Freedom in Congo Square

June Book Of the Month

by Carole Boston Weatherford Illustrated by Rosie Butcher

Ages 4-8 years old
Freedom in Congo Square - Learning Matters
Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston June Book of The Month - Learning Matters

Freedom in Congo Square

by Carole Boston Weatherford Illustrated by Rosie Butcher
Reading Age: 4-8 years old

The book tells the story of enslaved African Americans in the 19th century in New Orleans, Louisiana who counted down the days until Sunday, when they were allowed to gather in Congo Square for half a day. There they could set up an open market, sing, dance, and play music. The book shows how Congo Square was a place of freedom for the enslaved people who suffered under an unjust system. The book is also an expression of the human spirit and our capacity to find joy and hope even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Below are some questions and instructional ideas to help extend children’s learning and expand their thinking. These are organized in a way to help you “step up your questioning techniques” through a model based on the work of Anderson and Krathwohl. For more ideas on how to use this text with children in your setting, check out these discussion activities!

Details Questions
1: Remember (identify, name, count, repeat, recall)
Enslaved people on plantations worked most days of the week. With support, help children make a schedule using pictures or words to outline the work they did each day Monday through Saturday.
2: Understand (describe, discuss, explain, summarize)
Sunday was a day of rest from work on the plantation. What types of things do you or your family do to rest from work?
3: Apply (explain why, dramatize, identify with/relate to)
Why do you think it was considered daring for enslaved people to run away?
4: Analyze (recognize change, experiment, infer, compare, contrast)
Maintaining a plantation took lots of hard manual labor in the past. How is farm work different today?
5: Evaluate (express opinion, judge, defend/criticize)

Why do you think the author titled the book Freedom in Congo Square?

6: Create (make, construct, design, author)
When people gathered in Congo Square, they brought items to sell in the market. Design and make an item you would like to sell in a market.

Consider highlighting these words from the text to expand children’s vocabulary

  • Sample Rhyming Pairs (slop/chop, pick/brick, make/bake, bear/Square, feed/seed)
  • Sample Vocabulary (despair, ardent, commune, abuzz, ancestral, gourds, banzas, percale)

July Book of the Month

Apple Pie 4th of July by Janet S. Wong - Learning Matters by Eboni Book of July

Apple Pie 4th of July

by Janet S. Wong Illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine
Reading Age: 4-7 years old

For many Americans, the 4th of July is celebrated with parades, fireworks, and foods like apple pie. In this story, A Chinese American child fears that the food her parents are preparing to sell on the Fourth of July will not be eaten. Yet as the parades draw to an end, customers come for take out! Wong, in this short narrative, helps young readers explore their ideas about what it means to celebrate a grand American holiday.

Below are some questions and instructional ideas to help extend children’s learning and expand their thinking. These are organized in a way to help you “step up your questioning techniques” through a model based on the work of Anderson and Krathwohl. For more ideas on how to use this text with children in your setting, check out this cooking activity!

Details Questions
1: Remember (identify, name, count, repeat, recall)
Name one of the foods that the family cooked to sell in the family store.
2: Understand (describe, discuss, explain, summarize)
Using some of your 5 senses, describe the different types of sounds, sights, tastes and smells you might encounter at a 4th of July parade.
3: Apply (explain why, dramatize, identify with/relate to)
The girl in the book works in her family’s store while she hears the parade pass by outside. How do you think she feels having to work every day of the year except Christmas Day?
4: Analyze (recognize change, experiment, infer, compare, contrast)
Chow mein is a Chinese dish made from stir-fried noodles, with vegetables and meat. How does this dish compare to a meal you or your family may eat that also includes noodles?
5: Evaluate (express opinion, judge, defend/criticize)
Would you like to eat Chinese food on the 4th of July? Why or why not?
6: Create (make, construct, design, author)
Create your own 4th of July menu to include words and pictures. Add it to the dramatic play area in your classroom or at home.

Consider highlighting these words from the text to expand children’s vocabulary

  • Parade
  • Customer
  • American
  • Rooftop
  • Fireworks

August Book of the Month

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes - Learning Matters Eboni Walker

I Am Every Good Thing

by Derrick Barnes Illustrated by Gordon C. James
Reading Age: 4-8 years old

I saw this book at the Essence Festival and had to have a copy! Both the words and the illustrations are heart-warming and reflective.

