To be completely honest, as a teen, historical studies were not my cup of tea. I’d gloss right over as teachers would yammer on about the geographical locations of historical battles. And, then, to have to pair that information with the dates they occurred…well, look for me hiding out in the janitor’s closet.
That being said, if I would have had a book like Charles Novacek’s memoir Border Crossing: Coming of Age in the Czech Republic (published by Ten21 Press) to connect with me on emotional level from the start, maybe studying WWII as a teen might have been a more palatable experience. I do know that I’m richer for the experience of creating an Educator’s Guide for this incredible book.
Synopsis: Charles Novacek’s free-roaming childhood came to an end in 1939, as war raged across the continent and the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia. Charles and his sister were inducted into the Czech Resistance. At an age most children were learning how to diagram sentences, they were learning how to resist torture, handle phobias, and to control pain, hunger and thirst. Reflecting the desperation of the times, they were warned to trust no one.
The Educator's Guide has been crafted with the overall intent to connect readers with Charles’ emotional journey as a young man growing up in a time of historical turmoil. The lessons and activities presented in the guide are creative, intuitive, and informative, thus allowing students to consider Charles’ plight as if it were their own. All aspects of the guide have been aligned with the Common Core Anchor Standards of Reading Informational Texts, Writing, Speaking & Listening, and History/Social Studies for grades 6 to 12.