Aleutian Sparrow Reader Response

Posted on April 29, 2008. Filed under: Reader Response |

Pre-reading-website browsing:
I was completely amazed and taken aback while exploring these sites before reading the book. I can’t believe I never knew that a war took place on our own soil without even knowing about it. I also can’t believe that these people were put in internment camps and it was happening here in the United States! This completely reminds me of the Holocaust and it honestly scares the mess out of me! I can’t believe I haven’t heard about any of this until just recently in this class. I honestly didn’t even know that the Aleutian islands existed until I opened the first page to look at what this book would be somewhat about. Ofcourse, I knew what this book was about due to Dr. Frye’s synopsis in class last Tuesday, but the map on the first page gave me a more detailed idea about where this all occurred and why I didn’t even know about it. However, it still isn’t a good enough reason to not know about the Aleutian Islands and the troubled times they went through in the first place. I hope that reading this book will help me have a better understanding about what happened during this war and how the Aleuts felt at that time. I also hope I get a better realization of the things they went through so I can help others learn about it as well. I feel really sad about all of this and I’m not exactly sure of what I’m getting myself into yet but I guess I’ll soon find out.


A. Aleutian Sparrow

B. Hesse, Karen

C. McGillivary, Kim

D. Aladdin Paperbacks and 2005

E. Historical Fiction

F. Grade (4th-6th)

G. Summary: This amazing book was about how the local Aleut people began to live their peaceful lives on the Aleutian Islands. These islands happen to be just off the coast of Alaska. The main character in this book is a young girl named Vera who tells her version of what happened in the war of how the Japanese attacked her home in the Aleutian Islands. She was taken away into these camps where she had to leave most of her beloved possessions behind including her pets like her chickens as well as photographs she greatly treasured. She discusses how there is no privacy and how not only completely awkward it was but also how she disliked it so much because she was taken away from her home without really knowing why other than the fact that she knew a war was going on.

H. This book left me completely shocked and speechless. I honestly don’t know what to get to first, whether how still angry I was because I had never heard about this before or how it is talked about which such ease. This book reminded me so much of learning about the holocaust and how devastating the whole time period sounded. I just can’t possibly imagine what it must be like to be taken away from your family and friends, not knowing if you would ever see them again. I thought about all of the things I am so grateful for and how much I take for granted on a regular basis. I have been blessed in so many ways, just by being here at Appalachian, its such a blessing this blog wouldn’t even be able to begin to describe how grateful I am. I also thought about alot of things I want to do with this in the classroom and how hopefully I would be able to help my students see things from a different perspective.

I. Teaching Ideas: There are so many ideas that can go along with this one book but obviously one of the main things is to discuss and or research the tragedies that happened with the wars on the Aleutian Islands and how that has affected the United States to this day. I also think it would be interesting to see the kids try to relate this to the Holocaust if they were of the age to be able to read the diaries of Anne Frank. I know that they are totally two different ideas but both discuss the idea of camps and how people were forced away from their homes. All of the ideas we did in class about the quizzes of what our favorite things are and what we wouldn’t be able to leave the house without etc., I think would be a neat idea to do with the class. The where I’m from poems would also be really neat to do with the class as well. Lastly I think it would be a neat idea to do this around the time of Thanksgiving and that could be incorporated with learning about how to be grateful and what kids all over the world are grateful for.

I think this can definitely help kids grasp a reality of the historical events because a girl is narrating this who is near to their age, so they would be able to somewhat relate. I also think that we as teachers can help kids recognize all the wrongdoings in the world and by having them read books like this they would hopefully feel empowered to go out and conquer whatever their hearts desire. I also think that by doing activities within the class of how these books may make them feel and what they would do in these situations of girls like Vera in Aleutian Sparrow, this may help them to become more compassionate. I think its important to help kids realize that we are all different from eachother by our different cultures, physical and mental features as well as our various talents and abilities, or disabilities. We should help kids to understand that we are all different but thats beneficial because then we can all learn from eachother as one.


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