The first chapter is “The Third Level” by Jack Finney. It is a fictional story which can help broaden students’ imagination and raise their curiosity. It teaches a lesson on making the most of opportunities and never passing up a chance available; to make the most of now, the present.
The second chapter, “The Tiger King” is a short story by Kalki. It is about a satire on the pride and stubbornness of those in power. This story takes the students to the days of autocratic and eccentric kings during the British rule.
It gives a moral on how each species of living things in the world plays an important role in maintaining the ecological balance in nature. The children will have knowledge on the interdependence of each living species and not to be blinded by passion.
The third chapter, “Journey to the End of the Earth” is written by Tishani Doshi. This short story takes the students to Antarctica to give them more knowledge about the planet’s past, present and future.
It gives information on how geological phenomena can help to know about the history of humankind. It also provides a website for students to know more about the Antarctic experience.
The Enemy is the fourth chapter written by Pearl S. Buck. This short story brings the students back to the time of the World War. It gives a message that humanism trascends all man made prejudices and barriers. It has a great lesson of peace, love, sympathy, fellow feeling and humanism.
Should Wizard Hit Mommy?, a witty short story written by John Updike, raises a moral issue : if parents should always decide what the children should do or let the children do what they like to do. It shows the innocence and pureness of children, and the differences in the perspectives of life in adult and child’s view. This can help the students understand their parents much better, how they always want the best for them and how their perspective of life is much broader than theirs.
On The Face Of It, a play written by Susan Hill is the sixth chapter of this book. This play consisted of three characters; Derry, Derry’s mother and Mr. Lamb. It depicts a unique bond between a fourteen year old boy and an old man, both of them are physically impaired. This play shows the students that physically impaired people mostly suffer from inferiority complex and are mostly reluctant to easily approach people unlike normal people. It also shows that physical impairment should not hold a person back from doing what he wants to do in life and that they can also lead a normal life just like the others. It teaches the students to be aware of the reality of life and encouraged them to cope with their impairment in the best possible manner.
The seventh chapter of this book is “Evan Tries an O-Level”, by Colin Dexter. This story depicts a clash of wit between a criminal and the law enforcing authorities. It shows that if the government and law enforcing officials are vigilant, crime can be detected and criminals can be booked.
The last chapter is Memories of Childhood and contains two excerpts, taken from two autobiographies. The first one is taken from “The Cutting of My Long Hair : A Biography of My Hair” written by Zitkala-Sa and the second one from “Karukku” written by Bama. Both of them are victims of social discrimination. In both the extracts, the writers look back on their childhoods and reflect on the relationship with mainstream culture which ill-treated them when they were children. Both the accounts are based on two distant cultures. The first is that of Native Americans and the second is that of the Tamil Dalits. Both the commonality that brings them closer is the fact that in both cases, the mainstream culture marginalised the underprivileged section of that society. This gave rise to the conflict between the mainstream culture and the marginalised community, which is exquisitely showcased in Memories of Childhood. This chapter tells us how racial discrimination and caste discrimination can destroy a person’s life and that we all are humans, with feelings and interdependent on each other. The students can have an understanding of the importance of living in harmony with our fellow human beings.
This book contains short stories with excellent morals which can help the students deal with their daily challenges in the present and the future. It is also very suitable for Class XII students who are in their late stage of adolescence and on the point of maturing. It also provides a wide knowledge of history, politics, patriotism and fiction. The contents are well thought of and appropriate for the students. However, some changes can be made in the exercises to challenge the students to use more of their imagination and language skills. As the teaching of language mainly aims at improving the language skills of a learner, more exercises like grammar games and word meanings can be added. Overall, it is a good book provided for supplementary reading for the students of Class XII.
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