Looking for one more novel to read out loud or have your students read this year? Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor may be just what you are looking for. Here is why!
Point of View/Writing Style
Shiloh is written in first person in the voice of eleven-year-old Marty Preston. Marty lives in rural West Virginia, and his speech patterns make that very evident. This is a great opportunity to analyze how an author can use a local dialect to shape a character.
In the story, Marty rescues a dog that is being brutally mistreated by his owner. Since his parents won’t let him have a dog (because they are too poor to afford one), Marty finds himself lying on several occasions. Because Marty is a good person, this does not sit well with him at all. There are so many great discussions here as students weigh Marty’s good intentions with what he does to carry them out.
A Villain with Depth
The villain in this story is Shiloh’s owner, Judd Travers. Judd is a really dreadful person, but Naylor helps both Marty and the reader find compassion for him by giving us a glimpse into his past and by giving him a small amount of humanity near the end of the story.