(Part of this was first written for my Materials for Tweens class.)
Reminiscent of the Canterbury Tales, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village is a collection of connected monologues and dialogues written from the point of view of tweens in the Middle Ages from different walks of life. The lively dialogue between the characters and the reader or audience gives students a glimpse into the lives of kids their age in the Middle Ages. Some of the characters know each other and talk about each other in their sections. Others seem wise beyond their years as they learn the ways of the world at a young age in order to survive.
The book contains information boxes about topics related to the vignettes, like the Crusades and falconry. There are also notes on words or phrases used in the text and a bibliography at the end.
I have been using this in my middle school book club as the basis for an interdisciplinary project that has students read the book, perform a monologue from the book, write a research paper on a topic from the Middle Ages covered in the book, and do a slide presentation summarizing the research.
My students don’t really get a chance to do that many presentations at school, and most of their schools don’t do school plays anymore, so I think it’s a really good chance for them to interpret the text and practice different kinds of public speaking. It’s also a good chance to introduce basic research methods because the book itself has many resources that students can use to start their research.
This book won the Newbery Medal Award in 2008 and was an ALA Notable Children’s Book in the same year.
This post is my Blogging from A to Z entry for the letter G.