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Peaches, Family Love, Friendship, and History in Engaging Novel for the YA Audience

Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Peaches, Friendship, and Family Love Create an Engaging Read for Teens and Young Adults

Highly engaging read for teens and young adults with a surprise plan to help the family heal along with some history of post-WW2

Highly engaging read for teens and young adults with a surprise plan to help the family heal along with some history of post-WW2

Engaging Fictional History of Family Love, Friendship, and Peaches

Wendelin Van Draanen's The Peach Rebellion is a highly engaging historical fiction novel for teens and young adults. Readers will find this to be a page-turner to discover how the friends sort out their differences to form a bond when each friend comes from a different class of family after WW2, and how friends stick together to carry out a plan to help one family heal after a loss.

The Gilley family were peach harvesters before World War 2 and they were also engaged in this lifestyle after the war ended. Ginny Rose , Peggy, and Lisette must decide if their family backgrounds can really be put aside and create a friendship after the war. Can a girl from a poor migrant family who has always worked in the peach orchards really fit in with a banker's daughter? Teens will relate to this problem in their lives today as they navigate the differences in families in our society today. Romance with a boy from a wealthy family also comes into play as life goes on after the war has ended.

A secret plan to help the family heal from a devastating loss of two sons needs the support of friendship taking a brave stand to make this plan succeed and everyone learns the lesson that bravery with friends by your side is the best kind of bravery.

Van Draanen writes with a clarity of how teens and young adults navigate life with forming friendships and living in California in the 1940's. Ginny Rose discovers that real friends can support each other, no matter what their social and family background is. Readers will get a glimpse of how life was post-World War 2. It is not often that a strong fictional historical novel comes along for this age group, and Van Draanen's The Peach Rebellion is a highly engaging read that is a page-turner.

The Peach Rebellion was published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin/Random House and is recommended for ages 12-16. It has an ISBN of 978-0-593-37856-4.

Bring The Peach Rebellion Into Your Language Arts Class for Teen Readers

Wendelin Van Draanen's The Peach Rebellion is an excellent choice for a summer reading list for teens. As a former teacher for 5th graders in a language class, I found a wealth of ideas that I would have used in my classroom for this age group. It is not often that a historical fiction novel comes along that is suitable for this age group and teachers who teach language arts for this age group have the opportunity to take a side lesson trip to learn about our country in the 1940's.

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*This chapter book also offers the opportunity for students to read the book together as a class project. Assign the book as a book for individuals to read or groups of students to read together. A few chapters read each day makes for an engaging reading session.

*Call attention to the period of our history in the 1940's. Engage the students in a class discussion of migrant farmers during that period of history in our country.

*The novel of The Grapes of Wrath is mentioned in the story and can be an added novel for reading to help students understand the life of migrant workers.

*Assign a creative writing project for students to write about how they would feel if they came from a migrant farming family who traveled around the country as harvested peaches.

*Engage students in a discussion of their feelings about forming friendships with other students who come from a different social background.

*Assign a creative writing project for students to write about how they would go about making Ginny Rose's secret plan to help her family heal from the loss of her two brothers be successful.

*Engage students in a class discussion of the final two paragraphs of the story. How does Ginny Rose relate the peach seed to how things turned out in the end to create a sweet ending for her family.


© 2022 Cindy Hewitt

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