There is one book that no matter what grade I have taught, no matter who I book talked it to, the book has flown off the shelves. In teaching fifth, it was constantly checked out, passed student to student. In seventh grade I shared it the first week of school and it has again been passed from hand to hand, never returning to my shelves. That book was Adam Gidwitz's brilliant Tale Dark and Grimm. A high percentage of my three classes of seventh grades have read it (and the next two installments in the series.) When I shared with them that Gidwitz had a new book coming out, they were ready for it. Was it still fast paced? Did you get pulled in from page one? Was it a bit violent? Yes, yes, and yes, my dear students.
Inquisitor's Tale was not at all what I expected. Here we venture into France in the year 1492. We begin at an inn, but it feels like a tavern. A traveler wants to know why three children are wanted by the king. As the patrons at the inn begin to share their interactions with these three kids, we learn their backstory. We begin with Jeanne, who was wanted because of her magical dog, Gwenforte. Then there is William who lived in a monastery, but was hated because of his skin color. And finally, there's Jacob, who is being persecuted because of his religion - Judaism.
There is humor in this book (Farting dragons anyone?), friendship, and lessons on loyalty. At times I put the book down and marveled at what Gidwitz had managed to accomplish with this novel. There is a level of depth that I hadn't expected. There is a chance to let our students draw lines from this story of the three children in 1492 to events we see unfold in the news today. But, at its heart, this is just an amazing story.
It's release date was 9/27, so it is out in the world. Go get it. Now. You won't be sorry. The Inquisitor's Tale, what an amazing adventure.
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