Caroline B. Cooney
While doing research for a paper for school, Mitty comes in contact with smallpox scabs from over a hundred years ago. As he learns about smallpox, he believes that he may have brought back this horrible virus. In his desire to save his city of New York City and his country, he writes a suicide letter explaining that this was the only way to save mankind from this terrible virus. He is then kidnapped by terrorists who wish to use him and this terrible virus as a weapon of mass destruction. He ends up not getting smallpox and capturing the terrorists. Throughout the book he becomes a person who cares more about others than he does just about himself.
- Mitty forgets about an assignment due the next day for a research paper.
- Mitty looks for information in his mother’s collection of old books.
- Mitty comes in contact with century old smallpox scabs when he is researching smallpox for a paper.
- Mitty continues researching smallpox as he is writing his research paper.
- Mitty realizes that he handled scabs from this highly contagious virus and begins to worry about the possibility of contracting this horrible virus.
- Mitty searches for a cure or treatment of smallpox in his research but finds there is none.
- Mitty begins to realize the significance of what would happen if someone in New York City had smallpox and how fast it would spread to the whole world.
- Mitty sends questions to organizations and people on the internet who may be able to tell him if it is possible to get smallpox from one hundred year old smallpox scabs.
- Mitty writes a letter to his parents explaining that he may have smallpox and in attempt to save the city and country from this deadly virus he must kill the virus before it has the chance to spread. The only way he sees to do this it to end his own life.
- Mitty is kidnapped by terrorists who found him through his internet searches.
- Mitty pretends to have the virus by displaying all of the symptoms.
- As Mitty thinks that he will die in the basement he’s being held in he cries out to God and recognizes that even though he didn’t bother with God in the good times God always bothered with him. As he thinks he’s about to die, he thanks God for His blessings.
- Mitty then overpowers his abductors and locks them in the basement they had been keeping him in.
- Mitty then calls 911 and is taken to the hospital.
- The FBI does not allow anyone outside his family and two closest friends know what really happened but instead they are to say that Mitty was in an accident. They don’t want to start a smallpox panic.
My brother was given a smallpox vaccination before deploying to Iraq. It is still a threat of bioterrorism. However, the more relevant life application comes from using the life we have to make a difference in our world rather than selfishly focusing only on ourselves and our desires.
Ideas for Use in Classroom
This book could be used to generate good conversation on bioterrorism. Also, it shows the vast difference in our lives today because of technology and transportation from that of a century ago. I could ask the students about how that affects their lives or what changes they would have to make if they couldn’t travel as we do today. It could also be used to generate thought on what each student would be willing to do to save someone else from harm.