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Molly's Pilgrim

Last updated Sunday, May 16, 2021

Author: Barbara Cohen
Illustrator: Daniel Duffy
Date of Publication: 1998
ISBN: 0688162797
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2004

Synopsis: Molly and her family have moved to America from Russia. Her mother says they moved to find freedom. But the children in Molly's third-grade class make fun of her accent and clothes. That doesn't seem like freedom to Molly at all. At Thanksgiving everyone has to bring a Pilgrim doll to class. The doll Molly's mother makes looks like a Russian peasant girl. It doesn't look at all like the Pilgrims Molly has seen in her schoolbook. Molly is afraid she'll never fit in with her classmates now.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Why did the Pilgrims come to America? What was behind the original Thanksgiving feast?
•  How did the early settlers survive the harsh conditions when they first arrived?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  At the start of the story, why did Molly not like school? Why did some of the other children laugh at Molly?
•  Why didn't Molly want to show her doll to Elizabeth at first? Why does Elizabeth make fun of things or people that are "different?"
•  How would you treat a new student at your school? Do you know any students who have arrived from a foreign country?

Craft ideas:
•  Make finger puppets of pilgrims and other Thanksgiving figures featured in the book.
•  Make a set of Thanksgiving bookmarks.

*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!