Coretta Scott King Award Books: Using Great Literature with Children and Young Adults

By Claire Gatrell Stephens | Go to book overview

Chapter 14
Somewhere in the Darkness
Walter Dean Myers1993 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award
About the Story
Coming home from school one day, 14-year-old Jimmy finds his father there, and his world suddenly and completely changes. Crab, Jimmy's father, has been in prison and has come to reclaim his son. Since his mother's death, Jimmy has been staying with Mama Jean, a family friend. Reluctantly Mama Jean lets Jimmy leave with his father. Jimmy is upset, and his feelings do not improve when he catches Crab in a lie before their journey even starts.This story presents many themes. Family, parental bonding and love, education, values, and much more can easily be discussed while reading this novel. Students will be able to relate to Jimmy on several different levels. For example, he has trouble dealing with life at school. Also, although Mama Jean has provided him with a good home, he clearly needs to know more about his parents, a point many children from single-parent families will relate to. Finally, Jimmy is struggling to understand himself, to find his own values and priorities. It is through the road trip with Crab that Jimmy is able to make these important self-discoveries. In spite of a tragic end to the trip with his father, Jimmy returns to New York a more confidant, mature young man.
Objectives
After reading Somewhere in the Darkness the student should be able to:
1. Define the literary terms protagonist and antagonist, and identify each in the story.
2. Provide details of the plot.
3. Identify character relationships and explain their impact on the protagonist.
4. Define the term empathy and demonstrate the ability to empathize with the story's characters.

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