A Summer Afternoon Shared Reading

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By Anastasia Gruper

Daniella, Claudia, Jenny, and I congregated at the Garden Quarter with an incredible book on the Rebecca Caudill list this year: How They Croaked. Pocahontas and Julius Caesar were the chosen people today. Using our background knowledge, which consisted much of the Disney movie, we told the beautiful love story of Princess Pocahontas and John Smith. We smiled as we recalled the beautiful tale, and what a tale it was. In truth, Pocahontas was kidnapped at age 17 and forced to marry John Rolfe, a man who merely wanted her land to grow his tobacco crop. In an effort to make Pocahontas civilized, Rolfe brought her back to England where she contracted tuberculosis or pneumonia and died at aged 21 due to his lack of seeking medical attention. Claudia said it best, “It sounds like he was the uncivilized one.” Jenny was late to join our group, so we all listened closely as Daniella summarized and retold the story. Of course, Claudia was eager to jump in with details when she could. A great discussion followed about how uncivilized settlers were to the Native Americans when they came to the states.

As we moved on to Julius Caesar, Claudia recalled learning about him inventing the calendar. We all predicted how he died based on the picture. Although we all guessed he was stabbed, we had no idea how gruesome and gory the mass stabbing from the greedy senators would be. Daniella said it best, “All those guys died within a year; it sounds like they created their own bad luck.” We also discussed how a nice dictator was an oxymoron, but perhaps that’s what Julius was. As Daniella said, “He left his garden to the people and he left every citizen money in his will.”

As Mal drove us home today, we reflected on how the story boost went today. I don’t think I articulated it well in the car. However, sitting at home reflecting on the experience makes me realize what an incredible experience it was. I learned so much today. Thanks A to Z, Garden Quarter, but most of all, thanks Daniella, Claudia and Jenny!

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