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A Birthday for Frances

Last updated Friday, June 3, 2005

Author: Russell Hoban
Illustrator: Lillian Hoban
Date of Publication: 1968
ISBN: 0060223383
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jun. 2005

Synopsis: As her little sister Gloria's birthday approaches, Frances wavers between being generous and being jealous. Frances is every youngster who chafes at being the un-birthday child.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What kinds of things do you do on your birthday?
•  Do you have siblings/ cousins? How do you feel when it's their birthday and not yours?
•  Do you ever get mad at your siblings/ cousins? What happens?
•  What kind of presents do you like to get?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Start by explaining who Frances, Gloria, and Alice are -- it may be confusing otherwise.
•  Why is Frances mad at Gloria?
•  What did Frances give Gloria as a present?
•  Do you have little brothers or sisters? Do you do nice things for them? Are you always nice? Are they always nice to you?
•  Why was it hard for Frances to be happy for Gloria? Was she jealous? Would you have been jealous?
•  How many people were at Gloria's birthday party?

Craft ideas:
•  Decorate a birthday cake for Frances or Gloria.
•  Make a birthday card for someone special.

Special activities:
•  Plan the best birthday party ever. What would you do, eat, play, etc? Then, act it out. Sing Happy Birthday to everyone.
•  Bring ahead option for prize books: bring birthday wrapping paper and have the children wrap the prize books to be given out later.

*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!