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My Name Is Maria Isabel

Last updated Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Author: Alma Flor Ada
Illustrator: K. Dyble Thompson
Date of Publication: 1993
ISBN: 0689315171
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Aug. 2006

Synopsis: Well-known author Alma Flor Ada explores a problem and theme common among children in multicultural settings. Maria Isabel is hurt when her teacher decides to call her Mary to distinguish her from two other Marias in the class. Maria is proud of her name and heritage and must find a way to make her teacher understand.

Note to readers:
•  This is a chapter book, but it?s very short. You should be able to read the whole thing, or close to it.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever started at a new school? What did it feel like? What were you nervous about? What about the first day you started at this school?
•  Have a share discussion, going around the circle of where everyone?s name comes from. Volunteers can share their names, too. Were you named after someone special? What, if anything, does your name mean?
•  Have you ever had someone call you by a name that isn?t yours? How do you feel about that?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How does Mar?a Isabel feel when her teacher says her name in the class will be Mary? In what ways does this affect Mar?a Isabel in the class and outside?
•  Have you read the book Charlotte?s Web? What is it about? Did you like it? How does Mar?a Isabel feel about the book?
•  How does Mar?a Isabel feel about not being chosen for the winter pageant? Have you been in a winter pageant? What did you do?
•  How does Mar?a Isabel finally let the teacher know how she feels? What is the teacher?s response?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a nameplate. Decorate it with things that you like or that represent you.
•  One of the motifs in this book is the web of Charlotte?s Web. On a paper plate or piece of paper, create a web. Start with a point in the center. Draw lines radiating from it like the spokes of a wheel. At the end of each line, put a point, and then connect the points from line to line. Make similar points along the lines, and connect them to form a web. Draw a spider in the middle.
•  Write about your ?greatest wish.? Refer to text page 49 for Mar?a Isabel?s thoughts about her greatest wish.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!