Children’s Literature and Guided Questions

“Ancestors”               

 Picture Book for K-3

Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2008)

Summary: Allen Say tells the story of his grandfather’s move from Japan to the United States and the cross-cultural experience he had of the two places and the story of his daughter who also lived in both countries.

Questions:

1. Do you know where your parents grew up? Where your grandparents grew up? What stories do they tell of their childhood?

2. How are you like your grandparents or parents?

3. Is it possible to feel at home in two places? Why do you think so?

4. How do you think Allen’s grandfather’s story affected Allen’s life?

5. What questions would you ask your grandparents about what they learned from their grandparents?


For Grades 4-7

Seven Brave Women by Betsy Hearne and Illustrated by Bethanne Andersen (Greenwillow, 1997)

Summary: The author explores the lives of her female ancestors and how they made a difference in the world.

Questions:

1. How far back have you heard stories of people in your family? What did you learn about them?

2. Why do you think the author told the story in the way that she did? Why did she focus on just women? Why do you think she said they did not fight?

3. Which ancestor’s story the author told was most interesting to you? Why?

4. What questions do you have about your ancestors? If you could interview one of your ancestors, what 3 questions would you want to ask?

5. Why is it important to know about your ancestors?


Other Worthy Books

Grades K-6 The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco (Simon and Schuster, 2001) The story of a quilt made of ancestors’ clothes. (Warning, several deaths in the book)

GradesK-4 Arrow to the Sun by Gerald McDermott (Puffin Books, 1977) A Pueblo Boy asks for help to find his father.

Grades K-3 This is a Rope: A Story from the Great Migration by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by James Ransome (Puffin Books, 2017) A jumping rope is passed through 3 generations as a family holds onto its past and faces the future.

Grades 4-7 Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco (Philomel Books, 1994) The author tells the story of how her grandfather (not revealed til the end) survived the Civil War thanks to recently his chance encounter with the slave boy who saved him.)

Grades 5-8 American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (Square Fish, 2008) Jin wrestles with his ancestry as he tries to make his way in the world. Graphic Novel.

Grades K-5 Honoring Our Ancesters by Harriet Rohmer (Children’s Book Press, 2013) Fourteen artists and illustrators depict their ancestors and other inspirational people.

Grades K-4-Doesn’t Fall Off His Horse by Virginia A Stroud (Book Partners, 2010) A Kiowa great grandfather tells his great granddaughter of his childhood in the 1890s Oklahoma Territory