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After the Ashes
by Sara K Joiner

Trade Binding | 288 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 | US$ 17.95
ISBN: 9780823434411 | 08-30-2015

Also available as an ebook.

Grade: SIXTH | Age: 10 up

Themes: Family & Relationships, 19th Century, Friendship, Survival
Recommendations: K

CCSS Codes:
W.7.4, 6-9, 9a, 10
RL.7.1-6, 9, 10
L.7.3, 4, 4a, 5, 5a, 5b, 5c, 6
SL.7.1, 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 4-6

About the Book

In this riveting coming-of-age survival story, a stubborn and intellectual teen must fight for her life when the mighty volcano Krakatau erupts and puts her hometown on the Javanese coast in mortal danger.

In 1883, on the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies, thirteen-year-old Katrien Courtland is determined to prove Darwin's theory of natural selection. Unfortunately, nothing causes her Aunt Greet more angst than Katrien crawling around the muddy jungle collecting bugs in the name of science—and in the company of a native boy, no less! If only Katrien would take an interest in running a household and making friends with other girls. But Katrien has no interest in changing, especially if it means socializing with the likes of mean Brigitta Burkhart.

Then, one stifling afternoon, Katrien's world turns upside-down when the nearby volcano Krakatau erupts with a terrifying blast. For days, a deathly ash rains down on the Javan coast, and everything is soon buried under the dust or destroyed by the tsunamis that follow. Amidst the chaos, Katrien knows her only hope of survival is to flee the jungle with the one person she vowed she'd never befriend.

Set against the backdrop of one of the most spectacularly horrifying natural disasters in human history, this debut novel by Sara Joiner is by turns exciting, funny, tragic and poignant.


"An absorbing adventure story with a vividly drawn setting."—Booklist


Read an exclusive Q&A with author, Sara K Joiner!

Classroom Discussion Questions with CCSS:

1. How do the words of Charles Darwin influence Katrien over the course of the text? Find examples of thoughts and dialogue in AFTER THE ASHES. RL.6-8.3 / W.6-8.9, 9a

2. Describe how author Sara Joiner incorporates irony into the story. RL.6-8.1

3. Discuss different conflict types in the book. Find examples of man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. fate, and man vs. self. RL.6-8.1, 2 / SL.6-8.1, 4

4. Describe the pressures that Katrien experiences, both literally and figuratively, in AFTER THE ASHES. RL.6-8.1, 2 / L.6-8.5

Educators' Guide
Educator's Guide featuring questions for classroom discussion and suggestions for further exploration. Includes connections to the Common Core State Standards.