This book is an affirmation of the kind of joy I want my son to embody. One reviewer wrote, “I love how this team celebrates black boys and reminds them they are so much more than what society often tries to diminish them to be. They are every good thing.”

And I couldn’t agree more…more of us need to see black boys through this narrator’s lens!

Below are some questions and instructional ideas to help extend children’s learning and expand their thinking. These are organized in a way to help you “step up your questioning techniques” through a model based on the work of Anderson and Krathwohl. For more ideas on how to use this text with children in your setting, check out this resources!

Details Questions
1: Remember (identify, name, count, repeat, recall)
What do the boys say they are worthy of on the last few pages of the book?
2: Understand (describe, discuss, explain, summarize)
Throughout the book, the children make “I am” statements. Discuss some of the different ways the boys describe themselves in the book.
3: Apply (explain why, dramatize, identify with/relate to)
Think about your name. What do you call yourself? What do people in your family call you? Has anyone ever called you a name that is not your own? How did it make you feel?
4: Analyze (recognize change, experiment, infer, compare, contrast)
On one page, the child describes his goodness as: “I am good to the core, like the center of a cinnamon roll.” Complete this sentence for yourself: “I am good to the core, like ____________________.”
5: Evaluate (express opinion, judge, defend/criticize)

In this book, boys share who they are on every page. Do you see yourself the way these boys have described themselves? Why or why not?

6: Create (make, construct, design, author)
Design a poster of yourself showing you doing or being something that represents “I Am Every Good Thing”

Consider highlighting these words from the text to expand children’s vocabulary

  • Ancestor
  • Gentleman
  • Miracle
  • Microscope
  • Moonbeams
  • Scholar
  • Telescope

September Book of the Month

Nana Akua Goes To School

by Tricia Elam Walker Illustrated by April Harrison 

Reading Age: 4-8 years old

September is not only the start of a new school year, it is also the month when we celebrate National Grandparents Day. The adoption of such a day was established to educate youth about the importance of our seniors, and learn more about their lives, challenges, and contributions.

In this moving story, a young girl brings her West African grandmother –whose face bears traditional tribal markings–to meet her classmates on Grandparents Day. Despite her hesitation, she finds out that “what makes us different is also what makes us special.”

Below are some questions and instructional ideas to help extend children’s learning and expand their thinking. These are organized in a way to help you “step up your questioning techniques” through a model based on the work of Anderson and Krathwohl. For more ideas on how to use this text with children in your setting, check out these activities!

Details Questions
1: Remember (identify, name, count, repeat, recall)
What country is Zura’s grandmother from? Where is this country located on the globe?
2: Understand (describe, discuss, explain, summarize)
Many cultures around the world have different names for grandmothers. Zura calls her grandmother Nana Akua. What do you call your grandmother?
3: Apply (explain why, dramatize, identify with/relate to)
Nana Akua was raised in Ghana, and, following an old West African tradition, has tribal markings on her face. Why do you think Zura was hesitant to bring her to school as a guest?
4: Analyze (recognize change, experiment, infer, compare, contrast)
This book describes a West African tradition of celebrating ways families show pride and uniqueness. Encourage children (and their families) to think about and share something they have received from their parents or grandparents that makes them feel special or unique.
5: Evaluate (express opinion, judge, defend/criticize)
Which of the Adinkra symbols do you like the most? Why?
6: Create (make, construct, design, author)
Draw or paint an Adinkra symbol and share its meaning with a friend.

Consider highlighting these words from the text to expand children’s vocabulary

  • Ghana
  • Djembe drum
  • Symbol
  • Tribe
  • Unity
  • Cleverness

October Book of the Month

Goodnight Goon

Goodnight Goon

by Michale Rex

Reading Age: 4-8 years old

Many early childhood educators and families alike love the book Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Well, meet this petrifying parody, Goodnight Goon.

Below are some questions and instructional ideas to help extend children’s learning and expand their thinking. These are organized in a way to help you “step up your questioning techniques” through a model based on the work of Anderson and Krathwohl. For more ideas on how to use this text with children in your setting, check out this resource!
Details Questions
1: Remember (identify, name, count, repeat, recall)
  • How many pictures were on the wall?
  • How many creatures can you remember?
  • Did all of the creatures go to bed?
  • Who was last to go to bed?
2: Understand (describe, discuss, explain, summarize)
Are you like the Little Werewolf: ready to go to bed or are you like the Goon looking for things to do before bedtime?
3: Apply (explain why, dramatize, identify with/relate to)

Which creature would you be glad to say goodnight to?

