Author Feature-Scott Westerfeld

 


Spirit of Texas Reading Program

Middle School

Featured Author

Scott Westerfeld

Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan

Photo by: Samantha Jones

Born on May 5, 1963 in Dallas, Texas, author Scott Westerfeld has written 13 books for young adult readers. His most well-known books are the Uglies series. More recently he wrote the books in the Leviathan series, a Steampunk retelling of World War I. He is also the author of the Midnighters series which tell of five teens born when the clock struck midnight and to whom very strange things happen when the sun goes down. Scott married author Justine Larbalestier in 2001. Though born in Texas, Scott and his wife split their time between New York City and Sydney, Australia in order to, in his words, “avoid the scourge of winter.”

 

Find him on the web:

Author Website
Publisher Harper Collins Website
Publisher Simon & Schuster Website
Twitter
Videos

Other Internet Resources:

 

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Book Trailer


Trailer from http://scottwesterfeld.com/videos/



Book Quiz

Download a printable copy of quiz

  • Deryn has to hide her true identity because
    • She’s a criminal on the run from the law
    • She’s a girl and girls are not allowed to fly
    • It’s a Halloween party masquerade
    • The man who wants to marry her is evil
  • While sword fighting, Alek’s instructor quizzes him on
    • Politics
    • Math
    • A Book he was supposed to read
    • Sword maneuvers
  • The Leviathan is lit by
    • Gas lights
    • Torches
    • Glow worms
    • Specially designed light bulbs
  • A scientist passenger on the Leviathan arrives with
    • A talking parrot
    • A large valise
    • Secret cargo
    • All of the above
  • What is used to send messages?
    • Walkie talkies
    • Lizards
    • Parrots
    • Both b and c
  • Why can’t Alek ascend to the throne when his father and mother are killed?
    • His father and mother weren’t married when he was born
    • He hasn’t had enough education
    • His mother was a commoner and the emperor forbade the ascension
    • He is too young
  • Darwinists are scientists who
    • Fabricate animals for specific purposes
    • Build mechanical war machines
    • Believe the world revolves around the moon
    • Believe the earth is flat
  • Clankers are a group of people who
    • Drink too much
    • Fabricate animals for specific purposes
    • Worship mechanical engines
    • Believe the earth is flat

 

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Academic Program

Alternate History Writing Assignment - Based on Scott Westerfeld's novel Leviathan

Download a printable copy of program

Additional Documents (Coming Soon)

Introduction/Description of Program

Encourage Social Studies and/or English classes to participate in an essay contest or writing assignment that asks what the world would be like if major historical events did not happen the way we learned in history class.  Some examples follow.  Feel free to adapt any of these ideas to create your own program.

Book/Resources to Display/Use and Book Talk

  • Alternate history wiki - Facts and figures that might help create an alternate history and provide info for historical events.  It is a wiki so use your best judgement when considering the facts and figures presented.
  • Cowley, Robert (ed).  What If:  The World's Foremost Historians Imagine What Might Have Been
  • Cowley, Robert (ed). What If: 2
  • Gaiman, Neil.  Marvel 1602
  • Gibson, William.  The Difference Engine
  • Turtledove, Harry.  The Disunited States of America
  • Turtledove, Harry.  Homeward Bound
  • Turtledove, Harry.  Worldwar: In the Balance

List of Supplies

  • Computers or access to them to complete research and/or writing assignment projects
  • biographies, encyclopedias, databases, and other reference and research materials as needed
  • pens/pencils/paper for taking notes.

Detailed Description of Program

What If?

Research and critically think about how major events have shaped history and society and how the absence of those events would affect our history as we know it. Students should choose a major historical event and research its impact on the events that followed it.  Once the event is selected, students will fill out the contract and begin their project organizer. Students will have the opportunity to present their alternate history to the class. Projects should be carefully researched to determine the outcomes and effects on history had their chosen event's outcome been different.  An example might be "What if Lincoln did not deliver the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863?"  Students should examine the ramifications of Lincoln's speech and see what would have been different had it not been given.  They could then hypothesize outward from that event and guess how history might have been different through the Civil War and beyond.

