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K-12 Evaluated Resource Collection

Family of Spies Paris

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Author/Publisher/Website: Carmichael, J.
Copyright: 2018
Evaluation/Record Entry Date: May/2019
Submitting suppliers/Website: Not Available
Primary Identifier: 9781927855942
Recommended Grades and Subjects/Courses: 4-7
(View recommended grades and subjects)

Resource Description

Two sisters takes their families on vacation in Paris and the three cousins – Ford, his brother Gavin, and cousin Ellie – open their great grandfather’s suitcase which contains memorabilia from his time in World War II. Ford immediately feels connected and starts experiencing clairvoyant episodes about his great grandfather’s experiences that lead the cousins to try and discover his past and his sealed military files, but they find themselves pursued by secret agents. This Canadian novel uses mystery and suspense to engage readers in grades 4-7 and is suitable for a class read-aloud, whole class novel study, literature circle, or independent reading, and lends itself to many extension activities.


Does the resource support BC curriculum?
This product supports the Core Competencies of the BC curriculum:
Creative Thinking
Critical thinking
Positive Personal and Cultural Identity
Personal Awareness and Responsibility
Social Responsibility
This novel supports the Grade 4-7 Language Arts Curricula Big Ideas that "Language and text can be a source of creativity and joy" and "Exploring stories and other texts helps us understand ourselves and make connections to others and to the world." The Curricular Competency that would support this Big Idea is the "use [of] personal experience and knowledge to connect to text and develop understanding of self, community, and world". This novel also supports the Grade 6 Social Studies content area regarding regional and international conflict, including war and genocide.


There are phrases scattered throughout the novel that are in French and German.
During clairvoyant episodes there is an image of people with gunshot wounds in their heads and a picture of a female agent who has obviously been beaten. There is mention of a agent being kidnapped, tortured, and murdered. There is some physical violence witnessed between the great grandfather and another spy during a physical altercation.
Only during clairvoyant episodes the memories of the main character exposed him to Nazi soldiers and weapons being used. The characters are teenagers and are endangered when they experience being followed, put under surveillance, and threatened by strangers. The teenagers intentionally leave the tour group in the catacombs, ignoring the tour guide's pleas to remain close in order to not be lost in the maze of tunnels. While separated they are approached and cornered by the secret agents who have been following them.
Do the social considerations support, rather than detract from, student learning?
Social Considerations Comments:
The violent incidences are only depicted within the visions of the main character and are described in a fashion that is age appropriate. They are not described in gory detail and merely mentioned as a side note without further elaboration. The safety of the children is compromised when they are being followed but this is due to their own decision to pursue solving the mysteries of the visions without telling their parents.


Should this product be identified as Canadian?
Is the resource engaging?
Is the content current for the intended curriculum and grade?
Is the content accurate for the intended curriculum and grade?
Is the content timely and important for student broad understandings?
This resource supports the characteristics of Aboriginal worldviews and perspectives:
Connectedness and Relationship
Awareness of History
Emphasis on Identity
Language and Culture
Is the content appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
Does the resource provide opportunities for creative and critical thinking?
Can the content be differentiated?
Not at all or slightly
Can reading level be adjusted?
Not at all or slightly
Is the level of detail appropriate?
Is the content of particular interest to male students?
Is the content of particular interest to female students?
Is the language use appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
This is a print novel and therefore the reading level cannot be adjusted or differentiated. The level of detail used in the text is age appropriate when discussing violent instances. The sense of adventure and solving of mysteries would engage the targeted audience. The main characters of the novel are a trio of cousins of mixed gender. Visuals are used throughout the novel to show the artifacts from their great grandfather that lead to Ford's clairvoyant episodes to solve the mystery.


Does the resource make effective use of the medium?
Is the location of illustrations appropriate?
Is the resource easy to use?
Is the use of font, text size and presentation uniform?
Are extraneous elements/illustrations kept to a minimum?
This novel is 289 pages divided into 48 chapters. The printed novel makes extensive use of this medium by adding additional illustrations, maps, and letters to show the artifacts that are being used and discussed. Letters that are difficult to read are retyped in text font in order for the reader to access them easily.


Does the text show insight into the complexity of the human condition?
Does the text broaden students’ experiences and understanding?
To what degree is this text stylistically rich?
Plot description:
This novel follows a family vacation in Paris, France. Two sisters take their families together to explore Europe. Ford realizes that he has clairvoyant talents while in the city, which then brings the three cousins together to solve the mysteries of their great grandfather's past. A briefcase once belonging to Ford's great grandfather contains letters, postcards, bookmarks, and other documents that connect Ford to his great grandfather's past. The cousins decide to follow the clues in order to discover their great grandfather's sealed military files. Followed by secret agents as they try to follow the clues, the trio help their great grandfather's spirit find forgiveness and closure.
Related Comments:
This novel mixes a small number of illustrations to support the storyline and connect the reader to the objects unlocking the past. It uses mystery and suspense to engage the reader in the adventure that they embark on. Each of the characters has a diverse and rich development that engages the reader in the story. Each character has a self-discovery bringing them closer together as their understanding of each other grows.
Mystery / Suspense
Ilustrated Novel
Realistic Fiction
Literary Highlights:
Complex conflict
Rich Characterization
Well-developed themes
Effective figurative language
Point of view
Visual Highlights:


At intended grade level(s)


This novel can be used for a whole class read-aloud, whole class novel study, literature circle, or independent reading. Extension activities can include a study on clairvoyant episodes, World War II, MI6, CIA, secret coded messages, language study, and the culture of France.