Across Five Aprils

Setting the Stage

Before your students begin reading Across Five Aprils, you might want to set the stage. Here are some activities that might help to prepare your students for the experience of reading the historical novel.

  • Discuss the cover art on the book. What does the cover tell you about what to expect from the novel?
  • What is the significance of the title?
  • Read the Authorís Note at the back of the book.
  • Discuss the genre of historical fiction. Is there anything to be learned from a story that is not true?
  • Discuss the details of the American Civil War, including the dates that it began and ended, locations of significant battles, the number of casualties on both sides, common causes of death, and the affects of the war on the average person.
  • Prepare a timeline of significant events during the Civil War, to be used to follow the progress of events happening to the Creighton family during the novel.
  • Read first-hand accounts of the Civil War from published letters and diaries.
  • Discuss the reasons that the southern states decided to leave the Union in 1861
  • Could the American Civil War have been avoided?
  • Discuss the roles of children during the Civil War and contrast that with the roles of children today.
  • Print a map of the eastern part of the United States, and have students mark each location mentioned in the novel.

Map of the United States showing the Confederate and Union states.