Thursday, January 24, 2008

Greetings from Planet Earth

Kerley, Barbara. 2007. GREETINGS FROM PLANET EARTH. Ill. by Banyai, Istan. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780439802031 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-8]

“Is what we do the same as who we are?” What would someone from another planet need to know to understand us? Who are we? Theo’s science teacher, Mr. Meyer poses essential questions to encourage thought about what to put on the Voyager 2 [‘77] class project. This leads Theo on an unexpected and mind boggling journey.

Theo’s father had gone to Viet Nam, and had yet to come home. It was an unspoken rule that no one broached the subject of his return. In his search for what’s important about Earth, Theo discovers mysteries in his own life. Unraveling a multitude of secrets, he struggles to determine what’s important about his family and himself. As Mr. Meyer tells him, "I've met a lot of people in my life, Theo. People who truly examine things--examine themselves, even. And people who don't.”

His best friend, Kenny provides a ‘compare and contrast’ character and a light-hearted storyline woven in the seriousness of consequences of war. Historical and scientific details are included with spot on accuracy of the era, (post Vietnam). Kerley portrays questions of life, war, and space from an earnest young person’s perspective.

Have the students check out the recordings and items of the NASA Voyager time capsule. Is this still significant and deemed good choices to represent humanity 30 years later? What would they add and or take away?

Self-awareness discussions can revolve around Mr. Meyer’s comment to Theo about people who examine themselves and those that don’t.

Books by the same author:
A LITTLE PEACE. ISBN 9781426300868

By Susie Demarest

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