Monday, May 14, 2012


Beautiful voice, but not a beautiful face...

The author of Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine brings us a new story that takes place in the same world where we met Ella... When I think of a fairy tale I think of queens and kings and ball gowns mixed with a little magic, some evil doing and of course a heroine with a love story. Take all those pieces of a love story, add the beautiful voice Aza and you have Gail Carson Levine's Fairest which is an adaptation of the classic, Snow White. Aza has the most beautiful voice in all the land. She can even "throw" her voice to sound like it is coming from just about anywhere. It does not matter that Aza has a wonderful voice however because she is far from what those in the Kingdom of Ayortha consider beautiful. She is used to hiding her face as often as possible but when she becomes lady in waiting to the new queen, she finds herself in the mix of everything and even in danger. In the midst of all the danger, she is finding herself falling in love with a charming prince. Will she be able to avoid the danger... Could a prince ever fall for someone as "ugly" as Aza? Read to find out...

Reading Level: 6.1
                     Fountas and Pinnell: X
                     Lexile 590L

Teachers: Here are some ideas and resources to help you use Fairest in your classroom.

Web Resources:
  • Teacher's Guide: This guide includes 8 discussion questions.
  •  Gail Carson Levine's Website: Here you will find links to each of her novels where she talks a bit about them. There is also a link to her blog and much more to explore.

Vocabulary: This novel uses a lot of words that are not used often in conversational English...
aria, wench, amiss, boisterous, conspicuous, inauspicious, impervious, discordant, querulously, surreptitiously, brevity, chicanery

Before Reading: What makes a fairy tale a fairy tale? Make a list (as a class or in partners)... as you read, give examples of when Fairest shows these characteristics you came up with.

During Reading:
  • Give examples of how Fairest is like the fairy tale you described in the before reading activity.
  • Choose a character other than Aza and write a scene from the story in their perspective. For example, what might the king be thinking when he is injured. If he can hear those at his bedside, what would he say in response if he could.

After Reading:
  • In the epilogue you find out that Aza and Ijori are wed and live a very happy life together. Create an alternate ending/epilogue to this story.
  • Choose a scene from this book and in a group create a "modern" script for it and act it out/take a video of your performance for your class.

Levine, G. C. (2006). Fairest. New York, NY: HarperCollins. 
Happy Reading (&Running) =)

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