YAL - Young Adult Literature Presenter Unit 2014/2015



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The Invention of Wings
by Sue Monk Kidd


YAL Presenter Unit 2014/2015

Subjects: English
Grade Level: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Posted: 2014, CCSS, Common Core State Standards
Unit Created by: Susan Garr and Chris Johnson

What makes this a good YAL choice...

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd tells an emotionally riveting story of two girls growing up side-by-side but with very different life paths in front of them. Fictional Handful is a young slave girl who belongs to a wealthy Charleston family in the early 19th century. Sarah Grimke, who really existed and eventually became an important abolitionist and feminist, is an independent-thinking daughter in the prominent, tradition-bound family. When Handful is given to Sarah as a birthday present, 11-year- old Sarah’s strong feelings against slavery are painfully challenged. The two girls, owner and slave, form a complicated, lifelong connection as each tries to live her life free of the very real bonds of slavery and the no less real restrictions on women.


Equally engaging are the many paths of inquiry the story suggests. What parts of the book are factual and which did the author invent? What were the lives of slaves really like? How did they resist in organized and individual ways? Who were the abolitionists and what was their impact? What were the lives of white women like? What rights did they have? How was feminism related to abolitionist movement? And what about story quilts, the Gullah language, and folk medicines? — Susan Garr


YAL Conference Workshop Description
What does it take to fly? Building context and deepening understanding about the struggle for freedom in The Invention of Wings
Susan Garr and Chris Johnson, Presenters

Historical fiction introduces students to the interpretive nature of history as well as the complexity of issues in a way textbooks cannot. In this workshop, participants will practice close reading, peruse primary sources, analyze point of view, and partake in conversations and collaborations that uncover the multiple voices involved in the struggle for racial and gender justice during the early 19th century. Interactive, get-up-on-your-feet, literacy and “think-like-an-historian” activities will be modeled and practiced. — Workshop Description for YAL 2014


Unit Resources on Google