Darius & Twig
Written by Walter Dean Myers
Darius and Twig are an unlikely pair: Darius is a writer whose only escape is his alter ego, a peregrine falcon named Fury, and Twig is a middle-distance runner striving for athletic success. But they are drawn together in the struggle to overcome the obstacles that life in Harlem throws at them. The two friends must face down bullies, an abusive uncle, and the idea that they’ll be stuck in the same place forever.
Primary Source Pairing:
Together Darius and Twig face Harlem and its many challenges. Darius is a writer who is finding himself and his voice. Twig is a runner who pushes himself daily to be the fastest he can be. In this story of friendship, success, and struggle, the constant for Darius and Twig is the support they have for each other. For this primary source pairing, invite students to examine an image of Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics. Although Jesse was African American (Twig is Dominican American) and a short distance runner (Twig ran medium distances) there are many similarities between the two athletes, including intense training, record-breaking races, and challenging stereotypes. Encourage students to find and discuss more similarities.
Questions for Discussion:
- Describe what you see.
- What do you notice first?
- What people and objects are shown?
- How are they arranged?
- What is the physical setting?
- What other details can you see?
- What’s happening in the image?
- What can you learn from examining this image?
- Make a connection between the photograph of Jesse Owens and the character of Twig.
Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Jesse Owens Photograph: Library of Congress