Abel's Island by William Steig was published in 1976 and won a Newbery Honor. The entire time I read this sweet little book, I thought about how fun it would be to teach this novel along with a science unit. There are so many experiments and research projects that would tie right in to the story line.
Reading this made me miss my colleague and friend, Jeanne Bostwick, who is a stellar middle school science teacher, and when we taught, we tied what my Language Arts students were reading into what she taught them in the science classroom. If you have the ability to teach across the curriculum, this the perfect book.
Abel, a mouse, is swept up in a storm and deposited on an island in the middle of a river. Over the course of a year, he attempts to get off the island by using his creativity and thinking things through. I love each attempt and how he gets frustrated at times, but he keeps trying demonstrating a growth mindset. Your students could recreate what Abel does and see if their attempts work out better than Abel's. Abel has to survive by gathering the native edibles on the island; could your students survive a winter in the wilds? What would they do to prepare shelter and food?
Steig includes many fun illustrations, so this little 120 page book filled with pictures makes a quick and fun read.
Read to a child today even if that child is you.