Curriculum Links for Draco’s Child
Draco’s Child, by Sharon Plumb
Draco’s Child is a young adult novel suitable for grades 6 and up (ages 12 and up). The novel’s themes fit into four of the five Saskatchewan English Language Arts contexts for grades K – 12. These are:
- Imaginative and Literary Context (exploring imaginary worlds and possibilities through different genres including fantasy and science fiction): The characters in Draco’s Child live on a distant, somewhat Earth-like planet, and face unforeseen forces that no one they know has ever had to deal with before. They must think creatively and explore all their options carefully to figure out how to survive, and if possible, thrive.
- Personal and Philosophical Context (self-concept, self-image, feelings, reflections, influential forces in our lives, ways of thinking and knowing): The main character of Draco’s Child, a young teenage girl named Varia, makes a series of choices that determine who—and what—she becomes. She makes her choices for a variety of reasons, never knowing for sure if she is doing the right thing. Along the way, she considers the value of friendship, of family and community, what it means to grow up and whether she wants to, and how she can tell if someone is trustworthy. She learns that it is never too late to undo, or at least recover from, a bad decision.
- Communicative Context (different methods, forms, and issues related to language and communication): Varia faces the usual teenage issues of relating to her parents and her peers. But she faces the added problem of communicating with two very different aliens with very different ideas on what she should do. One, the star child, speaks through images it puts into her mind, but doesn’t seem to be able to read her thoughts in return—or can it? The other is a dragon that speaks a version of English that she teaches it, mixed with words from its own ancestral memory, whose meaning she can only guess. Complicating this further is her feeling that both of them know things they aren’t telling her. Somehow she must find out the truth.
- Environmental and Technological Context (nature, animals, earth, sky, space, environmental issues): Varia’s people traveled to their new planet on a spaceship, surrounded by every kind of technology designed to make their trip comfortable and safe. They emerged into a wild, hostile rainforest where any wrong decision could mean the death of them all. To survive, they must study and understand the ecosystem they now live in. A question that becomes increasingly important is whether they can alter the ecosystem to suit their own preferred way of life, or whether they will have to adapt to life on the planet’s terms. A mystery that is solved over the course of the book is why there are no animals on the planet (except the one dragon) and what they can do to bring them back.