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Read-aloud Recommendation: Wolf Hollow
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk is a historical fiction novel taking place on a farm community in Pennsylvania during World War 2. The protagonist is 12-year-old Annabelle, who has a great relationship with her parents but must deal with a new bully who just moved to the area. The bullying is not lightweight fare. It rises to a level of danger that is potentially crippling and eventually leads to death.
Annabelle also befriends Toby, who is a veteran of World War 1 and is dealing with serious trauma. He is an odd recluse but is kind to Annabelle and her family. But then the bully sets her sights on falsely accusing Toby of serious crimes, and the protagonist must figure out how to navigate the web.
Wolk’s writing is crisp and clear, with beautiful, simple prose that never gets in the way of the story and remains fast-paced. The author portrays scenes of human nature as insightful as Jane Austen, with similar nods and winks to the audience. The book’s ending provides satisfaction, though it would be false to say it is a true happy ending. Bittersweet and inevitable. These kinds of endings are important for children to experience, however. Petty evils can lead to terrible consequences.
The book provides great discussion opportunities around lying and deceit. Is it ever justified? Can it be an act of courage? Wolf Hollow has some interesting answers.
Learning and Discussion Topics:
The horrors of World War 1
The context of World War 2
Life on a farm
Misjudging people by appearances
Disclaimer: When I post discussion topics and vocabulary, it is not an attempt to redeem your reading time. Spending time reading to your kids is never a waste of time, even if you all just sit back and enjoy the story.
But if you want to get more mileage out of the book, or you are looking for a book to touch on some of these topics in an engaging way, these can be helpful.
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