Questions this month again brought to you by the tireless sweetie (who also read to the mixed 4/5th grade classroom). Selections were made with an eye to observing Black History Month.
Jamaica’s Find by Juanita Havill
1. Why does Jamaica want to keep the dog?
2. What do you think Jamaica’s parents mean about a girl like her?
3. What does her giving the dog back make you think about Jamaica as a person?
Hope by Isabell Monk
1. What is the best part of Hope’s visit to her Aunt Poogee?
2. Should it matter to anyone outside Hope’s family that she’s got one white and one black parent?
3. By sharing her story, does she ask us to share her story, or our own?
(Feedback from the reader indicated that this story engendered LOTS of discussion, but was just about at the limit of what kindergartners could handle in a short block of time. This was actually a good thing, because I'd been looking for selections that didn't seem too babyish.)
Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting
1. Why is it important to be invisible?
2. How hard could it be for them to live in the airport?
3. Where else could they live? Why don’t they live there?
My Travelin’ Eye by Jenny Sue Kostecki
1. Does the traveling eye make it hard for her to have friends?
2. If someone in your class had an issue like this, what would you do?
3. How does she act in the world? Does she get shy because of her eye, or is she proud of how special she is?
A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech
1. What happens to the school over time? Is it still a fun school to go to?
2. Would you go to school if it were like this school?
3. Who wins from going back to the old way of things?
Mrs. Toggle and the Dinosaur by Robin Pulver
1. What is the hardest part of having a dinosaur as a classmate?
2. What are some of the concerns the class has about the dinosaur joining them? How do they deal with them?
3. What’s the best way to ask if you think you heard something incorrectly?
Crossing Bok Chitto by Tim Tingle
1. What was Martha Tom’s fear? What was Mo’s? How were they similar? Different?
2. What was the worst part of separating the family? How would that affect them all?
3. Were the women brave? Was Mo’s family brave? Was Mo brave? Martha Tom?
I would have added here a comparison to Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, because I know the school teaches the subject, and it's Black History Month.
Never Forgotten by Patricia McKissack
1. What happened to Musafa?
2. What helped him survive his ordeal? What helped his father?
3. What kind of story would you hold onto if you had to go through something similar?
John Lewis in the Lead by James Haskins
1. What was John Lewis’ biggest dream?
2. How did the rules of the South affect John Lewis and his family? What did that make him want to do?
3. What character traits did John Lewis demonstrate on the bridge on Bloody Sunday? What did seeing all those people getting hurt force others who didn’t live there to see?
Walking to School by Eve Bunting
1. Why does Allison’s family have such fear?
2. What do you think it took for the Protestants and Catholics to stop the fighting? What are some parallels you can make between this book and integration of schools in the American South?
3. Do you think Allison got to be friends with the girl she met? What would their lives have been like?
Talkin’ About Bessie by Nikki Grimes
1. List the obstacles that Bessie faced.
2. Which do you think were the hardest to overcome? Why?
3. What were some firsts of Bessie’s you want to accomplish for yourself?