Book Club: Christopher Columbus Villain or Hero?

Although Columbus Day has come and gone, Thanksgiving welcomes another opportunity to hit home the “Villain or Hero” concept through Jane Yolen’s, The Encounter.  A young Taino Indian tells the story of Spanish explorers arriving in his native land.  As the story unfolds, the young boy warns his people that the explorers seem attracted to their riches rather than friendship.  I highly recommend this book and find myself rushing through September and October’s curriculum (who isn’t rushing?) so that I can coincide the explorers unit with Thanksgiving.  Be prepared for students to be highly engaged in this picture book which includes many instances of symbolism.  The beautiful story lends itself to serving as an appropriate read aloud, resulting in a correlated language arts lesson or activity.


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