Today I am starting a series of posts on great read-alouds in which the characters demonstrate critical and creative thinking.
Naturally, I am starting with From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. Because this is an older book with a goofy title, you may have overlooked it, or just forgotten how amazing a book it is. In a nutshell, this is about two children who run away from home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art which leads them to solve a mystery involving Michelangelo. Here are some reasons you should consider reading it to your class:
- The main character, Claudia Kincaid is all about thinking critically and creatively. She planned everything about her escape carefully and chose such an unusual and interesting place to runaway to.
- Her chosen partner and brother, Jamie is a nice contrast to her character. He is smart too, but in a whole different way than Claudia.
- The book fosters an appreciation for museums. If you can actually visit this museum, having read the book will make it so much more meaningful.
- The title character is an smart and eccentric 82 year old woman. Nothing like the grandmother stereotype.
- There is a mystery. Claudia and Jamie have to solve it and it takes some thinking out of the box to do it.
- Because the book takes place in 1968, there is much to talk about in terms of a world without cell phones and the internet. In fact, the book would probably not even have been possible if Claudia and Jamie had had access to the internet They had to actually solve the mystery themselves instead of googling it.
- The book is a Newbery Award winner. Also, for those in your class who are always looking for a new author, Konigsburg has written many other books.