About the book
Amy and Dan are in a race for their lives—and the enemy may be even closer than they think. When seven members of their family were kidnapped by a sinister organization known as the Vespers, thirteen-year-old Dan Cahill and his older sister, Amy, vowed they’d stop at nothing to bring the hostages home. But then the ransom note arrives, and the Vespers demand the impossible. Amy and Dan have just days to track down and steal an ancient map. The catch: no one has seen the map for half a century!
Now Amy and Dan are on a desperate search that will lead them to the Nazis, spies, a mad king and some of history’s dirtiest secrets. It’s the race of their lives—and one misstep will mean certain death for the hostages. However, the secrets they uncover about the Vespers are nothing compared to the most shocking discovery of all—someone thought to be dead seems very much alive.
About the author
Jude Watson. Madrigal Branch. Jude is the author of two other The 39 Clues books, Beyond the Grave and In Too Deep, and the bestselling Star Wars: Last of the Jedi and Jedi Quest series. In order to throw the Vespers off her trail, she also writes as Judy Blundell. She lives in Katonah, New York, with her husband and daughter.
Explore the 39 Clues World with Common Core Standards
Discover exotic locations with famous explorers like Marco Polo, admire amazing artists and their work, and follow Dan and Amy as they conquer challenges they have never had to face before! The Educator Guides for The 39 Clues Cahill vs. Vespers series are created to help educators take a journey around the world with their students.
Using Common Core Standards, each lesson is designed to help your students master a specific English Language Arts standard. Each skill helps teachers ensure that their students have the knowledge they need to be successful by providing clear goals for student learning. In addition, the Educator Guides provide tiered lessons with various levels of cognitive complexity for differentiation in the classroom.
English Language Arts Anchor Standard #3
Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
RL.3.3. Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.
Learning Goal: Students will be able to identify information within a text to describe a character’s traits, motivations, and feelings; and explain how the character’s actions contribute to the sequence of events.
While reading A King’s Ransom by Jude Watson, students will use stick-on notes to mark and explain passages that describe Dan and Amy (traits, motivations, or feelings). At the conclusion of the book, the class will brainstorm a list of words to describe main characters Amy and Dan. Students will then narrow down the descriptors to the six that tell the most about him or her. Working independently, in pairs, or in groups, they will then use the book to find text that supports these descriptors. Finally, students will interpret the characters’ traits and feelings using the Character Map Worksheet (see PDF for the reproducible).
RL.4.3. Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).
Learning Goal: Students will be able to describe a character in depth, drawing on specific details in the text such as thoughts, words, or actions.
In this activity, students will draw upon information and details from specific words or passages to make inferences based upon a character’s thoughts, words, or actions. Students will use these inferences to interpret a character’s motivations and decisions. Students will work individually or in pairs to complete the Character Inference Chart Worksheet (see PDF for the reproducible).
RL.5.3. Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).
Learning Goal: Students will compare and contrast two characters and evaluate a character’s motivations and decisions based upon specific details in the text.
Based on knowledge of a character’s traits, motivations, and actions, students will evaluate how an event would change if a certain scenario was encountered by a different character. This lesson requires students to evaluate their knowledge of the character and apply that knowledge to the event to determine how it would change. Students will work individually to complete the Compare and Contrast Worksheet (see PDF for the reproducible).
Educator’s Guide by Laura Stockwell