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One Author New Canaan : Books and Events with Discussion Questions

Virtual Author Visit with Jacqueline Woodson March 30, 2021 7:00 PM – Families 7:45 PM – Adults

Final Events for One Author New Canaan

5 p.m. March 24 = Build Each Other Up! A Family and Community Workshop with NC CARES, centered on community-spiritedness as part of One Author 

7 p.m. March 30 = Jacqueline Woodson's Virtual Visit. Families can submit questions for Ms. Woodson using this question submission form

 

See full listing of all events in the bottom left box.

Early Childhood and Lower School

See General Themes Box below.

4:30 p.m. March 10 = Write (or Draw!) a Feeling Workshop for Ages 4-7 Years, New Canaan Public Library One Author program around The Day You Begin (Location: Online) Click on link to register.  

Discussion questions available:  A Guide to the Works of Jacqueline Woodson p. 4 (slides 6-7)

4 p.m. March 17 = Little Bookworms Book Group for Grades K-1, focused on Jacqueline Woodson's This Is the Rope as part of New Canaan Public Library One Author (Location: Online)  Click on link to register.

Discussion questions available:  A Guide to the Works of Jacqueline Woodson p. 5 (slide 9)

7 p.m. March 18 = Before the Ever After Book Discussion for Grades 4+ and Family with NC CARES, a discussion of how concussions affect families as part of New Canaan Public Library One Author  (Location: Online)  Click on link to register.

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4 p.m. March 23 = Love of Literacy for Ages 4-6, focused on Woodson's Pecan Pie Baby as part of New Canaan Public Library One Author  (Location: Online) Click on link to register.

Picture Books - General Themes

Picture Books     (from A Guide to the Works of Jacqueline Woodson from Penguin Random House p.2-3)

Woodson’s picture books are perfect for exploring sophisticated themes with young children. Depending on students’ ages, reading levels, and prior knowledge, read aloud to a group for a shared reading experience or have students read independently and explore the pages on their own.

Family Theme

A major theme throughout Woodson’s children’s books is family. She shows that families are unique. Ask students: What makes a family? Who do you consider to be part of your family? Is it just people that you are related to or can it include other important people? Have students write a list of the people in their lives that are part of their family. Have students illustrate their work and share it with the people on their lists. R.CCR.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Perseverance Theme

Perseverance is a theme that Woodson has woven throughout all of her stories. Her strong characters work their way through difficult times like family hardship, historical events, and social issues. Explore these examples. Students can connect to these stories on a variety of levels. Ask them to make a textto-self connection and share a time that they had to overcome something difficult. This can be done through writing, artwork, or music. Their choice of presentation should highlight their strengths. R.CCR.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Metaphor

Woodson artfully uses common objects in her stories (e.g., quilts, pebbles, a rope). The deeper meanings that she is trying to convey can be found within these objects. Ask students: How can a simple object become an important part of a person’s life? For example, the quilts in Show Way are a metaphor for family history and strength. Have students bring common objects to school that mean a great deal to them (baby blanket, stuffed animal, a book). Ask each student to prepare a presentation that will explain the object and its importance. Students may arrive at new ideas about how their objects have shaped their lives. R.CCR.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

Setting

Many of Woodson’s books travel through extended periods of time. Define setting with the class— focusing on the passage of time and change, and how they see this developed in Woodson’s books. Students can analyze the things in their lives that change as time passes. As a culminating activity, help students create a time capsule to be opened years later. This may include the letter (see Rope for Hope 3 Picture Books by Jacqueline Woodson activity in This Is the Rope section) that they wrote to themselves, a self-portrait, photographs, a letter from the teacher and parents, a list of current favorites, and small meaningful objects. All of these things can be sealed in a paper towel tube to be opened in the future; a second grade class that creates a one year (or ten year!) time capsule will be surprised how much can change in such a short time. What a fun way to follow the passage of time! R.CCR.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Register for New Canaan One Author and Mark Your Calendar

7 p.m. March 3Pizza and Pages Book Group for Grades 6-7, focused on Harbor Me as part of One Author 

4:30 p.m. March 10 = Write (or Draw!) a Feeling Workshop for Ages 4-7 Years, our One Author program around The Day You Begin 

4 p.m. March 17 = Little Bookworms Book Group for Grades K-1, focused on Jacqueline Woodson's This Is the Rope as part of One Author 

7 p.m. March 18 Before the Ever After Book Discussion for Grades 4+ and Family with NC CARES, a discussion of how concussions affect families as part of One Author  

4 p.m. March 23 = Love of Literacy for Ages 4-6, focused on Woodson's Pecan Pie Baby as part of One Author  

7 p.m. March 23 = Young Critics Book Group for Grades 4-6, focused on Brown Girl Dreaming as part of One Author 

5 p.m. March 24 = Build Each Other Up! A Family and Community Workshop with NC CARES, centered on community-spiritedness as part of One Author 

7 p.m. March 30 = Jacqueline Woodson's Virtual Visit. Families can submit questions for Ms. Woodson using this question submission form

Middle and Upper School

See General Themes Box below.

7 p.m. March 3 = Pizza and Pages Book Group for Grades 6-7, focused on Harbor Me as part of New Canaan Public Library One Author  (Location: Online)  Click on link to register.

Discussion questions available:  A Guide to the Works of Jacqueline Woodson p. 10-11 (slides 12-13)

7 p.m. March 18 = Before the Ever After Book Discussion for Grades 4+ and Family with NC CARES, a discussion of how concussions affect families as part of New Canaan Public Library One Author  (Location: Online)  Click on link to register.