Multimedia projects can be posted to the classroom wiki or school website.  Printed media projects can be displayed in the halls outside the classroom.  Select student projects could be presented to all grade levels studying a particular event to see if students in those classes agree with the outcomes suggested in the project.

Projects can be graded according to the included rubric or a teacher specific one can be created.

Project ideas/rubric framework courtesy of Diana Laufenberg via Larry Ferlazzo's blog.

TEKS: 

  • 6th English 110.18b Knowledge and Skills 1-3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 14, 15A, 19-27, 28 (if students work in groups).
  • 6th Social Studies 113.18b Knowledge and Skills 1AB, 2AB, 4AF, 11ABCD, 15EF, 17ABC, 20ABC, 21-23
  • 7th English 110.19b Knowledge and Skills 1-3, 6, 7, 9. 10, 14, 15A, 19-27, 28 (if students work in groups)
  • 7th Social Studies 113.19b Knowledge and Skills Students may address 1-15 if they choose a Texas history event for their Alternate History Project. All projects should meet 21-23.
  • 8th English 110.20b Knowledge and Skills 1-3, 6, 7, 9. 10, 14, 15A, 19-27, 28 (if students work in groups)
  • 8th Social Studies 113.20b Knowledge and Skills Students may address 1-18 if they choose a US history event for their Alternate History Project. All projects should meet 21-23.

 

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Gaslights in the Library
Active Program

Download a printable copy of program

Introduction of Program

The program is centered around Scott Westerfeld's book Leviathan, which can be considered of the Steampunk genre. Steampunk seeks to give a reinterpretation of history where the Victorian style and way of life permeates into the 20th century. Cogs, clockworks, and steam power have replaced internal combustion as a powersource, and vast airships and clever gadgets abound. Host an evening of Steampunk to celebrate the genre and book.

Steampunk is a genre that originated during the 1980s and early 1990s and incorporates elements of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, horror, andspeculative fiction. It involves a setting where steam poweris widely used—whether in an alternative history such as Victorian era Britain or "Wild West"-era United States, or in a post-apocalyptic time —that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology, or futuristic innovations as Victorians might have envisioned them, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion,culture, architectural style, and art. This technology includes such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or the contemporary authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, and China Mieville.

Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of such technology as lighter-than-airairships, analog computers, or such digital mechanical computersas Charles Babbageand Ada Lovelace's Analytical Engine.

Steampunk also refers to art, fashion, and design that are informed by the aesthetics of steampunk literature.[1]Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical "steampunk" style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.

Source: "Steampunk." Wikipedia, 2012. Print. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk>.

Program Related Books to Display/Book Talk - Read Alikes and Other Steampunk Genre Titles

  • Clare, Cassandra. Infernal Devices and A Clockwork Angel. Ages 14+
  • Colfer, Eoin. Airman. Ages 12+
  • Cross, Kady. Steampunk Chronicles (series). Ages 12+
  • Donovan, Art. The Art of Steampunk. Ages 14+
  • Fisher, Catherine. Incarceron. Ages 12+
  • Kirby, Matthew. The Clockwork Three. Ages 10+
  • Marsocci, Joey. 1000 Steampunk Creations. All ages
  • Meyer, Marissa. Cinder. Ages 12+
  • Oppel, Kenneth. Airborn Trilogy and This Dark Endeavor. Ages 12+
  • Reeve, Philip. The Mortal Engine Quartet and Fever Crumb and Larklight. Ages 10+
  • Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Ages 14+
  • Strongman, Jay. Steampunk: The Art of Victorian Futurism. Ages 14+
  • Tennapel, Doug. The Iron West (GN). Ages 10+
  • Verne, Jules. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and From the Earth to the Moon. Ages 14+
  • Wells, H. G. The Time Machine. All ages
  • Westerfeld, Scott. Leviathan and its sequels Behemoth and Goliath. Ages 12+

