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Screenshot_20201122-135333_Amazon Kids+.

When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson, Illustrated by Julie Flett

Age Range/Grade: Age 4-8; Kindergarten - 3rd Grade

Theme: Family history, oppression, resilience, empowerment

A family history that tells of hardship and oppression, and ultimately proves that family is the strongest story of all.

Introduce the Cover

 

Describe the picture. Who is in the picture? What is their relationship? What are they doing? Are they having fun?

PredictWhat do you think this book will be about? Does the title sound sad, or playful?

Pause at...

Page 1

Point to...

kókom, Nókom, Nósisim;

 

"colorful," "rainbow," "flowers"

Ponder...

What do these words mean? How do you know?  

Talk about...

How does the author feel about the way the grandmother dresses?

Pause at...

Page 3

Point to...

Color of the font;

"storm clouds"

Ponder...

What do storm clouds look like? Compare your description of storm clouds to the picture on the next page. 

Talk about...

Why are the fonts two different colors? What does each color represent?

Pause at...

Pages 7-8

Point to...

"Well, Nósisim";

vines

Ponder...

Her braid is compared to vines. Why is nature (leaves, rainbows, vines) being used so much in this story?

Talk about...

Do you notice any patterns in the way the two people talk to each other? Why did the author repeat this structure?

Pause at...

Page 10

Point to...

The shadows; the posture of the two figures

Ponder...

How is the girl feeling? Why do you think so?

Talk about...

The shadows look like blobs, but the scissors are clear. What does the author want you to think about?

Pause at...

Page 13

Point to...

"...whispered, 'Na pinaysis, miciso, ta misi kitiyin, ta maskisiyin'"

Ponder...

Explain what happened on this page. How did the author give you the meaning of the words she said to the bird? 

Talk about...

How does the grandmother treat the bird? Compare that to the way she was treated as a child. 

Pause at...

Page 15

Point to...

Flock of crows

Ponder...

How does a flock of crows sound?

 

Do you think the grandmother forgot her language? What clues do you have?

Talk about...

There have been birds in almost every picture. How are a flock of crows different from the other birds in the story, like the birds on the next page? What does the author want us to think about? 

Pause at...

Page 21

Point to...

Snow, girl alone

Ponder...

How does the girl feel? 

Talk about...

What clues did the author and illustrator give you?

Pause at...

Pages 22-23

Point to...

Mittens; "...my uncle's hand, and mine."

Ponder...

Explain why they held hands with their mittens off. 

Talk about...

Why does the grandmother take the girl's hand? 

Furthering the Conversation

Revisit the cover of the book. Was your prediction about this story correct? What is the tone of the title? How can the word "alone" mean different things? What do you think it means in this story?

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