7 p.m. March 23 = Young Critics Book Group for Grades 4-6, focused on Brown Girl Dreaming as part of New Canaan Public Library One Author   (Location: Online)  Click on link to register.

Discussion questions available:  A Guide to the Works of Jacqueline Woodson p. 12-13 (slides 14-15)

Check out the video in the Jacqueline Woodson Webpage and Interview tab.

Middle School and Young Adult General Themes

MIDDLE GRADE BOOKS     (from A Guide to the Works of Jacqueline Woodson from Penguin Random House p.7)

These middle grade titles are sensational reads for teachers covering Coming of Age units or for diving deep into the choices writers make in their craft. Woodson’s middle grade books are rich with colorful figurative language and accessible, relevant themes. Home Theme Home is a major theme in many of Woodson’s novels. Have students create an expression of what home means to one of the characters in the novel. Let them choose their medium: poem, essay, digital slideshow, recipe, rap, dance, etc. Ask students: How does Woodson seem to define home in this novel? What evidence do you see that shows this? How do you define home? R.CCR.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

Literary Techniques               

Woodson’s novels are the playgrounds her words swing on, climb on, and run around. Find examples where she uses personification, onomatopoeia, imagery, metaphor, and more (e.g., imagery and personification: “...that cold gray winter-light coming in from outside making everything, even the toaster, look like it was on the verge of tears…” After Tupac and D Foster, 42). Why does she use them in that part of the book? How does it enrich her writing? Students write their own narrative, poem, blog, tweet, etc., where they try to master one of these literary techniques. R.CCR.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

“I Shall Overcome” Theme                   

How do people overcome hardships? Woodson explores this theme in many of her novels. After completing one of Woodson’s novels, read the New York Times article “Birth of a Freedom Anthem” by Ethan J. Kytle and Blain Roberts, Langston Hughes’ poem “Mother to Son,” and Anne Sexton’s poem “Courage.” Analyze how each writer conveys how people can find the courage inside themselves to overcome. How does the structure (i.e. section, stanza, topic sentence) of the text contribute to conveying the writer’s idea? R.CCR.5 Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.

Voice                               

Readers can hear, feel, and understand Woodson’s strong characters in her writing. Their voices are so strong. Discuss how Woodson creates her characters’ voices (e.g., perspective, point of view, internal conflict, dialogue) in her novels. Students create their own children’s books writing in first-person perspective and giving their character a strong voice. Visit a local kindergarten and pair students up with kindergarten book buddies to share their books and discuss their characters. W.CCR.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

YOUNG ADULT BOOKS.      (from A Guide to the Works of Jacqueline Woodson p.18 -19)

As students come of age, they are introduced to more social ills. Your classroom is a safe environment for students to explore these sometimes difficult topics—and Woodson’s books can help you do that. Her characters are sincere in their choices and their responses to conflicts, and students will relate. Explore Woodson’s very personal and universal themes with your students to help them understand the ripple effect in the world around them.

Audio vs. Print                           

Read one of Woodson’s novels that also has an audio version. Reread a favorite passage from the book and then listen to the same passage in the audio version. How do the different mediums compare and contrast? Do the elements of narrative (e.g., plot, climax, characterization, conflict) seem different or similar in each version? How? Have students record their own passages from one of the novels, paying close attention to how they use their voices and for what purpose. R.CCR.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

Symbols in the Gallery                                   

Woodson’s books are sprinkled with unique symbolism. Ask students to help you identify some of the symbols in her novel(s) (e.g., moon in Beneath a Meth Moon, plants in Miracle’s Boys). Hang poster paper around the room and label each with one of the symbols you’ve identified. Direct groups to walk through the “gallery” and brainstorm what each of these words brings to mind, reminds them of, makes them feel, stands for, etc. and have students write directly on the posters. Give each group three minutes at each poster then rotate. As a whole class discuss the significance of each symbol and why Woodson may have added it to her novel(s). L.CCR.5 Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

Theme                               

Coming-of-age is a recurring theme in many of Woodson’s YA books, and your students will definitely be able to relate! Read the following quotations together. Have your students interpret the quotations, discuss whether they agree or disagree, and then make connections to Woodson’s novel(s). Would her characters agree or disagree? Why? How do the themes compare and contrast? Students should be able to defend their positions with evidence. (To reach your kinetic learners, have students stand up, form a line, and step to one side to agree and the other to disagree.)

✒ “Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” —Anne Frank

✒ “Most people don’t grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging.” —Maya Angelou

✒ “If growing up means it would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!” —J.M. Barrie 19

✒ “Come away, O human child To the waters and the wild With a faery, hand in hand, For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.” —W.B. Yeats, The Collected Poems

✒ “He wanted to care, and he could not care. For he had gone away and he could never go back anymore. The gates were closed, the sun was down, and there was no beauty left…” —F. Scott Fitzgerald, All the Sad Young Men

SL.CCR.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Elements of Plot             

How does Woodson create her exciting yet poignant page-turners? Discuss the elements of plot (i.e., introduction/exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution) and how they interact with and affect each other. Explore how the order of the elements changes from book to book and discuss the plotlines of several books you’ve read together. After reading one of Woodson’s novels, students work in groups to create their own graphic organizer that shows the order of the plot elements in this particular Woodson novel. They also add details from the text (and visuals) that support each element. Students may use this as a reference for future reads to help them identify how writers create their favorite fastmoving scenes! R.CCR.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.