12-year-old Abilene Tucker wonders why her father put her on a train by herself to travel to the place where he grew up, but where she has never been, a Missouri town called Manifest. Her many questions about his past swirl in her head, but she still finds comfort in the memory of the stories he told. Over the summer of 1936, Abilene will piece together the puzzle of the life of her daddy, Gideon Tucker.
When her train nears the town, she jumps off to get a secret view of the person who is expecting her, Reverend Shady Howard. The town, in the vice of the Great Depression, seems to be sitting upon secrets, her father's secrets, but friendly enough. There is the sadness of drought and poverty that mutes its voices, but it is, nevertheless, more friendly to strangers in 1936 than it was in 1918 when it was filled with coal-mining immigrants.
Information about Manifest and those who lived there comes to Abilene through narrative layers: newspaper articles from 1917 and 1918, stories told by a fortune-teller, and 18-year old letters from a soldier fighting in World War I.
Making friends, Abilene discovers a local mystery and begins a summerlong spy hunt that uncovers secrets that are the key to restoring the residents' faith in a bright future and revealing the truth about the sadness binding her own father.
This beautifully told story weaves together happiness and sadness of the Great Depression along with the influence of the events of World War I. Well-developed characters, time, and place described through rich language, carry the reader back in time when bootlegging, prejudice, murder, war, friendship, and compassion weave a story that gently transforms the reader into a participant. Intricate details masterfully weave multiple stories together to define literary treasure!
The Kids Wings Literature Guide written by Z.J Humbach and Suzy Red comes to you in both PowerPoint and PDF formats. The Activities include:
Table of Contents
Pre-Reading Discussion Cards
Preparing Your Intellectual Tools: Dialectical Journal
2 -Page Readers’ Theater Introduction
Your Character Assignment (Including Who Am I; Imagine This; In My Time; My Character Study, Compare Characters)
Making Connections: Before Reading Quick Writes and Predict/Read/Confirm Chapter Questions
Where in the World? Map Study
Crossword Puzzle--Word Sleuth
Multiple Choice and Short Answer Comprehension Activities
You're the Editor
Fireworks For Sale
The Spy Map
True/False Check up
Take a Second Look, Analyzing Assumptions
Dollars and Cents
An Author's Tricks of the Trade
Numerous Comprehension Checks
Comparing Then and Now--Venn Diagram Pages
Research: Historical Happenings
Plus, an interactive Jeopardy-type game in PowerPoint format!
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