Title: The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History
Bibliographic Information: Yolen, J., Stemple, H. E. Y., & Roth, R. (2002). The Mary Celeste: An unsolved mystery from history. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Annotation: The Mary Celeste is an abandoned ship that was found in 1872, with no sign of a captain or crew. This story is laid out by a young girl who wants to become a detective. The narrator provides the reader with clues and possible events about this unsolved mystery.
Genre: Nonfiction/Historical fiction
Grade Level: 1st – 6th Grade
Readers who will like this book: Readers who enjoy reading about history, love mysteries, and show interest in sailors will enjoy this book.
Personal Rating/Response: I rate this book a 4, because it definitely keeps the reader intrigued. It is beneficial that this book is based on a true story and is historical. I think it would be a book that needed a good amount of time for discussion inside a classroom, because it is so detailed and it would be interesting to hear everyone’s viewpoint on what they think might have happened to the Mary Celeste.
A question I will ask before the reading: Do you know of any unsolved mysteries?
For this book I would use the Anticipation Guides (Tompkins, p.7) reading strategy. Anticipation guides help the students activate background knowledge. As a teacher I would put together a list of statements about this book that the students could discuss them before reading. Some examples would be; information on what an unsolved mystery is and the history behind Mary Celeste. I would need more examples on topics students can disagree with. Before reading this book we would discuss these statements in detail and share our thoughts. This strategy would work really well for this book, because is sets a purpose for why we are reading this book, helps the students focus on the big ideas, and introduces them to a new detailed topic.