As teachers, we are constantly searching for novels to introduce to our students that will have a significant impact on them. We encourage good citizenship, cooperation, collaboration, and an appreciation for our Earth and the environment in which we live. We reinforce positive behavior and encourage our students to make the right choices when faced with problems or situations.
Hoot, by author Carl Hiaasen, received the 2002 Newbery Award, and for good reason. His man vs. environment theme poses an issue to readers whereby they must choose the most effective way of solving an environmental problem: Mother Paula’s All-American Pancake House construction plans will intrude on an endangered burrowing owl’s habitat. The students of Trace Middle School must make an appropriate decision about how to stop the project. Two boys, the protagonist and antagonist, have methods that are quite opposite. Whose plan will they choose, and is it the right one? How will the executives of the Pancake House react and respond to the demands of middle school students?
This is a timely environmental issue, perfect for students to discuss, debate, and take a firm stand!
Interest level: Grades 6-8
Grade Level Equivalent: 5.8
Lexile Level: 760L
DRA Level: 60
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