List of Supplies

  • Party supplies
    • cups
    • plates
    • napkins
    • punch
    • snacks
    • decorations
  • Building supplies for jewelry, war machines:
    • old keyrings, chains, rings, metal junk such as pipes, gears, washers, etc.
    • craft books for inspiration
    • Legos, Tinkertoys or similar building materials such as wooden paint sticks
    • rubber animal toys
    • other decoration items such as stickers or colored markers
    • glue
    • tape rubber bands, paper clips, hotglue gun or other attachment materials.
    • Costume items from Oriental Trading or other party supply store or gathered from a thrift store. Use your imagination!

Detailed Description of the Program

Steampunk is all about being creative. Invite your guests to be creative in their costumes, but make sure they remain true to the genre. Costumes can be traditional Steampunk (Victorian in style) or Weird West (a subgenre that follows Western attire with a Steampunk flair). Since the program has Victorian roots, attempts at Victorian etiquette and manners should be observed whenever possible.

Decorations

Lighting should be low and warm but dim to mimic the gaslights of the Victorian Age. Music should be period appropriate, and local Steampunk Interest groups could be invited to give input and provide a little help with decor and setup.

Attire

Encourage students to host a Steampunk Fashion Show. Provide examples of Steampunk fashion and have them create their own style. Add the fashion show as an event during the "Gaslights in the Library" evening. Victorian style can be readily reimagined with ideas from Pinterest and other sites, and most costumes can be derived from things already in the closet.

Food and Drink

Try to stick to the time period. It could either be a Victorian-style tea with finger sandwiches and sweets and a selection of teas or a little bit more extravagant affair if budgets (and time) permit.

Activities

Fashion show, music/dancing from the era, refreshments. Choose activities listed in the Passive Program to be displayed as stations in the library during the "Gaslights in the Library" evening. Trivia contest -- Use questions from the Leviathan quiz or book and give prizes for the most knowledgeable contestants.

Websites and Resources

Bibliography and Other Resources to Consult for Planning

  • Marsocci, Joey. 1000 Steampunk Creations: Neo-Victorian Fashion, Gear & Art. Beverly, MA. Quarry Books, 2011. 322 p.. Print.
  • Strongman, Jay (2010). Steampunk: The Art of Victorian Futurism. Korero Books. ISBN978-1-907621-03-1.

 

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Steampunk Creativity

Passive Program

Download printable copy of program

Introduction to Program

Celebrate Steampunk by offering these activities during your "Gaslights in the Library" evening or event and in the weeks leading up to it. Set them up as stations for students to access during the event or just have them available in the library for the duration of your program and/or promotion. Offer a quiz to students to test their knowledge of the book. (see quiz tab for a downloadable copy)

Program Related Books to Display/Read Alikes – Other Steampunk Genre Titles

  • Clare, Cassandra. Infernal Devices and A Clockwork Angel. Ages 14+
  • Colfer, Eoin. Airman. Ages 12+
  • Cross, Kady. Steampunk Chronicles (series). Ages 12+
  • Donovan, Art. The Art of Steampunk. Ages 14+
  • Fisher, Catherine. Incarceron. Ages 12+
  • Kirby, Matthew. The Clockwork Three. Ages 10+
  • Marsocci, Joey. 1000 Steampunk Creations. All ages
  • Meyer, Marissa. Cinder. Ages 12+
  • Oppel, Kenneth. Airborn Trilogy and This Dark Endeavor. Ages 12+
  • Reeve, Philip. The Mortal Engine Quartet and Fever Crumb and Larklight. Ages 10+
  • Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Ages 14+
  • Strongman, Jay. Steampunk: The Art of Victorian Futurism. Ages 14+
  • Tennapel, Doug. The Iron West (GN). Ages 10+
  • Verne, Jules. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and From the Earth to the Moon. Ages 14+
  • Wells, H. G. The Time Machine. All ages
  • Westerfeld, Scott. Leviathan and its sequels Behemoth and Goliath. Ages 12+

