The Lemonade Crime
- Courtroom Procedures. All the students look to Jessie as the expert on what happens in an actual courtroom during a trial. Compare and contrast what Jessie explains with what your students know about courtroom procedures. Where did they get their information? If you can, invite an attorney or judge to speak in your class about the process. After all these activities, assess what students have learned by showing them video clips of trials by jury from well known popular movies–such as My Cousin, Vinny, To Kill a Mockingbird, Legally Blonde, A Few Good Men, or Miracle on 34th Street—as well as clips from television shows, such as Law & Order, The Practice, Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, Perry Mason, or even Night Court. Have them discuss what actually happens during a trial, and what is sensationalized for popular audiences.
- Mock Trial of Fictional Characters. Once students are familiar with courtroom procedures, stage a mock trial of a fictional character they know well (e.g., The Big Bad Wolf, Goldilocks, or perhaps their own trial of Scott Spencer). Assign roles, and have students work in teams to prepare their cases. Invite another class or perhaps some members of the administration or school board to be the jury. See, for example, the link below for staging a mock trial of Dr. Seuss’s Yertle the Turtle. Mock trial guidelines and scripts can be easily found online via the American Bar Association (see Further Explorations link below) or the Bar Associations of individual states. You can also conduct a search on YouTube for various videos of elementary and middle school students staging mock trials of fictional characters.
- From Professional Jargon to Everyday Vocabulary. Each chapter in The Lemonade War begins with a definition of a term used frequently in the field of law. Many of those terms have also made their way into the everyday vocabulary of those who are not members of the legal profession. In the ensuing chapter, Davies shows the common usage of the term. Challenge students to list as many everyday words as they can that were derived from specific professions. Conduct an inquiry into those words to learn their origins, how they were used in a particular field, and how the commonplace usage of the term reflects the initial usage.
- Holiday Meanings. Yom Kippur, the revered Day of Atonement in the Jewish faith, is frequently mentioned to contextualize coutrtoom circumstances and the outcome of the trial. Investigate a variety of other holidays from a diverse set of traditions and cultures to determine their meanings, traditions, and expectations for individual and/or collective behavior, as well as personal and/or public responses.
- What is Fair? What is Just? Jessie and Evan grapple with the notions of justice and fairness throughout book. Engage students in an inquiry unit on these concepts. Gather a text set of books dealing with these issues, some perhaps from the books listed in Further Explorations section, and have students compare and contrast various situations and definitions of fairness and justice. Make sure the text set as a whole represents as many perspectives as possible to emphasize the complexity of the answers to these questions.
Jacqueline Davies talking about The Lemonade Crime
The Lemonade War book series website
Yertle the Turtle Mock Trial
American Bar Association
- A Newbery Honor young adult book that employs multiple genres to show how easily the truth can be exaggerated and sidestepped and Constitutional rights be distorted for personal gain.
Davies, J. (2006). The lemonade war. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
- The prequel to The Lemonade Crime in which Jessie and Evan compete to see who can raise the most money before the start of the school year and Evan’s money is stolen.
- A fictionalized account of the famous 1925 Scopes “Monkey Trial” in which a teacher is on trial for teaching evolution.
Korman, G. (2010). Framed. New York: Scholastic.
- A novel about a boy accused by the school principal and placed in “Jail for Kids” for a crime he says he didn’t commit.
Myers, W. D. (1999). Monster. New York: HarperCollins.
- This multiple award winning novel employs multiple genres to follow an adolescent on trial for murder.
Pearsall, S. (2005). Crooked river. New York: Yearling.
- In this historical fiction novel, twelve-year old Rebecca grapples with the notion that an innocent man may be convicted and sentenced to death for murder in 1812 because he is a Native American.
Filed under: Novels
About Grace Enriquez
Grace is an associate professor of language and literacy at Lesley University. A former English Language Arts teacher, reading specialist, and literacy consultant, she teaches and writes about children’s literature, critical literacies, and literacies and embodiment. Grace is co-author of The Reading Turn-Around and co-editor of Literacies, Learning, and the Body.
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