Rocco, J. (2011). Blackout. New York, NY: Hyperion Books.

When the power goes out in a family’s city home, they discover the beauty that the “darkness” and quite can bring into their lives. No cellphones, no computers, no T.V.’s; just a family less busy and more willing to spend time with one another.

Genre: Contemporary realistic fiction

Grade level: PreK-3rd

Readers who would like this: Children who enjoy playing board games, children who live in the city, children who enjoy contemporary/realistic stories.

Rating and response:5; This book is lovely and does an extremely wonderful job of lending itself to such a realistic and applicable situation of today’s world. Although it uses very simplistic text, its mix of “black and white” (mainly blue hued) and full color illustration adds depth and meaning to the story. I loved the fact that this text takes on somewhat of a comic book format, with paneling and some use of word bubbles, because it makes the story more accessible to a wider range of reading levels. I also loved that the theme of family was made multidimensional through the incorporation of technology; how it can really affect relationships and how it has such a big emphasis on all aspects of our daily lives. Overall, a great book for a variety of readers.

Question: Has the power ever gone out at your house? What did you do while it was out?

Reading Strategy: Quickwrites (Tompkins)

Quickwrites can be used after reading to ask students what they have learned about a topic, as well as to assess their ability to make connections between the topic and other relevent information. After reading Blackout, I would have students do a quickwrite (maybe a sentence or two because of the targeted age group)  about if there was to be a blackout in the school right at that moment, how would they spend their time? This would encourage students to use their creative thinking skills and to apply some of the information learned in the book. If students were unable to write, they could draw a quick sketch of their ideas.


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