Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Robert Byrd

This was one of those books I read over the summer for my Tween Materials class. I picked it up because it was a Newbery Medal winner (2008) and also because it was non-fiction. For the final project for the class I had to read and review 50 books and other materials for tweens, half of which had to be fiction. The majority of my books were fiction, so I needed a few non-fiction titles to break it up.
As I obviously am not reviewing every book that I read this summer here, I chose to review this one for a specific reason. That reason is the honesty of the portrayal of medieval life, made accesible to kids. Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! is written in an interesting format - it is a series of plays (mostly monologues, but a few for two people) written for students at a Middle School. Each of these plays is a portrait of an individual in this medieval village, all of which are first-person accounts by narrators that can be assumed to be the same age as the students reading the book. I expected something fun and light-hearted, and what I got was a very good lesson in what medieval life might really have been like. Not really fun and light-hearted at all, but difficult in many ways, even for the young people of the time. In addition to the plays, Schlitz also includes background information to help young readers learn more about the time period. This is truly an excellent book to include in any lesson about medieval history, or to give to any young person who wants to learn more about this time period.

1 comment:

Rebecca Reid said...

I read this last year and I was incredibly impressed by how accessible it made the era for kids! Thanks for the review.