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July 09

Nancy Farmer, three-time Newbery honoree, was born in 1941.

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Nancy Farmer, three-time Newbery honoree, was born in 1941.

Grades 3 – 8
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text





Nancy Farmer is the author of three Newbery Honor Books, including The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm; A Girl Named Disaster; and The House of the Scorpion. The House of the Scorpion also won the National Book Award in 2002. Farmer is the author of several other books, including three children's picture books. She now lives with her family in Menlo Park, California.




In many of Farmer's works, she explores some of society's most hotly-debated scientific issues, such as cloning, toxic waste, and brain implants. Have your students write original short stories in the science-fiction genre. First, as a class, brainstorm a list of current events and issues in science. Examples could include cloning, animal research and testing, stem cell research, and genetic engineering. Then have students examine the Genre Characteristics of science fiction. Using this information, have students select a story topic and decide on a setting (future world, space, a different world, or a different universe.)

Then, have students visit the Literary Elements Mapping tool to plan the characters, conflict, setting, and resolution as a prewriting activity for their stories. Have students work independently and then with a peer to write and edit their stories. When all stories are completed, create a class science fiction short story anthology. Students can illustrate their own stories, or volunteers can serve as illustrators for the collection.



  • Nancy Farmer

    This resource offers biographical information about Nancy Farmer, as well as reviews of her books and lists of the awards each has won.

  • Resthaven

    Aaron Shepard provides this reader's theater script, adapted from Farmer's The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm.

  • A Girl Named Disaster

    This page, from North Carolina State University, features three activities to be used with Farmer's Newbery Honor book.


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Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Finding the Science Behind Science Fiction through Paired Readings

Students read science fiction texts and then use nonfiction texts to extrapolate the scientific principles presented as they discuss the "what ifs" within the context of scientific principles.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Critical Literacy in Action: Multimodal Texts on Global Warming

Students will really warm up to this lesson about global warming as they study multimedia materials and use a variety of comprehension strategies.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Making Personal and Cultural Connections Using A Girl Named Disaster

Struggling to survive is one of the many themes explored in A Girl Named Disaster. As students read, they look for connections between themselves and the main character, Nhamo.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Recurring Lesson

Genre Study: A Collaborative Approach

Students explore multiple genres through genre studies. They record evidence of genre characteristics on bookmarks as they read, and finish by giving a book review for their classmates.