Kumon Staff Pick: Fever, 1793
RRL Title: Fever, 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
Grade/Kumon Level of Book: 9-12/H – 7
Why do you personally enjoy this book?
Fever, 1793 is a moving work of historical fiction that, once begun, is a hard one to put down. While it is a quick read, the character development is such that readers can feel as if they are reading about actual people and events. The narrative makes it easy to imagine what it was like during this devastating time in late 18th c. Philadelphia. This novel was awarded the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction in 2009.
Why do you think students would enjoy this book?
Mattie Cook, the protagonist and narrator, takes us through the horrific effects that yellow fever had on the citizens of our nation’s capital, Philadelphia, in the summer of 1793. Students may enjoy this novel, as it is told through a series of journal-type entries made by fourteen year old Mattie Cook. Her outspoken personality and quirky imagination keep readers engaged and wanting to know what is going to happen next. When one of her friends dies from the fever, it’s only the beginning of a chain of events that tests Mattie’s moral fiber. In order to survive, she must employ the independence and fortitude gained from helping her widowed mother and paternal grandfather run their family-owned coffeehouse. Mattie is forced to grow up quickly and leave her carefree youth behind to come to the aid of her family. This is a great story for students who are interested in American history.
What skills and/or values might students gain by reading this book?
Reading this book gives students an insight into what it was like to live in the late 1700s. Mattie has to trust her own judgement and, at times, remind herself of the right thing to do. Perseverance, dealing with loss, and hanging on to a dream in the face of adversity are a few of the values that are evident throughout the story. Students will also learn about the invaluable importance of a strong family bond.