Southwest Children's  Literature

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The Big Wander

Students' Voices

After a brief description of the setting of The Big Wander, students were asked how they thought the setting of the place (including the historical time, place and season of the year) affected the mood or the experience of the reader. (The students discussed the book on a wiki.)

: Well, the setting affects me as a reader because I can relate to Clay. Since I live out in the desert, I know how he feels when he describes the blistering heat, and when Mike says that his fingers are bleeding because it is so dry. So to me, this makes the book so much more enjoyable because I can say to myself, "Haha! I know EXACTLY what he's going through."

Melissa: I agree with Maddie. I live in the desert and it gets so hot! I like to be able to relate to something that is going on in a book that I'm reading. It just seems more "life like"! Clay does go through some hard times when he has to deal with the weather and the temperature. That, of course will affect the story in some way!

How does the narrator's tone (in this case Clay) affect the mood when you read the story?

Melissa: The relationship between Mike and Clay plays a huge part in this book. As said in the book, Mike and Clay aren't as close as they once were...all because of a girl! (Amazing because that's what happens at school and the relationship between friends! Connection!) I think that this is a great book to relate to because the characters are our age and the things that they do and things that happen have happened to me!

Emi: Well, the reason for Clay and Mike's Big Wander is two-fold. They are trying to find their uncle and Clay is also trying to reconnect with Mike, since he feels that things just aren't the same as they used to be. The mood is changed because they, well Mike really, start getting discouraged about finding the uncle. Also it is different then if they were purely sightseeing because they don't want to stay in one place very often.

A couple of students also drew pictures of the characters and settings of the book.

Maddie's drawing

"Uncle Clay upon Clay's arrival"
by Maddie

Abbey's drawing

A picture of Clay and Sarah together in Utah
by Abby