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4-6th Grade Virtual Book Discussion: The Van Gogh Deception by Deron Hicks

The Van Gogh Deception by Deron Hicks is a juvenile fiction book for 4-6 graders.

When a young boy is found sitting at the DC’s National Gallery without any idea who he is or how he got there, no one imagined the ripple effect that would happen. As black SUVs and missing security footage start popping up, there will be a race to find out who this boy is before it is too late.

As the boy attempts to piece his life together, he must also use what little he does remember to stop the biggest art frauds ever attempted. Will he remember in time or will his ghosts catch up to him first.

Discussion Questions / Further Reading  1. What is this book about? What are the main themes? 2. This book focuses more on STEAM than STEM, but often times there is science behind the arts like music, dance and painting. Can you give an examples of when the arts use science? Hint: There are a few in our book. 3.What is the difference between “Science” and “Witchcraft” or “Alchemy?” 4. This book uses QR codes as an interactive element between the reader and the story. What is a QR code and how does it add or take away from the story? 5. Art suffered from trauma driven amnesia. How would you feel if you lost all memories of yourself, including your own name? 6. There’s quite a bit of foreshadowing in the book. What is foreshadowing and how does it help to propel a story? 7. What did you think about the art supplies in Art and his Dad’s studio? Did you know that some artists used to poison themselves just to get the right color pigment? 8. Why do you think art forgers have more success when they use old canvas’ by unknown artists? In thinking about this, how does the history of paintings, or a specific painting, influence the forgeries? 9. What is the fingernail test? (pg 243) 10. Art and Camille use a lot of low tech ingenuity to escape their captors, who have a lot of “high tech.” Let’s talk about some of these.

My set up

DIY: Aging Paper

Supplies: Paper (try multiple weights), 1 cup of cold coffee, coffee grinds, tea bag, hot water, either a waterproof table cloth and/or cookie trays.

Directions: The first step before each of the following techniques is to scrunch the paper and then open it flat.

  1. Coffee Painted -1/4 cup of hot coffee, spoon onto the paper and spread evenly. -add a bit more color by taking dried coffee and sprinkling over the wet paper. -Remove the excess liquid with a paper towel and leave to dry. With adult supervision you can also “bake” your paper in the oven, on the lowest temperature, for about five minutes. Keep and eye on it.

  2. Coffee Dipped: Dipping paper in coffee is also known as coffee staining is a technique that slightly changes the color of the paper. This effect is less bold then painting a paper with coffee. -Make coffee with boiling water and 3:1 ratio of coffee. -Fill a container large enough to hold your paper like a baking tray with coffee. -Submerge the paper in the liquid. -Hang the paper on a clothe line or put it on a rack with paper towel underneath to absorb the excess liquid.

  3. Tea Bags -Soak your teabag in warm water, but cool enough to work with. -Squeeze out the majority of the water and dab the paper with the tea bag. -Rehydrate the tea bag as necessary.

  1. Finishing Touches -Burn the edges of the paper. -Ink the edges with a dark ink. -Add stamped images or text. -Wrinkle again to add extra texture. -tear the edges to enhance the used old look.

How’d it go:

This went really well. The kids were doing pretty good with the discussion and we all seemed to like the paper aging project. Also, my office now smells like coffee, so positives all around!

That’s all for now!


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