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Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena, Illustrated by Christian Robinson 

Age Range/Grade: 3-5, Grades PreK - 1st Grade

Theme: Multi-generational, homelessness and poverty

How you view the world is a choice you can make, determined by your attitude towards people, the circumstances you are in, and your surroundings. This story shows how one boy learns from his grandma how to see things in a different light.  

Introduce the Cover

 

Describe the picture. Describe the picture. What is happening in the picture? Who are the people? 

PredictWhat do you think this book will be about?

Pause at...

Pages 2-3

Point to...

Church doors; "...outside air smelled like freedom…”

Ponder...

Which one is CJ?

What day do you think it is?

Talk about...

What has already happened in this story? How do you think CJ felt about being in church?

Pause at...

Pages 4-5

Point to...

“...drinking through a straw.”

Ponder...

Do you see the straw? Where is it?

Talk about...

How does Nana feel about CJ’s question? How do you know?

Pause at...

Pages 6-7

Point to...

Watched, water, watched, windshield; 

Pool, petals, patter

Ponder...

Do you drive in a car, or take the bus? How are they alike? How are they different?

Talk about...

Do you notice any patterns in the sounds of these words? What do those sounds make you think of?

Pause at...

Pages 8-9

Point to...

“...a bus that breathes fire…”; 

creaked, sighed, sagged

Ponder...

What does the description of breathing fire make you think of?

 

What do the words creaked, sighed, sagged make you think of? 

Talk about...

What does the author want you to notice in the picture?

Pause at...

Pages 10-11

Point to...

"...pulled a coin from behind CJs ear...'"

“...she made sure CJ did the same…”

Ponder...

Do you like magic tricks? Have you ever seen someone do magic? 

Talk about...

How does Nana treat the people on the bus?

Pause at...

Pages 12-13

Point to...

“I feel sorry for those boys…”; “...feeling sorry for himself…”

Ponder...

Where are they going?

Why does Nana feel sorry for the boys? Why does CJ feel sorry for himself?

Talk about...

What does Nana do that helps her be in a good mood? Does CJ do that? Why or why not?

Pause at...

Pages 14-15

Point to...

“Boy, what do you know about seeing?”

Ponder...

Close your eyes so you can’t see. What do your other senses tell you?

Talk about...

Why did the author insert a blind character here in the story? 

 

How is the blind man like CJ? How is he like Nana?

Pause at...

Pages 16-17

Point to...

“...the magic of music..."

Ponder...

What is ‘the magic of music?’

Talk about...

Explain what is happening. How does CJ feel? 

Pause at...

Pages 18-19

Point to...

“...lifted CJ out of the bus…”;

“...chest grew full and he was lost in the sound…”

Ponder...

How is CJ feeling?

Talk about...

What clues did the author and illustrator give you about CJ’s feelings?

Pause at...

Pages 20-21

Point to...

“Nana glanced at the coin in CJ's hand…”

Ponder...

What was Nana telling CJ to do? How do you know?

Talk about...

What did it mean when CJ dropped the coin in the hat?

Pause at...

Pages 22-23

Point to...

“...you’re a better witness to what’s beautiful”

Ponder...

What is a ‘witness’? 

Talk about...

Explain what Nana said to CJ.

Pause at...

Pages 24-25

Point to...

“...rainbow arcing over their soup kitchen…”

Ponder...

What is an arc?

Talk about...

Why is the rainbow over the soup kitchen? What does the author want you to think about this place?

Pause at...

Pages 26-27

Point to...

“...familiar faces…”

Ponder...

How often does CJ come here with Nana?

Talk about...

How is CJ feeling? Has he changed since the beginning of the story? How?

Pause at...

Pages 28-29

Point to...

What is their job? How do you know?

Ponder...

What did Maya wear to bed? 

Talk about...

Why didn’t Nana laugh?

Furthering the Conversation

What are some ways that people are different? What are some things that all people have in common? What happens in church? What do the church, the rainbow, and the soup kitchen have in common?

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