Which creature would you be sad to say goodnight to?

4: Analyze (recognize change, experiment, infer, compare, contrast)
Why do you think Goon kept getting in trouble? Which things do you think Goon enjoyed playing with the most?
5: Evaluate (express opinion, judge, defend/criticize)
If you had a Goon under your bed would it be friendly like the one in the book? Why or why not?
6: Create (make, construct, design, author)
Draw a picture of what the Goon under your bed would look like!

Consider highlighting these words from the text to expand children’s vocabulary

  • Martian
  • Moon
  • Bat
  • Hat
  • Shoe
  • Werewolf
  • Claws
  • Jaws
  • Creature
  • Moans
  • Groans
  • Monster
November Book of the Month
The Carpet: An Afghan Family Story

The Carpet: An Afghan Family Story

by Dezh Azaad Illustrated by Nan Cao
Reading Age: 4-8 years old

Every family has traditions that keep them together. These traditions and daily activities reinforce connections between parents/guardians and children.

“The Carpet: An Afghan Family Story” follows a day in the life of a refugee child. Our young narrator shares how their family remains connected when they come together on the family’s carpet and the love and safety it represents.

Below are some questions and instructional ideas to help extend children’s learning and expand their thinking. These are organized in a way to help you “step up your questioning techniques” through a model based on the work of Anderson and Krathwohl. For more ideas on how to use this text with children in your setting, check out this resource!

Details Questions
1: Remember (identify, name, count, repeat, recall)
Can you name some/all of the activities the family does on the carpet?
2: Understand (describe, discuss, explain, summarize)
  • Which activities would you enjoy doing with the family? 
  • Which one(s) are different from what your family might do? Which one(s) are the same?
3: Apply (explain why, dramatize, identify with/relate to)

Where in your house do you enjoy doing things with your family? Are there places in your neighborhood that your family does things together? How does that make you feel when you do things together? Which one is your favorite to do?

4: Analyze (recognize change, experiment, infer, compare, contrast)

Our friend telling the story shares how “the carpet keeps [them] strong” especially when they feel lonely or left out.  They’ve learned stories of family members being strong as well.   What do you like to do when you feel lonely? What items do you have that make you feel strong? What do you do when you feel left out?

5: Evaluate (express opinion, judge, defend/criticize)

Can you tell when someone feels lonely or left out? What is something kind we can say or do to make them feel better? What can we do to include them?

6: Create (make, construct, design, author)

Can you draw a picture of your favorite thing that makes you happy when you’re with family or that makes you feel strong when you need some extra courage?

Consider highlighting these words from the text to expand children’s vocabulary

  • Sitting
  • Prepping
  • Helping
  • Soaking
  • Sharing
  • Caring
  • Garden
  • Dreaming
  • Strong
  • Courage
  • Afghanistan
  • Refugee
  • Ruby
  • Lava
  • Rook
  • Pawn
  • Simorgh

December Book of the Month

Christmas for 10

by Cathryn Falwell

Reading Age: 4-7 years old

The same beloved family that prepared the tasty meal in “Feast for 10” now gets ready for Christmas. A simple counting format frames all the festivities, from one to ten then counting once again – the family trims a tree, makes music together and welcomes guests as they gather for the holiday.
This simple book includes many opportunities for sequencing, counting, rhyming, and sharing the joys of family traditions during this season.

Below are some questions and instructional ideas to help extend children’s learning and expand their thinking. These are organized in a way to help you “step up your questioning techniques” through a model based on the work of Anderson and Krathwohl.

Details Questions
1: Remember (identify, name, count, repeat, recall)
Can you recall some of the activities the family does to prepare for Christmas?
2: Understand (describe, discuss, explain, summarize)
  • What kinds of instruments do the children play in harmony? 
  • What kind of instrument would you like to play?
3: Apply (explain why, dramatize, identify with/relate to)

The children stare at bright candles on a table. How are candles used to acknowledge or celebrate  holiday traditions or special occasions in your community/culture?

4: Analyze (recognize change, experiment, infer, compare, contrast)

What is something the family in the story does to prepare for Christmas that is similar to what you do? How are your traditions different from what this family does?

5: Evaluate (express opinion, judge, defend/criticize)

In the story, the family packs five baskets filled with items, such as canned foods, cookies, and candy canes. Why do you think they are making baskets? For whom do you think they made the baskets?

