Airborn – Kenneth Oppel

What a ride! I can tell that I’ve hit my comfort zone – fantasy stories. I love fantasy fiction. I love the strange exotic creatures and the twists on the usual or familiar settings. I love watching the plot unfold and human characters or human-like characters deal with the circumstances which the author has concocted. Airborn is my kind of story.

Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on an airship. The time frame seems early 20th Century with some twists. The book brings to mind “A Room with a View” and the travel and sensibilities of E.M. Forester and Jane Austin but with some variations. We are not on the Titanic; we are on the Aurora and we are not on the ocean; we are over it. Women are trivial and men are consequential. Men work, lead as intellectuals and smoke cigars. Women run the home, produce children and sit prettily. Kenneth Oppel uses his strong female character, Kate de Vries to fight the stereotyping of the age.

A fun read. Thematic links to change, fantasy, flight, adventure, invention.



Filed under children's lit, curriculum, library, literacy

2 responses to “Airborn – Kenneth Oppel

  1. Debbie Pushor

    Kenneth Oppel won the Governor General’s award for this piece of youth literature. It’s easy to see why!

    Susan, how much do you turn to award winning books as you make your selections? Is it being an award winning book one of the selection criteria that draws you to a book?

    What other criteria do you use when you are selecting new literature to read and explore?

    You say you love fantasy; that it is a comfortable genre for you. How much should we provide an opportunity for children to read in the genre of their choice? How much should we challenge them to read in genres that may be less favorite, familiar, comfortable to them? What’s the balance, do you think? How do we answer these questions for ourselves and keep in mind the idea of reading being joyful?

  2. I know that I rely on my knowledge of previously loved authors and genres. I do try to read outside of my passions. I have not typically read much non-fiction. I have found in the past couple of years some joy in non-fiction reading as well.

    I also count on the recommendations of friends and family. When my mom enjoys a book, I put it on the “to read” list. The list gets longer all the time.

    I know that I have been surprised by books – authors I didn’t know and genres I hadn’t pursued in the past. I think it is important to share that with students. “Try it and you may. Try it and you may I say!”

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