Read Alouds: Twenty and Ten and Breaking a Dragon’s Heart

Read Alouds

So, I know you guys thought I forgot, but I’m continuing to share posts about our different family read-alouds and what we thought about them.  It’s been a while since I shared one, but this week, I wanted to take the time to share about two of them.

I’ve also decided to create some quick resource lists to get you started with the books in this post if you decide that you want to create your own literature study with them.  I want my read-aloud posts to be a helpful feature, and I thought that was the best way to add some value to them.  Give me feedback on whether or not you find it helpful and you want me to keep doing this because I certainly don’t mind working through the books with resources.  I will tell you if we use a specific resource, but most of our read aloud books we don’t enrich in our house unless the children ask for it.  (After all, we’re fairly close to unschooling in our home.)

Resources for studying the Holocaust with Twenty and Ten

Twenty and Ten by Claire Hutchet Bishop was part of our recommended reading in our 1815-Present course that we recently completed with Veritas Press.  I had never heard of this book before, and I was surprised and pleased by this book as an introduction to World War II.

This book is set in German-occupied France during World War II.  It involves children at a convent type school.  They’ve been sent there by parents to be safe and educated while the war rages on.  The children love to play and frequently play the game of Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus fleeing from Herod into Egypt.  This is a Bible story that becomes all too real to them when their caretaker takes in ten Jewish children to hide among the twenty students who were already living at the school.

One day, while their headmistress goes to town to collect the mail, two Nazi soldiers come to the school, looking for Jewish children.  They tell the children that they’ve arrested their headmistress on the suspicion of harboring Jews, and they want to find the Jewish children. Will the children be strong and united or will they turn the Jewish children over to the Nazis?

Rose and I both really enjoyed this book.  (Firecracker called it boring.)  We discussed ration cards, and Nazis as well as the Jewish children in a way that was gentle and non-threatening.  I loved that because Rose is highly sensitive and she was gripping the edge of her chair over the cliffhangers each day before we finished our reading.

If you’re wanting to use this book for study, here are a few resources:

Ideas for Using How to Break a Dragon's Heart in Your HomeschoolThe other book we’ve been seriously reading in our house is How to Break a Dragon’s Heart.  This is the eighth book in the How to Train Your Dragon Series, and the first book where we realize that Hiccup’s adventures are actually building to a storyline of epic proportions.

In this book, Hiccup and his father’s tribe of Vikings are out searching for Hiccup’s friend Camicazi.  She’s gone missing, and the Bog-Burgulars and Hooligans are friends, so they are both searching for the young girl.  By chance they end up in Ug the Uglithug’s territory and the events are get in motion that takes Hiccup and Fishlegs on a quest and adventure in the land of the Berserks.

Alvin the Treacherous, Hiccup’s arch-nemesis is back, and a witch who happens to be Alvin’s mother.  Through her, Hiccup learns much about Hiccup the Second and Grimbeard the Ghastly as part of his own family’s history.

In the end, Hiccup, trusting in the promise of an imprisoned dragon, releases this dragon in return for not being eaten by him.  Later, the dragon, whose heart was broken when Grimbeard the Ghastly killed his close companion, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Second, vows to destroy all humans.  He gives Hiccup a year’s reprieve to prepare as repayment for releasing him.

Hiccup goes home, thinking that maybe all will be well.  This is a book that shows a great deal of Hiccup’s youthful belief in the goodness of all people and how that is taken to his advantage and abused.  In many ways, this book marks the end of Hiccup’s innocence and the beginning of learning to be an adult.

It’s darker than any of the previous dragon books, and foreshadows much danger ahead.

As far as resources go:, there are not many.  Scholastic Book Clubs has some printable resources for this book series.  I’ve also seen a couple of book reviews, but nothing further on this book.

I have a few ideas however, for exploration that go directly with this book, and I’m going to list them here.

  • In this book, Hiccup learns much about his family tree, and the potential heirs for king of the Wilderwest.  This is a great entry point for studying your own family tree and your family history
  • They land on the beach of the broken heart, which is supposedly haunted.  Snotlout tells a scary ghost story to go with the myth, and this would be a great time to write your own ghost stories.
  • Hiccup’s dragon toothless swallows something magnetic, and it almost kills him until he has surgery to remove the magnet and some other stuff.  Can you say magnet unit study?
  • Grimbeard the Ghastly’s throne washes up on the beach.  Make your own design.
  • The Berserks sacrifice humans to dragons.  Research the history of human sacrifice as a tribal custom.
  • They’re looking for the perfect camping spot in the beginning of the story.  This is the perfect time for a camping unit study or to plan your own trip.
  • Furious immediately breaks the promise that he makes to Hiccup.  This is a great opportunity to discuss honesty, keeping your promises, etc.
  • Hiccup spends some time trying to see in the dark.  You can research how the eye works and how that changes in the dark.

These are just a few of the directions you could choose to go with this book.  It’s full of ideas you could use.  As you might can tell from some of my study ideas, this is really an upper elementary/middle school aged book.  I just want to caution you on that before you dive into it.

I think next time I’m going to just try and tackle one book at a time because this ended up being quite the mammoth post!!


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