by Tonya Bolden
There must be change! And if last night taught me anything, it’s that I must be a part of that change! Part of making the world as it ought to be. -Savannah
Saving Savannah by Tonya Bolden is a historical fiction novel told from the point of view of Savannah, the daughter of an upper-class African American family who lives in Washington, DC. Savannah notices the injustices in the world around her and knows she must be part of the change. This book teaches students about our history, and leaves them with questions about how these events have influenced the world we live in today. Many of the topics were new to my sixth graders so Robyn, Autumn and I created a Padlet to use as a launching point for our book club discussions. This tool allowed us to share our thinking while we were working remotely or in person.
After the girls were finished, they decided to show their thoughts about Saving Savannah using a “One-Pager.” This is a simple way to allow students to use their creativity to design a page that reflects their thinking about books.
My sixth graders highly recommend this book. They loved the story, and were intrigued by the similarities and differences between life in the early 1900’s and today. Make sure your students read the author’s notes at the end, it is a history lesson in itself! This is ultimately a book with strong female characters that tackle race relations, women’s right to vote, and discover how friendships change over time. Saving Savannah is the perfect book to begin our social issues unit in reader’s workshop!