Precocious Elana cannot wait till she's old enough to visit a Youngling planet and see how a society exists in its early stages. One day she decides to hide herself as a stowaway on her father's spaceship and arrives in a world that is very different from her own. In this Youngling planet, Elana confronts a primitive world of dragons, magic, and romance. Normally missions to primitive planets are just for observation, but this time Elana and the others must protect this fledging world from invaders. While protecting the planet, Elana falls deeply in love with a young man and emerges as the key to this dangerous mission.
Students will learn about point of view.
Standard: Understands the effects of an author's style (e.g., word choice, speaker, imagery, genre, perspective) on the reader. Understands point of view in a literary text.
- Before class, pick two students to stage a disagreement while everyone is settling down. Make sure the students are paying attention while the two students that you have picked stage this quarrel.
- After the pretend fight, ask the two students to come up to the front of the room and have each one give his or her perspective about what occurred. Ask other members of the class to share their point of view about how the fight occurred as well.
- Write the words POINT OF VIEW on the board and make a short list of how the fight was perceived differently depending on one's perspective. Tell students that you will be using perspective and point of view interchangeably.
- Ask students, "What factors might change a person's point of view?" (knowing prior history, one's own mood)
- After reading the book, ask the students from whose perspective this is tale told. Discuss how Elana switches from describing the story in first person to third person. Share this quote from the beginning of the story: Â· "I've been asked to cover the Andrecians' and Imperials' viewpoints as well as my own reactions; the Service often requests this because they want you to learn to look at things the way Younglings do. (They demand that you be totally objective about the picture anyone you contacted got of you.) It's easy to see through Georyn's eyes and to speak in the words appropriate to his view of the world." (p.3)
- Have students locate a quote from the book where Elana is imagining the world through Georyn's eyes. Discuss how it makes the reader feel knowing that the whole story is filtered through Elana's perspective. Ask the students if they feel she is always accurate in her assessment of what has occurred. What makes a narrator unreliable?
- Tell students to pick a section of the book and write about it through the perspective of someone besides Elana. Have students consider the following questions:
- Does this person see the world differently than Elana does?
- How does this person's voice/ tone differ from Elana's?
- What are their thoughts about Elana?
- Elena says that the Service has requested that she be totally objective while describing her adventures with this Youngling society. Imagine that you are from the Service and are visiting earth during our present time. Describe an event or custom in a totally objective fashion. For example, what would the Service think of people at a football game? How would they view our government or what we eat?
Other Science Fiction Books With a Strong Female Protagonist
by Lowis Lowry
Newly orphaned Kira is taken to live in the Grand Council Edifice because of her skill at embroidery. She struggles to deal with the menacing authority who attempt to stifle her creativity.
Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L'Engle
On a rescue mission to save her father, Meg learns about courage and love in a strange futuristic world.
Other Books by Sylvia Louise Engdahl
Children of the Star
The Subnuclear Zoo: New Discoveries in High Energy Physics
Tools for Tomorrow: New Knowledge About Genes
Beyond the Tomorrow Mountains
The Doors of the Universe
Anywhere, Anywhen: Stories of Tomorrow
Our World Is Earth
This Star Shall Abide
Heritage of the Star
The Far Side of Evil
The Planet - Girded Suns; Man's View of Other Solar Systems
Journey Between Worlds
Teaching plan written by Gabrielle Nidus