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Song of the Swallows

Last updated Monday, April 4, 2016

Author: Leo Politi
Illustrator: Leo Politi
Date of Publication: 2009
ISBN: 0892369892
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Apr. 2016

Synopsis: It tells the famous story of the yearly return of the swallows to the Mission San Juan Capistrano through the eyes of a small child. Julian, the bell ringer of the Mission, tells Juan, a young boy who also lives at the Mission, the story of the swallows and how—without anyone really knowing why or how—they return each year from their winter home in South America to San Juan Capistrano in California. Thrilled by the story, Juan makes his own small garden in the hope that at least one family of swallows will nest there when they return.

Note to readers:
•  The book describes the famous birds of Mission San Juan Capistrano which is south of Los Angeles. Find a map and show them where the book takes place.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Why is the boy looking at the birds?
•  What are the birds doing? (one is feeding her babies)
•  What type of birds are on the cover?(swallows)

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Where is Capistrano?
•  When did the swallows come to Capistrano? What season?
•  When did the swallows leave? What season?
•  Where did the swallows go to when they left?
•  Why did Juan plant a garden in his yard?

Craft ideas:
•  Cut out shapes of swallows and fold them in half so the wings are lifted. Attach them to a picture of the mission.
•  Draw the mission and the swallows.
•  Make a swallow bracelet. Cut out a shape of a swallow and attach it to the middle of a long two inch strip of paper.
•  Check out our April craft ideas on Pinterest! https://www.pinterest.com/readingtokids/april-2016-animal-crafts/

Special activities:
•  Sing or play the song "La Golondrina"

*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!