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Edward's Eyes in Summary: For Classroom Discussion

written by: tstyles • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 1/5/2012

This heartfelt book by the author of Sarah Plain and Tall is a good story for a classroom read aloud or for book group studies. Here we discuss the relative merits of the book, how it helps teach about mortality and the impact such tragedy has on people's lives.

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    Why this Book?

    I ordered Edward's Eyes from a Scholastic book club, curious about the subject matter and enticed by the cover boasting a handsome youngster looking into the sky for his baseball to come down (presumably, and a good picture to invite predictions). After reading it to my class aloud over several days I was not disappointed having chosen a book by its cover!

    Personally, I have always gravitated towards books that tell stories relating to mortality such as On My Honor, Tuck Everlasting, Searching for David's Heart, and Death be not Proud because children very rarely view themselves as being vulnerable beings. Children by their very nature take life and health for granted, never too often having it on their minds that, yes, even young people can have accidents, or fall ill. I certainly don't want children to run around panicked about their own fates or fearing accident or death at every corner, but a healthy and age appropriate awareness of our own mortality, I believe, is always a good thing.

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    Brief Look at the Story

    Edward's Eyes tells the story of a very close family. At the center of this family is Edward, a loving boy with a knack for baseball. This family is wound tightly together, and at the beginning of the story all eagerly await the birth of a new sister. They're so close and secure with one another that the children call the parents by their first names rather than the often obligatory "mom" and "dad."

    It seems as if this family's happiness could not be surpassed, but that world is turned upside down when Edward rides his bike off to the store and never comes home.

    His death strikes at the heart of the family, but they find hope in donating Edward's corneas to science, eventually connecting with the man who benefited from them.

    Edward's Eyes is not Captain Underpants, and you wouldn't want it to be. I found myself even as the teacher having to go back and sort out the characters, as there are several family members, and the way the author sets up the scenes children have to make inferences about what happened to Edward earlier on before it's altogether revealed what happened. The book evoked much discussion in class and was good for predictions, inferences and thoughtful reflection. it is a short chapter book geared for an intermediate audience.

    I had my students get a copy for the beginning of the year so we could start it as a whole class book study. It's a great book to start the year.