Today, I got the kids hooked on Ray Bradbury. I read the kids two of my favourite short stories, “A Sound of Thunder” and “Dark They Were, And Golden Eyed.” In the first story, Eckels signs up for a “Time Safari” and heads off into the past to shoot a dinosaur. He steps off of the prescribed pathyway, however, and what happens there effects a palpable transformation of his home on his return. In the second tale, a family immigrates to Mars, only to be slowly transformed from human to martian. The kids liked the father of the family’s heightened consciousness and his longer-held resistance to the transformation.
The kids sketched in their Yesterday Books as I read the story. Then, we did something similar to our Re-telling Beowulf project from the beginning of the summer. First, I had the kids sit down for 15 minutes and think of a dystopian setting as well as a heroic character living in that dystopia. I gave them examples from the story to consider, as well as popular faves like The Hunger Games and Divergent. I had them sketch out or pre-write the details of that dystopia as well as its main character in their books. Finally, I had them improvise a “teaser” for the start of the novel by speaking it aloud, and I typed it out for all of you readers. I am hoping that this little exercise will be the basis for a larger project of inventing a dystopia and writing a hero story over the course of the fall, for our sister site The Lunchbox Season.
Below, you’ll find pics of the kids’ sketches of Bradbury’s stories, followed by their own improvised “Dystopian Novel ‘Teasers'”
Dystopian Novel ‘Teasers’:
T’s work in progress: Nugget
Once there was a boy named Airside, and he had a dog named Nugget. His planet’s name was Aerounsies. They didn’t like their home planet because everybody has to die when they turn 18. One day, they decided that they would go to Mars. But, the people of Mars didn’t want let them land because they didn’t like the Aerounsie people. So they had to force their way to Mars with taser guns. Suddenly, Aerounsies blew up. They were stranded on Mars for the rest of their lives. The aliens on Mars originally looked weird to Airside and Nugget. They had they had three horns, their bodies were made of grass, and no eyes. But, they strangely turned into humans like the ones on Aerounsies as time went on. This made Airside and Nugget nervous, because the human-martians were going to want to kill them when they turned 18, just like on Aeronsies. So, Airside and Nugget decided they wanted to leave Mars. But when they started to leave Mars, time froze. Everything went silent. And nothing moved again except for Airside and Nugget. What will Airside and Nugget do next?
Bea’s work in Progress: Io, the World of War [Possible Sequel title: Io, the World Beyond the Gates]
Years ago, Diana’s father Rupert and her mother Anastatsia escaped from Earth when there was a terrible plague. The civilization went to Io, one of the moons of Saturn [yes, I know that’s different from us, it’s jupiter’s moon, here on real Earth]. Years ago, Io had volcanoes. But now they were just mountains in the distance. Nobody really knew if the mountains were still in action or not, but they assumed they were safe. Now they lived in three towns supposedly named after people who stayed on earth and died courageously to get the people safely to Io and out of the plague. Each town was confined to a certain living based on the peoples’ personality. Agworth the brave, Cecile the farmer, and Tom the Truthful. [It was all I could come up with in 5 minutes]. Each year, if you were 12 years old, you would fight for your tribe so they would have food. [Sound familiar?] When it came time for Diana to fight for Agworth, she didn’t’ want to fight, but she didn’t’ want to let down her tribe either. She stole some food from Cecile. That got her in big trouble with the government of all tribes. She was banished from all cities with her friend Emily, from Cecile, who supposedly helped her steal from her OWN tribe. What will Diana and Emily find outside of civilization?