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A Crack in the Sea

Last updated Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Author: H. M. Bouwman
Date of Publication: 2017
ISBN: 0399545190
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2018

Synopsis: No one comes to the Second World on purpose. The doorway between worlds opens only when least expected. The Raft King is desperate to change that by finding the doorway that will finally take him and the people of Raftworld back home. To do it, he needs Pip, a young boy with an incredible gift—he can speak to fish; and the Raft King is not above kidnapping to get what he wants. Pip’s sister Kinchen, though, is determined to rescue her brother and foil the Raft King’s plans.

Note to readers:
•  There are a lot of black and white pictures throughout the book, so a walk-through might be interesting for the kids.
•  This book has a lot of heavy history in it such as slave trading and the Vietnam War, but it's presented in a fantasy/magic genre. Some parts of history within the book may need to be explained in more detail to help the kids understand.
•  Book is divided into 9 different parts/stories with different characters who all come together in the end. Reading the synopsis to the kids may be helpful.
•  Suggested reading: Chapter 1 and 2 of Part 1, Chapter 1 of Part 2, and Chapter 1 of Part 3.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What's your favorite fantasy book? (ex. Harry Potter series)
•  What prediction can you make about the book based on the cover?
•  How many family members do you have in your family?


•  Governor: leader of a town/community.
•  Albino: A person or animal with white skin and hair, and eyes that are typically pink.
•  Bass: a type of fish that can range from small to large (can show picture on phone possibly).

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Pip has a gift to talk to fish. What kind of gift would you like to have?
•  Who are the Raftworlders and what do you think they'll do with Pip?
•  How to you think Thanh will tie into the story at the end?

Craft ideas:
•  Design what you think outfits would look like from Pip and Kinchen's island and outfits from Thanh's country of Vietnam (both from the year 1978).
•  Build a makeshift raft that you imagine could be from the Raftworlders out of paper, cardboard, paper towel rolls, ribbon, etc.
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!

Special activities:
•  Lightly dive into the history of the Vietnam War and world events of 1978 that may be intriguing for 5th graders.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!