As you may have noticed I love historical fiction! In my opinion, it is the genre that gives the gift of both fiction and nonfiction reading. Historical fiction has fictional literary elements (characters, setting, plot, rising action, climax, resolution, etc.) and hints of nonfiction learning such as details about the time period the story is taking place. Because I frequently use historical fiction with my students, I have many texts and strategies pertaining to this genre that I can't wait to share with you. In fact, this month I will also be sharing a symbolism mini-unit using four different picture books set during World War II and a strategy lesson for improving historical fiction comprehension. Today I am sharing a graphic organizer for a character development activity of Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood in honor of Black History Month.
Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood
This is the story of Gloriana June Hemphill (Glory). Set in Hanging Moss, Mississippi in 1964 (the Freedom Summer in the South). The segregated public pool in town is closed, much to the dismay of Glory. This summer brings lots of soul searching for Glory as she examines the motives for the town pool closing. She questions the actions and words of her best friend Frankie, and the influence his racist father has on him and the rest of the community. Glory learns about trust, acceptance and speaking-up for others as she befriends Laura, the new girl from the North.
When I first read Glory Be what struck me immediately was the richness of the interesting and unique characters. This novel is perfect for analyzing characters, their relationships and interactions with each other. The main character Glory has a major change from her simplistic way of thinking at the start of the book to really seeing the big picture of what is going on in her community and the country by the end of the novel. Glory begins to understand what racism is and what she can do to stand up for what she believes is right. She grows and learns about herself from her interactions with almost every character in the book.
Character Development Activity
My students use this book during our historical fiction unit as one of their literature circle book options. Along with recording talking points to discuss with their small group, I have my students take notes about Glory Be on the Character Study Graphic Organizer available for download.
This organizer is set-up into two sections. I ask students to record their thinking about the characters during the first half of the book in section one, and then, to record their thinking about the characters during the second half of the book in the second section. What this simple, yet powerful, organizer does is provide students with a clear visual to notice 'character change' from the beginning of the book to the end of the book.