Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The All I'll Ever Want Christmas Doll, Learning Activities

Talk to your children about gift giving. Have them identify and describe a gift they’ve received or given. If they’re learning question words, try this format or something similar:
*Who gave the gift?
*What was it?
*When did you receive it?
*Where did you receive it?
*How did you receive it?
*Why did the person give it to you?

Letter to Santa:
In the book, Nella writes a letter to Santa. Your child may want to write his/her own letter to Santa.

The Great Depression

This book is a great supplement if you’re a teacher (public or home school) and are teaching about the Great Depression. Children will be able to identify more with the Great Depression if they “know someone” who lived during it. Go through the book and point out some of the details that indicate the family is not well off, the newspapers lining the walls, for example.

Other Great Depression books like I particularly like include:

Children of the Depression
A collection of images of children who lived through the Great Depression. Some are heart wrenching as you can imagine, but it puts a real face on the Depression and has a wealth of discussion opportunities.

Rose's Journal: The Story of a Girl in the Great Depression
From Amazon: Rose keeps a journal of her family's difficult times on their farm during the days of the Dust Bowl in 1935.

*Nella is delighted with Baby Betty for a while, but she soon realizes that she can’t talk or sing or laugh with her. She misses her sisters. Talk about friendship and the importance of people over things. Have your children identify special friends in their life, including their siblings, and talk about what they love the most about them.

*The story begins with the line, “Christmas always came to our house, but Santy Claus only showed up once in a while.” For your Santa believers, this could get a little dicey because how could Santa discriminate against poor people? After all, it’s the “bad” kids who get shifted, right? The question is sure to pop up as you read the book. I honestly don’t know what advice to give you to help you navigate this one because you know your kids best. All I can tell you is to talk about the fact that sometimes there wasn’t enough money in Nella’s house for Christmas gifts but they still celebrated Christmas with their families. This could be a lead-in to the discussion of the true meaning of the holiday—not the gift-giving part.

*Nella learns how sharing the doll with her sisters makes a more enjoyable experience with everyone. For those of you who have “sharing issues”, this could be a good opportunity to talk to your child about the importance of sharing and the benefit to all.

What ideas do you have?
Check in tomorrow to learn more about the author and illustrator of this book.

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