Topics/Themes: war, survival, family, courage, hope
Items Needed: Globe; map attachment print-out
See video of this book read aloud here: Gleam and Glow
*Read the author’s note at the back of the book.
Introduction (Prep Questions)
Introduce the title and ask students to define “gleam” and “glow”. Show students the picture on the back cover. Use the think-aloud strategy: I wonder where these people on the back cover are going? Why are they walking? What do the two fish on the cover have to do with the people on the back cover?
Review the story using the picture walk strategy. Draw students’ attention to the illustrations and ask if any knows how Peter Sylvada created them (oil paintings).
Refer to p.1 and tell students that Eve Bunting chose to write her book using first-person (where the narrator is part of the story) rather than third-person (where the narrator is not part of the story). Ask students who is telling the story (Viktor) and why the author likely chose to do so.
How do the characters feel at the beginning of the story? How do you know? What is the reason for the family being separated from one another?
Read the first paragraph on p. 3. Tell students that the second sentence includes a simile, a writer’s tool for helping the reader to visualize something in their minds by comparing two things using the words like or as. Ask students to determine what is being compared to something (enemies/brooms) and discuss how that reinforces the power of the war imagery.
On p. 7, read the second paragraph and have students define wondrous using context clues. Ask if the word reminds them of other words they might know (wonder, wonderful). Ask students why they think the man felt that way about his fish.
Read the last sentence of the first paragraph and ask students about the significance of “…it seemed to me that all the light of the world was trapped inside that glass bowl.”
On p. 9, Mama tells Marina that they can’t take the fish. How did you feel when they had to leave the fish behind?
Reread the second paragraph on p. 9 where Mama indicates they “must make it to a border and the safe country beyond”. Show students the map graphic. Have them discuss what a border is and, referring to the map, indicate which countries might have been possibilities for the family. Show students the region on a globe and ask them which continent the setting is.
Refer to the first paragraph on p. 11 and ask students to discuss the significance of Viktor’s actions (might not ever see his room/home again). Discuss how it is an example of foreshadowing (a hint), giving a clue to a possible future turn of events. Revisit p. 25 and read the first two paragraphs. Ask students if it did occur and discuss the stark imagery that the author uses (skeleton, moonscape).
Read the fist sentence on p. 27 and have students discuss another simile, a comparison using like or as (pond/melted gold).
What is the same about the ending with the characters and the fish? What do you think the author’s message is? How can we use the message in our own lives today?
Share Author’s Note with the students and discuss.