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Family, Belief, and Interest in Psychic Medium in Best-Selling Author Lisa Graff's New Novel

Updated on March 6, 2019
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Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Intriguing Novel for Fans of Best-Selling Author Lisa Graff

Learning the difference between reality lies can be challenging
Learning the difference between reality lies can be challenging | Source

Join CJ In Her Quest to Discover the Power of Belief and Family Love

Fans of the best-selling author Lisa Graff will want to dive into this intriguing new novel to discover family love, reality, and things that are wroth believing. Far Away is a page-turner as CJ discovers that her aunt is a psychic medium. CJ lost her mom in childbirth when she was born. She would like to talk to her mom and wants to enlist her aunt's help in reaching her mom. She learns that this will not happen, even with her aunt's help. She decides to go off with her new friend to find a way to bring her mom's spirit back to be in contact with CJ. They encounter many adventures and CJ's mom has some messages for CJ. Her message is that memories are worth keeping, but continuing to participate in real life everyday is also good. One should look forward and not always backward. Readers will want to discover the octopus toward the end of this intriguing read.

Far Away was published by Penguin/random House Penguin Young Readers and is recommended for ages 10 and up. It has an ISBN of 978-1-524-73859-4.

What is the Message That the Octopus Brings to CJ?


Bring Far Away Into the Classroom for Some Intriguing Discussions and Creative Writing ideas

Teachers who teach language arts and reading in the middle grades will want to add Lisa Graff's new novel Far Away to their classroom library. Readers will find this to be a page turner and teachers will enjoy the discovery of all kinds of ideas that will come from their students after reading. The concepts of family love, beliefs held, and the use of a psychic medium are all beginning spokes for creative writing projects. Far Away is a chapter book and can be read aloud in classrooms with a few chapters each day. Teachers can also assign the book as an individual reading project for later creative writing activities.

*Read a few chapters aloud each day in a group reading session. Call attention to the fact that CJ lost her mom just a few hours after CJ was born.

*Take a class poll of any students who have lost a parent. Would they like to use a psychic medium to speak to a lost relative?

*Take a class poll of how many students believe that a medium could actually reach out to deceased people. This is a fantasy idea to children and they might be intrigued by the idea. It is a good idea to inform parents that this idea is present in the book.

*Assign a creative writing project for students to write about a person that they might like to use a psychic medium in order to reach out to the deceased person. Why would they want to talk to this person?

*Call attention to the octopus and the role that the octopus plays in the narrative of adventures.

*What are the surprises that CJ learns at the end of the story?

*Assign a creative writing project for students to write a narrative about how they feel about the lesson of holding memories but living life in reality everyday.

*Add other books by Lisa Graff to your classroom library. Have students choose one or two to study Graff's writing style. Which books are their favorite? How is Graff's style of writing similar in all of her books? How is her style of writing different in her books?

*Assign a creative writing project for students to describe a fantasy of their own in what they would want to discover in the world of the Spirit.

*What did the Octopus write in the air at the conclusion of the story?

*Discuss the idea of truth in life. Assign a creative writing project for students to write about a truth that they believe.

*What does a Spirit mean to the young readers?

Using Novels for Young Readers in the Classroom That Have Difficult Concepts

Do you use these kinds of novels for young readers to encourage their participation in reading?

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© 2019 Cindy Hewitt


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