Thanks again, for the cool meme, Styling Librarian.
Today’s book, Abduction by Peg Kehret, takes us all the way back to the year 2006. I am revisiting it now because my intervention “group” of two eighth-grade girls is currently reading it and enjoying it immensely. It’ one of those books that I booktalk all the time because I “know” it so well, and it introduces middle school students to a solid middle grade author. So when I found out that it matched my students’ reading levels, I was happy to offer it as a choice.
The students were intrigued, of course, by the horrific plot of the story. Six-year-old Matt is abducted from school one day, and his eleven-year-old sister, Bonnie, decides the police just aren’t doing enough so she attempts to find Matt on her own, putting herself in great danger, too. Thrilling, right? It’s no wonder they chose it.
As I said before, I “know” the book so well, that I haven’t re-read it since 2006–until now. And I am completely struck at how chilling it is–and the number of details that I hadn’t remembered. For example, the reader knows who the kidnapper is from the beginning, because every other chapter is told from his point of view. Denny is Matt’s biological father, a gambler who was married to Bonnie’s mother for only a short while, leaving before Matt was even born. He is clearly mentally ill, as he speaks of not taking his meds and wanting to take Matt because he is jealous of his brother’s happy family. His plan to capture Matt is sinister, including stealing the family dog, Pookie, first to lure Matt into his car. And when Matt wants to call his mother, Denny fake-dials and then tells Matt that his sister and mother have died in a car crash. Unsettling stuff, for sure–and that’s just the first seven or eight chapters.
This book is definitely lending itself to teaching the strategies of questioning, inferring, and predicting. And these strategies are coming up naturally along the way as they read, so my mini-lessons are flowing very well. It has given the girls lots to talk about, including making the connection to discussing a missing teenage girl in our community. And best of all, they look forward to reading the book, even asking to stay a couple of minutes late when they are near the end of the chapter.
So what has revisiting Abduction taught me? That some books I think I “know” so well still need to be revisited from time to time so they remain fresh. That the success of a reading intervention group may hinge on the book selected. And that providing quality, engaging literature should be my first aim as an interventionist, just as it is my aim as a librarian.