Iter Icari: Classical Mythology in Miami.

As I continue to update my self directed reading page I’m amazed at how many titles available to us to build libraries for students.  Iter Icari is a must have title that weaves Greek mythology into a modern setting.

Iter Icarus is a great story line for a student who is firmly at Novice High proficiency and emerging into Intermediate Low proficiency.  The story seems to shelter vocabulary and maintain simple Latin syntax but builds upon simple syntax with elaborate details in longer connected sentences.

The story begins in Crete with king Minos, his wife and her minotaur son.  Minos seeks out Daedalus to build the labyrinth to catch the minotaur.  The young reader is introduced to Minos’ character when he decides that Daedalus and Icarus should not be free with the knowledge of the labyrinth.  This leads Daedalus to the fated wings which bring Icarus too close to the sun.

The reader ends up in America many thousands of years later after Icarus’ fall to end chapter 1.  Clara is the daughter of a language professor and archaeologist working at a museum.  She takes a stroll on a beach with her friend and friends a boy mumbling for help.  Lucky for Icarus, Clara realizes that he is speaking Greek and takes him home to her Greek speaking father.

As Icarus acclimates to these strange new surroundings, the story leads students to consider a character that is clearly foreign, not just to the area but also to the time period.  This offers a unique and comfortable opportunity to engage students in discussions of what is foreign and what makes someone a foreigner.  Because the story continues as a quest of the family to help Icarus, students also experience characters doing everything they can to help this person whom they do not completely understand, yet they help him with an open mind along the way.

I find the chance to explore things like immigration, travel, and culture exciting for the classroom.  The story is a safe and compelling way to think about such things.  Some of my students have expressed a divide in their relationships with parents and aunts and uncles based on generational differences.  Iter Icari offers them a chance to think about these tough personal topics through the lens of Classical mythology.

For this reason I see myself using this title as a novella to read as a class later in Latin 2.  Iter Icari is a must add to any Latin reading library.

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