6: Create (make, construct, design, author)

Try making one of these holiday cookies. What types of ingredients would you need?

Consider highlighting these words from the text to expand children’s vocabulary

Rhyming Pairs
  • wings/kings
  • near/hear
  • fly/tie
  • make/bake
  • pack/stack
  • sing/ring
 
Vocabulary
  • Harmony
  • Royal
  • Reindeer
  • Wreath
  • Folks

January Book Of the Month

Welcome back to the Learning Matters community! In this brand new year, we are planning to bring something new and refreshing to the early childhood community through monthly book talks.Each book talk will feature a brief synopsis of the book, and guiding questions practitioners can use to expand young children’s thinking and learning. We hope you enjoy sharing these texts with children in your settings and others in your learning communities.

Grandma’s Gumbo by Deborah Ousley Kadair

Grandma’s Gumbo

by Deborah Ousley Kadair Reading Age: 2-6

I purchased this book in the summer of 2011 after visiting with my grandmother in New Orleans. We made a huge pot of gumbo together in her kitchen — it was a labor of love, and turned out oh so delicious. 

Available as a picture book and a board book, this delightful rhyming story features colorful collage-style illustrations surrounded by the charming and infectious poetic rhythm. Early readers and pre-readers alike will be enchanted as Grandma adds more and more items to her big black pot. The illustrations are iconic, and reminiscent of the illustrations from Today is Monday in Louisiana.

Below are some questions and instructional ideas to help extend children’s learning and expand their thinking. These are organized in a way to help you “step up your questioning techniques” through a model based on the work of Anderson and Krathwohl. For more ideas on how to use this text with children in your setting , check out these activities!
Details Questions
1: Remember (identify, name, count, repeat, recall)
  • What were the ingredients Grandma used to make her gumbo?
  • What kitchen tools do you need to make gumbo?
2: Understand (describe, discuss, explain, summarize)
  • How did Grandma make her gumbo?

  • Provide children with pictures to help them list the steps to making Grandma’s gumbo in order.

3: Apply (explain why, dramatize, identify with/relate to)
  • Use play ingredients to dramatize making gumbo in the housekeeping area.

  • Show a video of a chef making gumbo.

4: Analyze (recognize change, experiment, infer, compare, contrast)
  • There are many ingredients used to make gumbo. Can you group them by color?
  • Think about the ingredients Grandma used in the book to make her gumbo.Watch the clip from the Princess and the Frog when Tiana makes ‘swamp gumbo.” Which ingredients or tools do you notice that are different?
5: Evaluate (express opinion, judge, defend/criticize)
  • There are many people who make gumbo in our area. Who do you think makes the best gumbo? Why?
6: Create (make, construct, design, author)
  • Write a recipe for gumbo to share with children in the class.

  • Home-school connection: Make a pot of gumbo with your family.

Consider highlighting these words from the text to expand children’s vocabulary

  • color words
  • ingredient words
  • (For early elementary)
    Creole, creature, render, regulate

Like teaching children, each ingredient and technique is unique. I hope you check out this book and discover “Just the thing to make it yumbo, all a part of grandma’s gumbo.” 

February Book Of the Month

Welcome back early childhood enthusiasts! As we engage together in our learning communities, each of us can be a bearer of diversity and inclusivity for our youngest readers.  It is essential that children not only see one another but also celebrate each other’s uniqueness in the world.   Take the opportunity during Black History Month to share with infants and toddlers these board books featuring black children and families.  Enjoy this month-long calendar of books celebrating African American history any month of the year.  Consider buying one of them for your home, a family member or friend, or even a classroom library. 
Wind Flyers by Angela Johnson

Wind Flyers by Angela Johnson

Reading Age: 5-9 years old

My son loves aviation, and dreams of flying anything powerful and fast! For his fifth birthday, a dear friend of ours got him this book about one boy who also dreams of flying. It tells the story of his great-great uncle’s journey from jumping off a chicken coop to becoming one of America’s World War II heroes – a Tuskegee Airman.

Children’s book reviewer Sophie McKenney writes, “Wind Flyers is a book about the African American pilots for the United States during World War II. There were only four different squadrons of African Americans in the war and they were very important. I had never known that there were African American squadrons in World War II or that the Air Force would have segregated them during a war. I think this is a very important book to incorporate into a classroom so that students understand what a remarkable moment in history this was. This book also conveys a message about following your dreams. In the book, the narrator’s uncle was one of the wind flyers and it was his dream for his entire life. He did whatever he could to get up into the air and soar with the clouds so being able to pilot a real airplane for his country was something he was immensely proud of. He followed his dreams and made them come true.

