Callie’s Contest of Courage Lit Bundle presents a unit study for Christian students based on Jan May’s novel Callie’s Contest of Courage. The novel revolves around 11-year-old Callie, whose Marine Corps dad is sent on an overseas deployment. She faces several challenges that test both her courage and her faith in God. Christian content throughout the story includes a young man accepting Jesus as his savior. (The author includes a subtheme and optional activities at the end of the book that encourage support for U.S. military troops.)
At the end of the novel are a recipe for a quick version of Banana Cream Pie, instructions for creating a frog habitat, and ideas for supporting overseas troops—all of which relate to the story. Many more activities are found in the 100-page guide, which includes discussion questions, worksheets with vocabulary activities, word-search and crossword puzzles, map work, instruction with questions related to literary analysis, a state report, games, (e.g., a scavenger hunt), and hands-on activities (e.g., making Callie’s Yummy Ice Cream Cups and creating a game).
Some discussion questions are of a spiritual nature, such as “How does God speak to Callie?” (page 44), but most are comprehension or application questions, such as “Have you ever had a secret project that you wanted to wait and unveil when it was all finished? What was it?” Most questions that require longer answers are identified as discussion questions, but there are a few for which students are told to write out answers. Lines beneath all of the questions allow students to provide written responses, even for those labeled for discussion. I would recommend assigning selected questions for written responses—maybe one-third of them—both to provide writing activity and to keep the discussion time manageable.
The 18-page lapbook adds a few activities that bring in science topics related to the story: bears, squirrels, and butterfly metamorphosis. In addition, there is a template on which students write a Bible verse and another three pages of cut-outs on George Washington. (A story from Washington’s life plays a pivotal role in Callie’s story.) Students will construct the lapbook on just one file folder that you supply.
These three resources can be used flexibly. Students might read the story on its own. From the guide, parents might use only the discussion questions, their choices from the other activities, or all of them. The lapbook is entirely optional but provides an expansion primarily into science.
It might take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to complete all the activities in the bundle. It really depends on how quickly you want to read the book and how much time you can devote to the activities.
Callie’s Contest of Courage Lit Bundle should be great for families, maybe using the novel as a read aloud with children in grades one through six and the guide activities and lapbook with students in grades three through six.