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Title: Parrot in the Oven
Author: Victor Martinez
Grade: Ninth
Length of unit: 6 weeks
Submitted by: L. Delaney: Skyline High School

Overview of unit:

Victor Martinez won the National Book Award for Literature in 1997 for Parrot in the Oven, the engaging coming-of-age story of Manny Hernandez, a fourteen-year-old Mexican-American growing up in Fresno, California.

Students read the novel in class taking notes on the author's strategies used to create Manny. By the completion of the reading and charting, every student should be well aware that Mr. Martinez primarily uses dialogue, interior monologue and action to create the character.

Finally, the students answer the essential question, "How does an author create a character?" in a well-developed essay.

Early in the novel, Manny's father gets his gun and threatens to shoot his wife. In an optional sub-unit, students research the statistics and arguments regarding the presence of guns in our lives, watch a video of Oakland students discussing the issue, and write persuasive essays answering the essential question, "What is the role of guns in our society?" link to Resources

Essential questions:

  1. How does an author create a character?
    How does Victor Martinez create Manny?
  2. What is the role of guns in our society?

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Urban Dreams
OUSD Curriculum Unit
Parrot in the Oven
by Victor Martinez
Subject: English
Grade Level: 9th

Lesson Plan Author:
L. Delaney
School: Skyline High
Organization: OUSD