A retelling of an ancient myth…
On ancient Minoan Crete, 11 year old Calice, whose existence has been kept secret from her famous inventor father, decides she has learned all she can by watching her father and artist brother from the shadows of the Palace where she lives. A budding inventor herself, she renames herself Petra Volare, and ventures forth, recording her observations and invention sketches, her vivid past-life dreams, and her thoughts about the mysterious Cave of the First Ones, where she discovers her true destiny.
Our intended audience is Middle grade readers (and also the adults who still treasure and cultivate the magic and mystery of that age within themselves).
WHY THIS BOOK?
First, we’d like to offer you the perspective of Jennifer Ramseyer, 7th Grade Language Arts/Civics Teacher , E.B. Stanley Middle School:
“I have read hundreds of young adult novels over the years and this one is so different from any that I have read. I really enjoyed the blend of the expected and the unexpected as the story unfolds. Amazing! I have taught most of my 21 years in middle school, I can definitely see students picking this one up. I think they will enjoy reading about a different twist to something they are familiar with.
I caught myself thinking “Wow!” she [Petra Volare] is a very strong and determined character…taking matters in her own hands because the people around her acting so secretive and waiting for her to find her way. It makes her journey believable.
There are many books out there for young adults that don’t give the reader any credit to do some problem solving and make choices. This journey that Petra goes on allows the reader to be by her side the whole time. At times, I even felt the frustration she was going through and became impatient for her to resolve issues. The multiple levels within the structure of the myth of Daedalus and Icarus was both comforting and intriguing. I feel this book would be a popular book in our school library.”
Now, we’d like to offer you our own perspective:
- Petra’s specific inquiries provide terrific points of departure for discussions and projects in the sciences, math, art, music, history, and language arts. In fact, we anticipate that young readers will come up with their own fascinating and relevant inquiries—specifically because the ability to make relevant connections is the most striking and definitive quality of Petra Volare’s character.
- Petra’s endless curiosity, her courage, and her struggle to become an active creator of her own life are qualities that are valuable to anyone who wishes to live his or her best life. The fact that she aspires to becoming an inventor and so uses her journals to record her observations and problem-solving is, we think, an added inspiration for young people who are similarly inclined and are seeking an outlet for their spirit of inventiveness. This makes the book useful as a point of departure for engaging that spirit within a classroom setting.
- In her quest to gain self-dominion and save the lives of her brother and best friend, Petra encounters powerful mentors– Phoenicia the beekeeper, herbalist and Wisdom Keeper; Petros the sailor who teaches her Star Stories and the principles of the air and sea currents; and Archalochori, the swordmaker. Each is a role models for empowering curiosity and inventiveness in its broadest forms.
- Mythology always offers the chance for all of us to view our present-day reality with new eyes, and in this inaugural book in a series that will comprise 7 books, Petra Volare’s journal adds the twist of re-thinking the myth itself.
We hope this Teacher’s Guide provides helpful insights and is useful, and we welcome feedback!