No school year should go by without a class spending quality time with a novel. It could be in the form of a read aloud, literature circles, or independent reading and reflection. I like to use a blend of several approaches.
The first challenge is to select a great book. As an inquiry-based classroom, I thought it's critical that the novel we read together be directly related to our current theme and preferably to our central idea. We had been inquiring into children's opportunities and challenges. After discussions with colleagues, I thought Kensuke's Kingdom would be a perfect fit.