Choke Creek FAQ
Why teach Choke Creek?
Choke Creek is an ideal choice for every high school teacher looking for that elusive “good” book: one that combines solid literary qualities with compelling content and important themes. Powerfully and beautifully written, Choke Creek engages even the most reluctant reader. The novel has been taught successfully in high school English and American history classes across the nation, leading Carol Jago, President of NCTE, to call it “an outstanding choice.”
What was the Sand Creek Massacre and why is it important?
Choke Creek is based on the Sand Creek Massacre, which took place in Colorado in 1864. Over 150 peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians, mostly women and children, were killed by federal troops in a massacre that shocked the nation. The event played a pivotal role in the Indian Wars that led to the settling of the West, and yet afterwards was largely forgotten. Framed as an intriguing mystery and coming of age story, Choke Creek asks essential questions such as: What is truth? How does history create our identity as individuals and our collective identity as a nation?
Does Choke Creek meet my state’s standards?
Most states require the use of novels that teach students to “read and recognize literature as a record of human experience” (Colorado Standard 6) and “analyze how works of a given period reflect historical and social events and conditions” (New Jersey 3.1.12.G.4). Choke Creek meets all these standards. It is an ideal book for states implementing Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. For more information visit www.corestandards.org. To see the standards for your state, click here.
What reading level is appropriate for Choke Creek?
Students who are comfortable reading novels like The Things They Carried, Of Mice and Men, and To Kill a Mockingbird will enjoy reading Choke Creek.
I’m interested in social justice. Does Choke Creek fit into this kind of curriculum?
Choke Creek asks essential questions such as: What are the risks of speaking out against injustice, and what are the consequences of remaining silent? The novel includes the true story of Silas Soule, a cavalryman who risked his life to tell the truth about Sand Creek.
What kinds of supplementary materials are available to help me teach Choke Creek?
Classroom sets include a free teacher guide with a complete Language Arts Curriculum as well as an American History Curriculum. The guide covers daily lesson plans, tests, evaluations, research papers, creative projects and more. Discs are available with PowerPoint presentations. There are also online materials such as timelines, music and YouTube clips, and a photo gallery on this website. The author is also available to make classroom visits.
What does the author do when she visits a class?
In the English classroom, Small focuses on inspiring students to read, write, and think critically. She talks about the research and writing process that led her to write Choke Creek, and how pursuing your passion leads to the most effective writing. She believes strongly in writing as a tool for social justice. She has a PowerPoint presentation in which she talks about the history of Sand Creek and the heroism and sacrifice of Silas Soule, the cavalryman who gave his life to tell the truth about the massacre. For American History students, Small focuses on the history of the Sand Creek Massacre and how difficult it can be at times to ascertain historical truth. To see a sample speaking proposal, click here.
How can I arrange for a review copy of Choke Creek?
Contact the publisher directly for review copies at Bridle Path Press, firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-608-5841.