texts.