Information about Cathy’s books for teachers
My historical fiction titles – Shadows of Disaster, Chaos in Halifax and Stormstruck – are designed for children ages eight to fourteen. Although they have become a series about Canadian catastrophes, each novel is designed to stand alone. They have been used as classroom novels from grades 3-8, primarily because the fascination about disasters is universal. They have even been used as read-alouds in nursing homes! The three novels are often used in literature circles, making for very interesting discussions afterwards as all three books share the same principal characters, but deal with different Canadian disasters. Although these books are time-travel novels, which allowed me to contrast life in the past and present, they are primarly historical fiction and the events surrounding the disasters are as historically accurate as I could possibly make them. I feel a great responsibility to represent history accurately. I have written teachers’ guides for all three titles. The guides include background information, detailed chapter questions that can also be used as a jeopardy game, and differentiated post-reading activities. These are available from Ronsdale Press. As well as dealing with actual disasters, each book is also set in a particular historical social context and deals with common issues pertinent to young readers. I have included a list below that outlines some of the educational tie-ins for each book.
Shadows of Disaster – the Frank Slide, early coal mining, pioneer life, risk taking, gender roles, legends, dementia and aging, family relationships. cross-age relationships, self esteem, natural resources, and Alberta’s geography
Chaos in Halifax – the Halifax explosion, Canada’s role in WWI, family relationship changes, effective communication, and dealing with loss and grief
Stormstruck – the Great Storm of 1913, non-traditional families, women’s right, the suffragette movement, weather and meteorology, the early shipping industry, and decision making
My contemporary, young adult novels deal with some of the contemporary issues facing adolescents today. They are designed for students aged eleven and up. A teachers’ guide for Offside is available from Thistledown Press. Although both books deal with hockey, they seem to have a great androgynous appeal as the issues addressed therein are pretty universal. A list of possible educational tie-ins is provided below.
Offside – substance abuse, sports and performance, friendships, family relationships, adolescent relationships, role models, and the mental aspect of sport
One on One – family relationships, sports and performance, the petroleum industry, loyalty and honesty, dealing with adversity, and parental pressure in sport