Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Workshop Wednesday - Historical Fiction

Hello Everyone! Today I am linking up with Ideas by Jivey for her wonderful linky, Workshop Wednesday.


I was super excited when I found out this week's topic is incorporating historical fiction into reading workshop.  I truly enjoy historical fiction, but relatively speaking, it is one area that I feel needs to be "beefed up" in my classroom library.

The book I am going to share today is Uncle Jed's Barbershop.

The book is set in the time of The Great Depression.  It tells about the special relationship between Sarah Jean and her Uncle Jed.  Sarah Jean's uncle had a dream to own a barbershop.  In the beginning, Jed would travel to people's homes to cut hair and save as much as he could.  He was finally getting close to having the money he needed when Sarah Jean became sick.  Of course, Uncle Jed was willing to spend his hard earned money to pay the hospital bill. 

Sarah Jean eventually recovers, and Uncle Jed is able to save money again.

Soon, Jed receives the news that destroyed so many - the banks had failed.  Uncle Jed lost everything.  Despite this huge setback and the doubt of many, Jed still did not give up.  He continued to go to people's home to cut hair.  At times, he accepted garden produce as payment.  Many other times, he cut hair for free.  In the end, Uncle Jed was able put enough money away from his paying customers to start his own barbershop at age 79.  Needless to say, he received a tremendous amount of support from all of his customers.

I absolutely love the message in this book.  The teachers at our school have recently read The Leader in Me, and this book matches perfectly with the first habit, be proactive.  Uncle Jed chose not to give up.  He made some sacrifices with his money, and there we some things that were out of his control.  However, he made the decision to maintain a positive attitude and stay true to his dream.

This is an excellent book to use for theme (perseverance, stay true to your dreams, etc.)  There are also some very clear cause and effect relationships.

Because Uncle Jed paid Sarah Jean's hospital bill, he had to postpone getting his barbershop.
The banks failed.  As a result, Uncle Jed lost all of his money.
People came from miles away when Uncle Jed's barbershop finally opened, so he kept it open all night long.

I usually read this book to my class two or three times through the year.  Once at the beginning of the year to talk about goals and being proactive.  I read it later in the year for theme, cause and effect, and/or story elements.  My students have never had a problem with hearing this story more than once!

I'm on my way to check out all the other great historical fiction resources.  Thank you, Jivey for hosting this very helpful linky.


  1. Aw I love the sound of this book! I'll need to add it to my wish list! What a sweet story. Thanks for linking up!

  2. Hi! I just found your blog and ordered the book! :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners