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Summer Explorer Series: Sizzlin' Summer of Reading (Part II)

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Here is part two of the PBS Sizzlin’ Summer of Reading series, featuring content focused on reading, writing and notable authors. Encourage students to explore all summer long with these sizzlin’ resources from PBS LearningMedia, the go-to destination for year-round learning.

Julia Alvarez | Video | 4-13+
Julia Alvarez, author of “How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent” was the daughter of a political dissident from the Dominican Republic. When the family sought a new life in the U.S. it was more than just a change of address. Writing became the place for her to process a clash of cultures, generations and languages. Here she describes how her experiences informed her as a writer and person. As her mother says, “El papel lo aguanta todo.” Paper holds everything.

Toni Morrison | Video | 6-13+
With this report on a stage production of an acclaimed novel, discover how a novel can take on a significantly different tone when it is turned into an opera in this glimpse into the operatic staging of Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved.

Tim O’Brien Recalls Vietnam | Lesson Plan | 6-13+
Marking the 20th anniversary of its publication, author Tim O’Brien reads an excerpt from “The Things They Carried,” a novel about the experience of a group of soldiers in the Vietnam War.

Author Unlocks Diary of Anne Frank | Video | 6-13+
Discover the work of author Francine Prose in this interview with the writer about her new book, “Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife.”


Harriet Beecher Stowe | Video | 8-12
In this video adapted from American Experience: “The Abolitionists,” featuring historical reenactments, learn about the impact of novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe on the abolitionist movement. Stowe was an author whose commitment to the abolitionist cause was strengthened after passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850. She responded with the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, an immediate best seller that was credited with “putting a human face on slavery” and ultimately helping launch the Civil War.

The Use of Soliloquy
| Videos | 8-12

In this series of videos from Shakespeare Uncovered, students explore the use of soliloquy as a device to reveal character and advance plot. They consider how using soliloquy perhaps more truthfully exposes character than other devices like dialogue. In addition, students focus particularly on the famous soliloquy in Hamlet, “To be or not to be,” and discuss how and why the topics of his speech are best explored through soliloquy.

A Song Born in Protest | Video | 9-12
In the late 1930s, Abel Meeropol, son of Russian Jewish immigrants and a high school English teacher in the Bronx neighborhood where he was born, wrote a poem entitled Strange Fruit. This video discusses how the poem would later be performed by the legendary Billie Holiday as a song of protest, bringing national attention to the crime of lynching.

The Color Purple | Video | 9-12
Alice Walker chose to write The Color Purple as a series of letters in the spoken vernacular of the characters. This video from Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth explores the significance of Walker’s decision to use this form and style of writing to convey the realities of African American life in the South in the first half of the 20th century.

J.D. Salinger | Videos | 9-12
This media gallery from American Masters: Salinger features a series of videos that explores how Salinger felt about his writing, his struggle to be published in The New Yorker magazine, and how Holden Caulfield was a reflection of his own life. The associated materials include a background essay, discussion questions and a student activity.

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