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Jane Yolen Book Group Discussion

Page history last edited by KimberlyTrott 14 years ago

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Book Review by Kimberly Trott


This review is from: Armageddon Summer (Paperback)

Armageddon by Jane Yolen is a wonderful read for teens. The book opens up by presenting the chapters in an alternating format based on the two main characters who share the events in the story from their points of view. Obviously you will notice that one is a teenage girl and one a teen age boy. From here you start to wonder if they will end up falling in love. The story is a fast paced but interesting series of events that show how people become involved in "religious fanaticism." The novel takes us from the separate lives of two families into the merging of the lives of the main characters.


The story is an end of the world story. The Armageddon event is really used to develop the moral foundations of the characters. Armageddon offers great insights into the actions of people when they believe that the world is going to end.




Harvest Home  Harvest Home by Jane Yolen 

Recommended by Kimberly Barnette.  This is a cute book to do with a unit on different homes and ways of living.  The book describes their life working on their harvest.  Jane goes in detail to tell what everyone does, mother, father, kids, and even the grandparents.  I like how she takes you all the way through the time to when they celebrate with a cook out at the end.  Jane uses the repeating line: "Bringing the harvest home."  She says that line after each type of work or each person's job description.  Very cute book to use in a text set.


The Ballad of the Pirate QueensThe Ballard of The Pirate Queens by Jane Yolen

Recommended by Kimberly Barnette.  This book had a poem like feel to me.  The word structure made it flow with rhythm.  She used alliteration, silver sea, and a sense of imagery was noticed: stinging thistle.  I noticed that she used bold capital letters throughout the story.  She used several repeating lines / phrases.  This was a very cute pirate story.  I can see elementary boys loving this story.



Product DetailsOwl Moon by Jane Yolen 

Recommended by Kimberly Barnette  In this picture book, she uses repitition all through out the book. (like a sad, sad song). She uses onomatopoeia in this book. (crunched)  Jane also uses metaphors like the tree stood still as giant statues to give the reader a visual as they read.  This book shows the students how to transition your story, but doesn't have to actually use transitional words.  This book would be really great as part of your text set in the classroom.



Armageddon Summer Armageddon Summer by Jane Yolen


                                                            Craft Study Thinking by Kimberly Trott


1.  What I noticed in the text:  The title Armageddon signals something of an apocalyptic event within the story. Next, The book is told from two perspectives.  Their stories run parallel to one another in the book and then they finally collide.  Each chapter is alternately told either by the male character Jed or the female character Marina. I noticed that all of the words associated with the followers of the acopolyptic teachings all begin with capital letters throughout the story.  I felt that the beliefs of the two main characters switch by the end of the story.  Originally Marina was a firm believer and by the end Marina was the skeptic and Jed was drawn in by the close relationships the group offered.     


2.  The writer made the book more interesting by giving you two examples of how two unrelated families were drawn into the "cult.'  The capital letters used in the spelling of words make it evident that the 'cult' was different.  By having the story told from two angles; one by a male and one by a female, it is apparent that somehow they are going to meet and become connected. 


3.  Careful selection of title.

     The text also moves through a clear time table of events that are supposed to happen  on a certain day.

     The text moves back and forth between two characters lives that finally collide.  Not sure of the name for this?

     The author using capital letters (the entire word) to draw your attention to words and their relationship to the book.


4.  I really don't recall another text like this.  I don't read this type of material.


5.  I can see using this in a history class.  Having two characters whose lives will eventually become entwined. 



Product Details  Piggins by Jane Yolen


Recommended by Kim Barnette.  This book was a great little mystery read.  This book would be great for teaching dialogue with punctuation.  The first thing I thought of when I read this book was the game clue.  The students can turn this book into a drama.  Jane Yolen does a great job of dialogue.  You feel like you are right their in the middle of the conversation trying to figure out who stole the necklace. 



Product DetailsO Jerusalem By Jane Yolen by Kimberly Trott


The book is a collection of poems about Jerusalem.

