wet, cold, dreary: ingredients for a day of reading
Unseasonably cold and wet weather here in NY. So after church and lunch, a day inside reading seemed perfect. Walter Dean Myers' RIOT was a good choice. Myers returns to the format of MONSTER (screenplay) for this story set in New York in 1863. The draft has been instated as there is a need for more troops to fight in the Civil War. However, a loophole in the draft allows wealthy citizens to pay $300 for someone else to serve in their stead. This understandably causes a great deal of upset, especially among the poor Irish who are struggling to make ends meet. The NY Draft Riots were 4 days of bitter confrontations in NY and this is where Myers sets his story. The chief players are a biracial teen, Claire, whose father is black and mother is Irish. Through her eyes, and the eyes of other players, we see events unfold. Given the tenor of some of the political discussions of the day, this might be a great way to initiate a discussion of race and bigotry.