Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner

Many of my elementary school students are interested in dystopian stories (having seen The Hunger Games movie). But beyond Lois Lowry’s The Giver Trilogy, there’s not much dystopian out there for a middle grade audience. Kids who aren’t intimidated by the science behind Eye of the Storm will find an adventurous mystery with plenty of twists to keep them turning the pages.

Summary from the publisher’s website:

In the not-too-distant future, huge tornadoes and monster storms have become a part of everyday life. Sent to spend the summer in the heart of storm country with her meteorological engineer father, Jaden Meggs is surprised at the strides her father’s company StormSafe, has made with custom shelters that keep her family safe in even the worst of storms. At her exclusive summer science camp, Eye On Tomorrow, Jaden meets Alex, a boy whose passion for science matches hers. Together, they discover that her father’s company is steering storms away from the expensive neighborhoods and toward the organic farming communities that are in competition with his bio-engineered food company, NatureMade. Jaden must confront her father, but when she does, she uncovers a terrifying family secret and must call on both her scientific knowledge and her faith to save the people she loves most from one of her father’s monster storms.

Hand this book to the kid:

* who loves science and solving problems

* whose parents have divorced and one or both have remarried

* whose interest in dystopian novels has been piqued by the Hunger Games crowd, yet isn’t quite ready for YA content

* who has friends from the other side of the track

Use this to teach:

Ethics–Jaden’s moral dilemma is a tough one; if her suspicions are correct, then she’ll have to out her own father and face who he really is. Excellent fodder for discussion.

* Weather--The topic of weather is a staple in upper elementary science curricula across the country, and kids are fascinated by storms. Pair this with the non-fiction Epic Disasters series.

*Inquiry-based learning–The premise of the book’s Eye on Tomorrow summer science camp is to have kids to identify a need and then ask questions, research, and test possible solutions. The process is 100% kid-centered (albeit sinister), and your own students can model the same process.

* Climate Change--Could the super-storms in the book become a reality?  Eye of the Storm is the perfect springboard into the “what-ifs” and cause/effect relationships of climate change.

Curriculum Guide here with a link to more resources on Pinterest.

The Nitty Gritty~

Click here for reviews.

Publisher: Walker Childrens

Publication Date: 2012

ISBN:  978-0802723130

Number of Pages: 304

Reading Level: 4.8

Interest Level:  Ages 10 and up

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