As the summer winds down and a new year begins, I think back to how the summer of 2019 began with a virtual book club! After meeting author, Katherine Applegate,at An Unlikely Story bookstore and hearing her speak about all of her books, including her new fantasy series Endling, students were excited to get their hands on the first book. Endling, the Last, by Katherine Applegate, is an upper elementary level book and works best as a partner read or as a guided reading selection. My teammate, Kate Merten, and I decided to read this book with students in a virtual book club during the first few weeks of summer. We met six times in a Google Hangout to discuss the story, ask questions and make predictions . It was a great experience and one that I hope to repeat in the future.
Endling, the Last, is the story of Byx, a Dairn, who lives in the kingdom of Nedarra. Dairnes are mythical dog like creatures who can speak and ALWAYS detect honesty in others. After helping rescue Tobble, a Wobbyk (a rabbit like creature with large ears and three tails) from drowning, Byx witnesses soldiers destroying her family. She is devastated by the loss and decides to set out on a quest to see if she can find any other mythical dairnes in the north of Nedarra. Besides saving herself, Byx decides to help save other species from extinction by the evil Murdano and his soldiers. Along the way, she encounters many other species, including humans, and experiences several challenges. She makes friends and enemies and learns who to trust. She creates a new family with the allies she meets along the way. There is suspense, mystery and hope in this fantasy novel. Applegate has stated that she is currently preparing to write the third and final book.
What students said:
“It was fun trying out figure out how the pictures at the beginning of each chapter related to the story and characters.”
“This story is great and I can’t put it down.”
“There are so many cool new species in this story; I want a Wobbyk!”
“I am going to the library to get the second book and I can’t wait until the third book comes out!”
“Mom and I take turns reading and discussing this story together.”
“I loved The One and Only Ivan and I loved Endling too!!”
Meeting Katherine Applegate was THRILLING for students. They were excited and MOTIVATED to read Endling, The Last, after hearing Applegate speak about her series.
The publisher, Harper Collins Kids has produced a Youtube video with Katherine Applegate introducing Endling, the Last, and it was vital for students to view this before reading in order to have some background schema about the characters, setting and story.
Students who had read Appleagte’s Animorph series were excited to read more of her fantasy books.
Students were very motivated to read this book but needed support with vocabulary and the introduction of mythical creatures.
Partnering a child with a parent to read this book in a virtual book club allowed for many different curriculum connections, especially in technology and social/emotional learning.