List of Supplies

  • Building supplies for jewelry, war machines: old keyrings, chains, rings, metal junk such as pipes, gears, washers, etc.
  • Craft books for inspiration
  • Legos, Tinkertoys or similar building materials such as wooden paint sticks
  • Rubber animal toys
  • Other decoration items such as stickers or colored markers
  • Glue, tape rubber bands, paper clips, hotglue gun or other attachment materials. Use your imagination!

Detailed Descriptions of Activities

Activity: Steampunk War Machines

Scott Westerfeld's book Leviathan describes some unusual aircraft and weaponry. Set during World War I, the book features British Darwinists who fabricated animals into their weaponry for Great Britain. Deryn pilots a flying Leviathan, a whale airship fueled by its own gas. Alex, an Austrian Prince, learns to master a Cyklop Stormwalker, a large robot loaded with a cannon and machine guns. The Germans, on the other hand, use steam-powered iron machines called Clankers, loaded with guns and ammunition. Design your own Steampunk war machine or animal with the materials provided. Write or make a video with a short description of your creation including what it is called, how it's made, how it works and how it can be used to advantage during battle.

Activity: Steampunk Jewelry

Create your own Steampunk Jewelry. Ask for donations of metal: old keyrings, chains, rings, etc. Ask your maintenance shop to donate any odds and ends they can spare. Pile it all in a box and let students use their creativity. Place craft books nearby for them to use for inspiration. See website and bibliography lists for example resources to use.

Activity: Steampunk Video Game

Purchase the video game Dishonored and have the gaming console available and ready to play in the library during your Steampunk evening.

Description of the game: A first-person action RPG set in a dark, dystopian, steampunk world, Dishonored puts players in the role of the mask-wearing, revenge-seeking Corvo Atano (voiced by Josh Holloway), a former bodyguard framed for the murder of an empress. To battle the guardsmen, soldiers, stilt-wearing law officers and other enemies he'll encounter, Atano wields guns, grenades, crossbows, daggers, swords and other weapons. He's also equipped with an assortment of supernatural powers, including the ability to stop time, create powerful gusts of wind, possess any living creature, summon swarms of rats and teleport short distances. Mission outcomes vary by player choices, and there are times when stealth is strategically advantageous over brutal force. This video game is rated Mature so use your own judgment about whether or not to include it in your school's program.

Participants in all aspects of the program could have their gadgets, jewelry, or other ideas entered into a contest for most creative, most unique, etc. as incentive to get more interest. Small prizes could be given away including paperback versions of steampunk titles mentioned above.

Quiz: Leviathan Reading Quiz -- Test your knowledge of the book (found on the quiz tab)

Websites and Resources

Bibliography and Other Resources to Consult for Planning

  • Marsocci, Joey. 1000 Steampunk Creations: Neo-Victorian Fashion, Gear & Art. Beverly, MA. Quarry Books, 2011. 322 p.. Print.
  • Donovan, Art (2011). The Art of Steampunk: Extraordinary Devices and Ingenious Contraptions from the Leading Artists of the Steampunk Movement. Fox Chapel Publishers. ISBN978-1-56523-573-1.
  • Strongman, Jay (2010). Steampunk: The Art of Victorian Futurism. Korero Books. ISBN978-1-907621-03-1.
  • Video Game: Dishonored Available for PS3, Xbox 360 Publisher: Bethesda SoftworksRating: Mature Release date: Oct. 9 Price: $59.99


If you have questions or comments for the Young Adult Round Table, contact yart.historian+webmaster@gmail.com

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Created on Feb 21, 2013 | Last updated October 22, 2013