A colleague recommended Jennifer Richard Jacobson's novel Small as an Elephant, and I have been reading it this afternoon and evening, all the while thinking how comfortable it feels to know a bit about the places mentioned. When eleven-year-old Jack talks about the campground on Mount Desert Island (Acadia National Park), I can picture it. As he walks around Bar Harbor, I envision the streets. His visit to the beach on Echo Lake and his viewing of tidepools on the shore are familiar to me.
With students, I stress activating their background knowledge when they read. Mine was active throughout this book. It will be an excellent title to add to the Survival list for fourth graders.