|BASIC INFO||LANGUAGE LEVEL||COMPREHENSION-AIDING FEATURES|
|Book Title Les découvertes incroyables (Incredible Discoveries)|
Author(s) Neysa Leichty
Illustrator(s) Robert Matsudaira
Other Contributors Carole Gaab and Donna Tatum-Johns
Published by Fluency Matters
Genre Mystery and Adventures
Publication date 2020
|From the author/publisher’s website|
Level Level 2
Total Word Count Unknown
|Illustrations YES |
Guiding Questions YES
|IDENTITIES PRESENT IN THE TEXT||SYNOPSIS|
|Races, Ethnicities, and Nationalities|
Sex and Genders
Male – sons, father, and villain
Female – daughter, mother, and villain
Disabled – one of the protagonists has life altering injuries due to an accident
Heteroparental, Single Family
|From the author/publisher’s website |
After a terrorist attack leaves Laurine Dupont fatherless and with life-altering injuries, her brother and mother must turn their attention to her care. Nathan spends his days caring for his sister while his mother, a scientist, spends her days experimenting in her laboratory. Will her work in the lab save her daughter or put the entire family in grave danger?
|To what extent do the illustrations present positive and thoughtful representations of identities?|
The illustrations are in black and white and portray the Dupont family as white. The book cover is in color and shows Marie-Claire Dupont, a blond-haired woman with a white lab coat staring at colorful flasks, beakers, and test tubes.
The book opens with a family portrait of Marie-Claire Dupont surrounded by her two children, Nathan and Laurine who is in a wheel-chair. Laurine has lost the ability to walk and talk (p. 10) since a terrorist attack, but after drinking a special juice (p. 45), she develops some super powers and manages to run, attack guards, and see through walls (p. 25). The contrast in her physical abilities is striking.
|We understand identities are complex and no single story represents the spectrum of identity-based experiences. Also, a text may address a stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization without relying on it.|
Does any stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization affect any positive and thoughtful representations of identities in the text?
Saviorism – a disabled character gains agency through the benevolent intervention of a body-abled person.
|This section is for teachers who are working towards sourcing more texts within the four domains of anti-bias education. We are excited about reading all books and we understand that not all books are written for this specific purpose. |
Does this text work toward goals within any of the four domains of anti-bias education as defined by Teaching Tolerance?
|Les Découvertes Incroyables is a fictional story with plenty of twists and turns. This is a story about the love of family, the sacrifices that are sometimes necessary in order to support one another, and what one will do in order to save the other. |
The story focuses on the Duponts whose life was shattered after a terrorist attack which resulted in the death of the father and the paralysis and loss of speech of the daughter. Monsieur Dupont worked for an anti-terrorist organization and was investigating a terrorist plot in Alger when this incident occurred. Madame Dupont took upon a new confidential work (p. 4) and mostly spends her time in an under-ground lab. The son, Nathan, loves his sister but is tired of having to stay home to take care of her. He dreams of a ‘’normal life’’ (p.2), but he needs to take care of his sister.
There are a lot of recycled vocabulary words and illustrations that will allow for easy comprehension of the story along with a glossary. Also, when a more difficult word is introduced, there is a quick definition at the bottom of the page.
According to the World Health Organization, people with disabilities are among the most marginalized groups in the world (n.d., 2017). Les Découvertes Incroyables shows a protagonist who is first portrayed in a wheel-chair surrounded by her mother and brother, then lying in her bed with the mention that she cannot walk and talk. She is completely dependent on her mother and brother. Her brother is 15 years old and longs for going out but he needs to take care of her. Nathan gives Laurine some juice that he had found in her mother’s underground lab, and not only her disabilities vanish but they also give way to super powers. In other words, Laurine is saved from her disability by her non-disabled family members and only gains agency when she becomes non-disabled.
Also, this book makes a direct link between terrorism, Algeria, and the GIA (the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria). It is recommended therefore to contextualize the historical background of Algeria before reading this book with students. Algeria, which gained its independence from France after 7 years of war, was entrenched in a tragic civil war between 1992 and 2002 which left 200,000 Algerians dead.