Introduction; About Jerusalem, is a geography of the Jerusalem written in a very descriptive format. 

east from the United States, small sliver, lying on the flank

Seventy Thousand Angels the word angel is repeated in the first two lines of all three paragraphs, it is a Muslim viewpoint of Jerusalem

Measures This poem is a rabbinical saying so it is told from the Jewish perspective, This poem is a Jewish view of the nine measures of beauty God gave Jerusalem, hills, wind, wall, blue sky, moriah, olives, cave of the king of kings, dark-haired men, dark-eyed women

Abraham The father of Judaism and Islam they trace their descent from him. Also alot of the words at the end of each sentence in the poem end in words that contain the letter o: dowry, Zion, rock, portion, stone, flocks, goats, willows, south. 

King David's Tomb Repetition  of the phrase,  Before you were..... then it is answered, you were a

Stone Upon Stone Repetition of the phrase, stone upon stone.  Then the rulers or conquers who ruled Jerusalem have their names are stacked upon one another.

Wall 1 and Wall 2  There are two poems about King Solomon's wall or the Wailing Wall; one is the Jewish tradition and the second is the wall's importance to Islam. 

Dome of the Rock This is a poem about the site the Dome of the rock sits upon.  It is sacred to all three religions.  The poem gives three seperate poems with the larger poem, one for each religion and a story about the sites importance to that religion.  The end of the poem shows that this site is now one holy site to all three religions.

Pilgrimage a poem about the Christian pilgrims who risked their lives to enter Jerusalem.

Via Delorosa this poem is about the route taken by Christians (reinacting the steps taken to Jesus' crucifixion),  the route is known as the Via Delatrosa which are called the stations of the cross in Catholicism.

In the Hall of the last Supper  there are questions and answers to the questions in this poem.  It is a poen structured around the four questions customarily asked at the seder meal during Passover.

Tombs The poem is a series of locations.....everywhere, catacombs, graves, sarcophagi, clay jars, wooden caskets, orange-grove gardens, ... that let you know there are more dead than alive in Jerusalem.

Going out the Damascus Gate the story lets you know that you can leave Jerusalem but that it is better to stay because only here you will be reborn with a clean slate.

Tokens from Jerusalem  the poems asks if each pilgrim removes a part of Jerusalem will the city still bear the weight of pilgrims hopes and sorrows?

Jerusalem 3000 The question is asked in this poem will there ever be peace in Jerusalem? 


I found finding patterns in these poems difficult.  I found them difficult to read.  Jane Yolen gives you a detailed summary of the meaning of each poem at the end.  This technique was very helpful because I found the meaning lost in the poems without reference to what she was actually trying to write about.  The book was nicely illustrated with images of the topics presented. 



Product DetailsMother Earth by Yane Yolen by Kimberly Trott

This book contains alot of poems about our Earth.  The book is divided into three sections Celebrate the Earth, Sacrifice the Earth, and Save the Earth.  The poems in this book are an anthology of other authors poems such as C.S. Lewis, and John Keats and others.  I will comment on those written in the section by Jane Yolen. 


She does not have one in the Celebrate the Earth section so I chose the poem Timesweep by Carl Sandburg, This poem is a repition of two lines, there is only one horse on the earth, there is only one bird in the air; next the sentence begins and his name is ______________, and his name is _______________.  The poem goes from a single concept to a dual concept, one horse then All Horses, one bird, All Wings.... it end with the line they are named All God's Children.  I would envision this to be a creation poem... a shorter version of Genesis.


In Sacrifice the Earth by Jane Yolen her poem is titled Okeechobee    I imagine this to be a poem about the Lake Okeechobee in Florida.  The poem gives us the human view on the reasons for draining the lake, condominiums, jet-ports, etc...  Yet, it also gives us the toll development will take, herons and gallinules proclaim invasion, deer are gone, bass on the fry, ... is it worth the loss of these species?


Finally, in Save the Earth, Jane writes Oh World, I Wish  This poem is well done,  she is personifing the earth in the same manner a mother, father, brother, sister and family care for one another.  The line...Oh World, I wish you were my mother, For I would spread my fingers out, Against your earth face....fell you body warm by mine, taste your silky streams.  ....I wish you were my father, ...burrow into your marshes....feel my face against yours, woody and barkish and rough.  I wish you were my brothers, ...wish you were my sisters, ...play in the long grass...swing it like hair. 


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