|An unusual view of Stamford, New York.|
Because Shawna and Thea explore a mystery with roots in their town's history, the publisher (Janis and Neil at Voyage) and I have been corresponding with teachers about using this book in the classroom.
Here's a Middle Grades suggestion from Candice Gockel in Stamford, NY, a 5th/6th grade teacher: "I see this novel as a great jumping off point for a local history project. I think my students would be swept up in the excitement of possibly uncovering local mysteries, as well as providing great hands-on research and learning opportunities for my students."
I took a quick look and found a history of Stamford -- whose early settlers had ties to Stamford, Connecticut. There are some intriguing gaps in the history I found: enlistment for the Civil War, but what was happening in town during the Underground Railroad years? Why was the first newspaper founded in 1851? I can imagine a mystery taking place that relied on who was publishing the paper and what his motives were! And another that takes into account the villages of the town, the differences between them, the way families settled. Plus, because the town is in the Catskills, there must be stories of the tourists and summer residents, including some from various ethnic groups that could be surprising. Wow!
If you're looking for possible "local mysteries" for your class to investigate, let me know where you are and I'll suggest some possible "mysteries in history" for your students. Same offer for book groups -- tell me where you are, and I'll "investigate" and report!