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The Hickory Chair

Last updated Sunday, May 16, 2021

Author: Lisa Rowe Fraustino
Illustrator: Benny Andrews
Date of Publication: 2001
ISBN: 0590522485
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2004

Synopsis: "Lilacs with a whiff of bleach." Gran?s smell. That "rich molasses voice." Gran reading stories. By these things, Luis knows his grandmother. And he knows that she loves him. But when Gran passes away and leaves notes hidden in her things for each family member to find, Luis seems to be the only one forgotten. Could it be so?

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you like about your favorite family member?
•  Smells can invoke memories - name some smells that make you remember someone/ something.
•  Have you ever known someone that has died? What do you remember best about them?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What special talent did the boy have? What is blind sight?
•  What does he tell us about his grandmother?

Craft ideas:
•  Write a special note to your favorite family members, and make fortune cookies out of paper to hide them in (Bring ahead option: bring fortune cookies, or other hiding options).
•  Draw a picture of your favorite family members, and the smells that you associate with them.

Special activities:
•  In a specific area, hide a toy or a note. Blindfold the children one at a time, and have them look for it in the specific area.

*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!