Kathleen Applegate is the well known author of the book, The One and Only Ivan, but she’s also the author of several picture books too. The Buffalo Storm is one of those books, and it’s the perfect choice for introducing historical fiction. The books cover certainly gives a glimpse of the topic, and most kids would be pulled into the book just by looking at it. If you are teaching Westward Expansion, grab this book to include with your unit.
Introducing The Buffalo Storm:
ON A WAGON TRAIL WEST WITH MAMA AND PAPA, A YOUNG GIRL FACES DOWN FEARS OF STORMY WEATHER AND MOVING TO A NEW PLACE THANKS TO THE WISDOM, LOVE, AND GRIT INSTILLED BY HER BELOVED GRANDMOTHER BACK HOME.Amazon Summary
Introducing Historical Fiction:
Here’s a glimpse of the opening. I love the use of repetition and how the author chooses to list the character’s feelings right from the beginning.
How to Use This Book:
Step One: Historical Fiction Analysis
I love how this book shows a strong relationship between Hallie and her grandmother and how she deals with her fear of storms and moving. You might teach the history behind this book. The author and illustrator beautifully capture the sense of what it would be like on the Oregon Trails through the eyes of Hallie, the main character. Teachers might tie reading this book to research about the Oregon Trail and Lewis and Clark.
Step Two: Create RAFT papers with Buffalo Storm as your Mentor Text
Another option for this book is for writing. It would be fun to write a RAFT papers as a post reading activity. RAFT stands for:
- Format=Friendly Letter
- Topic=Description of the Buffalo Storm scene.
If you haven’t done RAFT papers before, the resource linked below might be helpful. It includes an analysis page for historical fiction, a RAFT assignment page, a four square planning page, and a writing page. You can download by signing up for my email list below. Don’t worry. I won’t spam you!
Other Links You’d Enjoy:
Historical Fiction Resources:
Mentor texts really help our students SEE how skills work with a real text, and we know Think Aloud is a teaching practice that greatly benefits struggling readers. I hope The Buffalo Storm is helpful in your teaching of historical fiction.