|BASIC INFO||LANGUAGE LEVEL||COMPREHENSION-AIDING FEATURES|
|Book Title Neue Reise, neue Abenteuer (New Trip, New Adventure)|
(Number 3 in the series)
Author(s) Eric Richards
Illustrator(s) Lea Ribbing
Other Contributors cathleen Weigelt-Ferguson & Angelika Weigelt
Published by Self published
Publication date 2018
Genre Realistic fiction
|From the author/publisher’s website|
Total Word Count Unknown
|Illustrations YES |
Guiding Questions YES
|IDENTITIES PRESENT IN THE TEXT||SYNOPSIS|
|Races, Ethnicities, and Nationalities|
Sex and Genders
Teenagers/Young Adults – main characters
|From the author/publisher’s website |
It is winter break. Anton, Heidi, Felix, Lena and Maria are travelling to Austria. Everyone is excited about skiing and spending time together. Anton is also looking forward to seeing his friends and family.
Their train arrives, and their adventure begins – but not as expected. Anton’s brother – Hannes – surprises him at the train station – but that is not the only surprise. Nina is also there. As these friends continue to discover more about each other, relationships will be questioned. Will their pasts prove too complicated? Will an accident bring understanding? As their trip unfolds, friendships will be challenged, and emotions tried.
|To what extent do the illustrations present positive and thoughtful representations of identities?|
The illustrations are generic and anonymous. You never see the characters’ faces. The illustrations support the action of the story but do not provide any additional insights into the characters themselves.
|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?
Female protagonists’ only topic of conversation is men. Men make at least two stereotypical jokes about women.
|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?
|Neue Reise, neue Abenteuer is the third book in a series for German learners by Eric Richards. The series’ protagonists return again in this short novel for a trip to Salzburg, Austria, where they experience Austrian culture firsthand and meet up with old friends. For the main character, Anton, this includes reconciling with people from his past and clarifying how he wants to act in the future. The author has described the novel as being suited for levels 2 or 3, and this seemed appropriate given the language used in the book.|
The novel shows positive depictions of friendship and togetherness, as all of the characters travel together and friend groups are mixed. Anton’s different friend groups get along easily, everyone seems genuinely to enjoy each other’s company and want to do nice things for each other, and the trip seems to be a very positive experience for everyone overall. Along the way, the characters get to experience the unique sights of Salzburg, learn some phrases in the Austrian dialect, and learn more about themselves. Anton and Nina are able to apologize to each other for past wrongs, showing how conflicts can be dealt with in a positive, productive manner.
The behaviors of the women are depicted as superficial and only oriented toward pleasing the men in the story: one of the female characters, Heidi, slips and falls to the ground three times during their stay in Salzburg. Even after injuring herself, Heidi’s focus remains on making sure Anton’s trip is not “ruined” in any way (p. 39), as well as observing Anton’s interactions with his ex-girlfriend Nina. The other female character, Lena, is presented as someone who brings a lot of luggage (p. 7) and likes shopping (p. 34). While the individual actions of the women in the story are not overtly stereotypical and sometimes show thoughtfulness toward their friends, taken in sum, they show female characters who do little else besides talk and care about their male friends.
The Bechdel test, usually used for films, is a measure of how women are represented in fiction. The test looks at the topics of conversation between two female protagonists. In Neue Reise, when men interact with each other or when men interact with women, they interact on a variety of topics (love, friendship, living away from home, etc.). However, when women interact with each other, they only talk about men, therefore failing the Bechdel test. This indicates that the women in the story are not depicted in a way showing that they have agency and ambitions beyond the men they talk to and about.