Below are some questions and instructional ideas to help extend children’s learning and expand their thinking. These are organized in a way to help you “step up your questioning techniques” through a model based on the work of Anderson and Krathwohl. For more ideas on how to use this text with students in your classroom, check out this toolkit!

Details Questions
1: Remember (identify, name, count, repeat, recall)
  • Where does this story take place?
  • How old was Great-great uncle when he took his first flight?
2: Understand (describe, discuss, explain, summarize)
  • What do you dream of doing one day? What might you have to do to achieve your dream?
3: Apply (explain why, dramatize, identify with/relate to)
  • Have you ever flown in an airplane? Describe what the experience was like.
  • Uncle compares the clouds to a soft blanket. Imagine you are flying up high, how might you describe the things you see below?
4: Analyze (recognize change, experiment, infer, compare, contrast)
  • Why didn’t the Air Force want the Tuskegee Airmen at first? Have you ever experienced or witnessed someone being treated differently because of the color of their skin? How did it make you feel?
5: Evaluate (express opinion, judge, defend/criticize)
  • In the story, Uncle became a Tuskegee Airman in the 1940’s. How is flying today different than it was then?
6: Create (make, construct, design, author)
  • Make an airplane using a variety of materials (i.e. cardboard, clothes pins, craft sticks, shoe boxes or plastic bottles)

Consider highlighting these words from the text to expand children’s vocabulary

  • Barnstormer
  • Squadron
  • Mahogany
  • Brave
  • War

March Book of the Month

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb

by Al Perkins ○ Reading Age: 2+

This month’s book talk features a board book published by Random House. This Bright and Early Books for Beginners is short and snappy, with colorful pictures that support young readers as they hum and drum along while learning to identify their hands, fingers and thumbs. Introduced to me by one of my early childhood education professors in college, I was hooked the instant I heard this book read aloud. Young children will love hearing the rhythmic cadence bringing the text alive, offering many opportunities for oral language development through reading along while moving to the beat!

Below are some questions and instructional ideas to help extend children’s learning and expand their thinking. These are organized in a way to help you “step up your questioning techniques” through a model based on the work of Anderson and Krathwohl. For more ideas on how to use this text with children in your setting , check out these activities!
Details Questions
1: Remember (identify, name, count, repeat, recall)
  • What body parts are mentioned in the book?
  • Can you name the fruits/instruments mentioned in the book?
2: Understand (describe, discuss, explain, summarize)
  • In the book, monkeys use their hands with handkerchiefs to blow their noses. What is another word for “handkerchief”?
3: Apply (explain why, dramatize, identify with/relate to)
  • In this book, the monkeys wear rings, drum on drums, and play instruments with their hands. What can you do with your hands?
4: Analyze (recognize change, experiment, infer, compare, contrast)
  • Monkeys Jake and Jack say hello and goodbye to one another. Describe other ways people (or animals) greet one another.
5: Evaluate (express opinion, judge, defend/criticize)
  • Where do you think the monkeys were going?
  • Why do you think the monkeys have drums?
6: Create (make, construct, design, author)
  • Use a variety of materials to make a drum.

Consider highlighting these words from the text to expand children’s vocabulary

  • Plum
  • Apple
  • Handkerchief 
  • Banjo
  • Fiddle
  • Drum
  • Rhyming Pairs: Strum/Zum, Go/Blow, Jake/Shake, Jack/Whack

April Book of the Month

Someone Builds the Dream

Someone Builds the Dream

Reading Age: 5-8 years old
It takes a team to build a dream – this book inspires young people to think about how the things they see everyday get made in real life. Read this book with young people to celebrate the diverse workforce that brings big dreams to life when they pound nails, weld steel, and drive machines.  Below are some questions and instructional ideas to help extend children’s learning and expand their thinking. These are organized in a way to help you “step up your questioning techniques” through a model based on the work of Anderson and Krathwohl. For more ideas on how to use this text with students in your classroom, check out this reading guide and additional activities!
Details Questions
1: Remember (identify, name, count, repeat, recall)
What types of structures were being built in the book?
2: Understand (describe, discuss, explain, summarize)
What kinds of jobs were described in the book?
3: Apply (explain why, dramatize, identify with/relate to)
Have you ever built something with your hands? Describe the steps you took to build it.
4: Analyze (recognize change, experiment, infer, compare, contrast)
This book describes the roles of different people who turned their dreams into reality by making everyday things. Think about something you saw in Someone Builds the Dream. What do you wonder about how it was made and who was involved in making it?
5: Evaluate (express opinion, judge, defend/criticize)
In the book, there are all kinds of people doing lots of different kinds of jobs. Which job seems the most interesting to do? Could you imagine yourself doing that job when you grow up? Why or why not?
6: Create (make, construct, design, author)
  • Draw a picture of something you dream of building/making.
  • Work with a small group to design and build a structure.

