The Door in the Wall
by Marguerite de Angeli, Doubleday. Newbery Winner 1950
Activities 2000 Nancy Polette

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Robin, son of a nobleman, is destined to become a knight of the king. However, destiny has a way of playing cruel jokes on one's hopes and dreams, especially when you live during the Middle Ages. 
Robin had to be brave when his father left to fight the Scots and when his mother was called away to care for the Queen. He was brave when he became sick and his legs would no longer hold him up or could even be felt. But, when the servants deserted him and he was left alone, he began to doubt how long he could hold on. 
Brother Luke saves his life, but Robin must face many problems and dangers. Is his father dead on the battlefield? Will his mother ever return and find him? What is to become of him without the use of his legs? How could he ever serve his king? 
All these questions were answered when the castle came under attack and Robin had to find a way to save it. It was then that Robin found his "door in the wall."
Activity One: Overcoming handicaps
Because Robin was able to use the abilities he did have to the fullest, he was able to accomplish a noble deed. Here is a five line description of Robin.

1. One word: Determined
2. Two events: Crippled by disease, Learned new skills
3. Three accomplishments: Champion swimmer, Learned healing arts, Saved the castle
4. Four word descriptive phrase: A lad of courage 
5. Name: Robin

Franklin D. Roosevelt was a U.S. President who also did not have the use of his legs. Read about how he overcame his handicap. Then follow the model for the description of Robin and write about Roosevelt.


Franklin D. Roosevelt: U.S. President by Don Nardo. Chelsea House, 1995
Franklin Delano Roosevelt by Russell Freedman. Clarion, 1992

The plague that killed so many thousands of people toward the end of the Middle Ages was called the Black Death. It was caused by infected fleas and carried by rats. Read about the Black Death and other events that happened during this time. Mark the statements that follow yes or no by circling the letters under the yes/no columns. Place the letters you circled in order in the spaces beneath the statements. You will have spelled another name for the Black Death. 


The Black Death by Tom McGowan. Watts. 1995
When the Plague Strikes by James Cross Giblin. HarperCollins, 1995

1. The Black Death began in the Gobi Desert around 1320 B L
2. It raged through Europe for fifty years.  M U
3. It took about two weeks to kill a person. M B
4. It destroyed 1/3 to 1/2 of Europe's population. O G
5. It was spread through trade routes. N Y
6. Only a few knew the cure for it. B I
7. Government and trade came to a halt. C P
8. The ill were thrown out of their homes.  P R
9. Some believed hitting themselves would scare the disease away. L C
10. Paris, France lost 90% of its population. D A
11. Venice lost 2/3 of its population. G K
12. 200,000 villages were wiped out in Europe. U E
13. The Black Death could not jump across the English Channel to infect Britains. B E


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