"This teacher's guide gives many wonderful suggestions of how to integrate subjects with the historical content of this novel. . .[and] suggests questions that challenge higher level thinking."—Susan Elliott, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Quinnipiac University; Literacy and Curriculum Development This guide is for Dorothea Jensen's award-winning (Literary Classics, Purple Dragonfly, eLit Awards, etc.) historical novel for young readers, A Buss from Lafayette. It contains bulletin board ideas, vocabulary exercises, varied student handouts, puzzles, games, reading comprehension quizzes, discussion questions, and both individual and class projects. Its cross-curricular activities include language arts/reading, social studies, mathematics, health/safety, art, music, dance, drama, recipes, and suggestions for real and virtual field trips. A full answer key is provided.
The main topics covered are the American Revolution, Lafayette's role in our War of Independence, Lafayette's Farewell Tour of America in 1824-5, and everyday life and customs in rural America in the 1820s.
Dorothea Jensen is proud to be one of a very few people who has boarded a pirate ship and attacked a Viking vessel manned by real Vikings wearing horns and furs. She was born in Boston, but grew up in Chillicothe, Illinois, site of the Viking adventure. She then earned a BA in English from Carleton College and an MA in Secondary Education from the University of New Mexico. She has served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South America, taught middle and high school English, tutored refugees in ESL, written grant proposals for various arts organizations, written a play performed in Noh style, and raised three children.
Her first historical novel for young readers, THE RIDDLE OF PENNCROFT FARM, has been used in classrooms for many years as an enrichment resource for kids studying the American Revolution. Her next novel, A BUSS FROM LAFAYETTE, is set in 1825 in the small town in New Hampshire where she has lived since 1991.
Dorothea also writes modern Christmas stories in verse. Modeled on the 19th century classic poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas", these award-winning Santa's Izzy Elves story poems feature decidedly 21st century elves savvy in modern technology.
As a young reader, I loved nothing more than historical fiction. Luckily for me, some GREAT h.f. books came out when I was exactly the right age to read them. THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND, THE SHERWOOD RING, CALICO CAPTIVE, etc. all appeared when I was in 8th grade or soon thereafter. I am certain that these books engendered the passion for history that impels me to write this kind of story myself. There is no question that embedding a compelling fictional plot within accurate events of the past (although tricky to do) actually does bring the past to life for young readers. To this day, when I visit the setting of a h.f. book I love, I get a thrill finding spots mentioned in the stories I read 60+ years ago. Last year I went to Quebec City for the first time. I spent much of my time there dragging my husband around to find places where the fictional Miriam Willard lived or worked when a captive there during the French and Indian Wars. It suddenly struck me that readers of A BUSS FROM LAFAYETTE might someday do the same kind of search in Hopkinton, my very own New Hampshire town, where this story is set.
A Buss From Lafayette Teacher’s Guide
Clara Hargraves, a witty, spunky, fourteen-year-old girl, has a couple of big problems: she has a new stepmother (who used to be her old maid schoolteacher aunt), and she has red hair (which means she is constantly teased). During the last week of June 1825, her small New Hampshire town is abuzz about the Revolutionary War hero Lafayette’s visit to the state. What she learns about him and from him just might show Clara that her problems are not quite so terrible after all.