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Grandparents Song

Last updated Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Author: Sheila Hamanaka
Illustrator: Sheila Hamanaka
Date of Publication: 2003
ISBN: 0688178529
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jan. 2005

Synopsis: (from the publisher) "My eyes are green like the sea, like the sea And my hair is dark and blows free, blows free."

Sing of your parents, and your grandparents too, and picture a magnificent family tree. Its roots are deep, nurtured with the lives of ancestors. Some left willingly for the new land, others did not -- and many were already here! Their blood flows in yourveins; their strength lies in your heart.

Inspired by American folk art, Sheila Hamanaka, author and illustrator of the best-selling All the Colors of the Earth, has created vibrant, stunningly beautiful illustrations to tell the story of our country's family tree.

Note to readers:
•  This is a book that is told both by the words and the pictures - one way to read is to focus on both - Ask active questions about the pictures - what do you think this person?s life is like? What do you think life is like in this place? - It also may be helpful to map out ahead of time the author?s family tree.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What are your grandparents like? Where are they from?
•  What do you know about your family tree? Where are your ancestors from?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  "Their lives are a river that flows through my veins." What does that mean?
•  What is a metaphor (my heart is a drum); a simile (she is like a river)? Did the author?s mother really come on a jaguar?s back?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw your own family tree, or make a collage that represents your family.
•  Write a letter to your grandparents to tell them what you?ve been doing lately.
•  Draw a self-portrait.

Special activities:
•  Talk to others about your heritage or family tree.

*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!