I begin the new year on my little blog in a somewhat shocking way. Hold on, people. Yes, it's nonfiction! Gasp! I know, I know. But, the world of teaching Common Core State Standards is impacting my life in a major way. As a result of adjusting to the new demands of nonfiction in my classroom, I've been searching for nonfiction books that I really wanted to read. I know my strengths, and they aren't being enthused about real life. However, I really can get behind anything including the word spy. So, obviously, I gave this one a whirl.
Spies of Mississippi: The True Story of the Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement by Rick Bowers was a great way for me to dip my toes into the world of nonfiction. The book describes the intriguing story of many undercover agents, backroom deals, and jaw dropping plans the government of Mississippi employed to prevent advances in civil rights during the 1960's. I really liked that the book focused on the events that occurred in one state instead of an overview of the civil rights movement. This small focus allows readers to learn more about some of the lesser known civil rights crusaders who get lost in an overview.
Also, all the chapters are fairly short and have wonderfully interesting titles including words like clandestine. Speaking of word choice, this book offers oodles of excellent vocabulary words as well as challenging sentence structure. I plan to use this book with my classes in early February. I am excited to see their responses. They, like me, are intrigued by the title. Some students have seen the book in my classroom have said, "Hey, when are we reading that spy book?" If you speak middle school, this is the equivalent of an adult saying, "Please, please, please, let me borrow this book with the most fascinating title I've ever heard!" True.