Kathleen Pelley: Activity Guide "The Quiet Place"

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Activity Guide with Answer Key that complements Kathleen Pelley's Readaloud of the book The Quiet Place by Sarah Stewart and pictures by David Small.

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  • Kathleen Pelley Storytelling Activity Guide

    2014 Kathleen Pelley KathleenPelleyStorytelling.com Page 1

    Activity Guide

    by

    Kathleen Pelley

  • Kathleen Pelley Storytelling Activity Guide

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    One of the many things I love about good stories is that they can provide a space in our

    hectic busy lives to simply PAUSE and PONDER some truth, some beauty, or some new way

    of looking at the world.

    Each month I will invite you to join me as I PAUSE and PONDER upon the story I have just

    read.

    The Quiet Place

    Written by Sarah Stewart and pictures by David Small

    PAUSE and PONDER

    Why I love this story?

    This story is told in the form of letters from a child to her Aunt letter writing is a forgotten

    art nowadays, but I have fond memories of writing letters as a child to my friend who moved

    to Canada, and to my cousins who lived in Ireland. Letters are such a tender way of

    revealing our hurts and longings to one another. The story takes place in the 1950s when a

    little girl and her family move from Mexico to the States: we learn of Isabels struggles, not

    only with a new land, but with new words, new people, and new places. Her way of coping

    is to find her QUIET PLACE. What one of us has not felt that need for a safe, quiet place at

    some time in our lives? I moved to the States as an adult, and yet, still I remember the sharp

    pang of homesickness, the longing for the familiar, for the identity I left behind in my

    country. I have many favorite QUIET PLACES, but my favorite of all.a GOOD picture book

    like this. No wonder this tale resonates with me!

    Souvenirs from the story a jolt of joy at seeing our Isabel find her place in her new country

    with the help of a QUIET PLACE and her word friends.

    Emotional/Universal Truth

    What is an emotional truth?

    Any editor will tell you that a common weakness of many picture book manuscripts is that it

    is too trite. In other words, it will not withstand multiple readings, because it is too one

    dimensional and lacks a universal, emotional truth. It is NOT a lesson, a moral, or a message!

    Rather it is a simple truth, woven seamlessly throughout the story -some truth about love,

    hope, pain, joy, or home that a child can understand and connect with. I like to think of it as

    that whiff of wonder, that bolt of beauty that lingers with you, long after the last page is

    turned or the final word uttered.

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    Why should this universal truth matter so much to the read-aloud quality of a picture book?

    The storytellers go back and back, to a clearing in the forest where a great fire burns, and

    the old shamans dance and sing, for our heritage of stories began in fire, magic, the spirit

    world. And that is where it is held, today. Doris Lessing

    Truth connects us to one another, to our ancestors, and to the world around us. Good

    books and stories are all about connections. When we read a story aloud to a child a story

    that truly touches us at the very core of our being with its beauty and its truth, then, we will

    naturally breathe our own life and love into those words as we read them aloud. (Notice

    how life and spirit, breath and voice are all connected). And, in turn, those words will seep

    into the little listeners heart, making her or him feel brave or bold, calm or kind, happy or

    hopeful.

    Adult books maintain lives; childrens books change lives. Yolen

    The truth of this story: In the midst of moving to new places, we all need a quiet place to

    help us transition from the familiar to the unfamiliar it may be a box or a shady spot at the

    foot of the garden, or a good story!

    What souvenir and what truth I wonder, will you and your children take from this story?

    The following discussion questions and activities are designed for use either with a parent

    and a child, or with a teacher and her class or a small group. Most of the discussion

    questions are suited for children ages 6-8, but could be adapted for use with younger

    children too.

    - Kathleen Pelley

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    Discussion Questions

    1. When does this story take place? ( in the 1950s)

    2. Where is Isabel moving from? (Mexico)

    3. What language do they speak in Mexico? (Spanish)

    4. Do you speak any languages other than English? Discuss.

    5. How is Isabel practicing English? (by writing letters to her Aunt)

    6. Discuss the differences between email and letter writing.

    7. Why does Isabel find it hard to make friends? (she is shy)

    8. Do you find it hard or easy to make new friends? Discuss.

    9. How can you make a new student feel welcome? Discuss.

    10. Why does Isabel start a Quiet Place? (to feel safe)

    11. Do you have a favorite Quiet Place? Or a favorite Noisy Place? Discuss.

    12. What do you like about Quiet Places? What do you dislike about them?

    13. What happens to Isabels first box? (ruined in rain)

    14. How does she get another one? (from pool box at party)

    15. Isabel calls words her friends discuss.

    16. What does P. S. at end of each letter mean? (Latin for Post Scriptum after

    the letter)

    17. How does Isabels last letter end differently from all the others? (wishing

    you were here instead of missing you)

    18. What does that tell you? (that she finally feels she belongs)

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    Story Characters

    Draw the animal in the boxes below. Then write a sentence about her/him.

    ________________________________

    ________________________________

    ________________________________

    ________________________________

    ________________________________

    ________________________________

    ________________________________

    ________________________________

    ________________________________

    ________________________________

    Isabel

    Chavo

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    ________________________________

    ________________________________

    ________________________________

    ________________________________

    ________________________________

    Word Scramble

    Unscramble the words

    1. Isabel comes from the country of _ _ _ _ _ _ (oxicem).

    2. Isabel made a _ _ _ _ (nosw) angel.

    3. Isabel found it hard to make friends because she was _ _ _ (hys).

    4. Isabel loved her _ _ _ _ _ (tieuq) place.

    5. Spanish words are like _ _ _ __ _ _ _ (residfn) for Isabel.

    Aunt Lupita

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    Crisscross Words

    Use the clues below to complete the crossword.

    Across

    4. Isabel made one after

    snowstorm. 5. Meaning of antidote (what the

    guard called Isabel).

    Down

    1. Isabels brother. 2. The fireworks over the lake

    were like these.

    3. This came with the dollhouse. 4. Isabels quiet place made her

    feel like this.

    1 2

    3

    4

    5

    EclipseCrossword.com

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    Research Mexico

    Learn about Mexico. Visit National Geographic and A to Z Kids Stuff.

    http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/countries/mexico.html

    http://www.atozkidsstuff.com/mexico.html

    Start your exploration by answering these questions, then create more of your

    own.

    Where is Mexico located on the globe?

    What colors are in the Mexican flag?

    What is Mexicos traditional dress? For girls? For boys?

    What is the music of Mexico?

    What are fun things to do in Mexico?

    What are their favorite foods?

    ART Activity

    Find a large box and decorate it with pictures of friends, objects, words, places,

    animals, toys all the things that might help you feel SAFE or feel at home if

    you are in a strange place.

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    Favorite Words

    Can you interview family, teachers, and friends, asking them for their favorite

    words and words to say aloud? Then write them all out on colored card use

    them to decorate your room/classroom. Be a word collector keep a notepad

    filled with all YOUR favorite words. Begin with your favorite words from this

    story.

    My favorite words from this story:

    Additional Reading

    Another wonderful book about words is The Boy who Loved Words by Roni

    Schotter.

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    Answer Key

    Word Sramble

    1. Mexico

    2. snow

    3. shy

    4. quiet

    5. friends

    Crisscross Puzzle

    1 2

    3

    4

    5

    EclipseCrossword.com

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