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For You Are a Kenyan Child



Last updated Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Author: Kelly Cunnane
Illustrator: Ana Juan
Date of Publication: 2006
ISBN: 068986194X
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2010

Synopsis: Through vivid, descriptive text that highlights the Kenyan countryside and culture, this story about one day in the life of a Kalenjin boy unfolds. Roosters crow, and you wake one morning in the green hills of Africa, sun lemon bright over eucalyptus trees full of doves. The boy's primary chore is to take his grandfather's cows to the pasture and watch them carefully. However, once he gets them there, he slips away to see who else is awake. From then on, he keeps getting distracted by one thing or another. When he finally looks to where the cows should be, they are not there. His expression is forlorn as he ponders, Why did you wander? Why didn't you stay and do the job Mama gave you today? When he meets his grandfather leading the cows on the path home–something he should have been doing–the youngster is contrite. Grandfather simply hands him back his cow switch and says, Twende nyumbani sasa–Let's go home now. The brilliant, colorful, and humorous illustrations stand out against the white backgrounds and are large enough for group viewing. A gentle story about family, responsibility, and a curious little boy.–Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

Note to readers:
•  check out the Glossary in the front of the book ahead of time

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What are the animals on the cover?
•  Where is Kenya? (use map in classroom to locate) DURING:
•  What chore/job is the Kenyan child supposed to be doing?
•  What type of chores do you do around your house?
•  Have you ever forgotten to do a chore? Forgotten to do your homework?
•  What will happen to the cows if he forgets to take care of them? VOCAB:
•  dung beetle

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  If you were a Kenyan child, what would you do differently than you do now?
•  How does he feel when he finds his grandfather with the cows?
•  How does the grandfather feel?
•  Where is his hut? Where is his mother’s hut?

Craft ideas:
•  Make huts.
•  Draw the front of the hut & cut out strips of paper or cut a semi-circle then cut fringe along the bottom for the grass-roof.
•  Draw a herd of cattle.

*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!