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Mysterious Powers Consume One Girl in Deborah Schaumberg's The Tombs

Updated on March 3, 2018
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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.

Adventure with Avery and Her Special Powers Lead to the Tombs in New York

Adventures with Avery in turn-of-the-century New York city in the cavernous Tombs under the city
Adventures with Avery in turn-of-the-century New York city in the cavernous Tombs under the city | Source

Imaginative Read for the YA Audience with Interesting Historical Twists

Deborah Schaumberg's new book The Tombs is an imaginative read for the YA audience and a page turner to discover how Avery's mind really works. New York City in the 1880's is the setting for many weird adventures and Avery is determined not to end up like her mother who was taken to an asylum. Avery's mom had special powers and Avery fears that she also has these special powers. She tries to concentrate on her father and his factory in order to stay out of reach of acknowledging her powers of seeing things that others do not see. Avery works at her father's ironworks factory and she believes that this is what she should pour all of her energies into. Her father is also an inventor and she wants to keep him out of trouble. Avery realizes that her powers cannot be contained when she causes an explosion at her father's factory. She must hide and The Tombs of New York City call her into discovering the mysteries of these caverns. Experiments are being performed on people and Avery falls into this mystery. What are the meanings behind the visions that plague Avery?

The YA audience will be intrigued by Schaumberg's mix of drama, fantasy, and history. Avery's obsession with her own mental health being a genetic inheritance from her mother has the possibility of triggering the same worry in some readers in our current society. The Tomb was published by HarperTeen, a division of HarperCollins Publishers. It is recommended for teens and young adults. It has an ISBN of 978-0-06-265644-5.

The Tomb Offers Possibilities for History Lessons and Discussions in Imagination for YA Students

Teachers who teach English classes for teens will find The Tomb to be an intriguing choice for assigned reading for students. The history behind New York City's Tombs beneath the city in the 1800's will be of interest to students. Projects can be developed around research about the history of these cavernous areas beneath the city and whether the mentally ill were mistreated with strange experiments.

*Assign The Tomb to students for individual reading. Some teachers might like to use this as a chapter book for group reading in reading sessions each day. Teens enjoy reading aloud and chapter books provide the opportunity for students to engage in reading aloud everyday.

*Divide students into groups to engage in research projects about New York City in the 1800's. The Tombs were part of the Justice Department and a House of Detention for a variety of people who were perceived as problem citizens.

*Students might enjoy looking at the history behind The Tombs of New York City and how they were used.

* Are there institutions today or rumors of institutions on our society today that perform experiments on incarcerated people?

*Provide the opportunity for students to prepare PowerPoint presentations of their research projects on The Tombs and the history of these institutions from New York City's history.

*Brainstorm ideas with students about Avery's special powers and the imaginative components of The Tomb.

*Brainstorm with students about their own fears in our society today that may cause mental instability. This is a timely topic for the YA audience in today's world. Do they have fears like Avery's as she fears inheriting her mother's madness?

*Provide an opportunity for students to choose their favorite character from the book and write a description of how the character is used in the book. what part does the character play in Avery's adventures?

Prepare a Quiz for Students after Reading The Tombs

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The Tombs as a Research Project for Student

Do you as a teacher find this an interesting history project for your students?

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© 2018 Cindy Hewitt

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