The Power of a Talking Dog

The Power of a Talking Dog: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go By Patrick Ness

Conversation with a student...
“Is this the book about the talking dog?”
“Is it any good? I heard it was good.”
“Oh yes, it’s very good. You should read it. In fact, you should read all three.”
“There’s three?”
“Yep. Here’s the first one.”
“Oh...wow...that’s a lot of pages…”
“Give it a shot. I know you’ll love it.”

A couple of years ago I was in Mockingjay-withdrawal. I had a hard time finding good books to read and was tired of reading one then waiting a year for the next one. Then a fellow Hunger Games fan/teacher suggested I read Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy (all three books were already published!). And at first, I wasn’t really getting into the whole “New World” setting and the narrator’s vernacular was annoying. But after a few chapters, I was once again hooked. You know what did it? Manchee, the talking dog. Well, he doesn’t really talk, but you can hear his thoughts. And they are funny. And real. And exactly what the story needed. Just read the first paragraph and try not to laugh out loud.

Conversation after same student is almost finished with the first book… 
“I hate you for suggesting this book! I refuse to finish it!”
“I know...I felt the exact same way. I threw it across the room, I was so mad.”
“Yeah...that’s what I did, too.”
“It helped me writing about it.”
“Well, I’m not finishing it. I’m done with this series.”
“I know. It’ll be here if you want to finish.”

Next day, student waiting at my door in the morning…
“I need to finish it! I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about it.”
“I know. I know…

The student came back the next day and checked out the next two books, The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men (yep, funny titles. But they make perfect sense in the books.). She read over 1,200 pages in a couple of weeks. More than she had read the previous year. 

The Power of a Talking Dog: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Best opening lines. Ever.
It's a powerful series and one that I will be talking about later this week on my other blog, Hunger Games Lessons. There are many comparisons to The Hunger Games--both being a dystopia about teenagers who must fight for survival. And I just completed my teaching unit for The Knife of Never Letting Go, so look for some great teaching materials that go along with it in my teacher store, as well. I correlated everything with the Common Core State Standards, which is why it has been a work in progress for almost two years now. 

I highly recommend the trilogy. It's geared more toward high school, but mature 8th graders should be able to handle the language and violence. If you teach younger students, you MUST read A Monster Calls by Ness. Once you do, I think you will see why I love everything he writes. He has a way of bringing you into the story and feeling exactly what the characters feel. 

You can find both books on Amazon here: Author Patrick Ness
And his website: http://www.patrickness.com/

And...The Knife of Never Letting Go has been selected as one of the books that will be given out on World Book Night (April 23, 2013)! Are you convinced now it may be worth the read? :)

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  1. I ALWAYS wait for an entire series to be out before reading it...I am not patient at all!!

    A few summers ago, I was sitting by the pool at our neighborhood gym and met a lady who suggested that I read the Twightlight series. The last book was not out at that time and I read through a book a day, which didn't last very long..hahaha

    I am always looking for new book to read. I love that you are inspiring your students to really submerge themselves in literature!!

    The 3AM Teacher
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  2. Hi Tracee,

    I've been considering your Facebook activities on TpT, but I have a different situation than most teachers as far as copyright goes, as I write distributed ed. materials. There is a provision on the TpT site for a certain amount of licences purchased, but nothing on a publishing and distribution level. Basically, I'm writing an English 20-2 course (Canadian non-academic grade 11 English)and I'd had the idea to do Facebook profiles for character exploration in my head already. When I searched it out further, I found your template. I'd like to use some of it-- this would mean it would be in an ADLC print course and an online course, hypothetically, with a reach to about 400+ students a year. Is there any kind of copyright agreement that you can consider for me, for this situation? Just curious.

    Kyla Coulman-Absher (kcoulman at adlcworks dot ca)

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