The Whispering Rod: A Tale of Old Massachusetts

Nancy Kelley

  • The Whispering Rod: A Tale of Old Massachusetts

Set in Puritan Boston, in an era when each colony required religious adherence, The Whispering Rod shows the courageous choices of 14-year-old Hannah Pryor as she struggles to make sense of the world around her during a time of great political and religious upheaval.In the spring of 1659, Quaker preacher Mary Dyer and two companions are about to be executed for breaking the anti-Quaker laws of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.Although her father forbids any mention of Mary Dyer, Hannah feels that this is an injustice and turns to a reputed witch, Goody Hawkins, for information.Hannah's thirst for knowledge leads to stories about her deceased mother's involvement in past "scandals."Her aunt in England sends a letter asking that Hannah be sent to her to avoid "following in her mother's footsteps."

Hurt and confused, Hannah turns to her friend Will Stoddard.In the woods they hear Mary Dyer preach a Quaker sermon, which deeply affects Hannah and gives her the courage to stand up to the Puritan elders. She stands by Will when he is accused of the crime of attending a Quaker meeting.With the help of Will and a mysterious Indian squaw named Mionie, Hannah makes a choice that will change her life forever.

The Whispering Rod by Nancy Kelley is a novel I have used with my 8th grade classes as part of an interdisciplinary unit with the social studies teacher. The 8th graders study United States history and the novel is an excellent tie-in with their curriculum. The Whispering Rod gives a factual description of life in colonial Boston. It also deals with the intolerance of Quakers by the Puritans who came to the New World for religious freedom. The subject of acceptance of people who are different from us is one that needs to be explored in schools. Diversity in schools' populations is part of our culture. Examining this subject helps students realize the tremendous costs of intolerance.

Joanne Folan, Teacher 8th Grade, Reading

...There are also universal themes with which adolescents can identify. The struggles between the father and the daughter mirror the experiences of many adolescents. Hannah's love interest, Will, captivates the girls and draws them into the story. The writing is very descriptive and enhances students' vocabularies as they read. I highly recommend The Whispering Rod to be used as a novel in an English or social studies classroom. It is a wonderful example of historical fiction. I look forward to other novels that this author writes. I think her first novel is oustanding.

Elizabeth Sarno, Teacher 7th Grade, Reading

Author Nancy Kelley
Pages 176
Images 0
Maps 0
Bibliography Yes
Index No
  • $17.95

Tags: 9781572492486, Nancy Kelley