Consider highlighting these words from the text to expand children’s vocabulary

  • Architect
  • Scientist
  • Author
  • Crane
  • Mill
  • Smelt
  • Trench
May Book of the Month
There’s Only One You by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook

There’s Only One You

By Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook
Illustrated by Rosie Butcher

This beautifully illustrated rhyming picture book captures the diversity of children and families in many inclusive ways. Heling and Hembrook offer children opportunities to share their uniqueness page after page. “This book celebrates all the things that make you special. From the way you look to the activities you enjoy — there’s no wrong way to be yourself.”

Below are some questions and instructional ideas to help extend children’s learning and expand their thinking. These are organized in a way to help you “step up your questioning techniques” through a model based on the work of Anderson and Krathwohl. For more ideas on how to use this text with children in your setting , check out these activities!
Details Questions
1: Remember (identify, name, count, repeat, recall)
Name a feature that is special about you.
2: Understand (describe, discuss, explain, summarize)
What kinds of skills or talents were described in the book? Share a hobby or interest that you have with a partner.
3: Apply (explain why, dramatize, identify with/relate to)
Why might someone need glasses, a hearing aid, or a wheelchair?
4: Analyze (recognize change, experiment, infer, compare, contrast)
This book describes a variety of things that make each of us unique. Encourage children to take a survey to collect data on the friends in the classroom. Teachers may engage children in discussion about the findings during activity time, or whole group time.
5: Evaluate (express opinion, judge, defend/criticize)
Think of your best or favorite friend or family member. What makes them the “best”?
6: Create (make, construct, design, author)
Draw a self-portrait or share a picture showing something that is unique about you.

Consider highlighting these words from the text to expand children’s vocabulary

  • Unique
  • Stout
  • Shriek
  • Sleek
  • Hearing Aid

June Book of the Month

Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston June Book of The Month - Learning Matters

Freedom in Congo Square

by Carole Boston Weatherford Illustrated by Rosie Butcher
Reading Age: 4-8 years old

The book tells the story of enslaved African Americans in the 19th century in New Orleans, Louisiana who counted down the days until Sunday, when they were allowed to gather in Congo Square for half a day. There they could set up an open market, sing, dance, and play music. The book shows how Congo Square was a place of freedom for the enslaved people who suffered under an unjust system. The book is also an expression of the human spirit and our capacity to find joy and hope even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Below are some questions and instructional ideas to help extend children’s learning and expand their thinking. These are organized in a way to help you “step up your questioning techniques” through a model based on the work of Anderson and Krathwohl. For more ideas on how to use this text with children in your setting, check out these discussion activities!

Details Questions
1: Remember (identify, name, count, repeat, recall)
Enslaved people on plantations worked most days of the week. With support, help children make a schedule using pictures or words to outline the work they did each day Monday through Saturday.
2: Understand (describe, discuss, explain, summarize)
Sunday was a day of rest from work on the plantation. What types of things do you or your family do to rest from work?
3: Apply (explain why, dramatize, identify with/relate to)
Why do you think it was considered daring for enslaved people to run away?
4: Analyze (recognize change, experiment, infer, compare, contrast)
Maintaining a plantation took lots of hard manual labor in the past. How is farm work different today?
5: Evaluate (express opinion, judge, defend/criticize)

Why do you think the author titled the book Freedom in Congo Square?

6: Create (make, construct, design, author)
When people gathered in Congo Square, they brought items to sell in the market. Design and make an item you would like to sell in a market.

Consider highlighting these words from the text to expand children’s vocabulary

  • Sample Rhyming Pairs (slop/chop, pick/brick, make/bake, bear/Square, feed/seed)
  • Sample Vocabulary (despair, ardent, commune, abuzz, ancestral, gourds, banzas, percale)