Summary - In this chapter we see Sophia’s family set off for their bike trip amidst concerns that there may be flash flooding (foreshadowing what will take place on the bike trip). We see Sophia’s common teenage excitement about learning how to drive, which will be harkened to later in the book when she goest back to the 19th century and greatly appreciates the thrill of riding horses even more so than she ever did driving. Sophia also notices an old farmhouse that is marked as former station of the Underground Railroad. This house will have a prominent presence also in the book later on when Sophia goes back in time. Students may or may not know what the underground railroad was, it is worth reminding and explaining when it comes up in the book.This link talks about the history of the Underground Railroad in Kansas, it could act as a supplementary reader. For more advanced or interested readers there is a book by Tom Calarco called Places of the Underground Railroad that could be recommended to interested students. The book is actually available for download in PDF form on the internet (note clicking that link will download the book). Page 327 of that book (357 in the PDF) talks something about the circumstances in Kansas in the side 1850s which Sophia will go back in time to, and page 331 (PDF 362) talks about specific places in Kansas that slaves went to when going to the free territory.
As Sophia’s family gets going on the bike ride the action begins. Sophia has an accident and ends up in a new place. In this sense there is suspense and action through most of this chapter so there are less teaching points below. The Illustrations background knowledge powerpoint is helpful for this chapter for ESL students.
Points of connection for Muslim students
“As soon as they prayed the dawn prayer” - the dawn prayer is called fejr in Arabic and Islam and it is the first prayer done in the day of the 5 obligatory prayers. The time of fejr in North America will range from being done in the time frame of about 3:30am-5:00am in the early summer to 6:00am-7:00am in middle of winter. It is notoriously the most difficult of the 5 obligatory prayers for anyone to get in. You might ask the Muslim students how and if their school schedule can make it difficult to perform fejr.
“safety pins” - The book describes the relevance here and if you teach Muslim females a stash of safety pins is something you ought to have in your teacher desk or a cabinet for when the inevitable need arises. You could certainly ask the students if they can relate to the described scenario were safety pins are commonly needed and lost.
“ya Allah” - “ya” is a general exclamation in Arabic so saying this is the equivalent to saying “Oh God!” or “Oh dear God!” - most Muslims know the Arabic expression “ya la!” which means “Come on!” and is often used to move people along, therefore young people hear a lot. My Somali students know that expression.
“Bismillah” - as mentioned in chapter 1 this means “in the name of God” and is said at the start of performing an action. Generally, it’s not like Muslims say this before absolutely everything that they do, but they tend to remember saying it when there is more gravity to what they are doing beyond the mundane. Here Sophia says it before she kicks her way towards a tree trunk.
“Ya Latif” - we explained the meaning of “ya” before. Latif here is another name for Allah. In Islam Allah has no less than 99 names that He is referred to, and these names describe his attributes as are described in the Qur’an, this is all a matter necessitating much more elaboration that is gone over in our Professional development seminars - but the word Latif means “gentle” or “kind” because Allah is the Most Kind and the source of all kindness. Many Muslim students have names that incorporate these names of Allah after the word “‘abd” or “‘abdi” which means “slave” “servant” or “worshipper” such as the name “Abdullahi” which means “Servant of God” the name “Abdulatif” also means the same thing only the word lah (which means God in Arabic) is replaced by one of Allah’s names “Latin” - there are endless examples of these such as Abdurahman (Servant of the Most Merciful) and Abdurizaq (Servant of the Provider) etc.
“tasbih dhikr” - we talked about the meaning of dhikr in the first chapter guide - the “tasbih dhikr” simply means making remembrance (dhikr) specifically by saying and repeating “subhanallah” “alhamdulilah” and “Allahu Akbar” 33 times.